Christians Gone Wild: The Power of Oneness
I grew up in church. I was a pastor’s kid after all. I knew all the right churchy things to say and do. I was a master pretender of being super righteous and as if I was always following the religious rules. The one idea that was hammered to me most of my middle school- college life from my church experience was that sex was bad and I needed to flee from it. I was told to run like a wild man away from sex. The one thing I don’t remember hearing (it may have been said though) was why I should run from sex, more accurately sexual immorality. I always heard “RUN!” but I look back and don’t remember much of the why’s. I heard about STD’s, pregnancy and whatnot of course, but having a solid Biblical reason(s) as to why God would ask us to run from sexual immorality I don’t remember hearing back then. You see, as you look at the idea of sex, as I have stated before: The world pornifies sex, while the church sometimes demonizes it. Sex, to the church becomes the naughty thing no one talks about while the world around us dangles sex in front of us as the best prize we could ever win.
The Corinthians lived in a highly sexualized culture much like we do. They saw sex pornified as well. They needed to hear a message explaining why sexual immorality was harmful to them as a church. REMEMBER: this is a word to a church and those who know Jesus. It is not to the world.
The American church has a problem with sex just as the Corinthian church did. Many within this generation hear all the time to run from sexual immorality but don’t know why, except that it’s bad. The world around us pornifies sex and its allure to our physicality is strong and nearly unavoidable. So, we must ask: Why should we flee from sexual immorality? Paul here doesn’t demonize sex, but gives the “why” to fleeing from sexual immorality. Let me clarify he is not saying flee from sex forever, simply sexual sin is: any sexual activity outside of God’s design for sex. We should choose to flee from sexual immorality because of:
- The Power of Oneness (vs. 15-17)
A lie that we believe in current culture is that sex is simply an animalistic, physical longing that needs to be fed. The stats on this hookup culture are staggering. One study reveals that 77.7 percent of college females admitted to “hooking up.” This means that these young women connect with young men they either don’t know at all or barely know for the sole purpose of physical gratification. For males, the percentage is even higher— 84.2 percent. This lie perpetuates the pornification of sex and leaves many a man and woman bloodied and battered in life because they believed the lie. The reality is this: sex is physical, emotional and spiritual. This is why many people become deeply emotionally attached to those whom they have sex with. Sex was designed in such a way that sex brings about oneness to a couple. They are no longer just their own, but are united heart, body and soul. Throughout Scripture, God uses the imagery of sex within marriage to define the reality of love being exclusive as well. Specifically sexual love is the physical representation of the spiritual condition of ones exclusiveness. Being one with a person means we are no longer our own person, but we belong to another and we are exclusive. This oneness creates a relationship of healthy co-dependence. We do not think to make decisions or actions without consulting the other, or at least considering how this would affect the other. In marriage, we no longer have the ability to simply do as we please, because we belong to another. Soards, a commentator once said of this passage: “…belonging to Christ…should mean that the believers give priority to Christ and his concerns rater than to their own questionable desires”. When we use our freedom to do as we please, we are essentially cheating on Christ. This is doubly so when we choose sexual immorality because we are choosing on our own and we are going against the oneness we have with Christ. Oneness is so powerful in our relationship to Christ and those whom we have sexual intimacy with (whether a screen or a person) that we are in a way splitting ourselves when we act out in sexual immorality.
Thinking on this splitting of oneself in the midst of the power of oneness, my mind immediately went to Harry Potter. When Voldemort makes a horcrux, he must split a piece of his soul and place it in an object, thus guaranteeing he will not die. It comes out that this splitting can only be done when murder is committed. That violent act, as well as the making of a horcrux from it, Prof. Slughorn says is unnatural. We are not meant to be split in this way he essentially states
When it comes to our oneness, this concept is what I’m trying to get at. Once we are made one with another (Christ and then our spouse), there are to be no other connections for ourselves, yet sexual immorality does just that, we split because we are becoming one with the other person as well as remaining one with the others. The concept is difficult to fully explain, but we are created to be one in this way in a triune sense- One with God and one with our spouse. We are made in the image of God and that means we are created with a desire for a oneness of triunity. (Caveat- those who are committed to celibacy or feel no desire to marry)
THERE IS HOPE (1 John 1:9). God heals all wounds, including this “split”. God can bring healing to us in this if we repent and turn back to Him, our one true love. I know from personal experience in failing through the sexual immorality of pornography.We should choose to flee from sexual immorality because:
2. Sex Affects the Whole Person (vs. 18)
This particular verse has been confusing to many. There is a wide range of ideas as to what Paul meant by this phrase. The idea I feel that fits best in this context is the reality that sex affects the whole person. We already discussed that sex is physical, emotional as well as spiritual. Sex brings about the power of oneness, and only sex can do this. Warren Weirsbe sums it up best when he states: “Paul warned that sexual sin is the most serious sin a person can commit against his body, for it involves the whole person.” When looking at the Greek word used here; Soma, one translation of the word is “The complete man”. In essence then, sexual sin is a sin against our complete being. Many within the Corinthian church were treating sex as a physical appetite to be fed and here Paul is trying to show them that it affects much more than just the physicality of a person. When we pornify sex, we diminish the full weight of its implications. When we demonize sex, we miss the full beauty and meaning it is meant to have. Sex, when looked at in its proper light is a beautiful act that brings the whole being of one person into right alignment with the whole being of another.
This is why the Lord uses a sexual reference over and over again to state salvation bringing us into oneness with him. A.W. Tozer calls this “spiritual intercourse” because there is no other act in our human experience outside of sex that could help us to comprehend the oneness that happens at salvation. We should choose to flee from sexual immorality because:
4. The Divine Resides Within Us (vs. 19-20)
Christ death and resurrection for those of us who believe brought about new life. This new life came from the Holy Spirit pitching His tent in our Soma or “complete man”. He took up residence in our entire being- mind, body, and soul. The divine resides within us and when we sin sexually, we are essentially taking graffiti to his entire house. His residency in our soma is God’s gift to us. His Presence in our lives is what makes it possible to live the Gospel life. Imagine if one day we simply took all the paint we could find and desecrated the entire Sistine chapel by painting messes all over it. That is the image Paul is trying to get us to see with his description of us being the House of the Holy Spirit. Here we begin to see that if the Spirit is taking up residence within our soma, he then has access to our total being. All we have and all we do is wrapped up in our identity to Christ. Nothing is separate. This reality should drive us to seeking out the areas in which we have not surrendered, because we were bought with a price and we are not our own…we belong to Him! We should choose to flee from sexual immorality because we are to:
5. Honor God’s Image with our Whole Self (vs. 20)
Being bought with a price, we have been returned to be the full image bearers of Christ. Our soma should then be a reflection of the Lord Himself. We should be images of His loving and faithful self to this world, giving them a taste of what only God can provide- perfect love and perfect faithfulness. The culture we live in can’t let go of their addiction to sexual immorality. Yet, we, the body of Christ have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us giving us the power to say no. My prayer is that you will learn to give this area of your life to Christ and allow His Spirit to empower you to flee from sexual immorality.