"Food for the stomach and the stomach for food," but God will destroy them both. The body is not intended for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
whole man. When considering matters of religion, we are apt to leave the body too much out of account. Our remissness might be corrected if we remembered how large an influence the body has upon the mind and soul.
I. CONSIDER WHAT CHRISTIANITY SAYS ABOUT THE BODY. It is:
1. For the Lord.
(1) For his service and glory. We may serve Christ with our body. We may glorify God with our body (ver. 20). With our whole being we should serve the Lord. Our body should be "set apart" for God. How much more useful many would be if they did but cultivate physical health! Their uncared for bodies become grievous burdens and woeful hindrances. Disorder in the body is contagious, and often spreads to mind and soul. Athletics, rightly ordered, lie within the realm of religion. The man who, not neglecting other duties, seeks to make his body thoroughly strong and vigorous, is more pious, not less. With others, diseases the fruits of old sins, abide and greatly check them in active service for God.
(2) The body of the Christian is a member of Christ (ver. 15). Closely united to the great Head. He took our nature - not only our spiritual and mental nature, but our bodily nature. We are one with him in our whole being.
(3) Purchased by Christ. When he redeemed man he redeemed man in his entirety. Our bodies have a part in "the great salvation." And at what a price was the purchase made!
2. A temple of the Holy Ghost. Solemn thought! How true - yet how often forgotten! Whilst in the body, God dwells in us. The body is the outer framework of the sanctuary of the Divine Spirit. It is thus consecrated for a high, holy, and sacred purpose. It is God's possession and dwelling place, like the temple of old. Thus:
3. It is not our own. Then we must not deaf with it as though it were. It has been bought by Christ, and should be freely and fully surrendered to him. When we give him our heart we should give him our body also. Many forget to do this.
4. Cared for by God. "The Lord is for the body." He preserves, feeds, clothes, shelters, guards it. How soon it would perish if uncared for by him!
5. To be raised. The resurrection of the body is a cardinal doctrine of Christianity, and insisted upon at great length by the apostle in the fifteenth chapter of this Epistle. We are but too apt to ignore this, and practically to conclude that at death we shall part with the body forever. We think it worthless, but God does not. He will raise it in a glorified form. Its present constitution will be greatly changed, as the apostle intimates in ver. 13. The time will come when the body will not be sustained, as it now is, by meats. It will be a "glorious body" (Philippians 3:21), a "spiritual body" (1 Corinthians 15:44).
II. THESE TRUTHS RESPECTING THE BODY SHOULD:
1. Greatly ennoble it in our estimation. It is not to be thought lightly of or treated with contempt. Ancient philosophy taught hatred of the body, but ancient philosophy is not Christianity. We must not despise the body; this is a dire mistake often perpetrated. The body has a great part to play both here and hereafter. It has been an occasion of sin - often is a burden; but it is in the hands of God, and he will fully redeem and glorify it. It is his workmanship, thrown much out of gear by evil; but he shall rectify its defects, and make it "meet for the inheritance."
2. Lead us to use it most carefully. Being precious in God's sight, purchased by Christ, tenanted by the Divine Spirit, - shall we deal with it as though it were a common thing? There is one sin mentioned by the apostle which injures the body grievously, and utterly outrages the Divine intent concerning it. Let us guard carefully against this and kindred evils; terrible will be the punishment of those who defile the temple of the Holy Ghost, and who prostitute to base uses the "members of Christ. Pure body, pure mind, pure soul; - may this trinity of blessings be ours! - H.
Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats.
I. ATTENTION TO THE NATURAL NEEDS OF THE BODY AS PROPER (ver. 13).
1. The body has appetites, and there are provisions intended to satisfy them. To act thus is in harmony with the constitution of nature. All animal existences act in this way. Christianity, instead of requiring you to starve the body by lastings, and to exhaust its energies by pilgrimages and self-mortifications, says, "Eat and be satisfied and strong; take care of your bodies."
2. Feeding the body, however, Christianity regards as temporary; both the food and the body must perish. They are not like spiritual existences, and spiritual supplies that have regard to an unmeasured hereafter. "All flesh is grass."
II. INDULGENCE IN THE GRATIFICATIONS OF THE BODY AS WRONG. "Now the body is not for fornication," &c. This is not a necessity of the body, like eating and drinking, but an immoral indulgence of its propensities. Man should attend to his bodily propensities, as reliefs, not as gratifications. Hence intemperance, whether in eating or drinking, is a moral outrage. The crime and curse of men in all ages have been seeking happiness out of the gastric, the sexual, and other propensities of their physical being.
III. THAT THE PROPER TREATMENT OF THE BODY IS TO IDENTIFY IT WITH CHRIST.
1. It is the property of Christ. It is not ours; we are its trustees, not its proprietors. We hold it "for the Lord," and we should use it according to His directions. It is to let in God to the soul, and to reveal God to our race.
2. It is a member of Christ (ver. 15). The Christian's body has a vital connection with Him. He had a human body which now raised to heaven is the model into which our bodies shall be changed. This being so, sensual indulgence is an outrage on the body (vers. 15-17).
