INTRODUCTION TO 1 Corinthians 6
The principal view of this chapter is to dissuade Christians from going to law with one another before Heathens, and also from fornication: the apostle begins with the first of these, and argues against it, from its being a daring, dangerous, and scandalous practice; and from the different characters of the persons, before whom controversies about civil things among Christians should and should not be brought; the one being saints, and so conscientious persons, and would do the right thing; the other unjust, and so justice could not be expected to be done by them, 1 Corinthians 6:1, and that the former, and not the latter, should be appointed judges in such cases, is argued from the greater to the lesser; that seeing these will judge the world, much more then should they be employed in matters of less consequence, 1 Corinthians 6:2 and by the same sort of argument it is further urged, that even angels themselves shall be judged by the saints; then much more might affairs appertaining to this life, be brought before them, and be decided by them, 1 Corinthians 6:3 yea, even the things that were litigated by them, and which they had power of judging in, were such as might be determined by the men of the least capacity among them, and therefore had no need to bring them before Heathen magistrates, 1 Corinthians 6:4 besides, it could not be spoken of, but to their shame, that after all their boast of their gifts, learning, and eloquence, there was not one man of wisdom and ability among them, to judge in matters of civil property, 1 Corinthians 6:5 and this evil of commencing law suits in Heathen courts of judicature, is aggravated by its being done, not between Christians and heathens, but between one Christian brother and another, and that before men that were infidels, 1 Corinthians 6:6 and which to do, showed a great deficiency of love, wisdom, and care; and much better it was to take and suffer wrong, than to be guilty of such criminal conduct, 1 Corinthians 6:7 yea, those, that drew their brethren before such judgment seats, did them wrong, both by bringing them thither, and by getting their cause in an unjust manner, 1 Corinthians 6:8 wherefore, to deter from such unrighteous procedures, the apostles declares, that all injurious persons, and wicked men in any way, and of any sort, should not inherit the kingdom of God, 1 Corinthians 6:9 and whereas some of those the apostle writes to had been such, but now through the grace of God were otherwise, this should be considered as an argument, why they should not contend with one another before persons destitute of the grace they were partakers of, 1 Corinthians 6:11 and now the apostle having mentioned fornication as a sin which excluded from the kingdom of God, and this being reckoned by the Gentiles an indifferent thing; he first observes of indifferent things in general, that are really so, that though they are lawful to be used, it is not expedient to use them at all times, and under all circumstances; and especially care should be taken, that by the use of them, we do not become slaves unto them, 1 Corinthians 6:12 and then particularly instances in meats, which without distinction might be lawfully eaten, they being made for the belly, and the belly for them; which was answering the original design of them, though hereafter both will be destroyed; yet fornication must not be put upon a level with them, and reckoned indifferent as they are; since the body was not made to be abused and defiled, or for fornication: but to be redeemed and sanctified by the Lord, and to serve him, and who was appointed for the redemption and sanctification of that, 1 Corinthians 6:13 moreover, the sin of fornication is dissuaded from, by the consideration of the resurrection of the body as a glorious one, by the power of God, of which Christ's resurrection is a pledge; and therefore should not be defiled with this sin, 1 Corinthians 6:14 as also from the bodies of the saints being the members of Christ; and therefore should not be made the members of an harlot by fornication, these things being utterly absurd and inconsistent, 1 Corinthians 6:15. Which is illustrated by observing, that he that is joined in unlawful copulation with an harlot, becomes one flesh with her, 1 Corinthians 6:16 which is confirmed by a passage cited out of Genesis 2:24 which regards carnal copulation in general; but one that is in union with Christ, and is become a member of him, is one spirit with him; and therefore since there is such a spiritual union between them, fornication, which joins, unites, and makes a man one with an harlot, should be carefully avoided, 1 Corinthians 6:17 and in order the more to deter from this sin, the apostle observes, that it is not like some other sins, which are without the body, but this is by it, and with it, and against it; it is dishonourable, and may be hurtful to it, 1 Corinthians 6:18 to which he adds, that the bodies of the saints are the temples of the Holy Ghost, where he dwells, and therefore should not be polluted with fornication, 1 Corinthians 6:19 and closes all with an argument, taken from their bodies not being their own property, to use and abuse at pleasure, but the purchase of Christ's blood; and therefore it was incumbent upon them to glorify him with them, as well as with their spirits, and not defile them with fornication.
Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?Dare any of you, having a matter against another,...., Any thing in difference, an action, cause, or suit. The apostle having dispatched the affair of the incestuous person, and blamed this church for their conduct therein: and having given them instructions what they should do, proceeds to lay before them another evil among them he had to complain of; which was, when any difference arose among them about their worldly concerns, they would
go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints; a method of proceeding condemned by the Jews, who would not suffer any causes of theirs to be tried before Gentiles, only before Israelites; their canon runs thus (u),
"he that tries a cause before the judges of the Gentiles, and before their tribunals, although their judgments are as the judgments of the Israelites, lo, this is an ungodly man; and it is as if he blasphemed and reproached, and lift up his hand against the law of Moses our master, as it is said, Exodus 21:1 now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them, , "and not before the Gentiles"; , "and not before idiots", private or illiterate men.''
They looked upon such an action as bad as profaning the name of God; hence they say (w),
"we must not try a cause in the courts of the Gentiles, for they come from the strength of judgment; this is Esau an hairy man, for they have no concord nor mercy--and he that comes before thee , "profanes the name of God", who is gracious and merciful, and honours the name of an idol--wherefore he that brings a cause before the Gentiles, is the occasion of spreading the property of judgment in the world----therefore let a cause be tried before the Israelites, for they are the secret of mercy, and not before the Gentiles, nor before idiots:''
they affirm (x) it to be a greater sin than murder, and that not only profanations of the name of God, but rapine and violence are comprehended in it; and that to give evidence in an Heathen court against an Israelite, deserves excommunication; for so it is said, (y).
"he that bears witness against an Israelite , "in the courts of the Gentiles", and by his testimony gets money from him, which is not according to the judgment of the Israelites, they excommunicate him until he repays it.''
"it is forbidden to order causes in the courts of (the rest of the nations) idolaters, for they have no part in the side of our faith.''
The apostle here dissuades from this practice, of going to law before Heathen magistrates, not only from its being an imprudent, but an impudent, "daring", rash and adventurous action; and seems surprised that any should attempt it, when it must unavoidably expose their weaknesses and faults to their enemies; nor could they expect justice to be done them by men of such a character, as "unjust", who neither feared God, nor regarded men; were not only destitute of righteousness, but filled with all unrighteousness, and had not so much as the principles of common justice and equity in them; when on the contrary, from the saints, men who have the principles of grace and holiness wrought in them, and live soberly, righteously, and godly, who have the fear of God before their eyes, and upon their hearts; they might reasonably conclude, were matters brought before them, they would be adjusted according to judgment and truth, without exposing the sin and weakness of any party to the world.
(u) Maimon. Hilch. Sanhedrin, c. 26. sect. 7. Vid. T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 38. 2.((w) R. Abraham Seba in Tzeror Hammor, fol. 80. 4. (x) R. Bechai in Kad Hakkemach, fol. 21. 4. apud Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. col. 1666. (y) Maimon. Talmud Tora, c. 6. sect. 14. (z) Zohar in Exod. fol. 103. 3.
Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world,.... The apostle appeals to them concerning this matter, as a thing well known unto them, or might easily be known by them; for this was either a traditional notion among the Jews, many of whom were in this church, that good men should judge the world; as is said of the righteous in the apocryphal book:
"They shall judge the nations, and have dominion over the people, and their Lord shall reign for ever.'' (Wisdom 3:8)
and so the Jews say (a), that
"the first day of the month is the beginning of judgment in the whole world, and Isaac sat on a throne, , "to judge the world":''
or this might be collected, as Dr. Lightfoot observes, out of Daniel 7:18, but the difficulty is, in what sense the apostle means the saints shall judge the world; not merely in a comparative sense, for so even will the Heathens, the men of Nineveh, and the queen of Sheba, judge and condemn the Jews; nor as assessors on the throne with Christ, for though they shall sit on the same throne with him as reigning, yet not as judging with him, all judgment is solely committed to him: nor merely as approving that judiciary sentence, that will be pronounced by him on the world; for even wicked men themselves, and devils, will be obliged to own the justice of it; but his meaning is, that in a little time the saints, Christian men, men under a profession of Christianity at least, should be governors in the world, and bear the office of civil magistracy in it; which came to pass in a few centuries after the writing of this, and has been more or less the case ever since; and will be more so in the latter day, when kings shall be nursing fathers, and queens nursing mothers to the church; and when the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High: upon which the apostle strongly argues,
and if the world shall be judged by you; if such men as you shall bear sway in it, fill up all civil offices in it, even the highest; shall sit upon the benches of judges, and on the thrones of kings, and at last have the government of the whole world; since such honour the saints shall have, and be abundantly capable of it,
are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? is it too high a post, and can you be thought to be unqualified for, and unfit to have such trivial things, of little or no moment and importance, things relating to the common affairs of life, brought before you, and be tried, and judged by you?
