I Corinthians 6


                        Litigation Before Heathen Courts Forbidden (vs. 1-11)


1 Dare any of you, having a matter” – some ground of civil dispute -  “against another”

 - against another Christian. When one of the litigants was a heathen, Christians were allowed

to go before heathen law courts, because no other remedy was possible – “go to law before

the unjust” - The “unjust” is here used for “Gentiles,” because it at once suggests a reason

against the dereliction of Christian duty involved in such a step. How “unjust” the pagans

were in the special sense of the word, the Christians of that day had daily opportunities of

seeing; and in a more general sense, the Gentiles were “sinners” (Matthew 26:45). Even the

Jews were bound to settle their civil disputes before their own tribunals.  The ideal Jew was

jashar, or “the upright man,” and Jews could not consistently seek integrity from those who

were not upright. (If I am not mistaken, it was Thomas Paine who said  “it is vain to expect

mercy from someone who will not do justice” – CY – 2010) – “and not before the saints?

All Christians were ideally “saints,” just as the heathen were normally “unjust.” If Christians

went to law with one another before the heathen, they belied their profession of mutual love,

caused scandal, and were almost necessarily tempted into compliance with heathen customs,

even to the extent of recognizing idols. Our Lord had already laid down the rule that

“brothers” ought to settle their quarrels among themselves (Matthew 18:15-17).


2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?” - So Daniel (Daniel 7:22) had

said, “The Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the

Most High.” Our Lord had confirmed this promise to His apostles, “Ye also shall sit upon

 twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28) – “and if the

world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

All speculation as to the manner and extent in which the saints shall share in the work of

Christ as Judge of the quick and dead, are obviously futile.  3 Know ye not that we shall

judge angels?” - Angels, i.e. some who belong, or once did belong, to that class. The

statement furnishes no data for further speculation. It can hardly mean “evil spirits,” for

where the word is entirely unqualified it always means good angels; otherwise we might

refer it to the “angels which kept not their first estate” (Jude 1:6)  All that we can say

is that “God chargeth even his angels with folly, and in His sight the very heavens

are not clean” (Job 4:18); and that “to angels hath He not subjected the world to

come” (Hebrews 2:5). We must take the plain meaning of the apostle’s words, whether

we can throw any light on his conceptions or not. The only alternative is to suppose that

the word means “those who once were good angels,” but are now fallen spirits. It was

so understood by Tertullian and Chrysostom -  “how much more things that pertain

to this life?  4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life” - The

verse implies that civil disputes might naturally occur among them. What he is here

reprobating is their objectionable method of settling them – “set them to judge who

are least esteemed in the church.” - This implies an utter scorn of trivial quarrels

about personal rights. Surely the lowliest, the most unregarded members of the Church –

those of no account — have wisdom enough to decide in such small matters. Thus when

there arose a murmuring between Hebrews and Hellenists about the daily distribution to

widows, the apostles, thinking that they had much more important work in hand than the

adjustment of such jealousies, left the whole matter in the hands of the  seven deacons. 

(Acts 6:1-4)  5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among

you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his  brethren?  6 But brother

goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.  7 Now therefore

there is utterly a fault among you” – The word “fault” means “a defect,” or

possibly “a loss” (Romans 11:12, “the diminishing”). Your going to law is an inferiority

or deficiency; you ought to know of “a more excellent way.” – “because ye go to law

one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather

suffer yourselves to be defrauded?  Strange as such advice would sound to heathens,

who prided themselves on the  passionate resentment of injuries as though it were a

virtue, this had been the distinct teaching of our Lord; “Resist not evil” (Matthew 5:39).


 8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.  9 Know ye not” –

Are ye defying God, or does your sin rise from mere ignorance? – “that the unrighteous

shall not inherit the kingdom of God?” - Paul here lays down, as distinctly as James

does, that faith without works is dead, and privileges without holiness are abrogated.

