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The Joy of Sanctification
Regarding the Higher Christian Life, we have discovered some truths that should change our lives. For one, Jesus said in John 14, we “know (ginōskō)” the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit “dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:17). Then, in Romans 12:1, we are urged to “present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service.” But who do we present our bodies to? What Person of the Godhead accepts the sacrifice of our body? It is not the Father, who now sits on His throne in heaven, and has no need of a body. It is not the Son, who has a body and is now seated at the Father’s right hand. No, it is the Holy Spirit who lives in each of us as the security of our salvation. It is the Holy Spirit who seeks possession of our bodies to empower us from the inside. And if this is true, then 1 Corinthians 6 takes on an entirely new meaning. It says:
Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not 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 and in your spirit, which are God’s – 1 Corinthians 6:18-20.
When the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our body, He transforms it into the temple of the Holy Spirit by virtue of His holiness. Therefore, any sin a person commits “against his own body” is an affront to the Holy Spirit. It is a sin that pollutes and corrupts the very dwelling place of the Spirit. And from this type of sin, we are not commanded to fight or resist (James 4:7) but to flee. To run. To “hightail it outta there!”
After all, our body is now the “temple of the Holy Spirit who is (where) in you, whom you have from God, and (therefore) you are not your own” (1 Cor. 6:19). But what does it mean “you are not your own”? And how can we “glorify God in our body” which are God’s?
How Do I Glorify God in My Body and in My Spirit?
The last verse in 1 Corinthians 6 states:
For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s – 1 Corinthians 6:20.
Note, 1 Corinthians 6:19 ends with “you are not your own,” and this verse begins by telling us why. Because we have been “bought at a price.” Our redemption price has been paid, the deed of our ownership has been transferred to the Lord, and all we are now belongs to God (which is exactly what the ending phrase of this verse states, “which are God’s”). But notice what lies between these two bookends.
“Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit.”
We are to give God glory in our bodies, the seed of our flesh, the part of us that wars against our spirit (Gal. 5:17). But that is harder than it seems. Because we always seem to lose the battle against our flesh. Even Paul expressed his frustration with his war within himself in Romans 7:15. So what are we to do?
Simply understand this: You cannot, in the flesh, win the war against the flesh, no matter how hard you try or how determined you are. The flesh will not allow a sustained campaign against itself. To place your body in subjection to your spirit, you need outside (or inside) help. And that comes only from the Holy Spirit.
Hence, we are to relinquish all rights to our bodies, our flesh, by offering them as a sacrifice to the Holy Spirit to do with what He pleases (Rom. 12:1). And we are to let Him live His life in us and through us, so our flesh is now in submission to the Spirit that empowers our very lives. Consider the following:
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts – Romans 6:12.
For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live – Romans 8:13.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad – 2 Corinthians 5:10.
This is the path to the Higher Christian Life.