“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
The role of the body is inextricably connected to faith for followers of Jesus. We believe that God values the physical world enough to enter into it. One might even say that Christianity is the most earthy of the world religions. We also believe that eternity will be composed of some physical new heavens and new earth. Unfortunately, this truth seems difficult to believe. Dualistic heresies like Marcionism and Gnosticism have plagued church history, and we are not exempt today. We tend to think about our spiritual lives connecting to God while ignoring our body’s role in faith in the process.
The importance of the body is precisely where Paul turns to advocate for his sexual ethic. Our bodies matter because they are a temple. They are the domain in which the spiritual world can manifest into the physical world. Dallas Willard described our bodies as our “power packs”. Our bodies were meant to be tools through which God’s kingdom came into the world. Just like a temple was meant to be a place where God’s creation could encounter him. Our bodies are now in that place. We are the place where people meet God.
Have you ever thought of your body that way? How might this truth make you think differently about your sexuality? Remember, we are not our sexual desires, we are not our sexual orientation, but we are temples of the living God.