Union With God
Next, we come to 1 Corinthians 6:16-17, which really starts hitting hard at the very nature of union with God through Christ, and how incompatible we are as Christians with sexual immorality. Verses 16-17 say “Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.”
First, the quote used here in this verse is from Genesis 2:24. This original verse was in the context of God creating woman out of man, making him a perfect companion. Genesis 2:25 says after that “the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” This reference to the only perfect human marriage (while mankind was without sin) is extremely important, because it is in contrast to those within the Corinthian Church who were bastardizing the perfect union required by God in marriage, by uniting with prostitutes. This doubles the impact of Paul’s emphasis in verse 15 that our bodies are members of Christ! Not only has God, in the sinless order of creation, declared that only a husband and wife become united in a one-flesh union, but we are united in body as members of Christ. When the Corinthians engaged in sexual union with prostitutes, they repudiated both the very nature of marriage in a sinless creation and the nature of salvation.
Lest we think that this doesn’t apply to us because we have not physically been joined to a prostitute, we recall Christ’s words in Matthew 5:28, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Paul’s rebuke applies to every sexual sin. Just as the Corinthians physically committed adultery with prostitutes, so do we commit adultery when we lust after forbidden women. We repudiate not only the institution of marriage as created by God, but the very nature of our salvation as well. We should remember this when we are tempted to give in to even the slightest temptation.
Second, after Paul emphasizes our union with Christ in the body in verse 15, he then goes on to mention our union with the Lord in spirit. “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him.” Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, we have become united with Christ, and are therefore restored in relationship with the Father. This union of the believer in body and spirit with God further highlights the incompatibility that we have with sexual immorality. Paul likely makes this point to emphasize the idea (as discussed from verses 14-15) to the Corinthians that both body and spirit are involved in our relationship with God. Because one of the prevailing philosophies of the day in Corinth showed disdain for the body, Paul has already said (as discussed already here) that the body is extremely important as members of Christ. However, the spirit is also just as important in our union with the Lord.
This body and soul relationship with the Lord shows us that every fiber of our being is unfit for sexual immorality. The reality of our sin goes far deeper than we often realize, and is such an affront to God because we are in union with Him through Christ by the Spirit. Our only response is to repent to God for our sins, and again put our trust in Christ’s atoning sacrifice. We realize how utterly dependent we are on Him for our salvation, because without Him, we would have no hope.