or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? you are not your own, for you were bought with a price. so glorify God in your body.
[1 corinthians 6:19]
have you ever heard someone use the phrase ‘my body is a temple’ to justify their fitness regimen or “self-care” or their diet?
context is everything–context can mean the difference between life and death. context can mean the difference between faithfulness and heresy. when someone in the world boasts “my body is a temple” they are boasting in their own body. this is a boast of satan, of death. this verse [1 cor 6:19] says the exact opposite of what these health and fitness fanatics claim it does.
your body is not just a temple for you to glorify: your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit–he dwells within you. your power, your control (or lack of it) is no longer yours–remember 2 cor 5:14-15?
for the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. [emphasis added]
these passages are not talking about physical fitness at all. there are reasons to be a good steward of your health, but 1 corinthians 6:19 is NOT a proof text for that. this verse really deals with holiness. satan wants to kill you–he would have you care so much about the fitness and appearance of your body that you neglect the true meaning of this passage which is seeking Christ and shunning the desires of the flesh–specifically sexual sin. the emphasis the world places on our bodies is a gateway drug to lead us into sexual sin: sensuality, lustful looks, pornography use, sex outside of marriage and the like. we don’t gratify the body like the world by running to these things for comfort, we do the opposite. 1 cor. 6:18a tells us to flee sexual immorality. do you run harder on the treadmill trying to build your physical body than you run from sin so to save your soul? how are you actively working by the Holy Spirit to flee?
sexual sin plagues all of us. single. married. young. old. i have confessed to and repented of lust and secret sexual sin to my wife and other Christians. it is humiliating, but i want to humble myself and continually expose the weakness of my flesh and darkness in my heart to the light, so that Christ’s strength and light might be magnified. though sexual sin is pervasive and we in the church don’t talk about it because we consider it so shameful, we all know ourselves and now how it permeates our own hearts.
what if we were like paul and commanded one another to “flee!”? church, let’s ask the hard questions–expose the dark unholy places in our hearts through confession and repentance. let us give our guilt and shame to Christ and live in the truth that we are the temple where the Holy Spirit dwells and give no quarter to our secret sin. let us stop believing that our temporary bodies are the most important thing and seek true holiness.
Father, let us believe that the blood of your Son frees us from shame, frees us from sin, ALL sin, even the sexual sin that we hide from others. give us your boldness to confess. give us your strength to repent and turn away from sin. expose our idolatry of our own bodies. expose our hearts Lord. purify us, and let us find fullness of joy in your presence.
~ conor eastman