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1 Corinthians 6

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Verses 1-8


Two SECTIONS; Two TOPICS.—1 Corinthians 6:1-20

1 Corinthians 6:1-8.—Canon Evans (Speaker’s Commentary) thus exhibits the verbal connection: “Deigneth any one of you (you emphatic), having a matter anent the other (party), to seek for judgment before the wrong-doers and not before the saints? (Are ye so besotted), or do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if in your presence the world is to be judged, unmeet are ye to hold judge-courts of the lowest sort? Do ye not know that angels we shall judge—angels! Speak not of secular things! Nay, rather (that I may unmask your folly by a reductio ad absurdum), if secular judge-courts ye should perchance hold (a measure how unworthy of your kingly calling and of your future judicial status!), take men of utterly no account in the Church and set them on the bench! (Them, I say, for such nonentities are equal to the settlement of such trivialities.) To put you to shame I speak it (this last sentence serious, not satirical). So! is there not among you (wise men as you flaunt yourselves) not even one wise man who shall be competent to arbitrate (give’a decision) on the part of his brother? But brother with brother goes to law (which is a breach of charity) and sues for judgment at the bar of unbelievers (which is preposterous). Nay, verily (let alone the absurd length of appealing to heathen men), it is so far quite a defeat to you that you have cause for legal judgments between yourselves.… Why do ye not rather take wrong (than allow or give cause for this ratio ultima of legal judgment)? Why not submit to being defrauded? Nay, but (the very reverse, so far from taking wrong dealt) you deal wrong yourselves, and (what makes it worse) deal wrong to brethren! (Is this possible?) or do ye (with all your boasted knowledge) not know that wrong-doers (of any sort) shall not inherit God’s kingdom?” To this may be added:—

1 Corinthians 6:1. Dare.—Q.d. “What is this that I hear of you? Is it really possible?” Bengel: “Grandi verbo notatur læsa majestas Christianorum.” Connect with the “judging” at end of chap. 5: “I do not yet, as a Christian, judge the world; I shall do some day, and even judge angels. I understand a Christian, and can judge him (1 Corinthians 6:12); I do not yet always understand the man of the world; God does, and shall judge him.” Unjust.—Not necessarily meaning doing injustice on the bench. (Cf. the fair character of Gallio.) Perhaps not more than unrighteous, as opposed to “saints” (in a half-technical sense, like “sinners of the Gentiles,” Galatians 2:15).

1 Corinthians 6:2.—Observe the estimate of secular things: “the smallest matters.” Cf. “that which is least” (Luke 16:10, expounded by 1 Corinthians 6:8; 1 Corinthians 6:11) = worldly wealth and honour, in many cases. By you.—Lit. in you; as, “in that Man” (Acts 17:31).

1 Corinthians 6:3. (Evil) angels.—No hint that the good need to submit to a “judgment.” (See Jude 1:6-8; also the saints glorifying God’s judgments, Revelation 19:3.)

1 Corinthians 6:4.—Choose between (a) “set” (imperative) and (b) “ye set” (indicative). Also between two meanings of “them … least esteemed in the Church”; (c) “the ‘nobodies’ of your membership”; or (d) “the secular judges, who, being secular, men of the world, are, in the eyes of the members of the Church, and in comparison with themselves, of no account.” (d) Highly improbable. Adopt (a) and (c); half-ironical counsel.

1 Corinthians 6:5.—As usual meaning “to your shaming,” “that I may arouse your sense of shame.”

1 Corinthians 6:7. Fault.—A falling away from the ideal of the dignity of being Christians, and from the ideal of brotherly love, essential to the character.

HOMILETIC ANALYSIS.—1 Corinthians 6:1-8

The Christian and Litigation.

I. Some limitations to an absolute prohibition of Christian appeal to secular courts to be noted.—

1. The State and the Law were not then Christian, but heathen. Case of Corinthian Church not to be compared with condition of things where government, legislation, justice, are affected by, or based on, great principles of Christianity. The parallel case is rather that of two Christians at issue, of whom one, or both, is inclined to drag the matter before a mocking Mahometan kadi, or before an idolatrous, perhaps persecuting, Hindoo prince. In Christendom, at its lowest worth, the “secular” court is, in a sense, an outer Court of the Church, or at least an annexe. Persecuted English Nonconformists have appealed to English judges, often Christian men.

2. The matter in dispute is supposed to be one wholly between Christian parties. “A family business;” the family’s “dirty linen, to be washed at home.” Paul himself carried the case, between him and the Sanhedrin, before the court of the Emperor Nero. “I ought to be judged … at Cæsar’s judgment seat,” viz. before Festus, Cæsar’s representative (Acts 25:10). The wrong suffered by a Christian at the hands of a non-Christian may not be merely a personal hardship, beginning and ending with the man and the particular case. [In this latter case the Christian had better suffer, especially if the wrong be put upon him because he is a Christian. 1 Peter 4:19 then applies: “Commit … unto a faithful Creator.” “The Lord is at hand.” Also Matthew 5:38-45 : “Resist not evil.” “Turn other cheek.” “Let … have cloke also.”] But Christians may happen to represent society. Vindication of his own purely civil right may be needful for sake of social order. [This rule is to be very reluctantly applied, with earnest prayer and great watchfulness over his spirit, lest self, or anger, or pride, or revenge, insinuate themselves into the public spirit of his appeal to law. Matthew 5:44 very earnestly then to be remembered: “Love … enemies. Pray for them that despitefully use you.”]

3.Matthew 5:34-37; Matthew 5:34-37 (“Swear not at all.… Your communication be Yea, yea; Nay, nay”) applies to an ideal society within an ideal kingdom of God. In practice, in the real, complex, actual social order, Christ (silent before, Matthew 26:63) and Paul (2 Corinthians 1:23) did speak upon a confirmatory oath. One general rule explains and justifies: “Whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil”; Christians have to do with fallen men and an evil world. In dealing with these, abatement from the ideal is forced upon them in use of litigation in secular courts. But, within the Church, keep to the ideal. So here, in this section.

II. Between Christian and Christian, and in “biotics” merely (1 Corinthians 6:4), litigation before secular tribunals is to be discouraged [unless as last resort].

1. It is an insult to the dignity of the Church and its Lord. “Dare you?”—The thing is treasonable [as when, in the Middle Ages, English law forbade causes to be taken from the King’s courts to that of the Pope]. What jurisdiction have the “unjust” and their courts within the kingdom of Christ? And shall it be a Christian who seeks to introduce the foreign jurisdiction? Does Christ’s law need confirming or superseding, that you appeal to secular? He has given directions for procedure (Matthew 18:15-20). First, “thee and him alone.” That failing, a court of first instance; “two or three witnesses.” That failing, the supreme court, the Full “Church,” presided over by the Lord Himself: “there am I in the midst.” They “agree to ask” His guidance; their decisions—“binding” or “loosing”—are His, “bound” or “loosed” “in heaven.”

2. It is unworthy of your own dignity who are resorting to the secular judge.—You seek, and bow to, his decisions, who shall one day stand before you and have to bow to your judgment? [An obscure topic as yet. See Beet’s note appended.

(1) Generally it is the last link of a series of identifications of the saints with their Lord. They “shall be glorified together” (Romans 8:17). Crucified, buried, risen, ascended, hid (as He is) in God, enthroned already with Him (Colossians 3:3; Ephesians 2:6), in like manner they are to be brought forth with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:14), and to be assessors with Him in judgment.

(2) Further, as impossible yet to draw up a coherent, consistent programme of the sub-final Age preceding the Parousia and the General Judgment (and even to adjust all the relations between these two last), as it would have been in Old Testament days to draw up a programme of the First Advent of Christ. Yet collate, tentatively (Daniel 7:22-27), “Judgment was given to the saints”; Matthew 19:28 (Luke 22:30), “Ye shall sit … judging the twelve tribes.” In Matthew 25:0 the faithful servant is made “ruler”; in Luke 19:12 sqq. (Pounds, not Talents) the faithful servant has “authority over … cities.” Revelation 21:24-26 distinguishes between the nations and their kings (outside) and the New Jerusalem and its citizens (within). Also in Matthew 25:0 it is expressly “all the nations” that are arrayed before the Son of Man, and even those set on the right hand are distinguished from “these” to whom their good offices have been rendered. Are “these” the assessor-saints sitting in judgment with their Lord?] Whatever may be behind all these mysterious intimations, this is clear: The little Church in Gorinth is invested with a dignity elevating it above all earthly greatness. As seen from heaven, the little nuclei here and there in the Roman world, of artisans, slaves, Jews, “not many noble,” etc., are the distinguished factors in human society. Heaven’s eye singles out the Churches as the all-important facts of earth. The Christian man is to disdain outside help and vindication. What can he want higher, better, more authoritative, than a Church tribunal? Moreover, why should he, a peer of the kingdom, submit himself to the nobody, the commoner, outside its pale and honour—perhaps its enemy? Cannot a Christian trust the competency, or at least the brotherly fairness or love, of his brethren? Do not say you cannot have a Church court; nobody to constitute one. [Extreme case on record: an Independent Church died down to three members; two of them, women, expelled for drunkenness, the third, a man.] Brother and brother should submit to brethren. Not secular litigation, but Church arbitration, the first, the favourite, method whenever possible. Respect the brethren, respect yourselves, ye judges of angels! [“All that statesmen, as such, have to do with religion is to be themselves under its power; all that Christians, as such, have to do with the State is to be good citizens” (Dr. Brown, Horœ Subs., Second Series, p. 52).]

