1 Corinthians 6:12-20

As we go through Chapter six, Paul declares something very shocking: “Everything is lawful to
me” (v12). How can he say such a thing? He uses this to get our attention and really get to the
point. Paul thinks it is awful that there would even be any kind of discrepancy between
Christians or that any Christian would desire to take advantage of anybody, for that matter. We
are a community of believers that are supposed to love and care for each other. Jesus founded
the Church so that we would help each other grow and flourish in faith so that the whole
community may be abundantly fruitful and joyful. Paul is deeply scandalized by the behavior he
sees. How scandalized he would be to see how we act today!
But how does he come to the conclusion that “everything is lawful”? The fact is that if we really
loved Jesus and our neighbor as Jesus commanded us, we would never think of doing evil to
our neighbor. It would be as if those evils did not exist to us. The old man is dead (Rm 6:6-23).
Please read that passage, it puts everything into perspective. When you love God, the last thing
you would do is offend Him. God lives in your neighbor. That is why John said that you cannot
love God and hate your neighbor (1 Jn 4:20). Paul radically loves God. Contrary to the world, it
is actually virtuous! The world hates Paul, because he actually loves Jesus with no
compromises. Doing evil has been radically rooted out of his life and it has made him a saint.
Being a saint is what is normal in heaven. Not so much here below. It begs the question, where
do you want to be known as being normal – in heaven or in the world? We live maybe to one
hundred years here, but eternally when we get to the other side. That is a decision we make
every day.
So sin, retaliation, anger, revenge, possessiveness, addictions, and justification are not part of
the Christian life. When we find ourselves doing these things, we have to ask ourselves what we
are holding on to. What part of the old man have we kept lingering around? We must not “let
[ourselves] be enslaved by anything” (v12). “Food is for the stomach” (v13). The purpose of food
is to be consumed and used so that we may live. The beauty of food is found in its fulfillment
and how well it serves us. But what is our soul made for? It is made to be with God in heaven,
and sin confounds that purpose. It is not human to sin, it goes against us to sin; it is inhuman.
God has called us for greatness, not sinfulness.
We are members of the body of Christ. There is a lot of material here in a very short space to
cover. The issue started was with a man of lewd conduct in Chapter 5. It is also likened to
prostitution because we are being unfaithful to God when we sin. It is a preference to sin that is
at the root opposed to God. This “lewd conduct” (v18) is something that severs our relationship
with God: it is a mortal sin. Marriage, as a sacrament, is supposed to emulate and make happen
the love God has for us. This is why Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians, “this is a profound
mystery-but I am talking about Christ and the Church” (Eph 5:32). Marriage is not just a symbol
of God’s love for us. As spouses, the marital act makes the very love that God has for each
spouse actually happen, that they may experience it and be strengthened to face the world
together in the lasting fidelity that is God’s. This was a mouthful. Contemplate it for a while.
What are the ramifications? If this is true, what should our desire be for our marriages and the
marriages of others? If this is true, how much hope can your marriage bring to others? If this is
true, how could we ever want to be drawn to the lewd conduct that tears apart the deepest part
of our soul and the souls of others? How do we benefit from sin? How we benefit from the true
virtue God poses to us! “So glorify God in your body!” (V20).