(a) Ibid. in Lev. fol. 13. 4.
Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?Know ye not that we shall judge angels,.... Meaning not the ministers of the Gospel, and pastors of churches, called "angels", Revelation 1:20 whose doctrines are examined, tried, and judged by the saints, according to the word of God; nor the good angels, who, were it possible that they could, or should publish a Gospel contrary to what has been preached by the apostle, would be contradicted, condemned, and accursed by him, see Galatians 1:8 but the evil angels, the devil and his angels: and this is to be understood not of their future final judgment and condemnation at the last day, when saints will subscribe unto, and approve of the sentence pronounced upon them, and will triumph over them in their destruction; but of the judgment of them, and of their ejection out of the Gentile world, out of their oracles, idols, and idol temples, to which Christ refers, John 12:31 and calls the judgment of this world, and the casting out of the prince of it by the ministry of his apostles; and which was now already begun, and ere long would be fully accomplished: accordingly the Syriac version renders it, "know ye not , that we are about to judge angels?" and the Arabic, "know ye not that we judge angels?" from whence the apostle infers very justly,
how much more things that pertain to this life? this animal life; to the trade and business of life; to pecuniary matters, to estates and possessions in this world, about which differences may arise between one saint and another.
If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life,.... Not judgements relating to life and death, for these were not in the power of a Jewish sanhedrim now, and much less of a Christian community, but were wholly in the power of the Roman magistrates; but judgments relating to the common affairs of life, or what the Jews call , "pecuniary judgments" (b), in distinction from , "judgments of souls", or capital ones. The Jews say (c),
"that forty years before the destruction of the temple, capital judgments were taken from Israel; and in the days of R. Simeon ben Jochai, pecuniary judgments were taken away from Israel.''
Now this Rabbi lived many years after the times of the apostles, so that as yet the Jews had a power of exercising such judgments; and no doubt the Christian's also, who as yet were very little, if at all, distinguished from the Jews by the Romans: and therefore since such judgments were within the compass of their authority, the apostle advises
to set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church; meaning, not those of the lowest circumstances of life, and of the meanest abilities and capacities; for in the next verse he requires a wise man for such a business; but private persons, laymen, who were not in any office and authority in the church, in distinction from pastors, elders, and rulers, that were in office, power, and high esteem, whom he would not have troubled with cases of this nature; but should rather choose out from among the laity persons of the best judgment and capacity, to be umpires and arbitrators in such worldly matters, which do not so properly come under the notice and cognizance of spiritual guides. The phrase, "to judge", is not in the original text, where it is only "set", or "put in the chair"; but is added in the Vulgate Latin version; and to which agree both the Syriac and Arabic versions; the former reading the words, "they that are despised in the church, set for you in judgment"; and the latter, "make them to sit judges". The Jews, as Dr. Lightfoot observes, besides their great sanhedrim of seventy one persons, and that other of twenty three in their cities of note, and their triumvirate in every synagogue, had also two sorts of benches, who judged of lesser matters; the one was called , "the bench of authorized persons", experienced men, that were approved of, and had their authority from the sanhedrim; and the other was called , "the bench of idiots" (d), or private persons, or , "the bench of those who were not authorized" (e), or had not their authority, from the higher courts; but being judged proper persons, were chosen by the people to arbitrate matters in difference between them; and these are the men the apostle means, at least alludes to, before whom he would have the causes brought.
(b) Misn Sanhedrin, c. 1. sect. 1.((c) T. Hieros. Sanhedrin. fol. 24. 2.((d) T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 32. 1.((e) Maimon. Hilch. Ishot, c. 17. sect. 13. T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 88. 2. Gloss. in. ib.
I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?I speak to your shame,.... Not that they did set such persons to judge, but that they did not; and instead of so doing went to law with their brethren before the unjust:
is it so that there is not a wise man among you? this also the apostle speaks to their shame, who had so much gloried in their wisdom, and boasted of their parts and abilities to the contempt of others, and even of the apostle himself; and yet acted as if there was not a wise man among them capable of judging and determining trivial matters, but they must carry them before unconverted persons:
no not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? for though the above mentioned benches consisted of three persons, yet the contending parties might choose one man to be an arbitrator and judge between them. The rule with the Jews was this (f);
"pecuniary judgments are by three, but if he is authorised or approved by the majority, , "he may judge alone". Says R. Nachman, as I judge pecuniary judgments alone; and so says R. Chaijah, as I judge pecuniary punishments alone.''