3. It is to degrade the Church and the brother in the eyes of the world. “Before the unbelievers!”—Bad enough that brother sues brother at all. Even the world has its proverb, “Dog does not eat dog” (cf. Galatians 5:15). It is a sad “come down” (1 Corinthians 6:6) from what your spirit ought to be. But it is a sadder, deeper descent when the brotherhood, showing its worst side, is dragged into the eye of an unfriendly, cold world; when passions which ought not to be known within the Body are obtruded upon the notice of the world,—selfishness defending itself against, or overreaching, selfishness; jealousy, covetousness, partisan feeling, a too eager grasp at the things of a temporal world, and the like. Have no such feelings at all; but if ye do have cases arising (1 Corinthians 6:4), at least, for shame, keep them from the men of the world.

4. It is an exaggeration of the importance of the matters at issue.—Mere “things pertaining to this life,” “the smallest matters,” are they worth dividing the brotherhood over, and, much more, of dishonouring it before the outside world? If you will have the matter out, I had almost said, find some poor, humble, simple members, and let them judge; they are good enough judges for such business! But there is a better thing still: do not insist on “having it out”! Let it go. [This the meaning of Philippians 4:5 : “Your moderation.” “Do not stand too stiffly upon your rights. Yield something of what, in the abstract, is really your due. If there cannot be ‘give and take,’ better that you do all the ‘giving,’ than hurt, by an insistence which may become obstinacy, and may lead to estrangement, strife, and division, the peace of the Church.”] Take wrong; be defrauded. The Lord will see your interests safe. “The meek shall inherit the earth.” Why, you are the wrong-doers, the defrauders—brethren!


1 Corinthians 6:2.—“… 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.… 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.’ ” Also, further, on 1 Corinthians 6:3 : “Thus man and men will pronounce sentence on those mighty powers which have seduced men, but from whose grasp the saints have been saved.… All this reveals a mysterious and wonderful connection (cf. Colossians 1:20) between the moral destiny of our race and that of other races.”—Beet, in loc.


1 Corinthians 6:2.—“… 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.… 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.’ ” Also, further, on 1 Corinthians 6:3 : “Thus man and men will pronounce sentence on those mighty powers which have seduced men, but from whose grasp the saints have been saved.… All this reveals a mysterious and wonderful connection (cf. Colossians 1:20) between the moral destiny of our race and that of other races.”—Beet, in loc.

Verses 9-11


TRANSITIONAL SECTION.—1 Corinthians 6:9-11

1 Corinthians 6:9.—Query, is the particular “wrong” and “defrauding” in 1 Corinthians 6:8-9 connected with 2 Corinthians 7:12, the case of “the incestuous person”? Had the father been ready to appeal to a secular court for redress? Some such connection would explain the transition in this verse from “litigation” to “fornication.” [In 2 Corinthians 7:2 Paul uses in negatived connection with himself “wrong” and “defraud.”] N.B., like Romans 1:24 usque ad fincm, this chapter gives a significant glimpse of the every-day corruption of the heathen world, with all the civilization of Greece and Rome. Effeminate.—Euphemistic.

1 Corinthians 6:10.—Note in what company we find “covetousness.” Stanley suggests a connection between “thieves” and the lawsuits (but query?). Revilers.—Virulent, foul abuse; generally, not always. John 9:28; Acts 23:4; 1 Corinthians 4:12; 1 Peter 2:13; 1 Timothy 5:14; 1 Peter 3:9; 1 Corinthians 5:11; and here. Inherit.—Cf. Matthew 25:34; James 2:5, “heirs of the kingdom.”

1 Corinthians 6:11.—Observe “were … were … were.” Partly historical, partly ideal. In ideal, Faith, Baptism, Renewal, Separation from sins of old character and life, coincide in time; in fact, Baptism may be pre- or post-dated in regard to Faith and Renewal; Separation may very imperfectly accompany the rest. Justified.—Protestantism rightly lays stress upon the relative change involved in pardon of sin; makes this its definition of Justification (Acts 13:38-39). Yet (e.g. Wesley, Sermons) “some rare instances may be found wherein the terms ‘justified’ and ‘justification’ are used in so wide a sense as to include sanctification also; yet in general use they are sufficiently distinguished from each other both by St. Paul and the other inspired writers.” Also, cf. Romans 8:30, where attention is not so much fixed upon the initial act of God as upon the continuously accorded and maintained status of the justified man, covering the whole interval from pardon to glory. Also, no careful adherence here to the ordo salutis (Calvin, in Ellicott). Observe “in … in.” Observe “our God.”

HOMILETIC ANALYSIS.—1 Corinthians 6:9-11

I. The kingdom of God.—

1. Observe how the phrase and idea had got cleared in Paul’s mind from all the foolish and ridiculous Rabbinical accretions and anticipations of a great temporal monarchy under Messiah, in which, freed from the Roman or other yoke, Israel should be the nation, and the Gentile world exist for the sake of the Jew.

2. We have here a case of the true Evolution.
(1) Israel had been the kingdom of God on earth. As Babylon was Nebuchadnezzar’s, or Egypt was Pharaoh’s, or Damascus Rezin’s or Hazael’s. Jehovah was the only, the real, King of the realm. David, Solomon, etc., were understood to be only viceroys under Jehovah. Jehovah’s law was State law. Idolatry was treason. Citizens were born into the citizenship [cf. in contrast, John 1:13]; Israel, in the midst of the nations, stood distinguished as the nation of God in the land of God. But it never perfectly realised the idea. The land never was cleared of enemies for Jehovah. The people never did perfectly keep Jehovah’s law. They were not satisfied with, or mindful of, the true King Jehovah. At last, when the mob howled wildly around Pilate’s judgment seat, “We have no king but Cæsar,” came the beginning of the end of even this imperfect embodiment of God’s idea.

(2) Next, the Church of Christ is made to exhibit “God’s kingdom.” Again there is a separate people, God’s “peculiar people,” but of no one nation, located in no one land. The kingdom is wherever a heart is in which Christ is accepted as God’s anointed King of His new Israel. “Kingdom of God within you.” Every heart won is a new piece of territory added to God’s realm on earth. God’s “royal,” “perfect, law of liberty” (James 1:25; James 2:8) is the State law, and rules the hearts of the citizens of this better setting forth of the “kingdom of God.”

(3) “Better,” but not perfect, or ideal. For that we look to Eternity. Heaven is at last the idea of God realised. A people all holy, all happy, in a land without sin or curse; every heart beating pulse and pulse in communion with the King; love to the King the one sufficient, all-embracing law for every subject, written in the heart; God ruling over a race, all His people, dwelling in a world [perhaps “a new earth”] undisputedly His dominion. Thus, as Israel, the Church, the inner Experience of believers, Heaven—God’s recovered idea of a “kingdom of God” has progressively been exhibited “in many parts and in many manners” (Hebrews 1:1); each “illustration” traced on the same lines as its predecessor, with additions, modifications, added detail.

II. Its citizens.—Not “the unrighteous.”

1. Only an absolute exclusion when the kingdom of God is Heaven. Separation made (Matthew 25:33; Matthew 25:46). Impossible to conceive of the Holy City admitting “what defileth,” etc. (Revelation 21:27; Revelation 22:15); cannot pass the gates.

2. Very imperfectly attempted in Israel. Levitical law had many enactments whose sanction was, “That soul shall be cut off from among the People.” But those—never actually enforced to any great extent—missed nearly all forms of “unrighteousness” which did not culminate in overt action.
3. Only partially to be accomplished in the Christian Church. In the sub-Pentecostal, almost ideal, days of the Church, the King vindicated the principle by the cutting off of Ananias and Sapphira [the New Testament analogue of the death of Achan]. But God is not perpetually stepping forth in acts of holy self-vindication against sin in His world or in the Church of His Son. All Church discipline, and forms (or tests) of Church membership, are so many humanly devised, often God honoured, methods of endeavouring to keep out the “unrighteous,” or to exclude them when in. But they never can secure more than an approximation to the idea of a kingdom in which no “unrighteous” are found. No method, actual or proposed, ever gets worked with perfect intelligence, or perfect faithfulness; no method of human administration can deal with heart-unrighteousness.

4. There is a perfect, self-acting, discipline of exclusion; a Divine excommunication. Sin means real incapacity for understanding, seeing, entering, the kingdom here; an utter unfitness for heaven, a moral impossibility, hereafter. Sin forfeits justification; the “blood” no longer “cleanses” (1 John 1:7); it negatives the possession of the holiness without some degree of which no man is really regenerate or sanctified, nor can be a child in the family or a citizen of the kingdom. “Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away”; the Vine-dresser’s knife executes its sentence of excommunication. The Church must often leave the dead branch still attached to the Vine; or must be ignorant of the fulness of its death. “Be not deceived.”

III. Candidates for citizenship.—

1. Who but the “unrighteous”? What a catalogue! “Thieves,” “effeminate,” “drunkards,” cannibals, murderers, sinners of every type, degree, age, race! From such the citizens are recruited! No citizen who was not an alien once. [No quarry from which stones cannot be got fit for Christ’s building. No stone which cannot be utilised by Him. There is really no other stone than such as this in the building.] (Ephesians 2:1-3; Ephesians 2:11-13.) The life-history of every citizen follows the formula, “Such were you, but ye were washed.… Ye are citizens.”

