1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds Paul's teaching on the true temple of God.
Time for our class to begin. Let’s begin with a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we turn to Thee with appreciation and thanksgiving for the Scriptures which have been given to us, because they remind us of the concern of heaven with us who belong to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and not only for us, but with the whole of the human society. We remember, Lord, that Thou hast given us a revelation; a revelation of the creating work of our great God and of the redeeming work of our great God. And we give Thee thanks and praise for all that has been accomplished and especially, Lord, for opening our blind minds and hearts to the gospel of Christ. We thank Thee for the greatness of the Son of God.
We thank Thee for his love for his people. We remember that his name is called Jesus, because he shall save his people from their sins. And we thank Thee that by marvelous grace we belong among that number. We acknowledge, Lord, there isn’t anything within us that could have brought about or caused such a manifestation of grace to us. In fact, the very opposite, for we were rebels, we were enemies, we have turned against Thee and Thou didst turn us back toward Thee, and we thank Thee. We praise Thy name for all that our Lord has accomplished. And we thank Thee that we have a great high priest who continues that work at the right hand of our Father’s throne, working to, in his unfinished work, to secure for each of us all that he has won for us in his death on Calvary’s cross.
We thank Thee, Lord, for the Scriptures which set forth for us the triumphant conclusion of that work. When he who is King of kings and Lord of lords shall not only come, institute his kingdom, but usher us into the eternal state in relationship to Thee. We ask, Lord, that as we study the Scriptures this evening that Thou will be with us, guiding each one of us so that we may understand. And then also follow in our Christian lives the things that we see written in the word of God for us and for our salvation.
We Pray Thou blessing upon each one present, upon their families. We pray for this church. We pray for the elders and for the deacons and for the members and the friends and those who visit from Sunday to Sunday or Wednesday to Wednesday, we pray for each of them. And we pray that they may find in the ministry of Believer’s Chapel that which is real, which is related to that divine revelation of which we have been speaking. We pray, O God, that there may be a number who come to our Lord and Savior, recognizing him as the Savior of their sins, and by Thy grace be moved to give themselves to him for time as well as for eternity. And now, Lord, we pray that Thou will be with us as we look at the word of God.
For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
[Message] Well, we are turning to 1 Corinthians chapter 6. And our subject for this evening is “Desecrating the Temple or God” and the passage is chapter 6, verse 12 through verse 20. And I’d like to begin by reading through the entire passage, then we’ll come back and look at some of the important things that are found within it.
The apostle has been talking to the saints about the fact that Christians are forbidden to go to law against one another. They should take their differences with one another to the elders of the church. And they have been warned that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God, that we are warned not to be deceived, that fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites, thieves, coveters, drunkards, revilers, extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And then the marvelous little clause, “And such were some of you.”
Now, that statement means that of all of that category, there were some in Corinth that were described properly by those words. And such, of such sort, every one of them homosexuals, as well as the thieves, “And such were some of you.” And you’ll notice he says, “Were some of you,” because implicit in all of this is that the gospel ultimately transforms a person’s life. And so he cannot, according to Scripture, continue in the kind of life that he lived, because the fundamental fact of the salvation of Christ is that we’re delivered from bondage to sin. It does not mean that we may not fall into sin, but from bondage to sin, from living as sinners.
So now in verse 12, he says, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Foods for the stomach, and the stomach for foods: but God will destroy both it and them. Now, the body is not for sexual immorality.” Now, remember we pointed out that this Greek word is not a general term, it’s specific term. It refers to fornication, the act of fornication. So:
“Foods for the stomach, the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God both raised up the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of a harlot? Certainly not. Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? for the two, He, (capitalized probably, He, my text is capitalized,) “He says, Shall become one flesh. But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. For…”
I started out by saying “for” but it’s “flee.” Now, I can read that. I know what you’re thinking, “Dr. Johnson’s eyesight is so bad he looked at that ‘flee’ and thought it was ‘for.’” No, I spoke before I looked. “Flee, fornication.” Again, every sin that a man does is outside the body; but he who commits fornication sins against his own body.
