Let’s read that verse in the New King James, 1 Corinthians 6:18 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.”

The first sentence in this verse is so clear and straight forward that the meaning can hardly be debated. To ‘flee’ means to run away. A few times in the New Testament this Greek word (pheugo) is translated as ‘escape’. To ‘escape’ gives the thought of running away from the presence and power of something or someone. In the face of sexual immorality, we must run away. We must escape its appeal and power. This involves more than running away, it also involves ‘running to’. It is in Christ that we find the power to resist fornication, which is sexual impurity. We need to run to Him. We read in 2 Samuel 22:33, “God is my strength and power, and he makes my way perfect.”

Our verse tells us that “Every sin that a man does is outside the body…” We must take this in a comparative sense, as in comparing other sins to the sin of fornication. Fornication, or sexual immorality, is fairly unique in its consequences. Not every sin will immediately and directly affect the body. Sins such as lying, stealing, pride, etc. will not immediately impact the body. These sins will impact the mind more quickly than it will impact the body. If we get into the habit of lying, our minds will be affected and lying become easier each time we do it. Let’s consider the words of Solomon in Proverbs 6:30-32, “People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving. Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold; he may have to give up all the substance of his house. Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; HE WHO DOES SO DESTROYS HIS OWN SOUL.” Fornication is a sin against our own bodies, against our own souls.

Perhaps the overriding idea of Paul in this verse is that fornication breaks the spiritual bond between the body and Christ in a sense not true of some other terrible sins. The fornicator takes his body which belongs to Christ and unites it to the one he shares his body with. 1 Corinthians 6:16 says, “Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is ONE BODY with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.”

1 Corinthians 16 ends with this vital truth, “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 Corinthian 16:19-20). As believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, we belong to God. We have been bought with the precious blood of the holy Son of God. 1 Peter 1:18-19 tells us, “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

Dear brother or sister in Christ, may we heed the needed warning to “flee sexual immorality.” May we continually consider and value the truth that we are not our own, but we are God’s possession. May we not join our bodies to another, but may we “glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (281.4)