2. To such the kingdom comes by “inheritance.” (True now, and true “when the Son of Man shall come in His glory,” ut supra.) Such became “joint-heirs with Christ” in the possession of the kingdom. By inheritance; a concomitant of the new status, the new life; so certainly as they are “washed,” etc., do they inherit. The “washing,” etc., brings with it, ipso facto, an entering into possession. And as certainly by-and-by, with an unbroken sequence, does the “washing,” etc., go with the “inheriting.” There is no other final goal and resting-place congruous with, and possible for, the renewed citizen life. No entering without a change preceding; no change without the inheritance following.

IV. The initiation.—“Washing, “sanctifying” justifying.” (See Critical Notes, above) Paul not speaking with any theological precision of order. Yet if sanctification be only the relative holiness, completed by a “separating” act (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:2), no necessary difficulty to find it followed by “justification” in the ordinary sense of pardon,—the (forensic) discharge from all liability to penalty on account of a broken law; the two acts of God’s grace, separable in thought. coincide in time. Or, better, remember that the status of a justified man is a perpetually renewed grace; underlying all after-developments of the gracious life; assumed as the foundation on which all the superstructure of holiness is reared. Even in heaven, the saint will be there, and will remain there, only as a sinner justified, accepted, for the sake of that “Lamb” in whose “blood” he has trusted for salvation. The basis of all is the objective work of that Christ, who is revealed in His name as exactly what He is to, and for, us. On this rests, and rises, the (subjective) work of the Spirit of God. As the eruption of the leprosy falls off when the new health courses through the system, so these old, foul sins fall away from the life, when the spiritual health is renewed and becomes full, by the entering and indwelling of the Spirit of God.


1 Corinthians 6:11. Perpetual Miracles.

I. Changed men a patent evidence of the supernatural.—

1. Age of miracles past? Yes, in the technical sense. Miracles [and Inspiration] by definition coterminous, in time and extent of distribution, with the progressive impartation of Revelation. Outside that process they are not found; Revelation complete, they cease. Revelation and Christ its Centre and Subject are a standing miracle. [The miracles were credentials of the agents and messengers and message; but, still more, themselves parts of the Revelation.]

2. In lower sense, No. God always (and not only in “miracles”) was in closest touch with the visible, material, “natural” order; is still. The converted man, at Corinth or anywhere else, knows that a power has come upon him from without, and that not human, or creaturely, but Divine. Conversion meant the point when the unseen broke in effectively upon him and changed whole current of thought and will and life. The process has its “natural analogies.” “I live by the faith of [this truth, and in this Person] a Son of God, who loved me,” etc. (Galatians 2:20). I.e. a new ruling idea has taken possession and revolutionised life. A new affection is expelling all old evil affections. And this new idea, the new affection, has come with the “demonstration of the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:4; cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:5-7). “No man can say that Jesus is Lord [nor “my Lord”] but by the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3).

3. The man is an evidence to himself, and to others also. Men look at, observe, wonder at, the man whom they knew, who was yesterday “such” as they are; who is now pure, “washed, sanctified,” who has evidently laid hold of a power to do, and be, right which they do not possess; and of the secret of a life, for which no interest, or force of will, or ordinary human motives, can account. “God has touched that man!” A compendious evidence, and striking, appealing to all.

II. Vindication of universality of power and applicability of Gospel.—No case it cannot touch, etc. (as in Homiletic Analysis). Workers need this. Temptation in mission-fields, and at home, when evangelistic work is at a discount and conversions are few, to look at the difficulties in the way of producing conviction, and of inducing open confession even where conviction is secured; to adjust expectations to one’s narrower success; to acquiesce in meagre success with the cultured or rich; “our hope is with the poor” [and much Scripture can be quoted!]; to give up hope of the adults: “must not expect much from the generation of to-day, brought up in heathenism, with habits, training, etc., set; our hope is in the children; educate them Christianly.” [Good work, but not to leave other undone.] Every now and again, at home and in mission-fields, God does some such wonders as these at Corinth, and rebukes little faith, and too ready acquiescence in the “hopelessness” of the adult generation. Paul’s success everywhere was mainly with adult heathen, adult Jews. The Evangelical revival of eighteenth century in England began amongst adults, thieves, pugilists, unclean, worldlings, fashionables, every type. Every such case rebukes unfaithful thinkers and workers, and reassures and heartens all faithful but despondent ones. Again and again the Gospel matches itself against adult heathenism, adult sin, and wins. “Such were some of you, but.” It can touch and save all ages, classes, types.

III. Happy Paul, happy anybody who can appeal to such personal verifications of the truth of the message he preaches!—How confidently he makes his next appeal, when he can recall a dozen instances where his formula of the spiritual life was verified. How conclusive his appeals and arguments, to the men whom he can claim as evidences of the truth of what he advances. “I know—you know—how true is all I say. Ye were … ye are,” etc. Happy the man who “has his quiver full” of such spiritual children (Psalms 127:5). With such arrows he can meet “in the gate” his own doubts about his “call” or the denial of it by others. Good “letters of ordination” are such plain and unmistakable converts as these. The healed sick are the best diploma of a true physician.


1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

I. Delusion.—Its danger. Its folly. Its source—ignorance, from a blinded heart: “the deceitfulness of sin.” All in danger. The worst hope for impunity.

II. Inclusion.—Even for such sinners. All may hope for mercy. Its method: “ye were washed,” etc. Into a kingdom, and that of God.

III. Exclusion.—The real excommunication. What? Who? Why? How?

1 Corinthians 6:9-11. “Soul, remember.”

I. What thou wert, with a gracious sadness.
II. What thou art, with a sober gladness.
III. How the change was wrought, with a hallowed thankfulness.

1 Corinthians 6:11. The Great Contrast.—

1. With skill of an artist, Paul represents two portraits of same persons: Corinthians,—wretched, polluted, in rags, enslaved by sin;—then, morally changed, cleansed, robed in righteousness, enjoying high Christian privileges.
2. Not to discourage, to wound feelings; to impress two thoughts—(a) impossibility for impure man to partake the blessings of … kingdom; (b) obligation laid on them to renounce sin, live holy life.

3. Therefore, “examine both portraits; mark contrast.”

I. Past state of redeemed.—Applicable to all redeemed, everywhere; all sinners, by nature governed and influenced by same principles. Heart impure. Four things true of their past unregenerate state:

1. Void of moral rectitude. Conscience burdened with guilt. Heart’s throne occupied by intruder; they enslaved by sin.

2. Subject to impure influences. Affections defiled. If conscience loses authority, nothing to prevent most debasing slavery. Love of self, of pleasure, of the world—three mighty powers control soul. Every thought, emotion, feeling, under power of one of these. In us—in appearance better than Corinthians—these more successfully checked in outward development.

3. Slaves of wrong habits. Deeds evil. Conscience and affections wrong, deeds must be inconsistent with truth and righteousness.

4. Incapable of spiritual enjoyment. No capacity, no taste, no fitness, for the exalted pleasures of religion, the pure joys of the heavenly world. “New creatures” alone adapted to “new heaven.” A foul, old portrait.

II. The present state of the redeemed.—

1. The change.

(1) An initiatory act. “Washed;” allusion to baptism, striking emblem of moral cleansing. But evidently also reference to another washing, which alone can take away sin,—work of Holy Spirit on heart. “The commencement of wonderful change in believer’s soul: opening of understanding, impressing of heart, moving of affections, enkindling of new thoughts and desires. Separation from world, conversion to God.”

(2) Progressive development. “Sanctified.” No faultless perfection. A process of spiritual cleansing. An ascent by slow, gradual, continued progress.

(3) Beautiful completion. “Justified.” Mentioned last, considered first. Three great causes at work in Justification. Illustrate by drowning man saved by rope; the friend who throws the rope, the grasp of the hand, parallel to the Spirit’s exhibition of Christ, Saviour’s work, penitent’s own faith.

2. The means. “The name,” etc. No other could have moved depraved hearts of Corinthians; no other can change a heart

3. The agency. “The Spirit,” etc. Giving effect to the word preached; appealing to conscience, subduing enmity, gaining heart.

Application.—Need of calm and solemn reflection. Will produce humility, gratitude, deep, lively sense of mercy of God. Also, evidently no sinner need despair.—Condensed from J. H. Hughes, “Homilist,” New Series, i. 125.

Verses 12-20


SECOND MAIN TOPIC.—1 Corinthians 6:12-20

1 Corinthians 6:12. Lawful.—Here, and in 1 Corinthians 10:23. To be put in quotation marks, “All … lawful.” His own words, or something like them, quoted and misused by the Antinomian party. [Cf. the misuse of Christ’s actual words, Mark 14:58, from John 2:19.] Expedient.—Study Paul’s “expediency”; here, 1 Corinthians 10:23; 2 Corinthians 8:10; 2 Corinthians 12:1; Romans 14:13 sq, Compare “All things to all men, that I may … save,” 1 Corinthians 9:22. (See Appended Homilies, more fully.)

1 Corinthians 6:13.—Christ ate broiled fish and honeycomb (Luke 24:42) after His resurrection, but only to help affrighted, bewildered disciples to realise that He was not simply a phantasm, but a substantial reality.