“Or do you no know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price: therefore…”
Now I want to say a word about that “therefore” later on, because it’s not the common word for “therefore” and it’s not one of the synonyms for it in the strictest sense. It’s a little different word that has a slightly different sense, but we’ll talk about it when we get to it. My text says, and yours probably does too, “therefore glorify God in your body.” And then these last words have been added in some of the manuscripts, but they’re probably not genuine, and so my text has “in your body and in your spirit which are God’s.” But the point of the chapter is the body, and so, “Glorify God in your body,” seems to be the proper ending of the chapter.
“Desecrating the Temple of God.” In a day when our society is deeply disturbed by moral questions and bereft of the compass of God’s word, we certainly need the guidance of the Apostle Paul. Last Wednesday night, I made reference to a document that has been signed by a number of leaders in Roman Catholicism and some evangelicals, in this document, evangelicalism and Catholic theology. There is an attempt on the part of the bodies to draw the two together. And in the midst of that document, there is a good statement concerning the relationship between religion and morality.
Now, I was critical of the document, and I’m still critical of the document. I’m critical because evangelicals have put their name to something that is, in its ultimate sense, non-evangelical. And we named some of the men who are well-known men in evangelicalism who put their names to it. We have men like Dr. Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ, Jim Packer — now I did not know last Wednesday night when I said what I said that he had also ascribed harmony with the statement — Pat Robertson, John White, I mentioned, a well-known member of the Reformed Church of America, and others affirming their basic agreement with the statement in that declaration. And that declaration, in my opinion, contains within it an avoidance of the doctrine of justification by faith alone. There is a statement with reference to justification by faith. Because it is possible for a Roman Catholic to say he believes in justification by faith. Some do. Even though in the days of Luther, they would have eschewed that statement; now, they have brought themselves to the place where they can say it. But when they define what they mean by it, it’s evident that it’s not justification by faith alone, but the sacramental system must still be observed. And the sacramental system is, in its heart, a salvation by works.
Now, in the midst of the statement, however, there is something that I think is good. The document, incidentally is titled “Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium.” In the midst of it are these words, religion and religiously grounded moral conviction is not an alien or threatening force in our public life. For the great majority of Americans, morality is derived, however variously and confusedly, from religion. The argument increasingly voiced in sectors of our political culture that religion should be excluded from the public square must be recognized as an assault upon the most elementary principles of democratic governance. I think any evangelical could agree with that. We could not have any morality that is not ultimately grounded in the truth of the word of God. They’ve used the expression religion, but understanding it as the truth of the word of God, that is the foundation of morality. And we, of course, would whole-heartedly, I hope, agree with that.
Now, I say that today is a day in which we have deep disturbance over moral questions. If you read our newspapers and if you listen to the things that are said in the public discussions, such as our TV, the radio, in the kinds of political discussions that people have in our day, you cannot help but come to the conclusion that the very things that Paul is talking about loom large in our society. In fact, in our public dissemination of news and comment, looming large in all of it is an emphasis upon sex, and sex not in the sense in which it is found in the Bible, but sex in an evil sense.
This morning I looked in the newspaper, and I don’t usually read Mary Fickland’s little column in the Today section because she’s obviously writing for old people. And so I don’t read it. I try to avoid that. No, occasionally I do read it. She said, “Do men and women make love these days? We hear only about people who have sex. They have it frequently and semipublicly, on command or on demand, protected or unprotected, within genders, within families, on the job, off the job, with friends, acquaintances, and strangers. And we hear about it over and over and over. The evening news seems to require a having-sex story, the more bizarre the better. Television talk shows thrive on sexual confessions. So do soap operas plots in movies and careers. I know a great deal more about Madonna’s private life than I want to know.”
She goes on to talk about individuals [who] said, “They make love, they have sex, are the two the same?” And then tries to make the point, not very scripturally, because it’s not heavy in that. But she tries to make the point that having sex, sexual intercourse, is different from love and making love. There is a vast difference between people who engage in the sexual act, who have no fundamental love for one another and those who fundamentally love one another and engage in the sexual act. In other words, all fornication is not fornication in the sense in which God would have individuals to engage in sexual intercourse.
