Glorify God In Your Body – 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Human Body

Paul has been talking about the subject of avoiding sexual immorality; but this passage has a much wider application to how believers should view the physical body which the Lord has provided. Sometimes we get so caught up with the discussion of what happens with our spirit that we act as though the body is inconsequential. When you see the importance that God places on the resurrection it is evident that the physical body is quite important indeed. We have the opportunity to yield the members of our body as instruments to sin or as instruments of righteousness to glorify the Creator who has redeemed us with the precious price of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ understood the importance of His physical body: “But a body you have prepared for Me . . . behold, I have come (in the scroll of the book it is written of Me) to do your will, O God.” We need to actively harness our physical body to be the instrument by which we carry out the will of God here on this earth.



"All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable."

  1. What Things are Now Lawful that were not previously lawful under the OT Mosaic economy? What truly are our Liberties in Jesus Christ?
  2. What Things May Not Be Profitable even though Lawful? And Why?


"All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything."

  1. How can what is Good or Pleasurable or Allowable or Lawful actually become Bad for Me?
  2. Is Jesus Christ the Lord over every area in my life and every appetite of my being?


"Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body."

  1. Certain Physical Appetites are Only Temporary (for this life)
  2. Our Body is Designed as an Instrument to Glorify God for All Eternity
  3. Therefore Immoral Sexual Union has far-reaching implications

Roper: "Food is for the stomach and the stomach for food"–another contemporary saying in Corinth. They were saying that nature demands satisfaction. If you’re hungry, you go buy a hamburger. That is a perfectly legitimate position. But you cannot infer from it that because you have a sexual drive you must immediately fulfill it. Because both food and the stomach are temporary, but the body is not. The body is not for immorality. God has a higher purpose for it. "The body is for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.” Just as a perfect body was created for Jesus Christ and became an instrument through which he displayed the character of the Father, so a body is given to us to be used not as a plaything, not as an object for self-gratification, but as an eternal instrument through which we can declare the glory of Jesus Christ.


"Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power."

  1. The Resurrection of the Physical Body of Christ has Significance for Us
  2. Our Resurrection Will be Accomplished by the Same Power and is Therefore Certain
  3. Therefore How we Use our Bodies Matters to God


"Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, ‘The two shall become one flesh.’ But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him."

  1. Our Union with Christ Extends to Our Physical Bodies
  2. Defiling Our Physical Bodies (Via Sexual Immorality) Should be Unthinkable
  3. The One Flesh Relationship of Sexual Union Has Spiritual Implications


"Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body."

  1. There is Only One Way to Fight Sexual Immorality = Flee It
    1. Don’t even allow for any opportunity to get entangled in a relationship that could lead to crossing the line.
  2. Sexual Immorality Presents Unique Dangers and Defilement

Roper: I think it is because in sexual sin we prostitute our bodies by using them for a purpose other than that for which they were intended. So such sin defiles the body in a way that no other sins can.

Stedman: That is why fornication is different from other sins. Here again Paul is reflecting on what we have just commented on that human nature is different than animal nature. It has a unique capacity: it is this marvelous capacity to hold God, to be intimately related to the greatness and the majesty and the glory of God, to have God in you. That is the temple — God dwelling in something transforms it into a temple. But fornication defiles that temple. It offers the temple to another. It brings the body of that person who is the temple into a wrong union and therefore, it is basically the sin of idolatry. That is why in Colossians and other places the apostle links together "covetousness, which is idolatry." He means sexual covetousness, the desire for another person’s body, is a form of idolatry.

Now only idolatry, the worship of another god, the substitution of a rival god, defiles the temple. That is why fornication has an immediate and profound but subtle effect upon the human psyche. It dehumanizes us. It animalizes us. It brutalizes us. Those who indulge in it grow continually more coarse, less sensitive, have less regard for the welfare of another, more self-centered, more desirous of having only their own needs met — "To hell with the rest." That is what fornication does.

Deffinbaugh: How is sexual sin uniquely a sin against the body, while other sins are just sins we commit in the body? Let me seek to illustrate this by using the analogy of a fine automobile. If I owned a magnificent Rolls Royce, there are many ways I could sin in that car. I could, for example, exceed the speed limit. I would be sinning in the car, but not sinning against it. If I were to rob a bank and use the Rolls for a getaway car, I would once again be sinning in the car. But if I needed a load of cow manure for our flower garden, and I opened the doors and shoveled that manure into the car to transport it from the barnyard to my home, that, my friend, would be sinning against the Rolls Royce.