1 Corinthians 6:15. Take.—“Take “away,” q.d. from Christ to whom they belong and are joined (Evans).

1 Corinthians 6:16. Saith he.—Adam; or “saith it,” viz. Genesis. In either case notice that the word is regarded as a fundamental, inspired word of God.

1 Corinthians 6:18. Flee.—“When a temptation of lust assaults thee, do not resist it by heaping up arguments against it and disputing with it, considering its offers and its danger; but fly from it, that is, think not at all of it; lay aside all consideration concerning it, and turn away from it by any severe and laudable thought of business. St. Hierome very wittily reproves the Gentile superstition, who pictured the Virgin Deities armed with a shield and lance, as if chastity could not be defended without war and direct contention. No; this enemy is to be treated otherwise. If you hear it speak, though but to dispute with it, it ruins you, and the very arguments you go about to answer leave a relish upon the tongue. A man may be burned if he goes near the fire, though but to quench his house; and by handling pitch, though but to draw it from your clothes, you defile your fingers” (Jeremy Taylor, Holy Living, sect. iii.). He also quotes Augustine: “Contra libidinis impetum apprehende fugam, si vis obtinere victoriam.” Observe imperfect tense, q.d. “Flee, and flee” (Evans). Every sin.—Natural to supply, and read, “Every other sin.” But query? Does he rather put fornication into a category, a genus, with but one species, and that having but one, unique, abnormal, abhorrent example? “Sins” may sufficiently classify and condemn other evil acts. But this? We want another, blacker, more terrible name with which to head its category. Difficulty oftener with “every.” “Common view … that Apostle … speaking in general form, that exact words not to be pressed (‘tales sententiœ morales non morose urgendœ,’ Beng.), there being some sins, e.g. intemperance, which can hardly be said to be completely without the body. The true force of what … already said … thus seriously weakened: there is no sin which is within the body in the frightful form in which fornication is. By it the whole body, inwardly as well as outwardly, is made over to another, and is utterly separated from Christ.… Intemperance and self-murder involve acts injuriously affecting the body, yet done … from without; but the sin of the fornicator … is, so to say, within the body, and using it as a direct agent and implement.… Fornication is a sin against the personality, in a form and to an extent far beyond that of any other sin of sensuality” (slightly condensed from Ellicott). Without 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” (Beet). Observe not “without … within,” but “without … against”; as if others missed, though aimed at; this hits, the body. (So Evans.)

1 Corinthians 6:19.—This more than “Ye are (collectively) the Temple” (1 Corinthians 3:16).

1 Corinthians 6:20.—It is an over-subtle, over-pressing, use of idea of ransom to endeavour to fix precisely to whom price paid. Analogy of ransom only fits serviceably the two ideas,—bought by the new owner, to deliver from an old, to keep for himself, whose new service is (practically) liberty, and is (absolutely) deliverance from old bondage. 1 Peter 1:19, “Precious blood, (even the blood) of Christ.” Note particularly the true reading here. Last words to be omitted.

HOMILETIC ANALYSIS.—1 Corinthians 6:12-20

[Direct, public, homiletic use of whole paragraph plainly possible only under exceptional circumstances and within narrow limits. Particular clauses very available and fruitful. May suggest:]

I. A great principle (1 Corinthians 6:12). Its limitations.

II. A great sin (1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Corinthians 6:15).

III. A great honour (1 Corinthians 6:17; 1 Corinthians 6:13-15; 1 Corinthians 6:19), of even the body.

IV. A great ransom (1 Corinthians 6:20).

V. A great obligation (1 Corinthians 6:20).

I. A. Christianity is liberty.—

1. From old Jewish law, as such; from external law, as the prime principle of action or guide of life. Not a religion of restrictions, external prescriptions; its “law” is the love of the renewed heart. If this were perfect—in proportion as this love advances to being “made perfect” (1 John 4:17-18)—so far, and then, obedience is perfect. “Love God with all the heart,” “love neighbour as oneself”—these mean, worked out in detail, all piety, all benevolence, taught by the instinct of a renewed heart, needing therefore no command (Romans 13:8; Romans 13:10). Hence Augustine’s bold word, “Dilige, et quod vis fac.”

2. In practice, even the growing love still needs the guidance of external command; to guard from mistakes arising from ignorance, and from the half-enlightened instinct; to defend itself against the blinding and bias of indolence, indifference, self-interest, pressure of example or fear. The Jewish law embodied, in temporary forms and in particular instances, principles, permanent and perfectly general, still binding upon Christians; “under (even that) law to Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:21). The “heart runs in the way of the commandment.” Law and liberty, love and life, coincide.

3. Paul had probably said this; but it had been repeated as, “Do what you like.” True, as a theory of life, but not as working basis of action. “What you like” will be God’s law—not less nor more—when perfect love and perfect judgment are found, and in a perfect world. But so long as, in this complex social order, light is scanty, judgment imperfectly cleared, love only variable or feeble, “what you like” is the true centre indeed from which to strike the circle of Christian liberty, but the radius varies in length from age to age, country to country, person to person, and may widen or narrow the sphere of Christian liberty.

B. Three limitations formulated by Paul.—

1. Not expedient; (a) because tending to mastery; (b) because unedifying.

2. Distinctly sinful. (See Separate Homily.) “Expediency,” on Paul’s lips, is a solemnly weighed rule of life, limiting his liberty in even things indifferent; the world’s “expediency” extends liberty, even to things doubtful or wrong, depending as it does upon no higher considerations than of prudence and interest, or even profit. A Christian is lord of this world and its life. His lordship is part of another Lordship, that of Christ (Hebrews 2:5-10; Mark 2:28). “All things are His” (1 Corinthians 3:21). But all do not, or do not equally, help his true, eternal life; many things tend to establish a sway over his will, fatal to his freedom to serve his Lord; these it is “expedient” for him to let alone. “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” (Beet). Master of all things, he must first, and at all costs, be master of himself. Otherwise in the individual is repeated that bondage of the designed Master and Lord to that Nature and that World which were designed to serve him; a bondage from which The Man, Jesus, has recovered Man; that He may then recover the individual man, and reinstate him with Himself in Man’s rightful dominion. (The far-reaching teaching of Hebrews, ubi supra.) The Christian must be a co-worker with his Liberator, Christ, in seeing that no new, needless bondage is imposed by his own inadvertence, or by his ill-judged use of an abstract liberty.

II. A. Fornication not a thing indifferent.—[Best classical, heathen ethics put it perfectly on a level with the desire for, and indulgence in, food and drink. Physical purity was a thing hardly known outside the Jewish and Christian pale. They hardly regarded the body as part of the true man. Its acts and appetites seemed, in a sense, external to the man himself, and therefore indifferent.]

1. In the animals the three bodily appetites do stand upon same level; in them each is quite neutral, non-moral; needful to sustain, or to hand on, animal life. In man they do not occupy same level. [Jeremy Taylor points out thus one plain distinction: “If a man be hungry he must eat, and if he be thirsty he must drink in some convenient time, or else he dies; but if the body be rebellious, so the mind be chaste, let it do its worst, if you resolve perfectly not to satisfy it, you can receive no great evil by it.”]
2. We cannot state an equality of ratios thus: As “Belly” to “Meats” so is “Body” to “Fornication.” [Probably, so baldly stated as that, not even a Corinthian Christian would have defended the principle which seemed to underlie the arguments (? and the practice) of the Antinomian party.] Not even in the case of the “Belly” was the physical pleasure the design of its creation and co-adaptation to “Meats.” Certainly, in the parallel case, the body was not created for the pleasure.
3. Belly and Food have a mutual adaptation for the sake of the body’s support; yet they have only in view the support of a life which must end at the same time as they are “destroyed” together. So far as the body, in its formation and endowment with the third appetite, has reference to man’s life, it is to that whole complete life which has a capacity for God and Eternity. Food and the food organs co-operate to keep the mere physical and dying part of the man in temporary repair. Man and woman are co-workers with God in reproducing or handing on manhood in its entirety, with a future, eternal, destiny for the body as well as for the soul and spirit. “Belly” has no higher end than “meats.” The body is “for the Lord.” “Belly” and “Meats” perish together when their work is done; “God will raise (not body, but) us.” That is the end and future of the body. The cases are quite distinct. Again,

4. Fornication is paralleled by no other physical sin in its relation to the body. Beyond any other, it finds within the body itself what it makes the means of pleasure. The man makes his very self the instrument of his sin.

B. Further reasons arise out of the fact that this sin runs most utterly counter to III. (See also under 1 Corinthians 6:1).

III. A great honour, and that for even the body of man.—A. A most intimate oneness with Christ. “One spirit.”—

1. Compare with this the closest friendship based upon similarity of tastes, pursuits, interests, long association from childhood; however closely these may approximate two hearts and lives, yet there are diversities, which may widen into divergencies and divisions. Change on either side—if even only as the result of individual growth, which cannot be enforced to a pattern, and made to proceed in duplicate—may make a very choice, close, intimate association “drop through.” Much more may a wrongly spoken or wrongly understood word, break it up.

2. Compare the bond set up by blood-relationship, as between sisters, or sisters and brothers in same family, with many sympathies in common, and all the bond of “clannishness” to hold them together, and even to make external attack draw the bond only tighter. Yet a brother may become a stranger; there are friends that “stick closer” than brethren. [Proverbs 18:24 is a general observation on human life; though fairly to be applied, as the highest exemplification, to Christ.] The bond between Christian and Christian is often stronger than between a man and his (non-Christian) kith-and-kin; the common understanding of each other’s aims and feelings and experiences is deeper and truer than that which natural kinship gives; Christian affinity is often more than brotherly, sisterly affinity.