Now, the Corinthians are perilously close to the moral morass of our society. John Calvin has a comment. I was astonished by this comment, I must confess. If I’d ever read it before, it had not stuck with me, perhaps because if I read it I probably read it twenty-five years ago when things were slightly different. But at any rate, in the midst of a comment he says, “But where vices run riot with impunity, people take custom for law.” Let me say that again, quote it again. “Where vices run riot with impunity, people take custom for law.”
Well, that’s what’s happened in our society. What we have seen is vice has run riot over the past decades that now people look at the vice as if it’s natural and normal. We can see it in the debate that has taken place over abstinence and free condoms. The sense is everybody is going to commit sexual acts, young and old, and since they’re going to do it then let’s make it easier and healthier for them to do it. “Where vice runs riot with impunity, people take custom as law.” But custom is far from law for a Christian. What the Christian finds as law is found in the words of holy Scripture.
Now, the apostle in chapter 6 of 1 Corinthians has almost worn out the expression “do you not know.” So these things were evidently taught them at some time in the past, and he’s reminding them of things they ought to know. Notice what he said in our last study, verse 2, “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?” Verse 3, “Do you not know that we shall judge angels?” And then verse 9, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?” Well, he’s still in that mode. Do you not know, because three more times in this section he will remind them of things that they evidently should have known, but they have forgotten. In verse 15, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” Verse 16, “Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her?” And then verse 19, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?” These are three great truths that they ought to know. The matter of sexual vices, the apostle certainly says here, “is not a matter of indifference, it touches the body.”
Now, you must understand that when he says it touches the body, he’s thinking of all that God has in store for the body of men and women. The body is a permanent organism. We are to experience the resurrection of the body. If we don’t talk about the resurrection of Christ’s body, we should not talk about the resurrection at all. Theologians have often told us, you cannot talk about Christ’s resurrection if you’re not talking about the resurrection of the body. The body that came out of the grave is the body that was placed in the grave, glorified now, but the same body. There is continuity, and there is continuity. This may disappoint some of you. But you’ll be surprised, and happily surprised, there is continuity between your present body and the resurrection body. So the Scriptures say. Your present body will become a glorified body. So therefore the body is something permanent. We have been given a body. The body is permanent. The belly is not. The body is permanent. So let’s just take a look at these things, because this is the point of what he’s saying, if you commit illicit fornication, you are harming the body. That’s his point.
Now, first of all, he will say, “Your bodies are members of Christ.” Now, you might ask why did he start out by saying in verse 12, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” And you may remember that later on he says it for a third time that all things are lawful. In chapter 10, verse 23, he said, “All things are lawful for me, but I will — but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me but not all things edify.”
It’s very difficult to understand why he would say all things are lawful for me. Commentators have been puzzled by this, and many of the evangelical commentators have come to the conclusion that what he is doing is quoting a watchword or a slogan of the Gnostic party in Corinth. And if that is so, then of course it makes much more sense. Because the Gnostic party of the Corinthians, let’s say, even those not affected by the influence of the Gnostics, were impatient of the restraints of conventional morality. And so you can understand how they might be saying all things are lawful. All things are lawful. All things are lawful.
Well, Paul says, yes, all things are lawful with some limitations. And first of all, all things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. You see the Gnostics might have said since all things are lawful, is not fornication all right? And so the apostle will direct his attention to that point. All types of actions may be permissible, but there are restrictions in limitations.
Now, intercourse, fornication, may be fornication contrary to Scripture. It may be intercourse according to Scripture. In other words, the one act is the same. And so in one sense one could say, yes, intercourse is lawful for me, but certain kinds of intercourse is not helpful. It brings a person under the power of evil. And Paul in chapter 10 adds some further things to say with reference to it.
I know that you might think: well, it seems rather strange that any people would take such a view, but it’s not surprising that in our evangelical life there have actually been those who have taken the position that all things are lawful; that is, without these limitations. There was a group that called itself Campus Christians, a little while back, operating in some of the universities that said that Christ broke all the Ten Commandments so that we would not have to keep them. And then similarly the Association for the Advancement of Christian Studies centered in Toronto, a professing Christian organization of Reformed background, incidentally, said that obeying the commandments was not as we might think, a necessary thing because they were historically conditioned.