(f) T. Bab. Sanhed. fol. 5. 1. Maimon. Hilch. Sanhed. c. 5. sect. 8.
But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.But brother goeth to law with brother,.... The relation meant is spiritual; it was usual for members of churches to be called brethren, they professing to be born again of the same Father, and belonging to the same family under Christ, the son, firstborn, and master of it: and a very wicked and shameful thing it was, that persons in such a relation, being of such a family, should go to law with one another at all:
and that before the unbelievers; which is an aggravation of their sin and folly. The apostle before calls them "unjust", now "infidels", such as had no faith in Christ, disbelieved the Messiah, and denied the whole Gospel, and therefore no faith or confidence should be put in them; for, generally speaking, such as have no faith, are not only wicked, but unreasonable men, men of no reason, conscience, justice, and equity; and therefore very improper persons for believers to bring their causes before.
Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you,.... Or a "defect": a want of brotherly love, or there would be no occasion to go to law at all; a want of wisdom and conduct, or proper persons would be pitched upon, and chosen out from among themselves to be arbitrators and judge between them; and a want of care among their leaders, who else would have pointed out to them such a method of accommodation, and not have suffered them to go the lengths they did:
because ye go to law one with another; which would never be, was there not a declension among you, a decay of your first love, and of the power of religion and true godliness:
why do ye not rather take wrong why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? than to go to law, especially before unjust persons and unbelievers, taking the advice of Christ, Matthew 5:40 It is more advisable to a believer to suffer wrong than to go to law with any man, and especially with a brother. It is a petition in the Jewish liturgy (g),
"let it please thee, O Lord God, and the God of my fathers, to deliver me this day, and every day---from hard judgment, and a severe adversary, , "whether he be a Son of the covenant, or whether he be not a son of the covenant".''
(g) Seder Tephillot, fol. 3. 2. Ed. Basil. fol. 5. 2. Ed. Amst.
Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.Nay, you do wrong and defraud,.... So far were they from taking and acting up to the advice given, that instead of taking wrong, they did wrong; and instead of suffering themselves to be defrauded, they defrauded others:
and that your brethren; that were of the same faith, of the same religion, and in the same church and family: in short, neither party, not the plaintiff, nor the defendant, sought anything more or less than to wrong, trick, and defraud each other; such a sad corruption and degeneracy prevailed among them: hence the apostle thought to deal plainly and closely with them, as in the following verses.
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?.... A way of speaking much like that in the Talmud, "know thou, that the world to come is not made but for the righteous?" (h) Without a righteousness there will be no entrance into the world of bliss and happiness hereafter; and this must be a better righteousness than what a sinful creature is capable of working out, and no other than the righteousness of Christ. It was a loss and want of righteousness that cast the angels down from heaven, and turned Adam out of paradise; and whoever of his posterity: are destitute of one, will fall short of enjoying the glory of God; for it is not agreeable to the holy nature of God, to his infinite justice and righteous law, to admit any into heaven without a righteousness: hence a judgment seat is erected, before which all must stand; and those that will be found without a righteousness, will be for ever excluded the kingdom of heaven; and could any unrighteous persons be received there, it would spoil the pleasure and happiness of the saints. Now this is said, partly to dissuade the Corinthians from going to law with each other before unrighteous persons, who have no right to the kingdom of God, and living and dying as they are, will have no share in it; and therefore since they are not to be fellow heirs and companions with them in another world, they should not bring their causes before them in this; and partly to reprove them for their injurious and unrighteous actions among themselves, their tricking and defrauding of one another, with other sins they were guilty of; which, if not repented of, would show, that notwithstanding their profession, they were destitute of the grace of God, were unfit to be in the kingdom of God, in a Gospel church state here below, and would be shut out of the kingdom of heaven hereafter.