3. Nearest to it approaches—and that for a very real and profound reason—the union between a Christian husband and wife, where to all the natural basis of an ideal marriage there is added the common sharing in the life of grace. (See chap. 7, passim.)

4. Yet in these there is association, approximation, assimilation, union, communion—no more. In this other there is unity. In those there is individual life, with its self-contained independence, its possibilities of divergence, its peril of developing antagonism. “The soul of Jonathan was knit to soul of David” (1 Samuel 18:1) comes very near. Yet each heart even then has its penetralia, its Holy of Holies, of privacy, into which no most trusted and beloved foot must intrude, or can be admitted.

5. Here is unity, almost identification. “I live no longer; Christ liveth in me.” As if in the believer the man came into contact and relation with an “extension” of his Lord. Not only two parallel lives, however perfectly conformed to each other, echoing, reflecting, each other—as in the ordinary human unions; but one life. Because of one life principle. [One βίος because of one ζωή.] [Dare we illustrate by seal and impression (Hebrews 1:3), resting on a deeper oneness—the unity of the Godhead? Distinction, with likeness and oneness. Note, “As the Father hath loved me, so (= thus, in that way), have I loved you” (John 15:9).] As if, in a body, intelligence and affection were distributed as life is, so that, e.g., the hand or foot could know each other, or either could know and understand the head, as the head knows and understands them. Not only a similar, or the same, kind of life, but one and the Same life, distributes itself throughout both and all. [Not be overpressed: these are all serviceable analogies, no more; to be criticised and checked each one by the others. No Mystic extreme of a literal merging of the believer and his life into Christ and His life till the man is lost. The individuality, the personality, the Ego, remains unimpaired. “I am I, and He is He; even when I become one spirit with Him.”]

6. To be remembered that the unity rests upon, and is effected and maintained by, the Work and Indwelling of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 6:19, and Separate Homily). See how interchangeably—though not without a reason for, and a propriety in, each chosen expression—are employed the phrases, “The Spirit of God dwells in you,” and “Christ be in you” (Romans 8:9-10); the Spirit dwelling in a man, and yet so the Spirit of Christ, that He becomes the “common element” of life between the believer and his Lord.

7. And thus, further, the Unity was set up in the moment of our faith in (“into”) Christ, and is maintained so long, and only so long, as nothing impairs or hinders, or negatives and interrupts, a continuous believing.

8. What suggestions in all these, avowedly imperfect, and soon misleading, analogies! They help us to climb to a height from which we see rather than reach possibilities that stretch away in length, breadth, depth, height,—a Canaan of blessing spread out before our eyes in fair extent, and One by us—no tempter—saying, “All may be thine, soul!” They guide, not actually leading very far, but sufficiently far to show us the direction in which our thought and heart may prayerfully, hopefully, believingly, venture to go forward and explore. “Partakers of the Divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4) opens a wonderful vista before the eyes.

9. What a profound understanding of Christ is suggested. “We have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16; where mind is not “characteristics,” or “the mind which was in Christ,” but a knowledge of His “mind”). Love is a good master-key, unlocking one mind to the entrance of another into its movements and workings. “He who loves me understands me.” (Conversely: “He will never understand or know me; he does not like me.”) But to be partaker of His life! Sharing, as well as understanding, His sympathies [e.g. how Paul “longs after” his people “in the bowels of Christ” (Philippians 1:8)]; making plans, and yet these not a man’s own, but Christ’s in him [Paul lays his plans “in Christ,” cf. 2 Corinthians 1:17]. [Paul “speaks in Christ” repeatedly, as if his were no independent voice.]

10. What a conformity of thought and will and practice to those of Christ Himself is suggested. [“Grow up into Him in all things” (Ephesians 4:15, etc.).] Beginning with inward likeness, the outward expression of my life and His will more and more coincide. The two wills both there [as against Mysticism], but the free-will of man using its freedom to choose to choose what He chooses, and working in coincident movement with His will.

B. In all this the body has its part.—The inner union carries the body with it.

1. It has now an object and a destiny; it is not a mere separable accident of the man. It belongs to Christ; it lives “for the Lord.” The Lord does not disdain it; He once made it the vehicle of His self-manifestation. He died “for the body” which He once deigned to wear, in that He died for the whole man; and when the man is raised, His body will not be forgotten. As when God “raised up by His own power” the whole humanity of the Incarnate Redeemer, so will He raise up the whole of our redeemed humanity too. In human thought the body had been the slave, the outcast, the Pariah-part, of man’s complex nature. Now it was elevated and set by the side of its companions, soul and spirit, with an outlook and a hope.

2. If, in any sense, believers are so “one spirit” with Christ that they can be said to be “extensions of Him,” “part of His enlarged Self,” then the body’s “members are His”; He appropriates them for His own.

3. This more definitely, because, not only is the Church, in its totality and aggregate, a Temple within whose precincts dwells the Spirit of God, but also the very body of the individual believer has its own special, peculiar indwelling, and is a veritable shrine of the Spirit upon earth. (See Separate Homily.)

IV. A great ransom price.—A. A true and beautiful distinction may be drawn between redemption by price and by power: here by price. Not the redemption of (say) Lot and his fellow-captives by victorious Abraham, but the ransom of a slave by the payment of the price fixed by his owner. Measure the greatness by:—

1. “Blood.”—The last, greatest, most sacred thing a man can give for his fellow-man (John 15:13; 1 John 3:16). “The fountain of life; the first to live, and the last to die, and the primary seat of the animal soul; it lives and is nourished of itself, and by no other part of the human body” (Harvey, in Speaker’s Commentary). Shedding the blood is the most solemn method of self-surrender of life.

2. “Blood of Christ.”—“Of Christ!” Do men hear that? “Of Christ!” “Silver and gold?” Not to be put into comparison. The very blood of the old sacrifices only serves by comparison to bring out this as more gloriously excellent (Hebrews 9:12-13). When it became a question of redeeming man, it must be by the blood-shedding of none other, none less, than Christ!

3. The great deliverance it has wrought.—Said the Roman, “With a great sum obtained I this freedom.” So such a liberty as ours, liberty, that we might have conferred on us the citizenship (Philippians 3:20 true reading)—could be purchased at no cheaper rate. Perfect, “eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12). Liberty, and power, to be holy.

4. God’s noblest creature has been redeemed by it.—“What will a man give in exchange for his—a man’s—soul?” God gave this price in exchange for each soul.


1. It has redeemed from curse, bondage, death, into blessing and privilege, viz. liberty, peace, life. Fundamentally it is the price of release from Sin as a condemnation and as a power. Satan and death are real, but subordinate, accidental, representatives of the power of evil; evil might have had its dominion in a world where were no Satan and no death.

2. Complementary truth to the release, whether from penalty or power, is the buying for the Redeemer’s purposes and use and glory.
3. Also, by payment of price, debt cancelled, bond cancelled, liability and fear gone. [Illustrate to children by Gregory and slave-boys in the market at Rome. Buying them from the slave-dealer, by putting down so much money. Yet buying for his own purpose. They are not free, but are his slaves now; to be set free by him, indeed, so that they might study, and serve, under Gregory, from love and gratitude, and that they might in turn go to Angle-land to preach to their fellow-countrymen the Gospel and its greater ransom and deliverance.] All this brings:

V. A great obligation. [Notice the true reading, 1 Corinthians 6:20.] The Religion of the Body.—

1. Non-Christian view of body branches into
(1) asceticism, or
(2) licentiousness. Suicide was Stoicism confessing itself defeated, confessing that it could not change man, or the world; nothing for it but to get out of it “nobly.” So Asceticism is Christianity confessing itself defeated, and thinking only of self-preservation. [“Are suicides intense egotists?” (Paxton Hood). Disavowing, or in their self-absorption forgetting, that others have claims upon their life and service. Are asceticism, monasticism, simply egotism thinking chiefly of saving itself?] At least this has been the practical issue of the monastic life, though this began in a nobler ideal, and with a fair justification of celibacy in the special circumstances of the time. [Was good even for civil society that there should not be a powerful, hereditary, sacred caste.] Asceticism proclaims that one whole province of human life, one whole side of human nature, can be done nothing with except (like slaves shut down beneath deck of a slave-ship, or like the Devil in Revelation 20:3) to suppress it, keep it under hatches, under lock and key and chained up. [Licentiousness is an acknowledged defeat in another way. Religion, and even temporal motives, cannot control the physical; it must be left to do its will; even the nobler part of man must submit to its imperious demands.] Christianity assumes, and shows, that there is no part of man’s redeemed nature which ought not to, and cannot be made to, “glorify” its Redeemer. It is the one, only religion which has ever taken full account of the body, and laid it under contribution to accomplish any holy end. [In heathenism, ancient and modern, only too common for devotees to “present their bodies a living sacrifice”; which indeed—remembering how sins of the body had played large part in the lives of Roman converts—gives the form to that exhortation (Romans 12:1).] Sensual, impure sin is really heathen, even when decked out with all the beauty that culture and poetry can lay upon it. It gives the lie to one of the profoundest ideas of God in creation. The merely physical unions of the sexes in plants and animals are the beginning of the disclosure of a thought of God, which passes on through the physical side of marriage, and through the mating of two perfectly suited partners (above all, if these be both Christians), up to the final, full exhibition of it,—the union between Christ and His Church. Sins of impurity empty this grand idea of its contents, till nothing but an appetite and its gratification remains; a reversion to the crude, elementary beginnings of God’s order in creation. Christianity with firm, yet kind, hand traces out limits of lawful exercise of appetites, denying anything beyond, “for our good alway” (Deuteronomy 6:24, a far-reaching truth).