"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God"

  1. Our Physical Body Has become a Sacred Temple Housing the Very Presence of God
  2. Do Nothing to Grieve the Indwelling Holy Spirit Who has been given as a Gift from God


"and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body."

  1. We Belong to God
  2. We Have Been Redeemed with a Precious Price
  3. We Need to Glorify God in Our Body


  1. Where have we chosen in our life to forego pursuing certain activities that are lawful for us in Christ in order to maximize what might be profitable for our Christian growth and the growth of others?
  2. What areas do we need to guard against the indulgence of our appetites or the exercise of our freedoms so that we don’t allow something to have mastery over us?
  3. How can I make sure not to give any opportunity for immorality and to be quick to flee at even the hint of such opportunity?
  4. What are specific ways I can glorify God in my body?


Stedman: What Are Bodies For?: The legalist looks at life and he says, “Everything is wrong unless you can prove from a verse of Scripture that it is right.” That is legalism. It is a negative approach to life; it clamps a prohibitive hand upon everything that is fun and says it is all either illegal, immoral or fattening.

But New Testament Christianity comes at it differently. It says everything is right: God made the earth and everything in it and everything is right except what the Word of God labels is wrong. That is an entirely different point of view, opening the whole world to exploration and discovery and enjoyment, except for a very limited part that Scripture clearly labels wrong…

Liberty is liberty only, the apostle insists, when it is balanced between two extremes. These people in Corinth were saying, “The Law is an extreme; it makes a rigid demand on my life that I and nobody else can live up to.” And that is true — the Law is an extreme. When you begin to understand the impact and import of the Law of Moses, the Ten Commandments, you find that they are so easily and quickly broken there is not an individual in the world that has ever lived up to them except the Lord Jesus himself. The Law is an extreme, Paul says, “You are right, but license is an extreme too.” Feeling that the reaction to being under the Law is to be free from all law and doing whatever you like, that too, Paul says, is an extreme, and you have lost your liberty when you fall into it. “All things are lawful,” he quotes, “but they are not helpful.” The moment your liberty begins to hurt you or to hurt someone else, you have fallen off into license, and you are in the same kettle of fish that you were on the other side.

“Further,” Paul says, “the things that are not helpful are always enslaving. I will not be brought under the power of anything.” Notice how he is balancing truth so beautifully here. The things that hurt you always have a tendency to be habit forming. Have you noticed that? You tend to keep on doing them. They hurt you because they are fun. They give you a certain degree of pleasure, and that is why you do not mind the hurt so much, but that degree of pleasure is habit-forming, either physically or emotionally or in whatever way…

The body, apart from its digestive apparatus, has a reason and purpose in God’s program, therefore, digestion is temporary. But sexuality is much more profound and touches us at a much deeper level. Sexuality, according to the Scriptures, pervades our whole humanity. It touches us not only in terms of the body, physical, but in terms of the soul, the psyche, and our social relationships with one another. Even more profoundly, sex is something that characterizes and touches us at the level of the spirit as well. . .

He points out that God has a purpose for the body beyond this present life. He says, “The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” Notice the parallel there. They were saying, “‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food.’ They are obviously designed to be together, and that is right.” And they were right about that. Paul says, “All right, now carry it further: the counterpart to the human body is not sex expression; it is the possession of the Lord himself — that is what your bodies were made for. There is a dignity about humanity that is far greater than any animal can claim. Humanity is made to be indwelt by God.” That is the most exciting, the most remarkable, the most revolutionary teaching in the Word of God: We were made to be indwelt by God himself!

The body was made for the Lord and the Lord for the body. This is incredible truth, when you begin to understand what Paul is really saying here. Therefore, you cannot compare it to any kind of relationship between the stomach and food. And, as Paul brings out, God has a purpose for the body: He is going to raise it up. He raised up the body of the Lord; he will raise us up also. Sexuality that penetrates our whole being will not be expressed on the physical level in the resurrected body, but it will have its expression on the soulish and the spiritual levels. God has a purpose for it in the life to come. That is why we are given physical sex. It is designed to teach us what we are like, who we are, what our role is.

Piper: When Christ paid the price for his people, he bought our bodies. So let me try to show you from this passage of God’s word what this means. What would it mean for you if you were to accept the gift of God’s price and trust him with your life–your soul and your body?