Christians have often been liable to the temptation of underrating the peril which results

from the falling asunder of action from knowledge. There can be no greater danger than

that of talking slightingly of “mere morality.” Religion is not an outward service, but a

spiritual life manifested by a holy living.  “Be not deceived: neither fornicators,

nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with

mankind” - The first four classes of sinners were specially prevalent at Corinth, where,

indeed, impurity formed part of the recognized cult of the local Aphrodite (compare

II Corinthians 12:21). Lists of these “works of the flesh,” which were the all but

universal curse and stain of heathendom, occur also in Galatians 5:19-21; I Timothy 1:10;

Colossians 3:5-7.  10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor

extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” – (See Revelation 22:15) -11 And

such were some of you:” - literally, and these things some of you were. As Gentiles,

many of them had been “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). For a similar

contrast of the change wrought by the Spirit of God, we cite Titus 3:3-7 – “For we

 ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers

lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared,

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy

He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; That being

justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

- “but ye are washed, but ye aresanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the

Lord Jesus” - This clause and the next belongs to all the three previous verbs – “and by

the Spirit of our God.”  In the word “our” is involved that appeal to Christian unity of

which Paul never loses sight throughout the letter.



            The Inexcusable Sin and Shame of Fornication (vs. 12-20)


12 All things are lawful unto me” - The abruptness with which the phrase is introduced

perhaps shows that, in the letter of the Corinthians to Paul, they had used some such

expression by way of palliating their lax tolerance of violations of the law of purity.  They

erroneously applied this maxim of Christian liberty to that which was inherently sinful, and

thus were tempted to “make their liberty a cloak of viciousness.” – “but all things are not

expedient:” – This is Paul’s correction of too broad a formula.  He illustrates this in

ch.8:8-10. We have no right to do even that which is innocent, if it be disadvantageous to

the highest interests of ourselves or others - “all things are lawful for me, but I will not

be brought under the power of any.” - The play of words in the original might be imitated

by saying, “All things are in my power, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”

In other words, “boundless intemperance” may become a tyranny. The pretence of moral

freedom may end in a moral bondage.  I will be master even over my liberty by keeping it

under the beneficent control of law and of charity.  13 Meats for the belly, and the belly

for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them” – How vile, then, is it to make a god

of the belly — only to sleep and feed! Both it and them. There shall be no need for the belly

when men “shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more” (Revelation 7:16); and the

meat alluded to is “meat which perisheth” (Luke 15:16).  “Now the body is not for

fornication, but for the Lord” - The argument, therefore, which would class this sin as a

matter of indifference, (a la Proverbs 30:20 – “Such is the way of an adulterous

woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness”)

as was the Levitical distinction between different kinds of food, at  once fell to the ground.

Food was a necessity, and the stomach was formed for its assimilation. Fornication is

not a venial but “a deadly sin.” It is not a natural necessity, but a consuming evil. The body

was created for higher ends — namely, to be a temple of God. “God hath not called

us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness” (I Thessalonians 4:7) –  “and the Lord for

the body.”  Therefore our members ought to be used “as instruments of righteousness

unto God” (Romans 6:13), and our bodies presented as a living, holy, reasonable,

acceptable sacrifice to Him (Romans 12:1). The end of our existence is “to serve God here

and enjoy him forever hereafter.”  14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will

also raise up us by His own power.” – Paul always grounds man’s resurrection and

immortality on the resurrection and ascension of Christ!  See ch. 15; II Corinthians 4:14;

Romans 6:5, 8; 8:11.  15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?” 

We find the same metaphor in ch.12:12, 27; Ephesians 5:30. The Church is often alluded to

as “the body of Christ” (Ephesians 1:23; Colossians 1:18; 2:19). Elsewhere the union

between Christ and Christians is described by the metaphor of a tree and its branches

(John 15:1-8); a building and the stones of which it is composed (Ephesians 2:21, 22).

Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an

harlot? God forbid.” God forbid -  An admirable idiom to express the real force of

the original, which means, “May it never be!”  16 What? know ye not that he which

is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith He, shall be one flesh.”  This

appeal to Genesis 2:24; and quoted by Jesus in Matthew 19:5 is equivalent to the rule

that no intercourse between the sexes is free from sin except UNDER THE

SANCTION OF MARRIAGE!  17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one

spirit.   This phrase, indicating the closest possible union, is found in Deuteronomy 10:20;

II Kings 18:6. Is one spirit”. There is a “mystical union,” not only “betwixt Christ

and His Church,” but also between Christ and the holy soul Hence, to Paul, spiritual life

meant the indwelling of Christ in the heart — the life “in Christ;” so that he could say,

“It is no more I that live, but Christ that liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20; 3:27;

Colossians 3:17). 

18 Flee fornication - In the battle against sensual sins, there is no

victory except in ABSOLUTE FLIGHT, for the reason which immediately follows,

namely, that these sins have their dwelling in that body which is part of our being, and

which yet they tend to destroy. They make a man his own deadliest enemy.  n. Every sin

that a man doeth is without the body” - Some have supposed that this cannot apply to

gluttony and drunkenness, which they therefore class with fornication; but even in those

sins, as in suicide, the cause of and incentive to the sin is external, whereas the source

of uncleanness is in the heart and in the thoughts, which come from within, and so defile

the man.  Other sins may be with and by means of the body, and may injure the body;

but none are so directly against the sanctity of the whole bodily being as fornication -


but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” - By alienating

it from the service of Him to whom it belongs; by incorporating it with the degradation

of another; by staining the flesh and the body by subtly poisoning the inmost sanctities

of his own being.   For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and

her mouth is smoother than oil:  But her end is bitter  as wormwood, sharp

as a two-edged sword.  Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell. 

 Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are  moveable, that

 thou canst not know them.  Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and

depart not from the words of my mouth.   Remove thy way far from her, and

come not nigh the door of her house:   Lest thou give thine honor unto others, and

 thy years unto the cruel:  Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labors be

 in the house of a stranger;  And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body

are consumed,  And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised

reproof;   And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine

ear to them that instructed me!   (Proverbs 5:8-11) For the commandment is a

lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:  To keep

thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.

 Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.

 For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the

adultress will hunt for the precious life.  Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his

clothes not be burned?  Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?

So he that goeth in to his neighbor’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be

 innocent.  Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is

hungry; But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the

substance of his house.  But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh

understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.  A wound and dishonor

shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.  (ibid. 6:24- 33)

My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.  Keep my

commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.  Bind them upon

 thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.  Say unto wisdom, Thou art my

 sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman:  That they may keep thee from the

 strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.  For at the window

of my house I looked through my casement,  And beheld among the simple ones,

I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding,  Passing through

 the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, In the twilight, in the

evening, in the black and dark night:  And, behold, there met him a woman with the

attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.  (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not

 in her house:  Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every

corner.)  So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said

unto him,  I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows.

Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found

 thee.  I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine

 linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.

 Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: (compare the condition

mentioned in Ezekiel 16:28 – “thou was unsatiable…..and yet couldest not be satisfied”

CY – 2010) - let us solace ourselves with loves.  For the goodman is not at home, he is

gone a long journey:   He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at

the day appointed.  With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the

flattering of her lips she forced him.  He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth

to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks;  Till a dart strike through

 his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and KNOWETH NOT THAT IT IS FOR

HIS LIFE.  Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the

words of my mouth.  Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths.

For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.

Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.  (ibid. 7:24-27);


19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost

which is in you,

, which ye have of God” - He has already said that the Church is a shrine or sanctuary of

the Holy Ghost (ch. 3:16); but here for the first time expression is given to one of the deepest

and newest truths of Christianity (comp. II Corinthians 6:16). Three great epochs are marked

by the use of the word temple. In the Old Testament it means the material temple, the

sign of a localized worship and a separated people; in the Gospels our Lord uses it of His

own mortal body; in the Epistles it is used (as here) of the body of every baptized Christian,

sanctified by the indwelling Spirit of God  - , “aand ye are not your own?” - We cannot,

therefore, use our bodies as though they were absolutely under our own control. They belong

to God, and, “whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:8).