2. Glorify Him by keeping the body in health for His service. Noble service is done by invalids and sick persons. But the bulk of work of Christ must be done by those who are in health. Other things being equal, the best body makes the best worker.

(1) Cleanliness is therefore part of godliness. It is Christian duty to give body, brain, eye, hands, etc., sufficient sleep to make it morning by morning at its best for Christ’s service. Holidays find their chiefest benefit, and honour, when they send a “run-down” Christian back to office, or shop, or church, with physical powers reinvigorated by rest and change. It is more than folly not to take sufficient, regular meals of good food, even under pressure of the “claims” of God’s work. Some spiritual phenomena, visions, trances, or the like, have sometimes found basis and explanation in a mistaken, overdone fasting.

(2) Every habit or indulgence which exhausts the bodily powers, or destroys their health, is sin against Christ’s lordship of the body. Too much pleasure, in any form which leaves body or brain unfit for prayer or thought, or even for that honest work of the daily calling which is really a most important sphere for glorifying Christ, is condemned. There are “sports that kill” the sportsmen soul and body. All intemperance or excess in gratifying any physical desire, eating, drinking, is condemned. There are prudential reasons against such pleasures or sins; such reasons are God’s danger-signals at the entrance of “roads to ruin.” But only two reasons have very much practical force against passion: to the ungodly, hell-fire; to the godly, the love of God and the twin truths, “Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost,” and this—“The body for the Lord (Christ).”

3. Even the dress of a Christian will find a regulating principle here. The body needs covering for comfort and decency. The instinct of taste is implanted, and may have its rightful gratification. No Christian man or woman is required to dress in an ugly, or ridiculous, or eccentric fashion. One supreme question—having taken account of station, means, proportion of expenditure upon dress, claims of Christ’s poor and Christ’s work—settles everything: “Do I—I—not somebody else dressing as I do—glorify God in my body?” [Early Christian women very noteworthy in this respect.]

4. As said above, the consecrated service of the body to the glory of Christ may be wrought out—may be asked for by Him—in its sickness and weakness rather than its health and vigour. The man may not only be employed for Christ; he may also be laid aside for Christ. It may glorify Christ that he should be a concrete example of the patience, peace, resignation, triumph, which grace can work in ordinary human nature. The testimony of sickness is sometimes a powerful argument and appeal. [Faith-healing exaggerates a true principle, of particular application, into an entirely general rule; teaching that Christ is as certainly, and to as full extent, the present Saviour of the body as of the soul; that it dishonours Him for a believer to lie under the burden of sickness as really as to lie under the burden of sin; that faith in Him would now and in all cases remove both.] [We dare hardly censure those holy spendthrifts of the powers of the body which belongs to Christ, who “kill themselves” by excessive labours, and, still oftener, by taking no proper care of their general health, or of the body when exhausted after labour; who “kill themselves” because they cannot stand and see men unsaved, or work undone. Yet, for most servants of God, more moderate labour, making the body last longer for Christ, is better consecration of the body.]


1 Corinthians 6:12. Christian Expediency.—[Combine also for study of this text chaps. 8, 10, and Romans 14:0.]

I. A Christian man’s rule in regard to “things indifferent.” “All things are lawful to me” seems strong; it had been made to carry a stronger and broader meaning than Paul intended. Verbally, he is correctly reported; actually, he is misrepresented. Three specimen cases of what he had in mind found here:

1. The observance of “days” by Christian converts—the fasts and festivals of the law of Moses.
2. Circumcision.

3. Eating of flesh, especially such as had been offered to an idol. Intrinsically “indifferent” all these. No natural mark of distinction upon any “day.” Flesh-meat or vegetables equally “creatures of God, nothing to be refused” (1 Timothy 4:4). An “idol nothing in the world” (1 Corinthians 8:4), and never made any real difference to any healthy food. God had been pleased for a time to make some days “holy”; to have disregarded them would have been sin; but the Jewish system was now done away in Christ, and the old schedule of fasts and festivals with it. Circumcision had become a mere piece of surgery. “All such things are lawful to me; I may do or forbear according to circumstances and expediency.” Evident that before expediency can settle a point of conduct for a Christian, it must be quite clear that essential wrong and right are not involved. The business practice, the amusement, the pleasure, must be morally indifferent, before a Christian can permit himself to conform to it. He will remember, too, how much keener his sense of sin should be, how much higher, and stricter, his standard. Not only nothing that violates the letter, but nothing that touches the spirit, of the moral law, is “lawful,” or “indifferent,” to him. There is, then, no question of “expediency.”

As to really “indifferent” things, Paul gives four cases of “inexpedient” things.

II. (Chap. 8) Paul could with a clear conscience eat any wholesome food; ceremonially “clean” or “unclean” “offered to an idol” or not. The kind of food he ate did not affect his standing before God (1 Corinthians 6:8). Many Jewish converts could not so rapidly unlearn the teaching of years, or get rid of the habit [reading as, e.g., R.V.] of thinking of some things as “unclean,” and so not allowable to eat. Many Gentile converts could not get rid of old ideas and associations, but still ate “with conscience of the idol” [displaced reading of, e.g., A.V.; true in fact]. Idol to them not nothing, but a “devil” (1 Corinthians 10:20-21; a “demon” to Paul also). The unreasoning, needlessly tender, habit of their mind made them attach some importance to it. Moreover, public heathen banquets were so full of sin and sinful associations, that to join in them was likely to be ensnaring (1 Corinthians 6:12, “Not be mastered by any”), and a source of weakness. “Call it prejudice, if you will” (Romans 14:14 sqq.), “he is a weak brother. But if he cannot do these things with a clear conscience, or without danger to himself, he may not do them at all. Doubteth … is condemned. Not of faith … sin.” Conscience, even half enlightened, must be respected and obeyed. Let a man seek for light; but until he gain more, let him follow conscience with the light it has. (Better a faithful judge, doing his best with an imperfect law, than a more perfect law with a less faithful judge. Help conscience, train it, to be faithful, by obeying it, whilst it acts up to all light it has.) Principle touching (notably) amusements. Whole territory of our life ought to be wholly subject to God. In point of fact, Sin and Satan have entered, and in the pleasures of life notoriously been enthroned, and around their seat is a wide area of occupations manifestly belonging to the territory of evil. A group of pleasures still left manifestly good. Between lies a debatable ground of things indifferent, to be apportioned by “Christian expediency.” The boundary of evil tends to widen. “Expedient” readily becomes “inexpedient”; seldom or never the reverse. Christian men must have relaxations. They may only have such as abide these first tests: “Can I take them with a clear conscience? Can I take them without being mastered by them?” Training may have been (like Jewish) in a “narrow” school. Or (as with Gentiles) associations of the things may be full of sins of past life, and they seem sinful to me, or are really snares. These at any rate not “expedient,” probably not “lawful.” A young convert just rescued from the maelstrom of wordliness must say: “A thing doubtful to my conscience or dangerous to my soul is not a thing lawful for me.”

III. The weaker brother may still further narrow the range of my liberty (Romans 14:1 sqq.). I am not to harass him with stronger views, on these “doubtful disputations,” when he first enters the Church. The clever pupils in the school of Christ must not force such a man on too fast in his learning. Be tender of his conscience; try to enlighten it, and so establish his principles; help him to strength of Christian character. But to force him to build himself up in knowledge before the foundation is settled, is to “edify” him to his ruin (1 Corinthians 6:19; 1 Corinthians 6:15). May not with sneer, or contempt, taunt him about “weakness,” old “prejudices,” or the like. Granted that his is not the highest type of Christian manhood, neither teaching nor practice of stronger ones must urge trifling with his conscience. “Destroy not with thy meat” etc.; “If meat make … stumble, I will eat no meat,” etc. (Or, again, chap. 1 Corinthians 8:8 sqq.). “To see you eat meat from the idolaltar will make him bold to swallow down his scruples and violate conscience by sitting down to eat with you? Your greater strength of principle or greater knowledge will make him harden his conscience to do what he cannot yet see clearly right, and what also exposes him to the temptations of his old life, perhaps leading him into greater sin than before? Then “walk in love,” abstain. It is no longer indifferent, or “expedient” for you. I.e. If associations or real danger make these things matters of danger to aweakerChristian, they may so become matters of conscience to the “stronger” also.

1. Can hardly determine by general rule how far such association with “weaker” ones is to be regarded as extending. Older Christian and newly converted friend; Sunday-school teacher and class; father and children—is that all? Or (as, e.g., total abstainer in England or America thinks) when the “brotherhood” is that of the same nationality or social system, or wide as manhood.

2. Nothing intrinsically wrong in the dramatic way of telling a story, or in setting horses to race against each other. But such an accretion of vice and villainy gather around the theatre and the turf, that for sake of others (if not for his own sake) a Christian gives up any participation in them. He can stop at any point on the inclined plane, can walk on very verge of danger. If weaker ones follow him, they cannot. He is then in part responsible for their ruin. “Bondage to weakness!” No; but to Christlike love for souls. We shall do anything, abstain from anything, rather than by going the full length of the tether of our own liberty, even contribute to ruin one soul for whom Christ died.

