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Beet's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament Beet on the NT
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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Beet, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 6". Beet's Commentary. https://studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ jbc/ 1-corinthians-6.html. 1877-90.
Beet, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 6". Beet's Commentary. https://studylight.org/
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SECTION 9 — SOME OF THEM GO TO LAW, AND THAT BEFORE UNBELIEVERS CH. 6:1-11
Dares any of you, having a matter with another, go to law before the unrighteous ones, and not before the saints? Or, do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if before you the world is judged, are you unworthy of smallest judgments? Do you not know that angels we shall judge? To say nothing of this life. If then touching matters of this life you have judgments, is it those who are despised in the church, is it these whom you appoint? To put you to shame I say it. To this degree is there among you no wise man who will be able to judge between his brother? But brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers.
To go no further indeed, speaking generally, it is a damage to you that you have judgments among yourselves. Why do you not rather suffer injustice? Why do you not suffer fraud? But it is you that practise injustice and practise fraud, and that to brothers. Or, do you not know that unrighteous* (*Or unjust.) men will not inherit God’s kingdom? Be not deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor luxurious men, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous men, no drunken men, no railers, no grasping men, will inherit the kingdom of God. And these things some of you were. But you washed yourselves, but you were sanctified, but you were justified, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6:1. A new subject, viz. another disorder among church-members which Paul must deal with before he comes to the matters mentioned in the letter from Corinth. The suddenness and surprise of the question, Dares any one of you etc., suggest the peril of thus insulting the majesty of the Church of Christ. That no one person is mentioned as in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, the earnest appeal to the whole church, the words of 1 Corinthians 6:4, “you appoint,” and perhaps the present tense in 1 Corinthians 6:6 noting a general practice “goes to law,” suggest that there were more cases than one.
Any of you] Even one case would be outrageous.
Go-to-law: same word in Romans 3:4.
Unrighteous: same word as unjust, used often both in this narrower sense, and in the wider sense of “not as it ought to be.” See note, Romans 1:17.
The unrighteous ones: heathen judges, who doubtless in many cases well merited this description. Cp. Galatians 2:15.
The saints: the church-members, whom God had claimed to be His own, and who professed to live for Him. In this contrast an argument lies. “Do you seek a settlement of your disputes from those whom you look upon as sinners under the anger of God rather than from those whom God has made specially His Own?”
1 Corinthians 6:2. Or, do you not know: common phrase of Paul, Romans 6:3; Romans 7:1; Romans 11:2: see 1 Corinthians 3:16. By a second question he supports the argument implied in the first.
The saints will judge the world: a truth which the readers ought to know, but which their preference for heathen judges proves that they had strangely forgotten. Same teaching in Daniel 7:22; Daniel 7:27, “judgment (the right to pronounce sentence) was given to the saints of the Most High.” Cp. Wisdom of Solomon 3:8. Christ’s people will share His royalty, Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:12; and therefore they will share the government which
(John 5:22) the Father has committed to the Son. Cp. Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30. In the great Day the saints will intelligently and cordially approve and endorse the sentence pronounced by Christ on the millions of earth. Possibly, this approval may be a divinely appointed and essential condition, without which sentence would not be pronounced. For, it may enter into God’s plan that sentence be pronounced, not only by Man upon men, but by men, themselves redeemed from their own sins, upon those who have chosen death rather than life. (In Matthew 12:41; Romans 2:27, the words “condemn” and “judge” are differently used.) It may be that final sentence cannot, according to the principles of the Divine Government of the Universe, be pronounced upon the lost without the concurrence of the saved, i.e. without a revelation of the justice of the sentence so clear as to secure the full approbation of the saved. If so, the concurrence of the saved is an essential element in the final judgment; and they may truly be said to judge both men and angels. That the sentence which the saints will pronounce is put into their lips by Christ, does not make their part in the judgment less real: for even the Son says (John 5:30) “I cannot of myself do anything; as I hear, I judge.”