3. It is a temple of the Holy Ghost (vers. 19, 20) in which He is to dwell, be revealed and worshipped.
(D. Thomas, D. D.)
Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord.I. INEXCUSABLE. On the ground of —
1. Christian liberty (ver. 12).
II. MORALLY EVIL. It is —
1. To prostitute the property of God.
2. To incur a fearful penalty in the resurrection.
1. To all.
2. Especially Christian professors, who dishonour Christ, themselves, and their bodies.
1. The body designed as the temple of the Holy Ghost.
2. Redeemed by Christ.
3. Consecrated to God.
(J. Lyth, D. D.)1. In remonstrating with the Corinthians for their litigiousness, Paul was forcibly reminded how imperfectly they understood the moral requirements of the kingdom of God, and that they were quoting some of his own sayings in defence of immoral practices. If "all things were lawful" to them, then this commonest of Greek indulgences was lawful; if abstaining from the meat which had been killed in a heathen temple was a matter of moral indifference, then this other common accompaniment of idolatry was also a matter of indifference.
2. St. Paul there-fore lays down two principles. First he insists that the question of duty is not answered by simply ascertaining what is lawful; we must also ask, Is it expedient? The Christian is a law to himself; he has an internal guide that sets him above external rules. Very true; but that guide teaches him to consider, not how much indulgence he may enjoy without transgressing the letter of the law, but how he can best forward what is highest in himself and in others. Again, "all things are lawful for me"; all things are in my power. Yes, and therefore "I will not be brought under the power of any." I am free from the law; I will not on that account become the slave of indulgence. There are several practices and habits which no one would call sinful, but which enslave a man quite as much as worse habits. And it is the very lawfulness of these indulgences which has ensnared him. He alone attains the true dignity and freedom of the Christian man who can say, with Paul, "I know both how to be full and to be hungry," &c. "All things are in my power, but I will not be brought under the power of any."
3. Paul then proceeds to apply these principles. The Corinthians argued that if meats were morally indifferent, so also a man was neither better nor worse for fornication. To expose this error Paul draws a distinction between the organs of nutrition and that body which is part of our permanent individuality, and which is to flower into an everlasting body. These two differ from one another; and if you are to argue from the one to the other, you must keep in view the distinction as stated in vers. 13, 14. The organs of nutrition have a present use; they are made for meats, and have a natural correspondence with meats. Any meat, therefore, which the digestive organs approve is allowable. Besides, these organs form no part of the future spiritual body. They pass away with the meats for which they were made. They serve a temporary purpose, like the houses we live in and the clothes we wear; and as we are not morally better because we live in a stone house, and not in a brick one, or because we wear woollens, and not cotton — so long as we do what is best to keep us in life — so neither is there any moral difference in meats. But the body as a whole — for what is it made? "For the Lord." He finds in it His needed instrument; without it He cannot accomplish His will. And "the Lord is for the body." Without Him the body cannot develop into all it is intended to be. Our adoption as God's children is incomplete until the body also is redeemed and has fought its way through sickness and death, into likeness to the glorified body of Christ. But this cannot be believed, far less accomplished, save by faith in the fact that God has raised up the Lord Jesus, and will with Him raise us also. And the Spirit of Christ within us inclines us while in the body, and by means of it to sow to the Spirit and thus to reap life everlasting. The only future of the body we dare to look at without a shudder is the future it has in the Lord. The Lord is for the body, and as well might we try to sustain the body now without food as to have an endurable future for it without the Lord. But if the body is thus closely united to Christ, then the inference is self-evident that it must be carefully guarded from such uses and impurities as involve rupture with Christ (ver. 15). And if any frivolous Corinthian still objected that such acts went no deeper than the eating of food ceremonially unclean, that they belonged to the body that was to be destroyed, Paul says, It is not so; these acts are full of the deepest moral significance (ver. 18), i.e., fornication is the only sin which by its very nature alienates the body from Christ, its proper Partner. Other sins indirectly involve separation from Christ; this explicitly and directly transfers allegiance, and sunders our union with Him.
4. These weighty reasonings are concluded by the statement of a twofold truth which is of much wider application than to the matter in hand (vers. 19, 20). We are not our own; we belong to Him who has loved us most; and His love will be satisfied when we suffer Him to dwell in us, so that we shall be His temples, and shall glorify Him. And it is the consciousness that we are God's temples which constantly incites us to live worthily of Him. In nothing can God reveal Himself as He can in man. It is not a building of stone which forms a fit temple for God; nor even the heaven of heavens. In material nature only a small part of God can be seen and known. But through us God can express and reveal what is best in Himself. Our love is sustained by His, and reveals His. Our approval of what is pure and hatred of impurity has its source in His holiness. But if so, what a profanation is it when we take this body, which is built to be His temple, and put it to uses which it were blasphemous to associate with God!
(M. Dods, D. D.)1. It robs God of His property.
2. Dishonours the members of Christ's body.
3. Makes a man one flesh with the harlot.
4. Degrades a man's own body.
5. Profanes the temple of God.
6. Sins against the sacrifice of Christ.
7. Devotes body and soul, which are God's, to the devil.
(J. Lyth, D. D.)
