“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? And ye are not your own; for ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body” (1 Cor. 6:18-20).
For a second time the Corinthians are reminded they are the temple of God. The first occurrence is in the third chapter and it is of the church Paul wrote, “Ye are the temple of God” (3:16). In this passage it is the Christian’s body which is called the temple of the Holy Spirit. Yet, whether it is the church or our body, the Holy Spirit is said to dwell in us.
Because our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, we are commanded to flee fornication. The temple of God must not be joined to a harlot. Speaking thus, Paul was further minded to say “every sin that a man doeth is without the body, but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” Simply stated, the body is just an instrument in whatever wrong (or right) we do; the decision to commit wrong rests in the heart. Nevertheless, he who commits fornication sins against his own body. Consider this illustration. My car takes me to the post office, the bank, the grocery store, to worship. It can also take me to a beer joint, gambling casino or house of ill repute. The car is not responsible for where it goes; I am the one who determines that; but if I take my car and run into a light pole, I have “sinned” against my own car!
My body is the dwelling place of the Spirit. This is not to be understood as a personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit any more than that the church collectively is the literal domain of the Spirit. Solomon had the right perspective of this when he “dedicated” the temple he built to the honor and service of God. “But will God in very deed dwell in the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee: how much less this house I have builded!” (1 Kings 8:27). As with the temple of Solomon, so with our body. They cannot contain God, the Holy Spirit. But our bodies can be a fit memorial to God and an example in flesh of what God desires for man to be.
We are not our own; we were bought with a price. As Paul said here; so he said in Acts 20:28: “Take heed … the church of God which he purchased with his own blood.” Peter adds his testimony: “knowing that ye are redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold , from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers; but with precious blood …” (1 Peter 1:18f). John wrote of heavenly hosts who praised Jesus: “Thou wast slain and didst unto God with thy blood men of every tribe and tongue, and people …” (Rev. 15:9). It took the death of Jesus to free us from the claims of sin. By His blood, He purified unto Himself a people for His own possession, zealous of good works (Titus 2:14).
“Glorify therefore God in your body.” We glorify God in our body by pure and holy conduct. We put off the unfruitful works of darkness, we put on the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-24). We glorify God in our bodies by our speech, speaking truth in love, having our speech seasoned with salt; cleansing our tongue from filthy, coarse or blasphemous words. We glorify God in our body by being a light unto others, by good deeds showing what the Spirit will produce in men, if we yield to His directions. And, we glorify God in our bodies by the way we dress. Since the body is the “dwelling place” of the Spirit, we should not shamelessly expose our bodies to the public gaze of men, being in dress no different from the world around us. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Let us make them that!