20 For ye are bought with a price” – That price is the blood of Jesus Christ, wherewith

He purchased the Church - (Acts 20:28; Hebrews 9:12; I Peter 1:18-19; Revelation 5:9).

The thoughts touched upon in this verse are fully developed in the Epistle to the Romans.

: therefore glorify God in your body” – Your body is a temple, and in that temple


and in your spirit, which are God’s.”  “Unchastity

dishonours God, and that in his own temple. In these clauses Paul has touched on three

subjects which occupy important sections of the remainder of the Epistle, namely:


·        the relation between the sexes (ch. 7.);

·        the question of idol offerings (ch. 8.); and

·         the doctrine of the resurrection (ch. 15.).




                                                ADDITIONAL NOTES



                                    The Ideal Church a Tribunal (vs. 1-8)


“Dare any of you, having a matter against another?”  In our sketch on the preceding

verses we looked on the true Church as a feast. Here we have to look on it as a tribunal,

a court of judicature, where disputes are to be settled and grievances redressed. It would

appear that questions arose among the Corinthian Christians that required settlement —

questions of wrong done to persons or to property, and that too the litigious spirit was

so rife in their midst that they took their grievances to the heathen courts.  For this the

apostle reproves them. “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to

 law before the unjust, and not before the saints?”  Three remarks about the ideal

Church as a tribunal:




ü      It is a court formed of morally righteous men. This is implied in the

                        words, “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law

                         before the unjust, and not before the saints?” Saints, or just men, form

                        the tribunal. In worldly courts of judicature men are judged by legislative

                        enactments or judicial decisions. Not so in this court. It is a court of equity,

                        a court that tries cases not by statutory precepts, nor by ecclesiastical laws,

                        but by scriptural principles, and these principles as they arc embodied in the

                        teaching of Him who delivered the Sermon on the mount. The true Church

                        is His representative and administrator.


ü      It is a court whose jurisdiction is universal. Do ye not know that the

                        saints shall judge the world?” In many ways men of Christly lives are

                        judging the world now. Their ideas of right and wrong, between man and

                        man, and man and God, form that standard of character to which the

                        consciences of men are constantly appealing, and to which they are forced

                        to bow. All men at last wilt be judged by the character of Christ, and the

                        Church is the representative of that character. “The words I say unto you,

                        they shall judge you in the last day.” (John 12:48) - Not only does this

                        Church tribunal judge the world, but judges angels also. “Know ye not that

                        we shall judge angels?” (v. 3) - Redeemed humanity is in some respects

                        higher than angelic natures. It has passed through greater changes and is

                        brought into closer connection with the Divine. They who have in them the

                        spirit of absolute justice in the highest measure are the best judges of

                        character. In modern courts this spirit is often very feeble, and in some cases

                        extinct. Hence the sad blunderings about the interpretation of statutes and

                        the decisions of judges. (As evidenced in the modern Supreme Court and

                        many of the anti-Christian rulings in lower courts CY – 2010)  But the spirit

                        of absolute justice reigns in the true Church.



                        Paul intimates that it is to judge disputes on the “smallest matters,” (v. 2)

                        and of “things pertaining to this life.” (v. 4)  These expressions seem to

                        comprehend all disputes — not merely religious, but secular; not only disputes

                        on great subjects, but disputes on minor subjects as well. The instinct of

                        Christly justice which inspires it peers into the heart of all moral conduct. It has

                        an “anointing from the Holy One, by which it knows all things.”  (I John

                        2:27)  The more spiritually pure a man is the more readily will he detect the

                        wrong. Only a few years ago some of our judges occupied twelve mouths

                        or more, at an enormous expense to the nation, in order to find out whether

                        a man was an impostor or not. To a mind full of moral justice an impostor is

                        detected instinctively and at once. No logic can read the hidden principles of

                        a man’s heart. Christ knew “what was in man,” (John 2:25) and those

                        highly imbued with His Spirit are to some extent gifted with the same insight.