The world: either all men, or (cp. 1 Corinthians 5:10) all unsaved men. But this latter limitation is not absolutely needful here. For as summoned by Christ to sit with Him, the saints will approve and endorse the measure of reward to be given to themselves. To appeal to human courts of law, was to appeal to men upon whom, as upon all men, they themselves, amid the splendor of the great assize, will pronounce an eternal sentence.
Smallest judgments: about earthly matters, and therefore, as compared with the awards of that Day, utterly insignificant. That they will judge, implies that already they are not unworthy etc. For, not only does designation to honor confer present dignity, but whatever we shall be in full degree and outward actuality we are already in some degree inwardly and spiritually. The light of eternity, which will enable us to estimate with infallible justice all actions done on earth and to approve and endorse the sentence of Christ, already shines in the hearts of those in whom the Spirit dwells. For His presence imparts (1 Corinthians 2:15 f) the wisdom of Christ. Therefore, in proportion as we are influenced by the Spirit, we are able to estimate conduct so far as the facts are known to us: i.e. spiritual men are, other things being equal, most fit to decide the differences of their brethren.
1 Corinthians 6:3. Another known truth, forming with 1 Corinthians 6:2 a climax.
Angel, when not otherwise defined in the New Testament always a good angel. But here the word judge recalls at once the angels who sinned. This verse implies, as 2 Peter 2:4; Judges 1:6 plainly assert, that the sentence of the great Day will include at least the fallen angels. We cannot doubt that it will be pronounced by Christ. If so, 1 Corinthians 6:2 suggests that in this sentence His people will join. Thus Man and men will pronounce sentence on those mighty powers which have seduced men, but from whose grasp the saints have been saved. The condemnation of wicked angels suggests that in the great Day the faithful angels will receive reward. If so, they may be included here; as in 1 Corinthians 6:2, “the world” may include “the saints.” All this reveals a mysterious and wonderful connection (cp. Colossians 1:20) between the moral destiny of our race and that of other races.
The teaching of 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 is implied in the great truth that whatever Christ is and does He calls His people to share; and therefore helps us to realize the infinite grandeur of our position. We cannot (1 Corinthians 4:5) pronounce judgment now: for the facts are not yet fully before us. But in view of the majesty of that great assize, before which even angels will tremble, matters of this life are unworthy of mention.
1 Corinthians 6:4-6. Those who are despised: heathen judges, who, as ignorant of the wisdom which the Corinthian Christians conceived that they had obtained through the Gospel, were, in the church, looked down upon with contempt. By taking their disputes into courts of law Christians practically appoint heathens to be their judges. Paul asks with bitter irony, “Is it because your matters of dispute are so small, as belonging merely to the present passing life, compared with the tremendous sentence yourselves will share in pronouncing-is it for this reason that you submit them to men on whom you look down with contempt as aliens from the kingdom of God and exposed to the condemnation of the great Day, to men worthy to decide only these trifling temporal matters?”
To put you to shame: 1 Corinthians 15:34. It states Paul’s immediate aim; 1 Corinthians 4:14, his ultimate aim.
I say it: I ask the foregoing bitter question. Your conduct implies that to this degree your large church is destitute of wisdom, that there is not among you even one wise man who will be able as cases arise to judge etc.
Between his brother: viz. the one man who brings the complaint. This question was most humiliating. Just as in 1 Corinthians 3:1 ff Paul proves from the existence of the church-parties that they were incapable of the higher Christian teaching, so now from their lawsuits he infers that the whole church does not contain one wise man. 1 Corinthians 6:6 asserts as fact, in reply to Paul’s own question, the matter which gave rise to the question of 1 Corinthians 6:1.
Unbelievers; explains “the unrighteous” in 1 Corinthians 6:1.
1 Corinthians 6:7-8. To go no further, than the fact that “brother goes to law with brother,” that you have judgments with yourselves. As in 1 Corinthians 6:1, Paul descends from fornication “generally” to a specially aggravated “kind of fornication,” so now he rises from lawsuits before unbelievers to all lawsuits between Christians.
Judgment: sentence pronounced by a judge, which, as being the culminating point, implies the whole process of the suit. Apart from the heathen judges, the lawsuits were themselves a spiritual injury; they tended to lessen and destroy the spiritual life of those concerned and of the church generally.