IV. (1 Corinthians 10:25 sqq.) Feast going on. Strong brother eating quietly whatever set before him, “asking no questions for conscience’ sake,” but thanking the bountiful God for His good gifts (1 Corinthians 10:30). To see what he will say or do, a weaker Christian, or a heathen guest, says: “That … offered to an idol.” In a moment it acquires new character. If it is to cause difficulty to the conscience of the Christian guest (1 Corinthians 10:29), or the heathen makes it a test of his Christianity, then let him put that dish aside. I.e. If a thing has become a test as between religion and the world, and will be so regarded by servants, children, neighbours, then it is no longer lawful, or at least no longer expedient. May be unreasonably so regarded, but cannot afford to dispute. World will have rough-and-ready tests. Its instinct as to what is “worldly” is as a rule very true. Many Christians will abstain altogether for this reason (or for others) from cards or ballroom, who will still play at billiards. Or they distinguish between billiards and bagatelle, or between playing where all are Christians in a private house, and before a mixed company in public. One all-embracing rule: “Do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

V. Circumcision. (See Critical Notes, and Homily on 1 Corinthians 7:19.)—Jewish controversialists gave a revived, accidental importance to circumcision, which made it still “not” even “lawful” to Paul (Galatians 6:14 sqq.). Modern parallelism in Ritualism. In itself matters nothing, except to taste and cost and convenience, what architecture or music shall be associated with Christian worship. “Vestments” mere matter of interesting archæology. Might smile at the fancy for wearing or using a Roman gallows, and the instrument of sore pain to our Redeemer. But when all these things are made to mean doctrine, then, to those whom the doctrine is not true, and even seems to dishonour the priesthood and sacrifice of Christ, these things become “not expedient,” or even “not lawful.”—H. J. F., “Wesleyan Magazine,” 1878 (abridged).

1 Corinthians 6:12. Worldly Expediency. (To Young Men.)—

1. Days of expediency rather than of principle; in politics, in business; even in Church, the question mooted: “How much of new teaching is it expedient to give as yet to the popular ear?” Need not exaggerate danger, as if of these times only. Expediency always gains strength as God is less completely or vividly realised. [Cf. Hebrews 11:27, “Endured, as seeing Him who is invisible.” “So did not I, because of fear of God” (Nehemiah 5:15). “Set, Lord, always before me … not be moved” (Psalms 16:8).]

2. Expediency may never be a rule of Christian action in case of intrinsic, absolute right or wrong; and in cases of relative, accidental wrong or right will always operate in direction of narrowing area of “right,” and adding to area of “wrong.” Of things lawful, some, to Christians, not expedient; never true that, of things not lawful, some are expedient. Matthew Henry suggests (commenting on Daniel 3:0) several “expediency” pleas often addressed to young men. World tempts, asks, would compel, to fall down to its fashions and ways of thinking and practice; gives “reasons”:—

I. “Do not ask you to renounce your own God; only ask a recognition of that of Nebuchadnezzar also. Do not be narrow; think and let think. All truth is ‘relative.’ Be charitable, tolerant, broad. Perhaps idolatry is not after all merely the crude worship of the thing seen; originally, and was to nobler minds, only the use of this to assist to realise the unseen behind, or within it. Some truth in all religions, you know; even in all Christian heresies.” Christianity is intolerant; truth is intolerant of error; such love for Christ as Paul’s (1 Corinthians 16:22), or John’s (2 John 1:10), is intolerant of doctrine, or practice, or persons, that “deny” Him. The Samaritans “feared the Lord, and served their own gods” (2 Kings 17:33). Alexander Severus proposed to put statue of Jesus Christ in his private Pantheon, amongst the other greatest and wisest of the race. Christian heart will have no such compromise. World really intolerant. “Think yourselves right; but must not condemn us as wrong. Tolerate us; we cannot tolerate that you should not see it right to tolerate us.”

II. “Only this once”; just the one prostration. Young Christian girl, or wife, “will comply this once,” to win her husband by her outstanding fidelity afterwards. Young Christian man of business “in tight place”; just for this time tempted to do the doubtful (but not obviously wrong) thing; and then no more “tight places,” all plain, sure, right doing and easy, afterwards. But the “once” gives up the principle. No reason for doing once which will not sanction doing habitually. Do it once, and then how the very world that tempted triumphs! “Did you not see Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-nego, bow down?”

III. “Absolute power of king would excuse them.” They really only his subjects. Besides, what a benefactor he had been to them! Very hard when sense of obligation seems to plead against duty. “Surely you will strain a point for So-and-so’s sake. Remember your many obligations to him. Think how you will grieve him. Think how you will condemn him by your action.” Very hard this last to a sensitive, diffident, modest spirit. Hard to seem to set up oneself as right, to the implied condemnation of older, wiser, and not less admirable people. Yet nobody can answer for another in matter of conscience. “Every man … his own burden” (Galatians 6:5).

IV. “At Rome do as Rome does.” At Babylon, as Babylon. Ungentle-manly to be singular. Carry this far enough, and you will reach: “Amongst devils do as devils do” (Beecher).
V. “Have not your forefathers, and the very priests, complied with idolatrous times and monarchs? Are you so much wiser than your fathers?” Very forcible, to those not too confident in their own judgment.
VI. “By one act you may save your lives and be of immense service to brethren and against idolatry in future. Did not Knox and others flee to Geneva until storm was over? He who fights and runs away,” etc. Let God take care of the consequences: we must do right. Let Him see to His work and His people. If we perish in the flames, He can do without us. No man is “indispensable” to God. “But we want such as you in the world; reasonable Christians, no fanatics. What good can you do if you make the world cut you, or drop you, from its acquaintance? Very beautiful ideal of yours, no doubt! B-u-t, you know—” No! Second Commandment forbids it. Not lawful; cannot be expedient.

[In matter of sensual sin, the only effectual barrier against the rush of the tide of passion is the command of God and its sanction hell-fire. No other motives are strong enough in the moment of the inrush of appetite. The animalism of it, the wrong done to the other party, the moral degradation and the physical consequences of excess and irregularity—none is strong enough to hold back. All are like Samson’s bonds, when the spirit (in this case evil) enters in. (Or, better, like the chains and fetters snapped by the demoniac.) The moment the religious sanction is relaxed, the gate is open to all excess of riot. Expediency, reason, conventionalities of life, reputation—all are too easily overborne. But the waves of passion beat vainly against the breakwater of God’s law and its utmost sanction. At least, if that do not resist, nothing will.]

1 Corinthians 6:19. “Temples of God.”—The Spirit is in the Church (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). He is in the individual Christian too. All Christians together, with their Lord, form the true temple of our spiritual dispensation. But each Christian is a temple too. [Both combined in 1 Peter 2:5. Every stone is alive; the temple is a living temple too. That figure, however, cannot bear the weight of the truth; hardly a possible conception—a living building, built of living stones; other figures must help it, e.g. in a body, every member, part, particle, is instinct with the life of the whole. In a vine every branch is (botanically) a complete little vine; less accurately we say that every member in the Body has a life complete in himself, lived by himself. Every “stone” of the Temple is a temple, with its Divine Tenant. True, “Ye are the temple.” True also, “Your body is the temple.”

I. Appreciate the assertion.—

1. “Whither … go from Thy Spirit?” If Divine, then omnipresent, and as really without as within the body; and conversely, however little we understand it, as perfectly within it as around it. But, for the sake of the worshipper, the temple localises the god. Aphrodite was everywhere, but a Corinthian sought her in her temple. Jehovah was everywhere, but the Shekinahcloud over the mercy-seat, for the sake of the worshipper localised, emphasised, His presence within that sacred enclosure. [All words on this topic halt sadly. But the wise man uses them as unhesitatingly as the humblest reader of the Book which teaches him to employ them: with this difference—he knows how imperfectly they exhibit the truth. Figurative language is not necessarily misleading. So] if the figure here be not wholly a falsehood, we are to think of a localised, emphasised, specialised manifestation of the presence of the Spirit within a Christian man’s bodily frame. We do not know how. Nor do we know how or where our own spirit dwells within it. The mystery is not greater in the one case than in the other. Both full of mystery, but both may be, for all that, facts.

2. May illustrate this fact by another; men were once possessed by a demon, or even by seven; in one case a legion of such had taken up their abode within the man. [The facts of demoniacal possession never to be criticised as mere isolated phenomena. They give, and they get, probability if they are found to be part of a harmonious system of spiritual facts, and to have analogies and relations to others. An undesigned, piecemeal self-consistency gives argument for a system, and credibility to its several parts.] I.e. within the one human frame dwelt two or many spirits—two or many persons—the man himself and the demon himself, side by side in mysterious joint occupancy. Jesus constantly distinguished between the spirit and the man: “Come out of the man, thou … spirit!” The demon sat within, enthroned within the debased form, lording it over the manhood of his victim, leaving him a man no longer, stripped as he was of self-control and freedom of will. At the very centre and “core” of the man’s being, the evil spirit had entrenched himself, thence directing the life, and controlling the very acts and speech. Indeed, more than once the man was so completely overborne that, though the man’s organs of speech are employed, it is the demon who uses them to converse with Christ. [E.g. the “Legion”: “We are many.”] The man seems lost. Will, thought, body—all are become scarcely more than the instruments of the evil spirit within. The possessed man’s body is a temple in which the demon is the god. Putting “good” for “evil,” all this closely parallels the “possession” of believers’ bodies by the indwelling Spirit of God. The ordinary temptations of the Evil One come from “without” (so to speak). The Good Spirit also works upon the unsaved man “from without” (in the same sense). On the believer—as in the analogous “evil” case—He works “from within.”

