1 Corinthians 6:12-30.
For a moment when I read this passage tonight I wasn’t sure what to write except the obvious… “Don’t commit sexual sin.”
And then a strong reminder hit me, so here we go.
May I just say, at the risk of offending, perhaps, I become slightly annoyed whenever I hear any version of the phrase “…saving souls?” Christ came to save souls. The church is to help save souls. How many souls were saved, etc…
One thing passages like this (and indeed the whole of Scripture) teaches us about salvation is that it’s not just our souls that Christ came to save. Salvation, the church, the sacraments, the Christian life, resurrection, and eternal life are not limited to our disembodied souls or something. It for certain includes all of ourselves, which includes our bodies.
I’ll never forget Dr. Darius Salter, a professor we had at Nazarene Theological Seminary, who said, “God has always had one plan for redeeming the world: the Body plan. That’s plan “A.” And there is no plan “B.” I think we sometimes forget this and lapse into a sort of Gnosticism when we talk only of the salvation of our souls.
This passage in 1 Corinthians is one of the zillions of passages that emphatically states our physical bodies are part of the salvation God has for us. “Our bodies are members of Christ…” “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you…” Notice he did NOT say, “Our spirits are members of Christ.” He says shun fornication because sinning in this way is sinning against the body. This whole passage is about Paul’s insistence that the members of the church at Corinth honor God with their bodies. One of the things that means is avoiding sexual sin.
Something to think about… What would it mean to honor God with our physical bodies? Obviously it would mean not doing certain things, but my mind takes it a bit further. I wonder what it would mean for me to proactively do certain things to honor God with my physical body. After all, the Creed says “we believe in the resurrection of the body.” The big deal about the incarnation of Jesus is he was fully God and fully human, which included his body.
Not sure I’ve got many answers to this one yet, but I feel in my bones this might be leading to at least asking some of the right questions…