ü      Reference to another court is unwise. If then ye have judgments of

                        things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least

                        esteemed in the Church.” (v. 4)  The meaning is that any other court to

                        which the case is taken is of no account in the estimation of the Church it

                        is a morally inferior institution. The tribunal of man in comparison to Christ’s

                        tribunal is a truly contemptible thing. You Christians degrade yourselves

                        by taking disputes to such tribunals. “I speak to your shame. Is it so,

                        that there is not a wine man among you?” (v. 5)  It is a shame to you

                        to have your disputes carried to such tribunals, a shame that you cannot

                        settle your disputes among yourselves, that “brother should go to law

                        with brother, before the unbelievers.”  (v. 6)


ü      Reference to another court is wrong. “Now therefore, there is utterly a

                        fault [a defect] among you, because ye go to law one with another.”

                        (v. 7)  Better than to do this, better than in go to a worldly tribunal to settle

                        your disputes, better you should suffer wrong than take your grievance into

                        the worldly courts. The difference between the worldly court of justice and

                        the Christian court of arbitration is a difference of diametrical opposition.

                        Law says, ‘You shall have your rights;’ the spirit of the true Church says,

                        ‘Defraud not your neighbor of his rights.’ Law says, ‘You must not be

                        wronged;’ the Church says, ‘It is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong.’”



                                                Genuine Reformation (vs. 9-11)


Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Be not

deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor

abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards,

nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were

some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the

Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” Reformation of some kind

or other is an object most earnestly pursued by all in every land who are alive to the woes

and wrongs of life. Some of the reformations sought are of a questionable utility; none will

prove of any essential and permanent service but that presented in the text. The reformation is:



            “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?

            Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor

            effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,” Sin, which may

            be defined as self gratification, is here presented in a variety of forms —

            “fornication,” idolatry, avarice, intemperance, etc. All these manifestations

            are hideous developments of the same ungodly principle, self gratification.

            The principle of sin, like holiness, is one and simple, but the forms are

            multifarious. Now, these morally corrupt classes we are here told were

            changed; they were “washed,” and “sanctified,” and “justified,” which,

            stripped of figure, means, they were changed in the very root and fountain

            of their character. They were, to use Scripture phraseology, converted,

            regenerated, created anew in Christ Jesus to good works. The reformation

            was not doctrinal, ecclesiastical, or institutional, but moral.



            What is the only happy destiny for man? To “inherit the kingdom of God.”

            (v. 9)  What is the “kingdom of God”? Righteousness, peace, joy in the Holy

            Ghost. (Romans 14:17)  It is the reign of truth, purity, light, harmony, and

            blessedness. To “inherit” that empire, to be in it, not as occasional visitors,

            but as permanent citizens, holding fellowship with its Sovereign, and mingling

            with the great and the good of all worlds, — this is our high destiny. For

            this we were made, and for nothing lower. Hence Christ urges us to “seek

            first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” (Matthew 6:33) which

            means come under the Divine reign of truth and right. Now, there is no getting

            into this kingdom without this moral reformation. All who have not undergone this

            reformation are excluded.



      CHRIST. “And such were some of you: but ye are [were] washed, but

      ye are [were] sanctified, but ye are [were] justified in the Name of the

      Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (v. 11) This means that

            they had been cleansed from all moral foulness, “washed;” that they had

            been consecrated to holiness, “sanctified;” that they had been made right in

            their being and relationships, “justified.” And all this, how? “In the Name

            of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.This is the reformative

            measure, the gospel;  NOTHTHING ON EARTH WILL EFFECT THIS

            MORAL CHANGE BUT THIS! Not the enactments of legislations, not the

            creations of genius, not scientific systems. I disparage none of these, but they

            cannot effect this reformation of soul, the reformation which humanity wants,

            a reformation without which all other reformations are but reformations on

            parchment, a change in mere outward forms of life. “Marvel not that I said

            unto thee, Ye must be born again.”  (John 3:7)  “Without holiness no

            man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)



                                    Past, Present, and Future (v. 11)


In the two preceding verses the apostle has described, in terse, plain terms, the awful vices

to which the heathen inhabitants of Corinth were addicted.  To his enlightened mind the

kingdom of Satan and the kingdom of God were diametrically opposed; and the test by

which Paul judged them was the test of moral character — a test which the reason and

conscience cannot but approve. The apostle knew from what a slough some of his

Corinthian converts had been delivered, and he points the contrast between the kingdom

in their person and history.



