One With Christ
Previously, we had explored 1 Corinthians 12-13, where Paul had explained that the body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord. Some members of the Corinthian Church did not see the dangers of sexual immorality, but trivialized their actions, which Paul says is exceedingly dangerous. Next, in verses 14-15, Paul goes in an unexpected direction. “And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!”
At first glance, Paul’s statement seems like a change of subject. Paul goes from addressing a specific sin in the Church to bringing up a basic tenet of the Christian faith: the resurrection of Christ and the body. This could be for a few different reasons.
First, the flippancy with which the Church views these very serious sins is probably a symptom of a deeper issue (as it often is with us today). The Corinthians don’t see the seriousness of their sins, and are dismissive of God’s requirements. Because Greek thought in their day was so pervasive, it is possible that some aspects bled through into the Church. The Philosophies of the day showed a certain disdain for the physical body, which, if taken seriously with Christian doctrine, meant that some probably denied the resurrection of Christ, and therefore the resurrection of Christians. This type of thought would have bled through to how these Christians lived, even joining themselves with prostitutes because the physical did not matter.
Paul addresses this issue later in the book, in 1 Corinthians 15, saying “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” In denying the resurrection of Christ, they are denying basic aspects of the Gospel, and are in danger of damnation. This mindset seemingly bled over into their actions, paving the way for all manner of sexual sins.
Isn’t this often what happens when we ignore or forget the gospel? Either we think we can earn our salvation though sexual purity, or we deceive ourselves by justifying our actions. Both are exceedingly dangerous, as Paul tells us and the Corinthians. We should always be relying on Christ and His resurrection.
The second reason that Paul probably brought up the resurrection here, is found in the next verse. “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” If we are made one with Christ in His death, we have been raised also with Him in His resurrection, looking forward to the final resurrection of the dead. If we are one with Christ, how can we be one with a prostitute?
Putting this in an analogy, Scripture often compares marriage between a husband and wife with Christ’s relationship with His Church. If we have entered the Covenant of marriage with someone, and then have sex with a prostitute, are we not defiling the Covenant and the Covenant promises we have entered into? Couple this with Jesus’ statement that all those who look at a woman lustfully have committed adultery with her in his heart, and we truly see our need for Christ!
However, in the analogy above, how can we (the Church) justify defiling the Covenant and the Covenant promises we have entered into with Christ, by continuing in sexual immorality? Paul has just said that our bodies are members of Christ, and then continues: “Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!” Just as a husband has no business in adultery because of his Covenant with his wife, so a Christian has no business with sexual sin because of his Covenant with Christ. Paul leaves no room for compromise, answering his question with a resounding “Never!”
We can see then, that the resurrection has everything to do with how we live. If we are constantly in sin and are unrepentant, we are breaking the Covenant that we have entered into with Christ and the Church. The Corinthians justified their sin, and showed the deficiencies of their faith. Sexual immorality has no place in the life of the Christian, but it is only through Christ’s death and resurrection that we can have hope.