Damage: same word in Romans 11:12.
Why … ? why … ? solemn repetition and climax. It is better to suffer-injustice and fraud than spiritual damage. But their conduct was the precise opposite of this.
Injustice: that which is not right, 1 Corinthians 6:1.
Fraud: taking, generally by guile, the known property of others. Of this, Paul must have known that some of them were guilty.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10. Do you not know] This conduct, like all sin, arose from ignorance.
Unrighteousness, or unjust, refers specifically to 1 Corinthians 6:8; but includes the sin of 1 Corinthians 6:1 and all other sin. For, against all sin equally this solemn warning is valid.
Inherit God’s kingdom: 1 Corinthians 15:50; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:5 : become, in virtue of filial relation to God, citizens of the future and glorious realm over which, in a royalty which His children will share, He will reign for ever.
Be not deceived etc.: solemn repetition, and exposition in its wider sense, of 1 Corinthians 6:9 a. Cp. Galatians 5:21.
Fornicators; recalls 1 Corinthians 5:1 ff.
Idolaters; see 1 Corinthians 5:11.
1 Corinthians 6:11. Supports the foregoing solemn warning by the contrast of their entrance to the Christian life. When Paul speaks of sin in the abstract, he says, “There is no difference: for all have sinned,” Romans 3:22; Romans 5:8 ff. But, when speaking of gross and open sins, he says some of you. For there may have been at Corinth men who, like Paul, (Acts 26:5,) were outwardly moral from their youth.
You washed yourselves: close coincidence with Acts 22:16, “Baptize thyself (or, have thyself baptized) and wash away thy sin.” God designs the Christian life to be one of purity, i.e. free from the inward conscious defilement, causing shame, which always accompanies sin. To this life of purity, Baptism, as a public confession of Christ and formal union with His people, was the divinely appointed outward entrance. Only thus, in ordinary cases, could men obtain salvation: Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38. And the use of water set forth in outward symbol the inward purity which God requires, and is ready to give. Therefore by voluntarily receiving Baptism, not only did the early converts profess their desire for the purity promised in the Gospel, but, by fulfilling the divinely ordained condition, they actually obtained it in proportion to their faith. Consequently, by coming to baptism, they practically washed themselves from the stain of their sin. Cp. Titus 3:5, “He saved us by means of the laver of regeneration.” This does not imply purification in the moment of baptism, or apart from the converts’ faith and steadfast resolve to forsake sin. But these words reminded the readers that, unless it was a meaningless and an empty form, their baptism was a renouncing of all sin. The allusion here is similar to the mention of baptism in Romans 6:2 ff: see notes.
You were sanctified: as in 1 Corinthians 1:2. “When God rescued you from sin and joined you to His people, He claimed you for His Own, and thus placed you in a new and solemn relation to Himself.”
Justified: a solitary instance probably in the New Testament of the simplest sense, “made righteous.” For Paul is dealing here (cp. 1 Corinthians 6:9 a) with practical unrighteousness: and with him the justification of pardon always precedes (e.g. 1 Corinthians 1:30) sanctification. But we have the opposite order here, because practical conformity with the Law is an outflow and consequence of devotion to God. Therefore, by claiming us for His Own, and by breathing into us the devotion He claims, God makes us righteous. You washed yourselves, reminds the readers that by their own act they renounced sin: therefore to continue in sin is to retrace their own act. You were sanctified etc., reminds “them that by One greater than themselves they were devoted to the service of God and made righteous: therefore, to sin is to resist God.” Thus the change of expression sets before us two sides of the Christian life.
In the Name etc.; belongs probably to all three verbs. Their baptism was an acknowledgment that Jesus claimed to be their Anointed Master, whose Name they were henceforth to bear. Cp. Acts 2:38; Acts 8:16; Acts 10:48; Acts 19:5. They were “sanctified in Christ,” 1 Corinthians 1:2. And moral uprightness was imparted to them in view of their confession of the Name of Christ, and for the honor of that Name.
