A common question that dating teenagers (and young adults) ask is ‘how far can I go physically with my boyfriend/girlfriend before we’re sinning?’. The best answers to such a question usually advise them to aim for holiness, rather than dancing near the edge of the line between what’s ok and what’s not ok, hoping not to slip over into sin.
The instruction that Paul gives the Corinthian Christians is ‘honour God with your bodies’ (v20). His rationale is that a) we have been bought (Jesus having paid the price and now owns us), and b) our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (because the Holy Spirit lives in us). Both of these reasons apply to us today, and we too, therefore, ought to honour God with our bodies.
A specific application of this instruction is: don’t have sex with prostitutes. It’s a pretty clear command which continues to have application today (even if there aren’t temple prostitutes in Melbourne like there were in ancient Corinth).
In verses 12-13, Paul quotes some common slogans of the time. The v13 slogan was to the effect that we should indulge our senses now, because they can’t be enjoyed when you’re dead. How relevant is this to our own time, when people want to get as much pleasure as they can, as quickly as they can. This is not a Christian view, as Paul explains in vv13-14, because our bodies will be resurrected when Jesus returns. Further, our bodies are members of Jesus himself!
In thinking about what music I listen to, what TV shows I watch, what language I use, what movies I watch, and other such areas, I find Paul’s words in v12 particularly helpful: yes these things might be permissible, but are they beneficial? Are they edifying? Are they advancing my relationship with Jesus, or detrimental to it?
What about you? How do you aim for holiness, rather than trying to dance along the line before falling off into the realm of sin?