- Did you know that the leading manufacture of tires in the world is LEGO?
- Did you know that a 26-year old woman aged 50 years in just days due to a strange illness cause by an allergy to seafood?
- Did you know that Pumbaa from the Lion King was the first character to pass gas in a Disney film?
- Did you know that only 2% of the world population has green eyes?
- Did you know a guy from the UK actually changed his name to “Captain Fantastic Faster than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine The Hulk and the Flash Combined”? (Jack,’s younger brother?)
- Did you know that falling coconuts kill more than shark bites each year?
I suppose you won’t look at Pumbaa the same the next time you watch The Lion King. Or maybe you won’t be able to look at me the same for feeding you such a ridiculous factoids. Sorry, I am a nerd for useless facts.
In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul lists no less that six “Did you not know” questions. Now he isn’t sharing useless Jeopardy Trivia, rather he is calling to mind truths the church was already taught but had not caught. So in asking the questions Paul is revealing their heart and making certain the truth’s are being applied to their current situation. What the questions reveal are two problems within the church. First, some members in the church are disputing over trivial matters outside the church that should be reconciled inside the church,
- 1 Corinthians 6:2 – Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?
- 1 Corinthians 6:3 – Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life?
- 1 Corinthians 6:9 – Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?
Second, the church is tolerating types of sexual sin inside the church, which commonly characterizes unbelievers outside the church,
- 1 Corinthians 6:15 – 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!
- 1 Corinthians 6:16 – 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.”
Paul’s questions follow the pattern of Jesus’ (cf. Mark 4:13-14; John 6:43-44). Jesus used the same question not to upstage people with His knowledge, but is rather calling their knowledge into action. Knowledge should always lead to action. The question is meant to sit with you. Let it soak in. Stew in it. As you do so you cannot help but do something about it.
My pastor used to share an illustration on how many Christians are like the Dead Sea: stagnant and dead. Why is the Dead Sea so dead? It has an inlet, but no outlet. Water and salt come into the sea by river, but nothing comes out. Similarly, many Christians think they are wise because they know a lot of facts about God and know a lot about His Word. They are all in-take, but there is little to no out-take. They know that facts, but the facts do not effect their actions. Instead, they become more stagnant and dead, like the Dead Sea.
The test of knowledge is the character and behavior (or action) it produces. Genuine knowledge of God’s truth produces a true love for God’s people, a concern for God’s reputation, and a display of God’s glory. This is the background of 1 Corinthians 6. It’s also what leads us to Paul final “Did you not know” question, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? (1 Corinthians 6:19)
What does it mean that your body is called the temple of the Holy Spirit? To understand the question you must also understand the Jewish temple? First, the temple was a sacred shrine—a place dedicated by God and erected for God. Second, it was a holy temple—it’s a place clean and pure. In a casual reading of Exodus and Leviticus, we see God’s temple is immaculate, it resembles His own character. Third, the temple is not just any ordinary temple—it’s a place where God lives. In Moses day as in Jesus’ day, there were many kinds of temples, but Israel’s temple was unique because God designed it and God dwelt in it.
What evidence is there that you and I are God’s temple? Your belief about your body leads to your behavior within your body. Paul’s question is followed by two points which help you and I answer this question. They are two truths you must know. The first is theological and the second practical. If heeded they will change the way that you live in your body and within the Body of Christ.
Theological Truth You Must Know: You are not your own, for you were bought with a price (6:19b-20a)
In short, this verse is a simple definition of redemption. It is also the one of the greatest truths you need to know, think about, and allow to change the way you live. How would you define redemption? At it’s core, redemption is about being bought out of slavery.
What comes to mind when you think of slavery? Do you think about the 18th century slave trade? Or modern day trafficking? It is this image that lies at the backdrop of redemption. We are redeemed from slavery. And if redemption is the solution, then slavery is the problem.
When studying slavery in the Bible we see there are two forms. The first form of physical slavery. From cover to cover slavery is woven into the Bible’s tapestry because slavery is woven into the culture of time. In Genesis, we read about characters like Hagar a slave of Abraham and Joseph who was sold as a slave to Egypt by his brothers. In Exodus, we see slavery on a grand scale. An entire people is in slavery and they are miraculous redeemed. In the Law, Prophets and Epistles we learn that biblical times were a time of masters and slaves, even Jesus and His disciples address the topic of slavery. While not condoning slavery, the Bible makes provisions for slaves.
Whatever oppressive or unjust thoughts slavery congers up in your imagination, physical slavery is not the worst form of slavery. The Bibles second form of slavery is by far the worst. It is spiritual slavery. Jesus says some shocking words in John 8:31 “everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” (cf. Romans 3:23) To say we are slaves to sin a shocking thing to say. It’s so shocking because modern and religious people do not think of themselves like this. However, to sin is to deny God’s love, to defy God’s word, to deceive yourself, and to willfully drink the poison.