      FROM MORAL FOULNESS. The language of this passage must have gone home

      with power to some hearts: “Such were some of you!” They had indulged in sins

      of the flesh and of the spirit, in vices which were deemed pardonable, and in vices

      which were deemed vile, in transgressions against their own nature and against society.

      Some had been notorious and flagrant, others ordinary, offenders. But all had

      contracted moral defilement. And what had Christianity done for them? What has

      it done for all to whom it has come? It has purified them from their old sins.

            “Ye were washed.” The lustration of baptismal waters was a symbol of the

            purification wrought in the spirit by the redemption of Christ, by the Holy

            Spirit of God.



            RENEWED IN HOLINESS. Forgiveness and cleansing from impurity may

            justly be regarded as the means to an end; i.e. to hallowing or sanctification.

            This is the positive, to which the other is the negative, side.  Set free from vice

            and crime, the subject of the Divine power of the cross comes under a new and

            inspiring influence. The Holy Spirit creates the nature afresh. No inferior power

            is adequate to produce a change so vast.  It is a proof of the Divine origin and

            adaptation of Christianity that it attempts and achieves a task so superhuman.

            These moral miracles of sanctification constitute an evidence of Christianity

            which is to many minds the most conclusive of all.



            JUSTIFIED FROM CONDEMNATION. The expression employed refers

            to the government of God and our relation to it. Justification is acquittal at

            the bar of the righteous Judge. By anticipation Scripture represents this

            acquittal as already pronounced in the case of those who have accepted the

            terms of salvation. Jesus said “He that believeth on Him is not condemned:

            but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not

            believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” – (John 3:18)

            For such the Name of Jesus Christ avails, and in such the Spirit of God graciously

            works. Justification is conferred now; but the full benefit of it will appear by contrast

            in the day of judgment.  This is a gospel for sinners. It is they who need a gospel,

            sunk as they are in sin, exposed as they are to condemnation and destruction.

            This is a gospel for you.  (This is a gospel for me – CY – 2009)   Whoever you

            are, you need it; and, in your heart of hearts, you are well aware that it is so.

            God sent His Son that you might be saved. Christ gave Himself for you. Unto

            you is the word of salvation sent.  Christ has suffered that you might escape,

            has died that you might live. In Him there is for you pardon for the past and

            strength for the present and hope for the future. Believe in the Lord Jesus

            Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” This is a gospel from God. Only He could

            send news adapted to the case of sinners, and He has sent such news. Here

            is the expression of His deepest sympathy, His tenderest solicitude, His

            most Fatherly love. Coming from Him, the gospel cannot be an illusion; it

            may be trusted. It is the wisdom of God and the power of God (ch.1:24) unto

            salvation. Yet, what is this gospel to those who believe not?   Good news to 

            those who reject it is all the same as bad news. There is every reason, every

            motive, for believing it. Christ will be glorified, God will be rejoiced, angels

            will sympathize and sing with gladness, (Luke 15:10) and YOU WILL BE

            SAVED!  The gospel is worthy of belief in itself, and IT IS EXACTLY AND



All of us who have experienced this moral transformation — How wonderful and how

effectual is the grace of God!  How vast is the debt of gratitude we owe to the Father

who loved us, to the Savior who redeemed us, and to the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us!