Be not deceived imagining, that through your knowledge and profession you shall be saved, live as you will:
neither fornicators, such as are guilty of uncleanness with persons in a single state:
nor idolaters; who worship more gods than one, and not the true God; who do service to them that are not gods, and perform what the Jews call "strange service": and not only fall down to stocks and stones, but serve divers lusts and pleasures, the idols of their own hearts:
nor adulterers: such as have criminal conversation with persons in a married state:
nor effeminate; or "soft", or, as the Syriac renders it, "corrupters"; that is, of themselves, by voluntary pollution, such as are guilty of the sin of Onan, Genesis 38:8.
Nor abusers of themselves with mankind; sodomites.
(h) T. Bab. Yebamot, fol 47. 1.
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.Nor thieves,.... Who take away another man's property, secret or openly, by fraud or force.
Nor covetous: insatiable, in the lust of uncleanness; or greedy of worldly gain, bent upon increasing their substance at any rate, by circumvention, fraud, and deceit; and do not use the things of this life as they should, for their own good, and that of others.
Nor drunkards who are strong to drink strong liquors; who give up themselves thereunto: who sit down on purpose to intoxicate themselves, and are frequent in the commission of this sin.
Nor revilers; who are free with other men's characters, load them with reproaches, and take away their good names; either openly or secretly, either by tale bearing, whispering, and backbiting, or by raising and spreading scandalous reports in a public manner.
Nor extortioners ravishers of virgins; or plunderers of men's substance in an open and forcible way; or who extort unlawful gain:
shall inherit the kingdom of God; not that these sins, any or all of them, are unpardonable; for such who have been guilty of them may, through the blood of Christ, receive the remission of them, and through the grace of the Spirit of God obtain repentance for them, and have both right and meetness for the kingdom of heaven, as the following words show.
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.And such were some of you,.... Not all, but some of them; and of these everyone was not guilty of all these crimes; but some had been guilty of one, and others of another; so that they had been all committed by one or another of them. The Corinthians were a people very much given to uncleanness and luxury, without measure (i), which was the ruin of their state: and among these wicked people God had some chosen vessels of salvation; who are put in mind of their former state, partly for their present humiliation, when they considered what they once were, no better than others, but children of wrath, even as others; and partly to observe to them, and the more to illustrate and magnify the grace of God in their conversion, pardon, justification, and salvation; as also to point out to them the obligations that lay upon them to live otherwise now than they formerly did.
But ye are washed; which is not to be understood of external washing, of corporeal ablution, or of their being baptized in water; so they might be, and yet not be cleansed from their filthiness, either by original or actual transgressions; nor of the washing of regeneration, which more properly comes under the next head; but of their being washed from their sins by the blood of Christ, through the application of it to them, for the remission of them; which supposes them to have been polluted, as they were originally, being conceived in sin, and shapen in iniquity; naturally, for who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? and internally, in heart, mind, and conscience; also universally, both as to persons, and as to the powers and faculties of their souls, and members of their bodies; and that they could not wash and cleanse themselves by any ceremonial purifications, moral duties, or evangelical performances; but that this was a blessing of grace they enjoyed through the blood of Christ, by which they were washed from their sins, both in the sight of God, his justice being satisfied for them, they were all pardoned and done away, so as to be seen no more, and they appeared unblamable and irreprovable in his sight; and also in their own apprehensions, for being convinced of their pollution, and being directed to Christ for cleansing, the Spirit of God took his blood, and sprinkled it on their consciences, to the appeasement of them, the removal of sin from thence, and a non-remembrance of it.
But ye are sanctified; which designs not their sanctification by God the Father, which is no other than the eternal separation of them from himself, or his everlasting choice of them to eternal happiness; nor the sanctification of them, or the expiation of their sins by the blood of Christ, this is meant in the former clause; nor their sanctification in Christ, or the imputation of his holiness with his obedience and death for their justification, which is intended in the following one; but the sanctification of the Spirit, which lies in a principle of spiritual life infused into the soul, in a spiritual light in the understanding, in a flexion of the will to the will of God, both in grace and providence, in a settlement of the affections on divine objects, and in an implantation of every grace; which is a gradual work, as yet not perfect, but will be fulfilled in all in whom it is begun.
But ye are justified; not by the works of the law, but by the righteousness of Christ. Justified they were from all eternity, as soon as Christ became a surety for them; and so they were when he rose from the dead, who were justified as their head and surety, and they in him; but here it is to be understood of their being justified in the court of conscience, under the witnessings of the Spirit of God; who having convinced them of the insufficiency of their own righteousness, and having brought near the righteousness of Christ unto them, and wrought faith in them to lay hold on it, pronounced them justified persons in their own consciences; whence followed joy, peace, and comfort.