It would mean six things.

  1. It means that the Lord is for the body and not against it. . .
  2. It would mean that your body becomes the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. . .
  3. It means that your bodies would be raised from the dead. . .
  4. It means that you do not have to be mastered by anything but God. . .
  5. You would not use your body for immorality. . .
  6. Your bodies are for the glory of God. . .

Rugh: "Profitable" = Primarily: how will this benefit or edify others? Characteristic of sin = it dominates and enslaves someone. These 2 issues should put restraints on my behavior. This body belongs to the Lord and is the place where the Lord wants to manifest His character. Certain bodily functions may have limited use related to this life; but the body itself transcends this life. (Phil. 3:10ff – the resurrection power) Our body is included in God’s redemptive plan.

vv15-20 "Do you not know" = 3 divisions to make the arguments to support vv.12-14:

1) (:15) Your bodies are members of Christ (not just our spirit)
(Ephes. 1 – surpassing greatness of His power); our sufficiency for living godly lives; Gal. 2:20 – Christ lives in me (more than me living for Christ); the life of Christ being lived through our body right now;
Inconceivable and completely appalling that we would take the members of Christ and join them to a prostitute

2) (:16-18) That same marriage relationship of oneness (much more than just a physical connection) is established when a man visits a prostitute – no such thing as casual sex or one night fling; a bond of oneness has been established; we treat matters of immorality too lightly; this is a serious matter for anyone – but especially when a Christian is involved – taking that which is inseparably joined to Christ and joining it to this immoral bond; we cannot separate what is done with our body from our spirit; Keep on running from immorality; we don’t run because we don’t want to – there is pleasure in immorality; don’t provide any opportunities

3) (:19-20) Your body is a temple of the indwelling Holy Spirit; true of every believer; (3:16 – talking about the corporate body of the church); You belong to God; you were bought with a price; you were slaves of sin; you have becomes slaves of righteousness; Rev. 5:9; you can’t do what you want with "your body" – it’s not yours; Positive command: Glorify God in your body; 1 Thess. 4:3; the God who indwells me empowers me

Deffinbaugh: The Relationship Between Spirituality and Sexual Morality – The immorality Paul deals with in our text is sexual immorality. Specifically, Paul addresses sexual immorality with a prostitute. It seems this particular form of immorality is widely accepted as normal and moral, as well as legal. We should remember that prostitution in Corinth is a "religious act of worship." Corinth takes pride in the temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, which has 1,000 cult prostitutes. In the name of religion, men can indulge their fleshly appetites. The Greeks have a proverb about the city of Corinth, which tells us much of its moral decay: "It is not every man who can afford a journey to Corinth." Those who are worldly wise use the verb "to corinthianize" to describe an act of immorality. "Corinthian girl" was a synonym for a prostitute. For a Corinthian saint, concluding that whatever is legal is also moral leaves him a great deal of latitude. There isn’t much he can’t do under this definition of morality. . .

Verses 12-20 give the biblical basis for sexual morality, and specifically why sexual immorality is wrong for the believer. Verse 12 explains why sexual immorality is wrong for the Christian: it is an obstacle to one’s spiritual growth. Verses 13-20 demonstrate that immorality is an offense against God:

Verses 13-14: Sexual immorality is an offense against God
Verses 15-17: Sexual immorality is an offense against the Lord Jesus Christ
Verses 18-20: Sexual immorality is an offense against the Holy Spirit

MacArthur: Three of the evils of sexual sin

  1. it is harmful to everyone involved
  2. it gains control over those who indulge in it
  3. it perverts God’s purpose for the body

Boyer: The Sacredness of the Body (vv.15-20)

  1. Our bodies are the members of Christ (vv. 15-17)
  2. Our bodies are permanent (v. 18)
  3. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (vv. 19-20)

Leake: 8 Theological Truths About the Body
Introduction: Some facts to demonstrate the complexity of the human body; proof that God created the body; could not have come about on a random basis over time. We are incomplete without our body.
Look at the parallel structure in this passage – symmetrical relationships;
Paul is warning in particular against the use of the body in any type of sexual sin; but the application has a much wider sphere of reference

