I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:12-17
As we began our study I mentioned that we need to be careful with context in reading this letter, because if you don’t, you can find “proof” for something that Paul isn’t even talking about. This text is a great example of that: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone quote from this text a proof text to prove that smoking cigarettes is a sin. “The body is the temple of the holy spirit; smoking is a sin” (short version). Paul is talking about sexual immorality, not smoking.
In v. 12 he quotes things people say, in our day in a context like this, we might declare that we have a right to do whatever we want, the Supreme Court says so!
If he were writing this today, Paul might well point out that the Supreme Court will perish along with the rest of this world.
Essentially, Paul’s whole point here is simple: Our bodies are members of the Body of Christ, they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, they are created in the very image and likeness of Almighty God. They were designed and created for a Purpose, God’s Purpose. They are not to be abused by being united with, or become the playthings of, anyone outside of the purpose for which God created them. The union of husband and wife is an integral part of God’s Creation and of His Purpose for Creation, and any other union is a perversion of His image and of His purpose.
This is why Scripture makes such a big deal about sexual immorality: It is offensive to God. You see, the union between husband and wife pictures and foreshadows the union between Christ and His Church, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the union of humans and God. With this in mind, new look at the final verses:
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (6:18-20)
As you can see, there is a great deal more at stake in these verses than simply a person’s inconvenience or personal preferences.