3. Compare the asserted fact with another. Jesus “spake of the temple of His body.” But our Brother is not our brother in this. His frame “had no” special “form or comeliness” beyond that of many of those amongst whom He moved; yet God dwelt within it. But God dwells not in Christians as in Christ. Indwelling in them; Incarnation in Him. Within His body were two natures—the human, the Divine; within the possessed man also were two—the human, the demoniacal; within us—if the words here do not entirely mislead—are the human, and the Divine also. But within us and within the possessed, are two persons. In the Saviour only the one—the God Man. He was the Son. The believer is a man, but “possessed by” the Spirit. [Imperfect, and of necessity inexact, language; readily obvious to criticism, but useful as marking distinctions, which have their basis in differences of fact.]

4. A blessed “possession.” Within the man is an “inward man”; yet more intimately within is the Spirit of God. At the root and source of thought and judgment, making them “spiritual.” At the fount and origin of will, at the very seat of government of manhood, site enthroned the directing Spirit. At the source of affection He has His seat, making every throb and vibration to have its centre and origin with Himself. Holy impulses and desires; holy love for God and for men; strength for good, power over evil; judgment illuminated and brought into agreement with the mind of God; conscience sensitive and voiceful, speaking the mind and verdict of God; will brought into ever more complete and glad submission to, and harmony with, the will of God,—all because the Spirit of God has taken possession of the temple of the body in the name of the Three-One.

5. “Will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth?” cried Solomon, offering his superb Temple to be God’s palace in His capital, Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 6:18). Here is an answer Solomon could not anticipate. “With man?” “In man!” “Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost.” Paul on Mars’ Hill, the Acropolis of Athens with its temples in near sight, cried, “God dwelleth not in temples made with hands.” True, but in temples made by His own hands, the wonderful human body He has builded and compacted together, He consents, delights, to dwell.

II. Three results from this.—

1. This indwelling is the test of our being Christians.—“Examine yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5). “Christ is in you except … reprobates.” [“Reprobate” is not, rejected without testing, but rejected after testing. “Approbate” metal will stand test, and gets hallmarked; “reprobate” metal will not. The hall-mark of approbate souls is “Christ in you.”] In the unity of the Undivided Trinity this practically is “Holy Ghost dwells in me.” Not an exceptionally strict test; Paul’s ordinary one. [Perfectly general, Romans 8:9.] “If a man love Me … abode with Him” (John 14:23). This indwelling in the temple is the life in the Vine. “Christ liveth in me.” “Did ye receive the Holy Ghost when ye believed?” By that test he learned the exact position of the little group of anomalous Ephesian disciples (Acts 19:1-7). Will a man know? When “the Spirit of a Son”—“of His Son”—first enters and tells him that he is now a son, who has believed in Christ (Galatians 4:6), will the entrance of God bring no self-evidence? Did the man know of the entering of the demon into his temple? God took possession of Solomon’s Temple in a cloud of blinding glory, before which even the priests had to retire. If God accept the temple of a man’s heart and being and body, it may not always be with the same overwhelming glory—though it often has been—but it will hardly be unknown and unknowable.

2. The honour of the body (as above).

3. Sin grows in gravity. Enter a temple. Divinity there high-throned; altar not without offerings; but spiders weave festoons of web from pillar to pillar; walls are hanging with thick mildew and mould; every corner holds accumulated dust and filth; rubbish heaps gather outside against the walls. A loaded altar does not atone for such dishonour to the god. So in the human temple, what dishonour is done by the woven web of worldliness, by thick fungoid growths of sloth everywhere, by envy, pride, uncleanness of imagination, accumulating undisturbed in many a dark corner! Happy if outside, in open day, there do not gather even Corinthian sins! “Him that defileth temple of God”—the personal as the collective—“shall God defile.” Dishonour the glorious Tenant; the tenement may be left to ruin and dishonour. How many things this principle makes unlawful to a Christian! Like the altars and saints in Romanist side-chapels, diverting from the Christ upon the highaltar, so do many things divide and divert from the supreme honour due to the Spirit of God.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20. The Christian’s Obligation to a Holy Life.—Three facts in context deserve attention:

1. Sinners of every class are excluded from heaven;

2. Sinners of every class have been changed;

3. Those changed are under immense obligations to a holy life. Text contains three facts:—

I. Christian’s body the temple of God.—Three ideas suggested:

1. Special connection with God. As with Temple of old, as with a good man (“Thus saith high and lofty One,” etc., Isaiah 57:15).

2. Special consecration to God. Body dedicated to God, with all its powers and functions.

3. Special manifestation of God. In good man’s body God specially displayed; more of God seen in good man’s life than elsewhere throughout the world.

II. Christian’s being the property of God.—“Not your own.” Does not mean—

1. Your personality not your own. You will never be absorbed in God.

2. Your character not your own. Character the creation of moral being, an untransferable thing. It does mean our existence absolutely at His command. He has a sovereign right to do with us whatever is pleasing in His sight. Christ has laid on us the strongest conceivable obligation to a holy life (Revelation 14:5).

III. Christian’s duty to glorify God.—

1. What is that? To make Him more glorious than He is, impossible. To fulfil the end of our being. A holy mind is glorified in realisation of its ideals. [Sir C. Wren is glorified in the realisation of his idea.] God glorified in man when man realises in his life God’s ideal of a man.
2. Will include two things—(a) That the human body be under absolute government of soul. The crime and curse of humanity, that matter governs mind, body rules soul. (b) That the human soul be under the government of supreme love to God. Love

(1) always seeks to please the object;

(2) always reflects the object;

(3) always lives in the object.—“Homilist,” New Series, iii. 370 (condensed). (See Appended Note also, following below.)


1 Corinthians 6:17; 1 Corinthians 6:19. “Temple” religion.—Paul never forgets the ancient Temple. His words [viz. Romans 1:1] give us a glimpse, and a most beautiful one, into the secret sanctuary of the Apostle’s devotion. He does not, indeed, say, “in the temple of my spirit,” but we may say it for him, and then appropriate it to ourselves. The regenerate soul is regenerate because inhabited by God, the Triune God, through the Holy Ghost. Where He dwells must be a temple; and all the glorious things spoken of the ancient dwelling-place of Jehovah may be transferred to the spirit of the regenerate believer in Christ. The Lord has entered, and with the peaceful majesty of His grace has said to the former usurper, “Go out of him, and enter no more into him!” Concerning all that pertained to the former unholy service—for the heart was still a temple, even in its defilement—he cries, “Take these things hence!” But it is the spirit of the new worshipper himself that hears the command, who is both temple and priest; rather the Christian man, spirit and body, for our whole nature is the temple of the Holy Ghost. There is no more impressive view of personal religion than that contained in the injunction, “Sanctify the Lord—the Lord Christ—in your hearts!” It means that the great concern of our life must be to preserve our spirit inviolate for the Sacred Indweller, to suffer no abomination of desolation to enter the holy place; to take the Saviour’s whip of small cords from His hand, as it were, and use it effectually in cleansing for Him His temple. Nor is there any more terrible threatening than that which says, “If any man shall defile the temple of God”—that is, by any impurity of thought or act pollute the body, which is the framework of the Divine sanctuary, or by any filthiness of spirit desecrate it—“him shall God destroy.” The Apostle lived in the flesh of his bodily life as in a temple; “an earthly house,” indeed, which should be dissolved, but then be built again. He lived in his spirit, however, as in a temple which should never be dissolved, and from which his God should never for a moment depart. And he lived in hope of a better day and a more glorious service, when spirit and body should be reunited and glorified as the eternal dwelling-place of God in Christ.… Your body is part of that temple; let every act and office of your physical nature be offered in your priestly ministration.… You shall become a man in God as well as a man of God; a man in Christ as well as a servant of Christ. Joined to Him you will be one Spirit with Him, and your advance to perfection will be rapid and sure.—Dr. Pope, “Sermons,” pp. 181, 183.

1 Corinthians 6:19. The Sacredness of the Body.—About forty-five years ago, a funeral was passing through the streets of Carlisle, Penn. It was the burial procession of John Hall Mason, the son of the eminent Dr. Mason, President of Dickinson College, one of the most powerful and eloquent preachers in America. The son was distinguished for his piety and talents, and his death had cast a gloom over many hearts. Many gathered to the funeral, from far and near, and especially young men. After the services at the house had been performed, and the pall-bearers had taken up the bier, a great concourse obstructed the entrance, and great confusion and noise ensued. The bereaved Doctor, observing the difficulty, and following closely the pallbearers, exclaimed in solemn, sepulchral tones: “Tread lightly, young men! tread lightly! You bear the temple of the Holy Ghost.” These sentiments, as though indited by the Holy Spirit, acted like an electric shock: the crowd fell back and made the passageway clear. Through the influence of these words a most powerful revival of religion sprang up and swept through the college, and extended over the town.

Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 6". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.