The Spirit of God: the inward and immediate source, as the Name of Christ is the outward professed source, of the Christian life. This Spirit they received at Baptism, 1 Corinthians 12:13 : Acts 2:38; Acts 19:5 f: (though not by mechanical necessity but by faith, Galatians 3:14; Galatians 3:26 f: Galatians 4:6 : Ephesians 1:13; and therefore not necessarily in the moment of Baptism:) and He was the source of (Romans 15:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:13) their loyalty to God; and of (Romans 8:4) their conformity to the Law.
In this section, as frequently, Paul deals with matters of detail by appealing to great principles of wide application. Not only are there at Corinth legal disputes, but these are carried into the common law-courts. The litigants insult the majesty of the church, forgetful of the dignity awaiting its members, by submitting their disputes to the decision of men on whom they themselves look down with contempt as aliens from God, as though the church did not contain even one man wise enough to decide them. That there are lawsuits at all, is a spiritual injury to them, an injury they would do well to avoid, even at the cost of submitting to injustice. It is needful to warn them against the error of expecting that bad men will enter the kingdom of God; and to remind them that, when they entered the church and so far as their profession was genuine, they renounced sin, became the people of God, and therefore righteous men.
The above does not imply that in that early day there were regularly constituted Christian law-courts. The readers are simply urged to settle their disputes privately by Christian arbitration rather than by a public legal process. A century later there were regular, though private, Christian courts; in which the bishops gave judgment between church-members.
To us, the argument of 1 Corinthians 6:1-6 is modified by the fact that our public courts are for the more part presided over by excellent Christian men. But the injury inflicted upon a church by lawsuits between members, and the spirit of unscrupulous grasping, in one or both parties, which lies at the root of nearly all lawsuits, are the same in all ages. And, in proportion as men are moved by the Spirit of God, disputes about property will become rare; and the disputants will decide them, not in a public court, but by private arbitration, and by arbiters who themselves are guided by the same Spirit. Whether, in any one case it be more for the advancement of the kingdom of God that we defend our property or submit to injustice, must be determined by that spiritual wisdom which God has promised to give. From 1 Corinthians 6:8 we learn that there are cases in which we shall do well to choose the latter alternative.
SECTION 10 — ALL LICENTIOUSNESS IS CONTRARY TO THE CHRISTIAN LIFE CH. 6:12-20
All things to me are allowable: but not all things are profitable. All things to me are allowable: but not I will be mastered by any. The food-stuffs are for the belly, and the belly for the food-stuffs: but God will bring to nought both it and them. But the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God both raised the Lord and will raise up us through His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of the body of Christ? Shall I then, having taken away the members of the body of Christ, make them members of a harlot’s body? Far from it. Or, do you not know that he who joins himself to the harlot is one body? For, says he, “The two will become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24.) But he who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit. Fly from fornication. Every act of sin, whatever a man may commit, is outside the body. But he who commits fornication sins against his own body. Or, do you know not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God; and you do not belong to yourselves? For, you were bought with a price. Then glorify God in your body.
After various matters of detail, viz. the incestuous church-member, intercourse with such men, and lawsuits, Paul asserted in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 a negative and a positive truth condemning all kinds of sin. He now takes up one sin, which, because of its prevalence at Corinth even (2 Corinthians 12:21) in the church, he has already placed first in the dark catalogue of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; and brings to bear against it, in addition to the general truths of 1 Corinthians 6:10-11, special and weighty arguments.
1 Corinthians 6:12. The subject is introduced by a startling assertion, which is immediately repeated, All things to me are allowable. The repetition of these words, and their occurrence, similarly repeated, in 1 Corinthians 10:23, suggest that they had been spoken before, by Paul or others. But whatever be their origin Paul makes them his own, thus admitting their correctness; and guards them from abuse. That in both places they are spoken in connection with food, and the abrupt and transitory mention of food in 1 Corinthians 6:13, suggest that this was their original reference, and that they are equivalent to Paul’s own words in Romans 14:20, “All things are clean.” If so, they may have come originally from his lips, touching food offered to idols or forbidden in the Mosaic Law. Cp. 1 Timothy 4:3. We notice that these words are here carefully guarded against abuse, and that the broad difference between food and the intercourse of the sexes is argued at length. This suggests that, though true and important within their own limits, these words had been perverted into an excuse for inchastity; and that some professed to infer from them that all restrictions on the intercourse of the sexes, as on food, had been set aside by the Gospel. This misuse of words which he does not hesitate to reassert, Paul meets at once by showing in 1 Corinthians 6:12 that they contain in themselves a limit to their practical application, and (1 Corinthians 6:13-14) that the cases of food and of intercourse of the sexes are so altogether different that we cannot argue from the one to the other.