And therefore, since they were historically conditioned and we live in the 20th century, we are not subject to those things, as if Gordon Clark said, “As if marriage and private property existed only in the time of Moses.” And Dr. Clark goes on to say, “That such examples of individuals like this provides conclusive evidence that 1 Corinthians ought to be applied to us today, because there are people who do take that attitude toward the truths of the word of God.” So when Paul, therefore, says all things are permitted, Dr. Clark says, he means all types of action. Fornication is forbidden, but sexual intercourse is not forbidden. Sexual intercourse is permitted by law, and its legitimacy is inserted later. Those are the things that we must keep in mind as we think about the things that the apostle is writing.
So now all things are lawful for me, but in verse 13 he says, “Foods for the stomach, and the stomach for foods.” Food and sex bracketed together. That might seem strange to us. But food and sex were bracketed together in the Jerusalem Decree. If you go back and read Acts chapter 15, so you can see that the engagement of an individual in eating and the engagement of an individual in sexual immorality, fornication, there is a relationship between the two. And certainly in our present society, food and sex, illicit type of sex, go together. Our society is an immoral society and it’s an eating society. It’s a society that engages itself in the kinds of eating that is not really good for us. Isn’t that true? You’ve never eaten anything that you were sorry that you ate.
Well, anyway what Paul is saying is that for the body there is a nobler destiny than simply a belly. “Foods for the stomach, and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them.” That is, those who think that the body, the belly, is for food and that’s the end of everything. Now, the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord and the Lord for the body. In other words, the body has a nobler destiny. Fornication is permitted when it is done in love and in accordance with holy Scripture. So the body falls in with the scope of Christ’s saving work, the belly does not. The body is for the Lord. The body is not for fornication. Not that the sexual act is not to be engaged in, because our society, the ongoing society, depends upon sexual intercourse. And that was the reason God created Adam and Eve.
In verse 14, the apostle says, “And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.” The body is destined for the resurrection. John Calvin also has something else to say that I think is very important. He says, “Since Christ has been received into the glory of heaven, what has he in common with the filthy things of this world? However two aspects are included in these words. The first is it’s shameful and sinful that our body, which has been dedicated to Christ, should be desecrated by fornication, in view of the fact that Christ himself has been raised from the dead in order that he might enter on the possession of heavenly glory. The second aspect is that it is a disgraceful thing to prostitute our body to the filth of the earth when we will be sharers in blessed immortality and heavenly glory, along with the Lord Jesus Christ.” So God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.
Then he comes to the climactic statement in verse 15 of this first section, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” If that is true, and Paul affirms it’s true, then it’s intolerable for his members to become members of a prostitute for that is what transpires in fornication. The prostitute and the person who is a member of Christ unite in such a way that they become one. They, too, shall be one flesh; he cites Scripture, as you know, to that effect. “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot?” Certainly not. Lawful sexual union is to be observed. Unlawful sexual intercourse is a disgraceful thing and is an attack, a desecration on the body that God has given us destined for the resurrection and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, in verse 16 through 18, there is some of what I would regard as some of the most important statements in the Bible on the intimacy of sexual union. Verse 16, “Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her for the two,” he says, “shall become one flesh.” Now, Paul is thinking about Genesis 2 in verse 24. You can tell that for the simple reason that he uses the verb kollaomai which is very closely related to the word that is found in the Greek translation of the Old Testament at that point with a prefix proskollaomai. In other words, that word which incidentally means something like to be glued together.
I didn’t check this. I should have checked this to be absolutely accurate, but my recollection is that this is the word that was used when Phillip was preaching the word of God and the Ethiopian eunuch came and joined the chariot. And it’s the word kollaomai which was used, to misuse the usage of Greek; you’d say he became glued to the chariot. Really is he joined the chariot. So, “Do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her?” You can see that the apostle is thinking about an intimate kind of union, and the sexual act is just such an act as that. Designed by God for a specific purpose to represent the relationship of two people, a man and a woman in love from which will come a new personality, which is further evidence of the oneness of the sexual act.