In the movie, Truman Show, Jim Carrey plays a character who from a baby was raised in a city-sized television studio. He grew up without ever realizing the false reality he was living. He was trapped in his own world. When he realizes something is wrong he begins looking for an escape and finds his way out.
In contrast, a slave whether physical or spiritual is trapped. There is no way to escape. One might try to run away, but he’s still a slave. What can you and I do about what’s wrong? What can you do about your slavery to sin? Nothing. If I am slave I am powerless and helpless. Sin is a terrible taskmaster. It pays horribly. It doesn’t pay anything, but more slavery and death. What I need is someone to come and free me. A price needs to be paid. A ransom needs to be paid.
In the Old Testament there was two types of ransom given in the Law. First, there was a cash ransom, where a person was able to spend money to buy someone else out of debt. If you got into too much debt you had to sell yourself into slavery to someone with enough cash to buy you out. Second, there was a sacrificial ransom. In the sacrificial system, an animal was killed to pay for one’s sin debt. It was innocent blood spilt for a guilty human. Now according to the system, animals were to be sacrificed annually illustrating the fact that animal blood was not a sufficient substitute to cover the sins of a human or a nation. Instead, it pointed to a greater need, a bigger debt, a greater more sufficient sacrifice. A human life for human life. The ransom cost Jesus His blood. “We have redemption through His blood.” (Ephesians 1:7) Jesus’ death came at a cost. Your sin cost the God Man His life, the spotless sinless Lamb of God His blood, and the Father His precious Son.
He purchased freed that could not be bought with money or animal sacrifice (Hebrews 9:12-14). Your sin debt was bought with another man’s blood. Therefore, since you were bought with a price, you are not our own. You have a new task master. But God is a different taskmaster. His burden is easy, and yoke is light. He treats us as sons and daughters and instead of death He gives of life, instead of nothing, He gives us everything (Galatians 3:29-4:7). That is a truth we must know to honor our body as God’s temple.
Practical Truth You Must Know: “So glorify God in your body” (6:20b)
You are built to display God’s glory. It is easy to think we are something significant because God dwells within us. Wrong. We are not significant. What is significant is that the God of the universe would chose—if not promise—to dwell within us. What? Wow!
Yet what does it mean to glorify God? Sometimes the phrase to “Glorify God” slip off our lips so nebulously that its meaning is muffled. So the best way to define it is the way the Bible describes it.
First, creation glorifies God. Mountains speak, trees clap, waters cover the earth, and the heavens all declare the glory of God. Though tainted by the Fall, creation groans for the day it will be renewed.
Second, Israel declares God’s glory (1 Samuel 15:29; 1 Chronicles 29:11; Isaiah 60:19; 46:13). His people are His joy. They are His light to the nations (1 Chronicles 16:24), which is at the heart of evangelism and missions, then and now.
Third, Jesus displays God’s glory. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14; cf. Hebrews 1:3). In His birth (Luke 2:9, 14, 32), during His ministry (Luke 9:31-32), in his humanity (John 17:5, 22, 24), and in His deity (Philippians 2:9-11) He displayed God’s glory. Jesus has God’s DNA. If you want to know what God’s glory looks like with skin on just look at Jesus.
Fourth, your body is for God’s glory. We’re in great company, eh? With creation, Israel and Jesus, we display the glory of God. “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus ‘sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:4-6)
How do I glorify God in my body? How do I make this practical? According to 1 Corinthians 6, it begins by donating your body to God for sexual purity. If you continue studying the Scriptures on what it means to glorify God it comes down to worshiping God, listening to God, obeying God, serving God, telling people about God’s Son, using your gifts for God and His Body, and giving God credit for it all. Glorifying orbits completely around God and God alone.
If you obsess over praising your own significance, knowledge, or morality, you are unable to exalt God’s significance. The two are mutually exclusive endeavors. You cannot have it both ways. In Philippians 1:21 Paul says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” If your thinking is “For me to live is personal gain or personal pleasure and to die is Christ” you forfeit the essential element of what it means to glorify God in your body. Until you are liberated from your obsession with self you will not be free to glorify God.
Michelangelo is said to have painted with a brush in one hand and a shielded candle in the other to prevent his shadow from covering the art he was creating. Likewise, as God works through us to display His glory and gain, we must be careful that our shadows are not cast across the canvas of His work. Christ is the masterpiece. He is the only significant person and foci of the universe. He is worth of our lives and death. He is worth our passions. He is worth all of us including our bodies.
Do you not know you are the temple of the Holy Spirit?
Are you living free and pure in the light of your redemption in Christ?
Are you proclaiming freedom in Christ to the glory of God?