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First Thoughts

Caring for Those Stuck in Sin

One year from now, the world will turn its eyes to Paris to watch athletes from around the world compete in the 2024 Olympic Games. While there will be many highlights and plenty to see, what will not be seen is athletes running in combat boots and trench coats, nor will we see runners going the wrong way on the track. That would be ludicrous, but this is exactly what it’s like attempting to live the Christian life while at the same time being enslaved to sin. In Hebrews, we are called to “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run…the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

In the first century, the church at Corinth struggled with many things that spiritually weighed them down and numerous sins that were clinging to them and hindering their race. Paul addressed a number of those sins in 1 Corinthians. One such sin was sexual immorality which manifested itself as the sin of religious prostitution, where sex was offered as a means of worshiping the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite. Paul identifies this as sin and boldly calls for repentance when he says, “Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18). In the year 2023, we too must combat sexual immorality, and one of the most notorious sins that enslave believers today is that of pornography. Whether it’s religious prostitution, pornography, or any other expression of sexual sin, the command is the same, “Flee sexual immorality!”

Theologian John Frame once said that theology is the application of Scripture to every area of life. In other words, we are to live out the truth of the Bible. We are to repent when the Bible calls us to repent and obey where the Bible calls us to obey. In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul unloads a truckload of theological truth upon the Corinthians as he calls them to repent of sexual sin and live to the glory of God. As Paul brings so much truth to bear upon this church, his main goal is to rescue those caught in sexual sin by reminding them that they belong to Another. Paul’s message back then is just as vital for us today; those caught in sexual sin must remember they belong to God.

First, Paul communicates that we belong to God the Father. He says, “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body” (1 Corinthians 6:13). God made you, and as the maker of our bodies, he is the owner, and he made our bodies for a purpose. We were not given a body to practice sexual immorality, fulfilling our sinful desires. Instead, our body was given by God to be used for the purposes of God, to bring glory to him (1 Corinthians 6:20).

Second, Paul reminds us that we belong to God the Son when he says that we are members of Christ and that we are joined to Christ, becoming one spirit with him. This means that there exists an intimate connection between the believer and Christ so that what happens to one impacts the other (1 Corinthians 6:15-17). Then, in verse 20, we are told that we were purchased by Christ, thus owned by him, and 1 Peter 1:18-19 tells us that the purchase price was the very precious blood of Christ. Thus, we now belong to Christ through redemption and are unified and identified with him.

Third, we belong to God the Holy Spirit. Paul writes, “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit” (v. 19). What this means is that at salvation, the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in your body and says, “This is my house!” Also, he calls our body a temple, a place of worship, which means that our bodies, at all times, are to be engaged in the practice of giving praise and honor to God, even to the point that what we eat and drink are to bring glory to him (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Thus, based upon the fact that the Trinity lays claim to the believer, Paul then gives this simple application: “So glorify God in your body” (v. 20). When it comes to sexual immorality, living to the glory of God means a commitment to enjoy sex as God intends, which is only within the bond of marriage, and not for our own selfish pursuits. Pornography is outside God’s good intentions for sex, and thus there is one simple application: Stop indulging in porn and start using your body to bring glory to God!

  • Husbands, stop looking at porn and commit to having eyes only for your wife as you serve her and lovingly lead her.
  • Wives, stop having pornographic fantasies in your mind with other men, and commit to thinking gracious thoughts of gratitude toward your husband.
  • Young people, stop staying up late searching for porn and start searching for ways to serve in the church.
  • Christian parents, do not give your kids pornography by giving them unfiltered smartphones, but spend time with them, reading the Bible and praying with them.

There are so many other ways to fight the battle against porn, and if you need help, First Counseling has many loving people ready to walk with you and guide you to freedom from this sin that clings so closely. Sin can entangle us and cause our Christian race to come to a screeching halt. In our day, the sin of pornography is one of the greatest offenders. However, there is victory in Christ as we seek to apply Scripture to every area of life, especially the area of sexuality. May we heed the warning from Paul to flee sexual immorality as we seek to glorify God with our bodies.

Listen to Pastor Ryan’s sermon on Caring for Those Stuck in Sin from the Sunday night series entitled Reclaiming Love: People of Compassion in a World Full of Hate.

Ryan Trzeciak (DMin, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves First Baptist Church as the Director of First Counseling.

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