Key Idea: Glorify God in Your Body

1) All things are lawful for me
(NIV translation of "permissible" is not that good here)
Not talking about the Roman law or natural law; but the law of God;
Not saying that every type of action is allowable because it is ultimately forgiveable;
There are definitely things that God approves of and things that He prohibits; the context is important; 1 John 3:4 – unlawful things are still unlawful – don’t take this verse in the wrong way;
The context must indicate what type of restriction is in view here = Paul is talking about the ceremonial aspects of the OT Mosaic law which no longer apply to believers in the new dispensation of the church age who are under the New Covenant;
Cf. Lev. 11 – spells out which animals are clean (and can be eaten) vs. unclean (and can not be eaten) – but now we have entered a new era – Mark 7:18-19;
Ex. 31 speaks of the necessity of keeping the sabbath day holy (speaking specifically of Saturday) = a sign of the Mosaic Covenant; very strict rules for observance; very severe penalty for disobedience = death; Col. 2:16-17 shows that this law no longer applies to us today; Paul is writing as a Jew who understands the nature of Progressive Revelation;
1 Cor. 10:23-33 – Paul repeats this same phrase twice and applies it to eating certain things formerly banned; the old restrictions have been lifted in Christ;
Now in Christ work is lawful on the sabbath; play is lawful; sex is lawful; the Christian life is not intended to be viewed as primarily restrictive; we have been set free for freedom – Gal. 5:1;
Throughout church history various aberrations have developed that failed to grasp this important principle:
Asceticism = harsh treatment of the body as the pathway to spirituality; cf. Col. 2:23 – Paul deals with this error (John the Baptist must be looked at for his unique role – not as normative)
Dualism = everything tangible and visible is evil; crept into the church from Greek philosophy; this system of thought has impacted our thinking today;
The resurrection of Christ’s physical body is an integral part of the gospel message; emphasized more than his substitutionary atonement; likewise our bodies will be raised up from the dead;
We do not want to define Holiness in terms of non-essential external (those who don’t do X, Y or Z).
I need this body; it is God-given and important.

2) But not all things are profitable
Paul is qualifying the first truth; not rebutting it.
Not just talking about outright sin like sexual immorality – that obviously is not profitable; in fact it is destructive. Paul has a wider context in mind.
Translation of same Greek word:
– 2 Cor. 8:10 – advantageous
– 2 Cor. 12:1 – profitable
– John 18:14 – expedient
Some things which are allowed you still should not do because it doesn’t profit you; doesn’t profit others; doesn’t advance the kingdom of God
Cf. Christ fasting for 40 days
We need to apply wisdom to our new freedom
Sometimes where God’s law does not constrain us, we need to constrain ourselves.
When and Why?? 3 Principles:
a) When it is more profitable to express our love for others than to work out our freedoms
1 Cor. 8:1; 10:23; 12:7
Our liberty must be qualified by love – Gal. 5:13-14
b) When it is more profitable to advance the kingdom of Christ than to express my freedoms
I Cor. 7:35 – our society is basically selfish; we pamper ourselves
c) Same as point #3 below = We are not to be mastered by anything

3) We are not to be mastered by anything
play on words here – concept of authority, right; don’t be overpowered; I don’t want those things to have supremacy over me!
Paul dealing with becoming enslaved to these pleasurable things;
Tone of Determination! I will not be mastered . . .
Speaking out of confidence in God – not boasting in arrogance or in self reliance;
Psychology calls these addictions; Bible calls them mastery
Prov. 23:19-20 – restrict your freedoms where you need to; importance of accountability to other believers
Rom. 6:14; 8:13; 1 Cor. 9:26-27
Master your appetites; don’t be mastered by them

4) Bodily desires are only temporary
God designed both food and stomach and they work well together; good idea; but in the future life this existing relationship will be made inoperable;
Will we still eat in our resurrected bodies? Complicated question – Christ ate in His resurrection body; 1 John 3:2 – we will be like Him; Matt. 8:11; food will be enjoyed but not needed for nourishment and sustenance

5) There are inappropriate uses of the body
One is mentioned here = immorality; like poison when it enters into your system; getting pleasure without the partnership; it is selfish and wrong – Matt. 15:19; Gal. 5:19; Ephes. 5:3 — Wanting what you want Now; linked to greed;
Col. 3:5 – linked to idolatry; 1 Thess. 4:5; Rev. 2:14; 20; 9:21;
“But it’s my body . . . I’ll live the way I want” – It is not your body – the Creator made it; He will destroy it; your Mom didn’t make it; we are caretakers of our body;
Not that sex is wrong; we are a two-part being = a body and soul = a unit; 1 Cor. 7:2;
Prov. 5 – “rejoice in the wife of your youth”;
Cf. Hollywood headlines – these people are not experts on relationships