To me: who have been set free by Christ from the Mosaic Law. Cp. Romans 14:14.
Profitable: helpful to ourselves or others. In all matters, and especially about food, we ask not only whether it is lawful but whether it will do us good or harm.
Be mastered by anything: be put under its rule; one case in which an action may be allowable but not profitable. Some actions (e.g. the use of stimulants) tend to create in some persons an irresistible habit. Now whatever deprives us of self-control does us harm; and must therefore be avoided, even though in itself lawful. In this case, in order to preserve our liberty we put a limit to its exercise. Paul says, “All things are in my power: but over me nothing shall have power.” He leaves his readers to apply these principles to the matter of fornication; to determine whether it is profitable to them, or whether it brings them into humiliating bondage.
This verse is a good guide of conduct in matters not expressly forbidden. By experience and observation, guided by the Spirit of wisdom and love, we must discover the effect of various actions upon our own inner life and through us on those influenced by our example, and act accordingly. For no intelligent man will do a thing, without considering its results, merely because it is lawful. A beautiful development of this principle is found in 1 Corinthians 10:23-33; 1 Corinthians 8:9-13; Romans 14:13-21.
1 Corinthians 6:13 a. After showing that the maxim of 1 Corinthians 6:12 contains its own limitation, Paul now meets its misapplication to the unrestricted intercourse of the sexes, by showing that this case differs so entirely from that of food that inference from the one to the other is unsafe.
The food-stuffs: the different kinds of food. Same word in 1 Timothy 4:3; Hebrews 9:10; Hebrews 13:9; Mark 7:19. These were created for the belly, i.e. in the purpose of God, the stomach and whatever gives nourishment were designed, each for the other. Cp. Genesis 9:3. Even much of the food forbidden in the Law was nourishing and its nourishing properties must have been given by the Creator. Therefore, in eating such food, we are carrying out His purposes.
Bring to nought: 1 Corinthians 2:6 : at the death of the individual, and finally at the destruction of the world. Therefore both food and digestive organs belong, not to the eternals, but to the passing things of time. This implies that nourishment, at least in its present mode, will, like marriage, (Matthew 22:30,) have no place in the world to come. Cp. 1 Corinthians 15:44; 1 Corinthians 15:50.
1 Corinthians 6:13-14. In the rest of § 10, Paul sets forth the dignity of the body: and thus makes us feel instinctively how altogether different from food is the intercourse of the sexes. The body was not created in order that we might use it for fornication. That it was created for this end, not one, probably, of Paul’s readers, and few others, would venture to assert. Thus the two cases differ. Whoever eats food, of whatever kind, puts it to its designed use: whoever commits fornication uses his body in a way for which it was never designed.
But for the Lord: that it may belong to Christ, as a means by which He will work out His purposes and a medium through which He will reveal Himself to men. Cp. Philippians 1:20. And for this end our bodies were created. This infinite contrast supports strongly the foregoing negative, not for fornication.
For the body: to save it from vanity and sin and corruption, and to make it His own for ever. This is an essential part of the purpose Christ came to accomplish.
And God etc., corresponds with “but God etc.” in 1 Corinthians 6:13: as does but the body etc. with “the food-stuffs etc.”
Both Christ … and us: an inseparable connection. So Romans 8:11.
Through His power; suggests the difficulty of breaking the barrier of the tomb, and the solemnity of the resurrection as a manifestation of the power of God.