F.F. Bruce has a wonderful little statement from D.S. Bailey. He just cites part of it, but I’m going to read it because I think it’s so true. He says, “Paul’s application of Genesis 22 to casual intercourse with a prostitute, apparently owes nothing to any antecedent notions and displays a psychological insight into human sexuality which is altogether exceptional by 1st century standards. He insists that it is an act which by reason of its very nature engages and expresses the whole personality in such a way as to constitute a unique mode of self-disclosure and self-commitment. That’s what the sexual act is. That’s what biblical intercourse is: two people united in a sexual union, but not simply a sexual union, in a spiritual union as well. And out of that union or in that union an expression of what I am and what my partner is and what my partner is to me and I am to her as well as a commitment of one person to another and the other person to that person.”
That is why in the Bible the act of sexual intercourse is an illustration of the relationship of Jesus Christ and the church. In fact, the first reference to it, as you know in Genesis, when Adam knew Eve his wife, knew Eve his wife. Now, the reason that knew is used is because of the intimacy of that union. A commitment, and not only in the commitment and also a revelation of one another, the commitment as well as the mutual knowledge that flows out of it in a most intimate way.
Now, in the light of that, if that is true, then how can you — as Paul says, how can you take the body which belongs to our Lord and unite the body with a harlot, with a harlot? The apostle is so disturbed to think that an individual would not understand the place of the act of sexual intercourse in human life. So, “Don’t you know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her?” What a contradiction to take that which belongs to our holy, saving Son of God and unite my body in the sanctification that he has granted me when I was converted because in the second verse of the first chapter, remember Paul says, “Those who believe in Christ have been sanctified, unite in a union with a person who is unsanctified.” He goes on to say, in verse 17, “But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.” What a magnificent statement that is. “He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.” That little sentence contains ten English words. “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” But it suggests the highest possible unity between the disciple and the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are many other forms in the Bible to express identification but not a one of them can stand comparison with this one. Take, for example, the sheep and the shepherd. That’s one of the many idioms that are the figures, the metaphors that the New Testament uses with reference to our Lord and his people. He’s the shepherd; we’re the sheep. But the sheep, they wander off from the shepherd, as is so often the case.
The branch and the vine, the branch growing out of the vine and the life of the vine in the vine in the branch, expressive of great union, but the branch may be cut off. And our Lord, you remember in John 15, talks about that, uses it as an illustration. As a matter of fact, the — our Lord talks about the fact that we are members of his body, but the member can be severed from his body. We are in the family of God, and we are the children of God, but children are often alienated from their parents, and even the wife from her husband in the union that they join marriage. But when two spirits blend and become one spirit, you could not express a more inseparable union than one spirit. How can you divide a spirit? One spirit. So this is probably the most beautiful and most wonderful expression of the union of the relationship of our Lord to believers that we have in the Bible, even more so than wedlock. Although that is a valid illustration as we know. We’ve already talked about it tonight. But he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit. And so you who are joined to the Lord in you one spirit, will you go out and have intercourse with a harlot? Prostitute that which belongs to Jesus Christ?
Now, he makes a rather interesting statement in verse 18, he says, “Flee sexual immorality.” That’s, “Flee fornication.” Now, of course to flee fornication suggests to us the fact that the reason we are to flee fornication is because it leaves the filthiest stain in a person’s life. And it brands the body that is the Lord’s body with disgrace. And I cannot help but think as others have noted that when he said flee sexual immorality, he had in mind Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, because that’s precisely what he did, you’ll remember when finally she grabbed him, he left his garment, his coat, in her hands, and ultimately, spent time in prison for his faithfulness to the Lord and fleeing fornication.
Augustine has a very interesting story in his confessions. He tells how as an unconverted man, he had allowed himself to become the willing victim of vile and fleshly lusts. He lived his careless life as the Pagans of that day, associated with the corrupt and wicked members of the society. And when he got converted the great question, he said, on his mind was, “Will I ever be able to live according to the Christian standard of holiness? Will I ever be able to keep myself from the vile sensuous life in which I have lived so long?” And when he first became a Christian, he took as his life text, you may remember Romans 13:13 and 14 where the apostle exhorts the believer to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh. Actually, that was the text that was used of the Lord in his conversion. “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ; make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts.”