In the name of the Lord Jesus; which may refer, as the following clause, to all that is said before: by "the name of the Lord Jesus" may be meant he himself; and the sense be, that they were washed by his blood, sanctified by his Spirit, and justified by his righteousness; or it may intend the merit and efficacy of Christ's blood, sacrifice, and righteousness; as that their sins were pardoned, and they cleansed from them through the merit of the blood of Christ shed for the remission of their sins; and that they were regenerated and sanctified through the efficacy of Christ's resurrection from the dead; and were instilled by the grace of God, through the redemption that is in Christ: or else the name of Christ may design his Gospel, through which they received the knowledge of God's way of pardoning sinners, and justifying them, and the Spirit of God, as a spirit of regeneration and sanctification:
and by the Spirit of our God; who sprinkled the blood of Christ upon them, to the cleansing of them; who sanctified their hearts, and revealed the righteousness of Christ unto them for their justification, and pronounced the sentence of it upon them. It is to be observed, that all the three persons, Father, Son, and Spirit, are here mentioned, as being jointly concerned in those acts of grace.
(i) Aelian. Hist. var. l. 1. c. 19.
All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.All things are lawful unto me,.... That is, which are of an indifferent nature; otherwise everything is not lawful to be done:
but all things are not expedient; when the doing of them destroys the peace, comfort, and edification of others; when it stumbles and grieves weak minds, and causes offence to them; see 1 Corinthians 10:23
all things are lawful for me; which is repeated for the sake of saying the following words:
but I will not be brought under the power of any; which would be very inexpedient, should any by the use of liberty in things indifferent, on the one hand, offend his brethren, and, on the other, bring himself into bondage to those very things he has the free use of; and therefore the apostle determines, that these shall not have the mastery over him, that he will use them, or not use them, at his pleasure. It is somewhat difficult to know what in particular he has respect unto, whether to what he had been treating of before, concerning going to law before unbelievers; and his sense be, that however lawful this might be in itself, yet it was not expedient, since it was exposing of themselves to ungodly persons, and a putting themselves under their power to judge and determine as they pleased; or whether to the use of meats forbidden under the law, or offered to idols; which though in themselves lawful to be eaten, every creature of God being good, and not to be refused and accounted common and unclean; yet it was not expedient to use this liberty, if a weak brother should be grieved, or a man himself become a slave to his appetite.
Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats,.... All sort of food is appointed and provided to satisfy the appetite and stomach, to fill the belly, and nourish the body; and the belly, and all the parts through which the food passes, are purposely formed by God for the reception and digestion of the food, for its secretion, chylification, and nutrition by it, and the ejection of the excermentitious parts.
But God shall destroy both it and them: at death, and in the grave, when the one shall be consumed, and the other be needless and useless; and though that part of the body, with the rest, will be raised at the last day, since the body will be raised perfect, consisting of all its parts; yet there will be no appetite, no desire in the stomach after meats, no need of them to fill the belly, and so no use of these parts for such purposes as they now are; for the children of the resurrection will be like the angels, and stand in no need of eating and drinking.
Now the body is not for fornication. Though meats are appointed for the belly, and the belly for them, and this and the other sort of meats are of an indifferent kind, which may or may not be used; yet this cannot be said of fornication, which the Corinthians, and other Gentiles, took to be equally indifferent as meats; but the apostle shows there is not the same reason for the one as the other. The body was not originally made and appointed for fornication; this is quite besides the will of God, who has provided marriage as a remedy against it:
but for the Lord; for Jesus Christ, for whom a body was prepared in God's council and covenant; and for the sake of which, and after the exemplar of it in God's eternal mind, the body of man was first formed; and which was also made, as after the image, so for the glory of Christ, to be a member of his, to be redeemed by him, and to serve him in, in righteousness and holiness, and at last to be raised by him, and made like to his glorious body at the great day.
And the Lord for the body; he was preordained in the council of God, and provided in the covenant of grace, and sent in the fulness of time to be a Redeemer and Saviour of the body, as well as the soul; to be a sanctifier of it, and the raiser of it up from the dead in the resurrection; all which are so many arguments to dissuade from the sin of fornication.
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,.... God the Father has raised up from the dead the Lord Jesus Christ, though not exclusive of the Son, who was equally concerned in the resurrection of himself, whereby he demonstrated himself to be the Son of God, truly and properly God.
