The Problem of the Proper Use of the Body - Page 3 of 8 (series: Lessons on 1 Cor.)
by John Lowe
The next great event on God’s timetable is the Rapture, when the natural bodies of believers will be changed into spiritual bodies: “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body…In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor 15:44, 52; KJV). The spiritual body will not be subject to the laws and vital functions of our current animal body; but it will still be a body, a better one. It will be sustained, and exercise its powers, without waste, weariness, decay, or the necessity of having its powers maintained by food and sleep; and it will be eternal.
Now the body is not for fornication,
What we have here is a contrast between the belly and the body. The belly is for the body and the body is the Lord’s and it will be eternal in its glorified state; but meats and appetite are not eternal—they will cease at death. Though meats were created for the belly, and the belly for meats, the belly is indifferent about the sort of meats that may or may not be consumed; however, this cannot be said about fornication, which the Corinthians, and other Gentiles, were as indifferent toward as they were to meats; but the apostle shows there is not the same reason for the one as the other. The body was not originally made and approved for fornication; this is quite besides the will of God, who has provided marriage as a remedy for it.
In Luke 24.41-43, we learn that while Jesus was in His glorified body, He visited His disciples, “And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.” I don’t believe Jesus needed the food; but He ate to show them that He was not a spirit. But I do know it will not be necessary for the glorified saints to eat; whereas, while we are in these flesh and blood bodies it is necessary that we eat to keep our bodies alive.
The body is definitely connected to the human personality, and the body of the believer is to be an instrument for God to use, and through it He will be glorified in all things. In our present verse Paul is pointing out that unchastity is not like food: all meats were lawful for him, but unchastity is never lawful for any believer, regardless of the circumstances. Through this reasonable argument and comparison, Paul deals with the dangerous argument which had been—and was being—used among the carnally minded Corinthians, that if the gratification of one natural desire is lawful, then why not the gratification of another? If meats were lawful, then why not adultery, fornication, drunkenness, etc.? But the argument drawn from the indifference of meats compared to that of fornication does not hold water. Meats without question are indifferent, since both they and the "belly" for which they are created are to be "destroyed" in the future state. But "the body is not (created) for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body" (as its Redeemer, who hath Himself assumed the body): "And God hath raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us" (that is our bodies): therefore the "body" is not, like the "belly," which after having served a temporary use, is to be destroyed: Now "he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body"—“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body” (1 Cor 6:18; KJV). Therefore fornication is not indifferent, since it is a sin against one's own body. The body, like the Lord for whom it is created, is not to be destroyed, but will be raised to eternal existence. Christ was provided to be a sacrifice for this body as well as for the soul, by taking our nature upon him; so that now, as human beings, we have an intimate relationship to the Lord; and our bodies are made not only for his service, but to be his temples.
but for the Lord;
The believer should always bear in mind the fact that his body ("Body," as used here has reference to the whole person including the physical body) was made for the Lord—the One who died to redeem the soul, spirit, AND body—and therefore the believer should seek the will of God at all times and concerning all things, and allow the divine purposes of God to be done in all the activities of life. The purpose of the body is not the gratification of its appetites; but it is for the Lord, which is a reference to the indwelling of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Cor. 6:19. Sensuality is neither the highest nor the most satisfying use of the body; and the greatest happiness a person can attainment does not come through gratification, such happiness is derived only from the proper union between man and his Creator. Whatever Christians
do should be done for God’s glory, and the good of others.
And the Lord for the body.
It seems that we often fail to realize that this body is the house in which the Holy Spirit lives—and He will live there until this body returns to dust or is changed, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” at the Rapture. If a believer dies before the Rapture, his body will be raised in an uncorrupted condition; if he lives until the Rapture, he will never die. But live or die, the body belongs to the Lord, who purchased us with His own precious blood—“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Phil 3:21; KJV). Our glorified body may bear a similar form to the heavenly body of Jesus. That is: the bodies of true believers will be raised up at the great day, and it will be in the same likeness, immortality, and glory as the glorified humanity of Jesus Christ; and it will be so thoroughly changed that it will not only be capable of immortality, but also of the infinite spiritual enjoyments found only at the right hand of God. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2; KJV).
14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.
And God hath both raised up the Lord,
The clear truth set forth here—that God the Father who raised the Lord Jesus, will raise us by the same power—is contrasted with the natural elements which will be destroyed by death (mentioned in the foregoing verse). Our physical appetites will cease when we depart this present life, but our bodies will have a part in the resurrection—because without our bodies we would not be our complete selves, and in the land that is fairer than day, we will know even as we are known: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Cor 13:12; KJV). Here is something for you to look forward to: in heaven, we will be in the presence of Christ and when the veil is removed from our understanding, we will receive a full revelation of ALL things, and we will know ALL things; know God, eternity and its secrets, even as we are known to God. I firmly believe the fifteenth chapter of this epistle teaches that our glorified bodies will resemble these bodies of flesh that we live in now.
God the Father has raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, although it was not without the participation of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was equally concerned in the resurrection of himself, because it demonstrated he was the Son of God, and truthfully and properly God. He has raised up the human nature of Christ from the grave, as a pledge of our resurrection; and will also raise us up by his own power, that we may live with him in glory forever.
And will also raise up us by his own power.
Paul assures us here that the power of God, which raised up the Lord Jesus as promised, will just as surely raise us. We know that if this earthly tabernacle be dissolved, “…we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor 5:1; KJV). Tom Lowe and ______________ (I hope you can place your name beside mine) will one day put on immortality, and when we see Jesus, we will be like Him. We have this assurance because we are in Christ and He is in us. We possess the divine nature, because the body is the tabernacle of the Holy Spirit. We are dead—and our lives are hid in Christ in God. We set together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, and we know that the God who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also raise us up by the same power (the first resurrection—“But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection” (Rev 20:5; KJV). Therefore as we sojourn here we should live in this body in such a way that whatever we do it will glorify God. The present use of this body should be directed in every detail to bring honor and glory to the Lord God Almighty, who gave Jesus to die for us and who will raise us up on that glorious morning. It is an act of power, of God's own power, even of his almighty power, and is something that the power of a mere creature could never accomplish. Now as Christ, our head, is raised, so shall all his members be raised by the same power; their bodies will be raised powerful, glorious, incorruptible; and spiritual; an argument that could never be made for fornication, or bodies defiled with such uncleanness.