And even he says, “Long after his conversion he did not visit the part of the city in which he had spent his time earlier because he was so fearful of what might happen. But one day, on a matter of business, which had called him to that part of the city, as he was walking along the street, he suddenly saw one of the beautiful, yet wicked, companions of his folly. The moment her eyes lit upon him, her face was illuminated with delight, and she came running with outstretched arms, and you remember Augustine is his Latin name. Austin was real name. She came running to him with outstretched arms and said, “Austin, where have you been for so long? We have missed you so.” Now, he was a professor of rhetoric, now. And so he gathered up his long philosopher’s gown and started to run and was not a very dignified proceeding. It reminds me of our Lord’s parable of the prodigal son. But at any rate, he began to run up the street with this Godless girl running after him, calling out to him, “Austin, Austin, why do you run? It’s only I.” And he looked back and said, “I run because it’s not I.” [Johnson laughs] What he was trying to say was there’s been a tremendous change that had taken place in him, and he was no longer Austin, the Austin that she knew, but he was a different Austin.
Flee sexual immorality. Now, finally in the last three verses, “Our body the temple of the Holy Spirit.” Now, we’ve had a similar reference back in chapter 3 in verse 16 where we read these words, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” But there the verbs are plural — the you is plural — and so the chances are that the community is in view there when he says that you are the temple of God. That is the church as a whole is the temple of God. But here he seems to have in mind the individual believer’s body. I do think that is what he has in mind. But he says now, “Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.”
There were two words in the New Testament that I used with reference to temple. There may be others, but these two are prominent ones. One is the word naos and the other is the term hieron. A hieron is the term that refers to the temple precinct, that is the buildings of the temple. But the naos is that part of the temple in which the Holy of Holies was found. So it is the shrine. It is the place where worship was consummated. That’s the word that is used in both of these places. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It is the inner shrine of the Holy Spirit. It’s where worship is to be carried out.
There are two ways in which a man shows himself to be an owner, and the figure here is ownership. First of all, by purchase. I show that I am an owner by purchasing a dwelling. In that case, I’m the owner of the dwelling. I also can show myself to be an owner by occupying it. Those two things, we buy a house, and then we occupy it. Now, what has happened in our spiritual life, Paul explains, is there has been a purchase and there is an occupation. So he says, don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price, therefore glorify God in your body. So in the case of our being purchased by the Lord, and he having become the owner, these two things are involved. He has purchased us, and he is now through the ministry of the Holy Spirit come to indwell his purchased possession. This is something that has taken place.
You know, it’s very interesting that in the Christian hymnology it was very difficult for the writers of hymns to really write hymns with the conviction that we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. If you turn to the back of the hymnals, I don’t remember specifically our hymnal; our hymnal’s not the best hymnal by a long shot. I have often, well for years, wished we had a better hymnal, but in Believers Chapel one man doesn’t dictate, do we? No, we don’t dictate. We have different opinions. We submerge our interests in some things for the benefit of the whole occasionally, not always but occasionally. But if you’ll turn to hymns on the Holy Spirit, you will find that the great majority of them have the expression, “Come, Holy Spirit.” In fact, they often begin that way, “Come, Holy Spirit.” Isn’t that strange?
Dr. Chafer was a musician. He recognized that immediately, and he used to warn us in seminary about that fact that it was hard to find a hymn on the Holy Spirit that was true to the ministry of the Holy Spirit because they all seem to suggest that he was not really indwelling of us yet. And we were to beg him or pray for him to come and indwell us. It’s perfectly proper for us to pray that the Holy Spirit be more real in his indwelling that we may realize it more in things like that. But the text of Scripture is so clear, “Don’t you know that your body is the shrine of the Holy Spirit who is in you?” It was the object of our Lord’s Prayer. I will pray the Father. He will give you another comforter who shall abide in you. He has been with you. He shall be in you in the future.
We live in the day of the completion of the atoning work of Christ and therefore, the gift of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost to the church and now every believer in Christ is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Go home tonight, get down by the side of your bed and thank God if you haven’t, if you don’t constantly. Maybe in this room, you always do this. Thank God that the Holy Spirit indwells you and remember that in the experiences of life when day after day in your business you face decisions, among your friends you face decisions, in your acquaintances you face decisions, in your relationships, husband and wife, you have to recognize these great spiritual truths if you are going to be pleasing to the Lord in those relationships that we necessarily have.
