The Call to Flee
Finally we come to the concluding message that Paul has for us in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. We have been through verses 12-17 over the last few weeks, and have seen how Paul has addressed the sexual immorality that some within the Corinthian Church were practicing. Not only were they practicing immorality, but they were flippantly dismissing any wrongdoing. Paul reminded them why Christians are incompatible with sexual immorality and now, in verse 18, instructs them on what they should be doing as Christians.
Verse 18 says “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”
First notice the verb used in the first sentence. We are to flee from sexual immorality. There are only a handful of things from which we are supposed to run, and sexual immorality is a prime danger. As we have seen, sexual immorality is totally at odds with the Christian’s union with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our bodies are now members of Christ, and we have been made one spirit with the Lord.
What then are we supposed to do with this knowledge? Continue in sexual sin? As Paul says: “Never!” We are to flee from this sin, knowing that it is contrary to everything we have in Christ.
Interestingly, Paul uses the same language in chapter ten in reference to idolatry. This creates a parallel between sexual sin and idolatry that I think is too blatant not to mention.
At its core, sexual sin is a type of idolatry. We see the union with the Lord that we have obtained through Christ, and yet we desire union with forbidden women. These two are in direct conflict. Whenever we give in to our lusts, we are saying that we favor a sinful union over a righteous union. As Paul says, the members of Christ cannot be made members of a prostitute.
Sexual sin places our lustful wants over the Lord Himself. Just as Adam and Eve so desired and fell, we desire to be in control, putting ourselves in God’s place as Lord and savior. Idolatry and sexual sin go hand-in-hand.
So we are to flee from these things, and not give them any chance to corrupt our relationship with Christ. Paul’s statement that follows exemplifies this: “Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” While many dispute the exact meaning of this verse, we know that Paul’s main message has been one of union with Christ, and the Christian’s incompatibility with becoming one with a prostitute.
Sexual immorality has special impacts on our bodies because it hits at the basis of our union with Christ. We cannot be both one with a prostitute and one with the Lord. As Paul already said, “your bodies are members of Christ.” So again he addresses the body, saying that we sin against our own body, just as we sin against His by that same sinful union.
So in light of all of this, we are to flee from this sexual sin, and because this whole discussion has been a battle of incompatible opposites, we know who we are to flee to. We are to seek refuge in Christ alone, fleeing from all sexual immorality and idolatry. Paul sums everything up in verses 19 and 20, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” Christ bought us with His blood, and since our bodies are now members of Christ, we are to glorify God with them by obeying His commands. Our bodies, now in Christ, have no part with sexual sin.