The Berean Expositor
Volume 45 - Page 81 of 251
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and to indulge in sin. Such a phrase might well have been used as a watchword by a
pre-gnostic party in the Corinthian church. We know that the developed gnosticism of
the second century sometimes moved in the direction of asceticism and sometimes in that
of libertinism. Its disparagement of the material led to an indifference to morality--the
body was material and therefore its acts did not really matter--"all things were lawful",
and this spirit could easily have invaded the Corinthian assembly. A believer could be a
glutton or immoral; it did not really matter. Food is for the stomach and the stomach for
food (verse 13), but, far from this, the body as a whole is for the Lord and therefore not
for fornication or for uncontrolled gratification of its desires. "I will not be overpowered
by any of them" is the Apostle's attitude, for if this is so, it nullifies redemption from
bondage and brings back the old slavery. If the Lord has redeemed us, and purchased us
for Himself, this includes our bodies, and we have no right to act as though they were
exclusively our own possession. This the Corinthians had yet to learn.
pp. 148 - 152
Having made it quite clear that the "all things are permitted me" did not include
anything sinful, the Apostle now shows that, as redemption includes our present bodies,
fornication is not only a sin against the Lord but against the body itself:
". . . . . Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth
fornication sinneth against his own body" (6: 18 R.V.).
Such a person certainly sins against the Lord, for the Holy Spirit indwells him (19).
The human body of itself is neutral; it can either be dominated by the sinful old nature,
or controlled by the Spirit of God. To whichever of these it yielded, it becomes united,
either for evil or good:
". . . . . know ye not that he that is joined to a harlot is one body (with her)? . . . . . But
he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (6: 16, 17).
Thus the Corinthian believers are urged to flee from fornication (18), and to learn to
glorify God even in their bodies (20). It is to be noted that Paul calls things by their
proper name. He does not falsify matters by calling immorality "making love" as is done
today, thus putting a glamour upon sin, and turning it from black to white and making it
appear respectable and desirable. One of the most insidious things around us at the
present time is this deliberate falsifying of standards of conduct, making wrong appear
right, and right appear wrong. This is Babylonianism coming right out into the open.
No wonder individual, national and world problems are increasing apace. A society
which permits this sort of thing is sowing the seeds of disintegration and destruction.
Paul now turns to behaviour within marriage, for this is one of the problems
concerning which the church at Corinth had written for guidance (7: 1). A married
couple have equal conjugal rights (verses 3 and 4), which should not be denied, lest they
should be tempted to fornication (2).  Incidentally, verse 2 is a prohibition against