And will also raise up us by his own power; for the resurrection of the dead, whether of Christ, or of his people, is an act of power, of God's own power, even of his almighty power, and is what the power of a mere creature could never effect. Now as Christ, the head, is raised, so shall all his members by the same power; their bodies will be raised powerful, glorious, incorruptible; and spiritual; an argument that they were never made for fornication, nor to be defiled with such uncleanness.
Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.Know ye not that your bodies are the members, of Christ,.... The whole persons of God's elect were chosen in Christ, and given to him, and made one with him, their bodies as well as their souls; and both are redeemed by him, and, in union with him, are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones:
shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. Signifying, that it is a most absurd, indecent, abominable, and detestable thing, that the bodies of the saints, which are the members of Christ, should be joined in carnal copulation with an harlot.
What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot,.... Not in marriage, but in carnal copulation, and unclean embraces, is one body with her
for two ("saith he", Adam, or Moses, or God, or the Scripture, or as R. Sol. Jarchi says, the Holy Spirit, Genesis 2:24)
shall be one flesh; what is originally said of copulation in lawful marriage, in which man and wife, legally coupled together, become one flesh, is applied to the unlawful copulation of a man with an harlot, by which act they also become one body, one flesh; and which is made use of by the apostle, to deter the members of Christ from the commission of this sin, which makes a member of Christ one body and flesh with an harlot, than which nothing is more monstrous and detestable. The apostle here directs to the true sense of the phrase in Genesis, "and they shall be one flesh"; that is, man and wife shall only have carnal knowledge of, and copulation with each other. Some Jewish (k) writers interpret this phrase, "on account of the foetus", which is formed by the means of them both, and which becomes "their one flesh": others (l), thus as if they were, or because they are, like as if they were one flesh; but others (m), in more agreement with the apostle, think that this has respect , "to that conjunction", by which the fixing of the species is completed; and others (n) expressly thus, "they two shall be one flesh", , "that is, in the place where both of them make one flesh": which is equally done by unlawful copulation with an harlot, as with a man's own wife.
(k) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 6. 3. Jarchi in Gen. ii. 24. (l) Aben Ezra in ib. (m) R. Levi ben Gersom in ib. (n) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 18. fol. 15. 3. T. Hieros. Kiddushin, fol. 58. 3.
But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.He that is joined unto the Lord,.... As every elect person is; his whole person, soul and body, is united to the Lord Jesus Christ, to his whole person, as God-man and Mediator; even as Adam and Eve, whose marriage was a representation of the marriage between Christ and his church, were personally united, and were called by the same name; and as the whole human nature of Christ, consisting of a true body and a reasonable soul, was united to the person of the Son of God; and as appears from the influence that union with Christ has upon the redemption, sanctification, and resurrection of the body. The ground, foundation, and bond of which union is, not the Spirit on Christ's part; for the Spirit being received as a spirit of regeneration, sanctification, &c. is a fruit of union to Christ, and an evidence of it; nor faith on our part, which as a grace is not ours, but the gift of God, and is a fruit of union; nor is it of an uniting nature, but is a grace of communion; and the foundation of all its acts, as seeing Christ, going to him, receiving of him, walking on in him; &c. is a previous union to Christ; but it is the everlasting and unchangeable love of Christ to them, shown in his choice of them, in his covenant with his Father on their behalf, in his engaging for them as a surety, in assuming their nature, and acting, both in time and eternity, as the representative of them, which is the bond and cement of their union, and from which there can be no separation. This union is first discovered in the effectual calling, and will be more manifest hereafter. Now he that is in this sense united to Christ,
is one spirit; for this union is a spiritual one; it is complete and perfect; near and indissoluble; by virtue and in consequence of it, God's chosen ones come to have and enjoy the same spirit in measure, which Christ their head and Mediator has without measure: hence they have the Spirit of God, as a spirit of illumination and conversion, of faith and holiness, of adoption, and as the earnest, pledge, and seal of their future glory. And since so it is, fornication, which makes them one flesh with an harlot, ought studiously to be abstained from.
Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.Flee fornication,.... As that which is hurtful, scandalous, and unbecoming Christians; avoid it, and all the occasions of it, that may lead unto it, and be incentives of it:
every sin that a man doth is without the body not but that other sins are committed by the body, and by the members of it as instruments; they are generally committed by the abuse of other things that are without, and do not belong to the body; and so do not bring that hurt unto and reproach upon the body, as fornication does:
but he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body; not meaning his wife, which is as his own body; but his proper natural body, which is not only the instrument by which this sin is committed, but the object against which it is committed; and which is defiled and dishonoured by it; and sometimes its strength and health are impaired, and it is filled with nauseous diseases hereby.