1 Corinthians 6:15-17. develop and support “for the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 6:13; in order to strengthen the instinctive feeling, already evoked by the contrast between food and intercourse of the sexes, that fornication is utterly opposed to the purpose for which our body was created.
Members of the body of Christ: see under 1 Corinthians 12:12; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Romans 12:4. The bodies of believers stand in a relation to Christ similar to that of the various members of a man’s own body to the spirit within. For they are the visible and material and variously endowed organs through which He shows Himself to, and acts upon, the world. So that, as far as God’s purpose is now attained in us, the presence of our bodies in a place is the presence of Christ there, who smiles through our face, speaks His own words of wisdom and love and life through our lips, and through our hands perform His works of mercy. In this sense “the body” exists “for the Lord.”
Shall I then etc.: intense reality of Paul’s thought. Cp. Romans 3:7. If to do this is right, it is right for Paul to do it. But how inconceivable!
Having taken away etc.; shows what the foregoing question practically involves. To be unchaste is to rob Christ of the members of His own body, to deprive Him of the use of them as organs of His self-manifestation to the world.
A harlot: whom Paul assumes, and no one will deny, to be absolutely opposed to Christ.
1 Corinthians 6:16. A truth which the readers ought to know, justifying the foregoing words.
Is one body: therefore, he who commits fornication makes his body a part, or member, of a harlot’s body.
For etc.: proof of is one body.
The two etc.: word for word from Genesis 2:24, LXX.
Says he: Adam, or the author of Genesis. Probably the former, moved by prophetic impulse on seeing Eve. But to Paul both were invested with divine authority. So Romans 3:19. That these words refer originally to marriage, does not lessen their appropriateness here. For they teach that the marriage relation was divinely instituted at the creation of the race, in order to unite husband and wife so closely that in them even personal distinction should in some respects cease. Intercourse with harlots desecrates this divine ordinance to a means of sin. Therefore, in a Christian, it robs Christ of a member of His own body in order to place it in union with one utterly opposed to Christ, a union so close that it implies a cessation in some sense of personal distinction.
1 Corinthians 6:17. Increases the force of the foregoing, by showing how exalted is the fellowship with Christ of which fornication is a renunciation.
Joined to the Lord: to Christ. Same words, in reference to God, in Deuteronomy 10:20; Deuteronomy 11:22; 2 Kings 18:6; Jeremiah 13:11. They denote here that spiritual contact with Christ by which we abide in Him and He in us.
Is one spirit. In proportion as we are joined to the Lord are the thoughts, purposes, efforts, and entire activity, of our spirit an outflow of the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us and moving us. Thus in Him and in us one Spirit dwells, moves, and manifests itself. This oneness of spirit with Christ is the source of the mutual oneness (John 17:11; John 17:21 ff) of His people. This union with Christ, for which we were created, which comes to us through the noblest element of our nature, even our spirit, and permeates our whole being, making even our mortal bodies to be members of the body of Christ, reveals the infinite indignity of intercourse with a harlot; an intercourse prompted only by the lower and material side of our nature, and preventing absolutely all union with Christ.
1 Corinthians 6:18. Fly from fornication: direct exhortation, carrying the force of the foregoing arguments, and further supported by those following.
Outside the body: they require some motive or weapon other than the body. But this sin stands alone in making the human body, the chosen medium of Christ’s self-manifestation to the world, to be itself a sufficient motive and instrument of sin. Therefore, as a unique dishonor
(Romans 1:24) to the body, it is in a unique sense a sin against (1 Corinthians 8:12; Luke 15:18) our own body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20. Known truths which greatly aggravate this unique sin against the body.
Your body, not bodies: see Romans 1:21.
Temple etc.: exactly parallel of 1 Corinthians 3:16.
Holy Spirit: appropriate designation of that inward, personal, divine, animating principle, whose every impulse is towards God and away from sin. See note, Romans 8:17. That the Spirit comes to us from God, makes dishonor to the Spirit a dishonor to the Father. This verse claims for the believer’s body, as 1 Corinthians 3:16 claims for the church generally, the dread solemnity associated with the temple at Jerusalem. The Christian’s body is the most sacred spot on earth. And every dishonor to it is an insult to the Great Spirit who has chosen it to be His dwelling place on earth, and to the Father who gave Him to us.