Now, he says, “He is in you because we have been bought with a price.” Now, he is not talking specifically here about ransom. He’s talking more about a change of ownership in this case. You were bought with a price. He refers, of course, to what our Lord has done on Calvary’s cross. I do want you to notice this, though, that when he uses this term that is found here in the Greek text, he’s talking about an effectual purchase, not a provisional purchase. It’s an effectual purchase. And every time that this verb is used when it is used in a redemptive way, the purchase is effectual. That is, the person is really bought. He’s not possibly bought, provisionally bought, but he has been bought. So specifically you were bought with a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body. So this is an effectual purchase. It’s like an individual who goes into the market because this is the word that was used for the market, to go into the market and to make a purchase, put it in your little sack Tom Thumb, and take it home. It is yours. You have paid for it. It’s effectually yours. You have been bought with a price.
Now, the price is not described here, but it, undoubtedly, is to be understood in the light of 1 Peter chapter 1, verses 18 and 19, that is in the sense that it is at the cost of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Most of us use expressions like that. We come, and we have some possession in our hand and someone says, “Where did you get that?” And you say, “Well, I got it at so and so, but I paid a price for it.” And what we mean by that is we paid a big price for it. Well, this is a big price here. This is not simply a price, but the idea back of it, a big price. The big price of course is what our Lord has done. One of the old Puritans said Calvary is the market place where the Savior bought us with blood, but he never got his money’s worth.
I have a little laptop computer and the company went bankrupt, bought by another one. So I’m stuck with this laptop computer, and my battery finally wore out, has become worn out. So I had to get a battery. So the battery I think — if I had bought this battery when the company was in business, I think it would cost me, as I remember, maybe $25 or something like that. So I called up the company that so far as I know is the only company selling it. I was pointed to this company in New Jersey and, undoubtedly, they’re the kind of company that just does that kind of business. And so they realized they’ve got a lot of people out that are dependent on them. So the battery now is $125 Now, I ordered the battery, but I want to tell you it was at a price. [Laughter] And I’m going to be careful how I use it. I said how long is this battery going to last? Well, it will last for a year, one year. Well, that’s as much as the allowance Martha gives me. [Laughter]
So anyway we read here you were bought with a price, therefore — now this little word therefore, I said something about that when we started. This is a word, a connective word, not often found as I remember; it’s not the ordinary word, un which Paul uses frequently. This is a rather emphatic little article. And it has been suggested that it should be translated “be sure” or “I urge you.” In other words there is a little bit of emphasis upon it, not the inferential kind of inference, because of this, therefore this. But be sure, therefore. And so that’s the point, for you were born with a price, I urge you, glorify God in your body. Some of your texts have, “in your spirit which are the Lord’s” and that’s fine, but it just detracts from the point of the passage which is to glorify God in our bodies. Be sure, I urge you.
In other words, the apostle says, remember both negatively and positively, glorify God in your body which is indwelt permanently by the third person of the Trinity. Don’t engage in fornication. Don’t join your body to something that is contrary to the holiness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Glorify God in your body. Eliminate the defilements in your relationship and also display the one who has come to indwell you, the Holy Spirit. And display him in the submission of you, each one of you, to our Lord who through the Spirit ministers to you constantly.
Well, when the church goes to the church house, God goes with them. And when people leave the house where they have met with our Lord and the saints, he also leaves with him. Let us come to our meetings in holiness, and let us also leave in holiness, and let us be careful insofar as God gives us the strength and the will to live holily for him in this wicked, wicked, and increasingly wicked society of which we are apart.
Let’s bow together in prayer.
[Prayer] We thank Thee, Lord, for the word of God. We thank Thee for the admonitions of it. We thank Thee for the greatness of our redemption. We belong to Thee. We are the sheep of Thy pasture. We are the members of our Lord’s body. We are the bride of our great groom, the Lord Jesus Christ. We are one spirit with him. O God, help us who have been sanctified to live as saints of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In his name. Amen.
For over 30 years, Dr. S. Lewis Johnson led the congregation of Believer's Chapel in Dallas, TX. In loving recognition for all he has done, we dedicate this site to preserving his work.