Again to a white, middle class English congregation, this passage may seem to be irrelevant. That is not to say that this type of Christian does not consort with prostitutes, but that if anyone was doing this from that type of fellowship they would be very careful not to be detected. In Corinth it appears that everything was done openly with the support and understanding of the fellowship, viewing this as part of their freedom in Christ, of which Paul had spoken. Freedom in Christ, Paul declares, is not an excuse to do whatever you feel like doing: it is not acceptable to treat others badly and it is not acceptable to treat your own self badly so that the things you are doing affect your relationship with the living Holy Spirit who dwells within you! You may call it, as the Corinthians did, some essential part of human living as fellow animals with all creatures, but knowing God brings with it the awareness that you are far more than just another animal, because you are loved personally by God and have been welcomed into His family! 'Glorify God with your body!' declares Paul. The Corinthians lived in a city which was a confluence for many different ethnic groups and one dominant group would have been the Greeks, who believed that the body imprisoned the soul. This induced either extreme, ascetic living, or an acceptance that whatever they did in the body did not affect the soul and its eternal path. Paul states that sexual sin is the most damaging of all sins-other sins do not affect the body in the way that this does-and the body should be protected and kept holy all the more once one becomes a believer. If God lives inside you, how else should you act? Total commitment should be made to avoid sexual sin to keep oneself pure and in doing so, it is recognised that, anyway, we are not our own, we are now governed by a Higher Master and obedience to Him will bring us to full freedom. The Christian must do what Christ likes, because Christ bought him or her at the cost of His life!
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