6) The body is for the Lord
Dative of Advantage – for the service of the Lord and His purposes; Instrument He uses; a temple consecrated; dedicated to honor and praise of God; God indwells it; what happens in the body affects the soul;
Cf. martyrs = gave their life; cf Paul – suffered greatly for Christ 2 Cor. 11:25; Esther 4:15-16 – putting her life on the line for the kingdom;
Mary: Behold the bondslave . . . may it be done unto me . . .
Christ: giving up His body;
Don’t pamper your body but prepare it for service; Buffet your body; Say No to your body; present your body to the Lord at the beginning of the day; be willing to serve even when the body hurts

7) The Lord is for the body
Especially show in the resurrection; my God cares about my aching body – very comforting; Ex. 33:19 – the Goodness of God; Deut. 30:9; 1 Chron. 16:34; Ps. 34:8; 36:7-9; 52:9; 73:1; 100:5; 145:9; James 1:17
Then why am I sick, injured, suffering?? Because God is against sin – Rom. 8:22-23; pain at present; but the redemption of the body is ahead; God will make all things new

8) There is a glorious future for the body (:14)
Reincarnation is inferior to resurrection – Why would you want that?
Acts 2:27 – the body of Jesus was important to God – He would not let it see decay; Is. 26:19; Dan. 12:1-3 = resurrection in the OT
John 6:39-40; 11:25; Acts 24:14-15; Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 15: 12-22; 2 Cor. 4:14; Phil. 3:10-11; 1 Thess. 4:16; Heb. 11:17-19; Rev. 1:17-18; 20
Guaranteed resurrection; the Jews took very good care of the body at death; prepared it for waking up at the resurrection
What type of body will it be?
Not perishable, powerful, shine with brightness; be able to move about freely without wings; no decay;
Compare God having to judge the body of some – Lot’s wife; people in Noah’s day; May that not be you! Give Him your body now!
The first resurrection is blessed;
The second is unto damnation = torture in the lake of fire forever;
Please God in our body

Leake: 10 Myths About Sex

Introduction: Nobody likes to be lied to; Satan is the father of lies

1) Sex is purely a private decision
We are joined to Christ; don’t dishonor Christ; public implications of this private act

2) God is unconcerned with my sex life
Live and let live; what’s the big deal?
Body = temple of Holy Spirit; Sex is a beautiful and powerful drive; designed by our Creator; celebrated in Lev. 18; Song of Solomon;
Even the land is concerned with sexual perversion and knows better and will spew out offenders; note that one of the 10 Commandments = Thou shalt not commit adultery

3) There is nothing wrong with casual sex
Vegas: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas
But sex creates a special union; not come and go as you please;
You cannot casually have children; sex should follow a promise of a life of commitment

4) We should test sexual compatibility before marriage
If you have the parts and they work, you have compatibility;
Why did arranged marriages in different cultures work so well??
Picture is one of glueing people together – you don’t experiment with glue.

5) You can practice safe sex
Only 2 categories = Sanctified sex or immoral sex
Immorality always carries with it spiritual harm; cf. how smug people are who are engaging in these sins; no fear of God

6) Flirting with sex is not bad, just the act
Flee immorality is the only option = Run, keep running, don’t look back.
Drastic measures are required; not mild adjustments – Rom. 13:14; 2 Tim. 2:22
Powerful fire – easily lit and hard to extinguish;
Don’t try to rationalize your behavior

7) Sexual sins are just like every other sin
Text does not say that it is the worst sin; but it does unique damage; violates your own body; not a sin to be trifled with
Confess; get it out in the open

8) Since others get away with it, so can I
They didn’t really get away with it! Gal. 6:7
God knows when someone messes up in His tabernacle

9) Since all my sins are forgiven, no big deal if I commit sexual sin
You are not your own; redeemed with a price; need to be a servant of righteousness

10) I can’t help sexual sin – I’m addicted
“Glorify God in your body” would be a cruel command if there was no hope and no power for obedience
For the Christian, there is a greater Master than the Master of sin;
As we compromise we drift and our conscience is seared; we move away from God;
Luke 1520 – Prodigal Son = God delights to receive us back; but better not to drift away

Conclusion: The Cure for lies = the Truth