“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 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 6:18-20)

In the church there is a term for what Paul is speaking about with the sentence “All things are lawful for me.” That term is adiaphora, meaning things that are indifferent, non essential for the faith, things that are neither right nor wrong, spiritually neutral. These may concern such things as fasting or what Bible version to use. Such things are determined by individual conscience, not by rule or law. Yet even in such matters, Paul maintains that such adiaphora should not enslave us, we should be overly consumed by such things lest we pursue them to excess or our harm or the detriment of others.

Sexual relationships and acts, however, do not fall into this category. This is because the body of each baptized believer, the entire person belongs to the Lord. Paul’s words were especially relevant to the Corinthian believers who had come to faith out of a pagan culture. Although there were rules, laws and taboos which governed everyday social and business interactions, immorality was the norm. Fornication and prostitution were common as was homosexual activity, though the latter was frowned upon. Christians had to realize that such acts and lifestyles were sinful and had to be abandoned in the Kingdom of God.

Our modern social standards are no better than those of ancient Corinth. Thus when it comes to sexual behavior we must listen to the Lord and abide by His word. Paul tells us that in a marriage a man and a woman become one flesh. Such marriage is God’s standard and rule. There is no debating the issue. We cannot rely on feelings or social standards. We cannot do as we please or what feels good or pleasurable. Paul maintains that Christians should not act like the world in any way since we are no longer part of it. Those who continue in sexual immorality show by their actions that they are not of the Lord. Sexual immorality dishonors God, for it is idolatry, in which the self is worshipped. Thus it has no place in His temple.