BCC Staff Note: You’re reading the first of a special BCC Grace & Truth blog mini-series on marriage—timed to coincide with the week of Valentine’s Day.
The Sweetness of Marriage in the Lord
There are certain truths, I believe, that make life and marriage in the Lord infinitely sweeter. The truth that “we are not our own” is one of them. The fact that we have been joined to God in Jesus Christ, to live for Him, and the fact that we have been joined to our husband or wife, to seek their eternal good, are realities that both kill our selfish ambitions, by the grace of God, and stir up holy passions and faithful ministry. Listen to how Paul says it in 1 Corinthians 6.
“Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:13b-20).
In the passage above, Paul offers five important truths about our bodies, and two important truths about our souls, which means 7 important truths about who we are and to whom we belong. These truths have significant implications for the way we live our lives, and certainly for our marriages.
1. Our body is, “for the Lord” (verse 13).
Our bodies are not only for ourselves. They are not delivery vehicles for selfish desires. Rather, our bodies are for the Lord.
Our flesh does not think this way. The world does not think this way. If we asked 100 people on the street, “for whom does your body exist?” you might find one or two that answer, “for the Lord.” Almost all will unashamedly say their bodies exist for their own purposes and desires. The more we accept and enjoy the fact that our bodies are for the Lord, the more we will accept and enjoy giving ourselves in service to our mates.
2. The Lord is for the body (verse 13).
Whatever objection or sense of unfairness our flesh conjured after the previous point should be dissolved here. Namely, the Lord has not taken our bodies as His nameless slaves, as if to be used and abused by Him. He has given Himself to our bodies. He has chosen to make our bodies His home. This should amaze us. Of all the places the Lord could choose to dwell, He has chosen to dwell in us.
3. Our bodies will be raised through His power (verse 14).
Our bodies are not temporary, but eternal. They are decaying. They will go back to the dust, but they will be raised. Just as God raised the Lord Jesus Christ, He “will also raise us up through His power.”
In other words, these bodies we have been given will be the bodies God raises on the last day, and glorifies, and gives us forever. They’re not expendable. They’re not personal amusement parks for selfish and sinful ends. God has not given us rental bodies, but good, glorious, dying, and to-be-resurrected bodies that will exist forever.
4. “A member of Christ” (verse 15).
In other words, our bodies are not independent. Everything we think, feel, and do in and with our bodies represents Jesus Christ, and even affects Jesus Christ. Who we join our bodies to matters (verse 15b). Therefore, our bodies can be sinned against (verse 18b). What an incredible idea! We can wrong our bodies. We can mistreat them and misuse them. We sin against our bodies when we violate their created and recreated purpose.
At the same time, being a member of Christ also means we are closely related to one another in Christ. We can sin against one another in how we use our bodies. This idea is a deeply threatening to Western thinking. Together we compose His body on earth, so what we do together with our bodies reflects Jesus Christ in the world.
5. “A temple of the Holy Spirit” (verse 19).
Our bodies are places of worship. “Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Romans 12:1) They are holy, because the Lord God dwells in them through His Holy Spirit. So this is how the Lord comes to be “for the body” (verse 13) – by the filling of His Holy Spirit.
After the construction of the temple in Jerusalem under Solomon’s reign, we witness an awesome moment.
It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD (1 Kings 8:10-11).
How much more serious and spectacular a thing is it, then, when the LORD descends and fills our earthly bodies! The glory of the Lord has filled our bodies. Should we not treat them with the same reverence and care that the priests of Israel were to treat the holy of holies? Should we not use them in marriage in such a way that honor and praise is given to God?
6. “Joined to the Lord.”
The means by which our bodies become members of Christ and temples of the Holy Spirit is the joining of our spirits to the Lord. By faith, we have been joined to the Lord. Jesus Christ prayed for this to happen for His followers.
“I do not ask for these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20-21).
That’s incredible! When we believed in Him through the word, we became one with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We are now in Him and joined to one another.
7. “Bought with a price.”
Here Paul gives us the explanation for everything he has said, “For you have been bought with a price.” Not stolen, or exploited, but “bought.” And the price that was paid was a very heavy price.
“If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:17-19).
“Precious blood.” Christ’s blood. We have been freed from sin’s penalty because a ransom was paid for our freedom. It was enough to satisfy God. Is it enough to satisfy us? If someone offered you 5 million dollars for your car, would you have the audacity to tell them, with a straight face, there offering wasn’t enough? Would we not think they were overpaying? Well Jesus Christ purchased us with His blood. We’ve been bought with that massive price.
The Necessary Result
Here is the necessary result of the attitude and perspective Paul has been commending:
“Therefore, glorify God in your body.”
Paul has been talking about the body and he’s been talking about the soul, yet he clearly sees both body and soul as the whole of you and the whole of me. They go together. God has purchased them both. When He unites our spirits to Himself, He gets our bodies as well. In our stewardship of time, energy, and emotion—glorify God! In our stewardship of earthly resources, sex, and words—glorify God! In our stewardship of everything other thing we have been given in marriage and for marriage—glorify God! Paul thinks these naturally follow the fact that we have been bought with a price.
Join the Conversation
Are you learning to think and act “not as your own” in life and marriage, but bought with a price, and a steward of the body and life God has given you by His grace?
Think about 2 or 3 areas of marriage where you still tend to live for yourself. What would change in your daily attitude and behavior if you learned to treat those areas as, “Not your own”?