And God hath both raised up the Lord.I. IS POSSIBLE. Christ is risen.
1. God has revealed it.
2. Is able to effect it.
III. IS A POWERFUL ARGUMENT FOR THE RIGHT USE OF THE BODY. If God honours it, shall man dishonour it? (ver. 13, &c.).
(J. Lyth, D. D.)
Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?I. HIS RIGHT OVER IT.
1. Not only by creation and redemption.
2. But by our union with Him.
II. THE CONSEQUENT OBLIGATION.
1. To care for it.
2. To keep it pure.
3. To use it for His service.
(J. Lyth, D. D.)I. "THE WORD MADE FLESH," CHANGED BY THAT ACT THE WHOLE RELATION OF THE CREATURE TO THE CREATOR. Before they were distinct. God chose man to knit both together. Could there be envy in heaven, surely the angels must have envied our race; nay, it has been believed that Satan fell through envy at the incarnation revealed beforehand. Nothing so illustrates the self-forgetting love of those blessed spirits, as that they should joy to be passed over, and to see us the fallen preferred to themselves. True! the purpose of God is to unite both under and in one head (Ephesians 1:10). Their ranks, it is a pious opinion, broken by the fall of the apostate angels, will be filled by redeemed men. But even this equality has not been enough. God has willed to give us a closeness of union with Himself, which He gave not to the Seraphim. And this for all eternity,
II. THIS CONSTITUTES THE CLAIM OF JESUS ON OUR LOVE.
1. This is more than compensation for the fall of Adam. Jesus, in this special way, is ours; He is our near Kinsman, and more than brother. Jesus must love me with a special love, for He has not the nature of angels, but this of mine.
2. And how did He love us? What did He withhold from us, for love of us? His glory! He "emptied Himself" (Philippians 2:7). He who was and is one with the Father, entered this mortal life. He began it an outcast, and ended it by "giving Himself to be numbered with the transgressors." In those dread hours on the Cross, what part of His sacred body did He reserve from suffering for us? (Psalm 22:14). And His Father's face was hid from His human soul. And what doth He now? He is in that unspeakable glory, "upholding all things by the word of His power"; governing also the Church and sanctifying her by His presence. But as something nearer to ourselves individually, "He ever liveth to make intercession for us." Calvary lives on in heaven, and pleads for us still. And all this has been, is, shall continue to be done for us through the body. By taking our whole human nature, soul and body, God the Son gave us, in His own person, that special prerogative of nearness to Himself.
III. WITH WHAT SACREDNESS DOES THIS INVEST OUR BODIES.
1. Limb by limb, they are the same bodies as that which God the Son took, which for us was crucified, which now is in glory at the right hand of God. All sin is misery, but sins of the flesh have yet this special misery, that they degrade that body which Jesus took. To sin as to the flesh is to insult Christ.
2. Trials you have or will have. But trials which are only of God's allowing injure neither body nor soul. He will give the victory who allows them (2 Corinthians 12:9). But now, if thou art liable to temptation, from which thou mightest have been blessedly free, or over which thou mightest have had, by God's grace, an easy victory —(1) Observe well, whence mostly it begins now; from imagination? or from the eye? or from past memories? or from over-fulness of food? For there the entrance of thy battle lies.(2) In the trial itself. I know but of one effectual remedy — to clasp the hands together, and pray earnestly to God for help. And when thou so prayest, think how Jesus hallowed this poor body; think how He suffered in this body for love of us. Look well at that holy frame, racked on that hard bed of the Cross. But above all, look at that thorn-crowned head, and that yet open, mild, forgiving eye, which won the blaspheming robber to sue for pardon from his Lord. Does it not say to thee, "Poor wanderer, this have I endured for love of thee; I loved thee and gave Myself for thee. Love Me at least now"? Wilt thou not look up to Him and say, "By Thy grace henceforth I will love Thee; let me rather die than again profane the body, which Thou didst so redeem, and wound Thy love"? Or look up and gaze on that glorious form at the right hand of God. All else is spirit. One body is there, above all, adored by all. There, with a special lustre of their own, stream forth the rays of Divine light and love from those two pierced hands, those once wounded feet, that opened side and heart. There, at that moment, the moment of thy temptation, they intercede for thee. There is that human eye resting still in love upon thee. Christ is not ashamed to wear in heaven the tokens of His humiliation; be not thou ashamed of Him and His service. Remember that He willeth to "fashion this our" now "vile body, that it may be made like unto His glorious body," and resolve by His grace to degrade no more the body which He so longs to glorify with Himself.
(E. B. Pusey, D. D.)I. DESTROYS ALL PRETENCE TO CHRISTIANITY.
1. The body belongs to Christ.
2. Should be employed in His service.
3. To give it to another is to deny Him — and court destruction, which God forbid!
II. DEGRADES THE MAN.
1. The harlot is the refuse of humanity.
2. To be joined to her is to be one with her — by a natural law.
III. IS IMPOSSIBLE WHILE WE ARE JOINED TO CHRIST — we are one spirit with Him.
(J. Lyth, D. D.)
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