Not belong to yourselves: another thought suggested at once by temple. For God’s presence there removed it, as the palace of the heavenly King, from all human ownership. For where the King is, He is both ruler and owner. Therefore, the presence of the Spirit in our bodies has made them no longer our own.
1 Corinthians 6:20. For you were bought etc.: 1 Corinthians 7:23; ground of the foregoing, and another argument in support of 1 Corinthians 6:18 a. Christ died in order (Romans 14:9) that we may live a life of which He is the one aim. Therefore He died that we may be His: and His blood was the price with which He bought us for Himself. Cp. 1 Peter 1:18. Consequently, all inchastity is, not only dishonor to that dread Spirit whom God has put within us, but resistance to Him who so earnestly desired us for His own that to gain us He poured out His blood.
Then glorify God: positive and general exhortation, including the negative and specific one in 1 Corinthians 6:18 a. We glorify God when we receive Him as an object of our admiration; and when, by words or works, we make Him known to others to be an object of their admiration. See under Romans 1:21.
In your body: Philippians 1:20. “So act that your bodily presence may he a display of the grandeur of God, and may call forth admiration for God in those who have intercourse with you.”
SECTION 10 is the one New Testament passage which deals professedly and fully with this one sin. Paul begins by quoting with approval a maxim used by some as a cloak for it. He shows that this maxim contains its own limits, even in these matters to which it properly refers; and, after indicating these limits, leaves his readers to apply them to the matter in hand. But indiscriminate food, to which the maxim really refers is altogether different from promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, to which some would apply it. For the one is according to, the other opposed to, God’s original design; and the one pertains to time, the other to eternity. The dignity of the human body, which Paul refers to first as a contrast, he then uses further as a direct dissuasive. To commit fornication, is to rob Christ of the members of His own body, in order to place then, by desecrating God’s ordinance, in closest fellowship with a harlot; whereas it is our privilege to have spiritual fellowship with Christ. It is a dishonor to our own sacred bodies, and to the divine inhabitant whom God has placed to dwell therein; and an invasion of a right which Christ has acquired at the cost of His own blood.
It is not Paul’s purpose to prove that fornication is wrong; (for this, in their heart of hearts, all men know;) but to show how terribly wrong it is, how utterly opposed to God’s glorious purpose about our body, how insulting to the Great Spirit who dwells within us, and how hostile to the earnestness of Him who made us His own at the cost of His life. From 1 Corinthians 5:1; 2 Corinthians 12:21, we learn how much this teaching was needed at Corinth.
The teaching of this section implies, and flows directly from the fundamental doctrines assumed in the Epistle to the Romans. 1 Corinthians 6:20 a is explained by Doctrine 2, Romans 3:24 ff; “for the Lord” in 1 Corinthians 6:13, by Doctrine 3, Romans 6:3-11; 1 Corinthians 6:19, by Doctrine 5, Romans 8:4-11. “Members of Christ” is a development of Doctrines 3 and 5.
DIVISION II., which deals with the gross misconduct of some church-members, is now complete. Paul has pronounced a severe sentence on one conspicuous offender, and has supported it by referring to the paschal sacrifice of Christ, 1 Corinthians 5:1-4; and has urged his readers to separate themselves, not from all bad men, but from all bad Christians, 1 Corinthians 5:9-13. He has shown the impropriety of their lawsuits between church members, and against all other sins, 1 Corinthians 6:1-11; and especially against inchastity. 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.
Paul has thus completed his discussion of those more pressing matters which demanded his first attention before he could reply to the questions in the letter from Corinth He dealt first, and at greatest length, in DIV. I., with the church-parties. For these had spread over the entire church; whereas only a part, probably a small part, was guilty of the misconduct mentioned in DIV. II.; and because these church-parties, and the overweening self-conceit from which they sprang, were weakening the spiritual life of the whole church and thus opening a way for the immoralities mentioned immediately afterwards.