                        Christianity in Relation to the Body (vs. 12-20)


“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient,” (v. 12)  It would

seem that there were those in the Church at Corinth who regarded Christianity as giving

them a kind of liberty to do whatsoever they wished.  Some of them having left Judaism

with its various restraints, and others paganism, which also had restrictions, they were

too ready to push the doctrine of religious liberty, as proclaimed by Paul, far beyond its

limits. The apostle here states, perhaps in answer to a question on the subject, that

there is a limitation to Christian liberty. He says, “All things are lawful unto me, but all

things are not expedient.” As the liberty which they seemed to covet was a liberty in

relation to the gratifications of bodily appetites, he takes occasion to state certain things

in relation to the body. His remarks suggest to us the relation of Christianity to the

human body. We observe:



            OF THE BODY AS PROPER. “Meats for the belly, and the belly for

            meats.” (13)  This means the body has appetites, and there are provisions

            intended and fitted to satisfy them. (“And the Lord God commanded

            the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

            But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat

            of it:  for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”

            [Genesis 2:16-17]  what man can do is greatly out of proportion to

            what he couldn’t do compare Nehemiah 8:10, Isaiah 25:6-9 - CY – 2010) 

            Christianity allows man to partake of those provisions in nature necessary to satisfy

            and strengthen his physical nature. To act thus is to act in harmony with the

            constitution of nature. All animal existences act in this way. Christianity, instead

            of requiring you to starve the body by fastings, and to exhaust its energies by

            painful pilgrimages and self mortifications, says, “Eat and be satisfied, eat and be

            strong, take care of your bodies. If you choose to eat the meat offered to

            idols to allay your appetites and to invigorate your frames, well, eat it.”

            Feeding the body, however, Christianity regards, though proper as very

            temporary; both the food and the body must perish. They are not like

            spiritual existences and spiritual supplies, that have regard to an

            immeasureable hereafter. “All flesh is grass.”  (Isaiah 40:6-8)



      OF THE BODY AS WRONG. “Now the body is not for fornication, but

      for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.” (v. 13)  Fornication is not a necessity

      of the body, like eating and drinking, but an immoral indulgence of its propensities.

      Man should attend to his bodily propensities as reliefs, not as gratifications. He

      who attends to his physical propensities in order to get pleasure out of them, sinks

      lower than a brute, (II Peter 2:10-15a) violates the laws of his nature, degrades

      his being, and offends his God. Hence intemperance, whether in eating or drinking,

      is a moral outrage. The crime and curse of men in all ages have been seeking

      happiness out of the gastric, the sexual, and other propensities of their physical






ü      It is a property of Christ. It is “for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.”

                        It is not ours; we are its trustees, not its proprietors; we hold it “for the

                        Lord,” and we should use it according to His directions. It is His will that it

                        should be used by the soul to convey from the external universe quickening

                        and hallowing impressions of the Divine, and used to express and develop

                        the holy thoughts and purposes which such impressions should produce.


                        OUR RACE!


ü      It is a member of Christ. “Know ye not that your bodies are the

                        members of Christ?” (v. 15)  If we are genuine Christians, He regards

                        even our bodies as having a vital connection with Him. He had a human body,

                        and that human body raised to heaven is the model into which our bodies shall

                        be changed. This being so, the prostitution of the body to sensual

                        indulgence of any kind is an incongruity and an outrage. “Shall I then take

                        the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God

                        forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body?

                        for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is

                        one spirit.  (vs. 15-16)


ü      It is a temple of Christ. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple

      of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God?” (v. 19)

                        Christ, by His Spirit, claims the body as a temple, in which He is to dwell, be

                        revealed and worshipped.  (Compare John 14:23“If a man love me, he

                        will keep my words:  and my Father will love him, and we will come

                        unto him, and make our abode with him”) It is His property. “Ye are

                        bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your

                        spirit, which are God’s.”  (v. 20)    The language here is, of course,

                        figurative. It does not mean that there was a strictly commercial transaction

                        in the redemption of man, a literal quid pro quo, for the thing spoken of

                        pertains to spiritual interests and relations, and not to commerce.