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost,.... What is said in 1 Corinthians 3:16 of the saints in general, is here said of their bodies in particular. The Holy Spirit, in regeneration and sanctification, when he begins the good work of grace on a man, takes possession of his whole person, soul and body, and dwells therein as in his temple. So the Jews (o) call the body of a righteous man the "habitation" of the Holy Spirit. Now it is most abominably scandalous and shameful that that body, which is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, which is sacred to him as a temple, should be defiled by the sin of fornication: it is added,
which is in you, which ye have of God; meaning the Holy Spirit which was in them, as in his temple; which dwelt in their hearts, and influenced their bodies, lives, and conversations; and which they received of God as a wonderful instance of his grace and love to them; that he should be bestowed upon them, to regenerate, renew, and sanctify them, to implant every grace, to make them a fit habitation for God, and meet for the inheritance of the saints in light:
and ye are not your own: their own masters, at their own dispose, to live to their own lusts, or the lusts of men; men have not power over their bodies to abuse them at pleasure by fornication, or such like uncleanness, neither single nor married persons; see 1 Corinthians 7:4 and of all men, not the saints, who are neither their own nor other men's, nor Satan's, but God's; not only by creation, but by choice and covenant; and Christ's by gift, by purchase, and powerful grace, and in a conjugal relation to him; wherefore fornication ill becomes them.
(o) R. Joseph Albo. apud Pocock. Not. in Pert. Mosis, p. 120, 121.
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.For ye are bought with a price,.... Not with gold and silver, but with the precious blood of Christ, as the whole church, and all the elect of God are. This proves them to be the Lord's, not only his redeemed ones, being ransomed by a price from the bondage of the law, sin, Satan, and the world; but his espoused ones, and which is chiefly designed here; for one way of obtaining and espousing a wife among the Jews was by a price (p);
"a woman (they say) is obtained or espoused three ways; "by silver", by a writing, and by lying with; by silver, the house of Shammai say, by a penny, and the value of a penny; the house of Hillel say, by a "pruta", and the value of a "pruta": how much is a "pruta?" the eighth part of an Italian farthing.''
That is, be it ever so small a price, yet if given and taken on the account of espousals, it made them valid; and it was an ancient rite in marriage used among other nations (q) for husband and wife to buy each other: Christ, indeed, did not purchase his church to be his spouse, but because she was so; but then his purchasing of her with his blood more clearly demonstrated and confirmed his right unto her, as his spouse; he betrothed her to himself in eternity, in the everlasting covenant of grace; but she, with the rest of the individuals of human nature, fell into sin, and so, under the sentence of the law, into the hands of Satan, and the captivity of the world; to redeem her from whence, and by so doing to own and declare her his spouse, and his great love to her, he gave himself a ransom price for her; which lays her under the greatest obligation to preserve an inviolable chastity to him, and to love and honour him.
Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's; by "God" is here meant more especially the Lord Jesus Christ, by the price of whose blood the bodies and souls of his people are bought, which lays the obligation on them to glorify him in and with both; and contains a very considerable proof of the deity of Christ; who is "glorified", when all the perfections of the divine nature are ascribed to him; when the whole of salvation is attributed to him, and he is looked unto, received, trusted in and depended on as a Saviour, and praise and thanks are given unto him on that account; and when his Gospel is embraced and professed, and walked worthy of, and his ordinances submitted to, and his commandments kept in love to him: and he is to be glorified both in body and spirit; "in body", by an outward attendance on his worship, and a becoming external conversation; by confessing and speaking well of him; by acting for him, laying out and using time, strength, and substance, for his honour and interest; and by patient suffering for his name's sake: "in spirit", which is done when the heart or spirit is given up to him, and is engaged in his service, and when his glory lies near unto it; the reason enforcing all this, is because both are his; not only by creation, but by his Father's gift of both unto him; by his espousal of their whole persons to himself; and by his redemption of both soul and body from destruction: the Vulgate version reads, "bear" or "carry God in your body", and leaves out the next words, "and in your spirit", which are God's; and which also are left out in the Ethiopic and in the Alexandrian copy, and some others.
(p) Misn. Kiddushin, c. 1. sect. 1.((q) Servius, in Virgil. Georg. l. 1. lin. 31.