The high-status men of Corinth met in pagan temples for meals. The temples were the equivalent of a modern restaurant.
Young attractive male slaves served the meal that included wine, an offering to the god of the temple, and abundant food.
They believed that the “god” joined them for the meal, and they placed a small meal before the god’s idol.
After everyone had eaten to excess, the men were joined by young male and female prostitutes, who were also slaves.
Greek philosophy taught that the body was separate from the spirit. This teaching led to the belief that the body’s behavior did not affect the spirit.
It was a clever way to excuse excessive eating and drinking, fornication, and the abuse of slaves.
Some of the leading men of the church in Corinth engaged in behavior that was part of the Corinthian culture.
Paul countered their beliefs and behavior with strong counsel.
Your Slogan is Wrong
Paul took up the slogan of the Corinthians only to correct their thinking.
— 1 Corinthians 6.12-13 – “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.
“Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,” and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
“All things are lawful for me” was a Corinthians slogan that had worked its way into the thinking of the leading men of the church.
Note, I am only speaking about men, because wives and women were not allowed to participate in these activities.
Paul used a “yes, but” argument to reveal the faulty thinking of this slogan. He said, “Yes, all things are lawful, but not all things are beneficial.”
The human appetite for food and sex frequently rules us. Think for a moment about the sex industry and the prevalence of obesity and it is easy to see how these two drives can dominate humans.
A Christian is someone who says, “Jesus is Lord” (1 Corinthians 12.3). Since Jesus is our Lord, food and the sex drive cannot be.
The Intimacy of Sex and Food
The next portion of Paul’s argument focused on fornication, but he easily could have included food.
— 1 Corinthians 6.14-18 – And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power.
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!
Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is said, “The two shall be one flesh.”
But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself.
Adelle Davis wrote books on nutrition long before they were part of pop culture. Davis often said, “You are what you eat.”
Food is so intricately connected to us, that it constitutes our very existence.
We are also what we think. The Book of Proverbs exclaims, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23.7 KJV).
The same principle applies to fornication and involvement with prostitution. Just as food and thoughts affect our inner self, so does intimacy with another person.
Sexual intimacy between a husband and wife is an expression of love that is precious. On the other hand, the words “cheating” and “adultery” speak of the betrayal of marital love.
The Location of the Temple
Rudy Ross rightly says in today’s video that the Temple in Jerusalem is a picture of what God desires for every human.
Knowing the awe of Temple worship, Paul described the utter blessing of having a temple of the Holy Spirit within a person’s body.
— 1 Corinthians 6.19-20 – Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?
For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.
The Temple in Jerusalem was the place where heaven and earth intersected. The current location of the temple is any body where the Holy Spirit resides.
I expect most men wouldn’t take their mother to a strip club. Why should a follower of Jesus take the Holy Spirit to one of those places?
What if each person had a LED display that broadcast their thoughts in real-time? If that were so, I can’t imagine the shame and guilt that we would experience.
The Holy Spirit knows our thoughts all of the time.
Rudy Ross often asks the Lord to help his thinking. He is right when he asks God to monitor his thoughts by keeping in conversation with the Lord all day.
Prayer for Ukraine
I read today where the Pope counseled the head of the Orthodox Church to keep his position consistent with the teachings of Jesus.
I also read of a Russian Orthodox priest who opposes the war and has preached sermons in opposition to it.
Please pray that we all will pray consistent with the attitudes and actions of Jesus. We can do no better.
Rudy Ross and I have produced a YouTube video on this passage. Please join us on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.