                                                Duties to the Body (vs. 13-19)


Christianity concerns itself about man’s body as well as about man’s soul.  Christianity is a

religion for man — for a whole man. When considering matters of religion, we are apt to

leave the body too much out of account.  Our remissness might be corrected if we

remembered how large an influence the body has upon the mind and soul.




ü      It is for the Lord.


Ø      For His service and glory. We may serve Christ with our body. We

      may glorify God with our body (v. 20). With our whole being we

      should serve the Lord. Our body should be “set apart” for God.

      How much more useful many would be if they did but cultivate

      physical health! Their uncared for bodies become grievous burdens

      and woeful hindrances.  Disorder in the body is contagious, and often

      spreads to mind and soul.  Athletics, rightly ordered, lie within the

      realm of religion. The man who, not neglecting other duties, seeks to

      make his body thoroughly strong and vigorous, is more pious, not less.

      With others, diseases the fruits of old sins, abide and greatly check

      them in active service for God.


Ø      The body of the Christian is a member of Christ (v. 15). Closely

                                    united to the great Head. He took our nature — not only our spiritual

                                    and mental nature, but our bodily nature. We are one with Him in our

                                    whole being.


Ø      Purchased by Christ. When He redeemed man He redeemed man     

      in his entirety. Our bodies have a part in “the great salvation.” And

       at what a price was the purchase made!


ü      A temple of the Holy Ghost. Solemn thought! How true — yet how

                        often forgotten! Whilst in the body, God dwells in us. (John 14:23) The body

                        is the outer framework of the sanctuary of the Divine Spirit. It is thus

                        consecrated for a high, holy, and sacred purpose. It is God’s possession

                        and dwelling place, like the temple of old. Thus:


ü      It is not our own. Then we must not deaf with it as though it were.

       It has been bought by Christ, and should be freely and fully surrendered

      to Him.  When we give Him our heart we should give Him our body also.

      Many forget to do this.


ü      Cared for by God. “The Lord is for the body.” (v. 13) He preserves,

      feeds, clothes, shelters, guards it. How soon it/we would perish if uncared

      for by Him!


ü      To be raised. The resurrection of the body is a cardinal doctrine of

                        Christianity, and insisted upon at great length by the apostle in the fifteenth

                        chapter of this Epistle. We are but too apt to ignore this, and practically to

                        conclude that at death we shall part with the body forever. We think it

                        worthless, but God does not. He will raise it in a glorified form. Its present

                        constitution will be greatly changed, as the apostle intimates in v. 13. The

                        time will come when the body will not be sustained, as it now is, by meats.

                        It will be a “glorious body” (Philippians 3:21), a “spiritual body” (ch.

                        15:44).   Job said  “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He

                        shall stand at the latter day upon the earthAnd though after my

                        skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:

                        Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not

                        another; though my reins be consumed within me.(Job 19:25-27)





ü      Greatly ennoble it in our estimation. It is not to be thought lightly of or

                        treated with contempt. Ancient philosophy taught hatred of the body, but

                        ancient philosophy is not Christianity. We must not despise the body; this is

                        a dire mistake often perpetrated. The body has a great part to play both

                        here and hereafter. It has been an occasion of sin — often is a burden; but

                        it is in the hands of God, and He will fully redeem and glorify it. It is

                        His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), thrown much out of gear by evil; but

                        He shall rectify its defects, and make it “meet for the inheritance.”

                        (Colossians 1:12)


ü      Lead us to use it most carefully. Being precious in God’s sight,

                        purchased by Christ, tenanted by the Divine Spirit, — shall we deal

                        with it as though it were a common thing? There is one sin mentioned

                        by the apostle which injures the body grievously, and utterly outrages

                        the Divine intent concerning it. Let us guard carefully against this and

                        kindred evils; terrible will be the punishment of those who defile

                         the temple of the Holy Ghost, (“If any man defile the temple

                        of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy,

                        WHICH TEMPLE YE ARE”- ch. 3:17) and who prostitute to base

                        uses the “members of Christ”.   Pure body, pure mind, pure soul;

                        may this trinity of blessings be ours!



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