The word for the day is “God’s.” In our reading of 1 Corinthians 6:20-7:12, St. Paul discusses sexual relations in various cases. His principle is stated in 1 Cor. 6:20, “For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
In our series on Romans, we learned that Paul proclaimed the freedom from the Mosaic Law. Some of the Corinthians must have taken that Christian liberty to means license. That meant to them that they had the freedom to do as they pleased in things like sexuality that have to do with the body. Their slogan must have been,”‘ All things are lawful for me since I am freed from the Law.”
All Things Lawful Are Not All Things Helpful
But Paul responds, “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” (1 Cor. 6:12). The Corinthians, you see, had failed to fully comprehend that they had been under the power of sin, death, and the devil. This slavery had made them liable to the judgment, condemnation, and punishment of the Law. But they had been baptized (1 Cor. 6:11) and redeemed from that bondage. However, license puts those who claim such freedom under a new tyrant just as binding. It is the domination of the passions which, if uncontrolled, leads right back to sin again.
But Paul repudiates the idea that freedom from the Law means license. He says that “You are not your own. You were bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Remember that St. Paul had stated that Corinthians are called to be saints (1 Cor. 1:4). To be a saint is to be holy. And to be holy is to be dedicated to God. Likewise, in 1 Corinthians 3, St. Paul has repeated that they belong to God in Christ: “You are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s (1 Cor. 3:23). St. John Chrysostom says that those who believe in Christ have been made God’s own twice. They are His “not only because He brought them into being, but also because, when they were alienated, He won them again a second time, paying as the price, the blood of the Son” (Works of Chrysostom, “Homily on 1 Corinthians 18”).
The essence of law is restriction. The Mosaic law which, divides reality into “unclean” and
“clean” prohibits the one while it permits the other. But Paul preaches freedom from the Mosaic law. Does that mean that anything goes, including sexual practices? In our reading we see that Paul replaces a negative prescription with a positive principle. His guidance for sexual relations is to recommend that believers consider who they are and whose they are. They are the “elect” of God, chosen to give glory to their Creator. Thus, they are the redeemed who are freed from the power of sin, death, and the devil” by the blood of Christ. And as the chosen and redeemed they belong to the one who has chosen and redeemed th