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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 6 - Verse 13
Verse 13. Meats for the belly, etc. This has every appearance of being an adage or proverb. Its meaning is plain. "God has made us with appetites for food, and he has made food adapted to such appetites; and it is right, therefore, to indulge in luxurious living." The word belly here, koilia denotes the stomach; and the argument is, that as God had created the natural appetite for food, and had created food, it was right to indulge in eating and drinking to any extent which the appetite demanded. The word meats here, brwmata, does not denote animal food particularly, or flesh, but any kind of food. This was the sense of the English word formerly, Mt 3:4; 6:25; 9:10; 10:10; 14:9, etc.
But God shall destroy. This is the reply of Paul to the argument. This reply is, that as both are so soon to be destroyed, they were unworthy of the care which was bestowed on them, and that attention should be directed to better things. It is unworthy the immortal mind to spend its time and thought in making provision for the body which is soon to perish. And especially a man should be willing to abandon indulgences in these things when they tended to injure the mind, and to destroy the soul. It is unworthy a mind that is to live for ever, thus to be anxious about that which is so soon to be destroyed in the grave. We may observe here:
(1.) This is the great rule of the mass of the world. The pampering of the appetites is the great purpose for which they live, and the only purpose.
(2.) It is folly. The body will soon be in the grave; the soul in eternity. How low and grovelling is the passion which leads the immortal mind always to anxiety about what the body shall eat and drink!
(3.) Men should act from higher motives. They should be thankful for appetites for food; and that God provides for the wants of the body; and should eat to obtain strength to serve him, and to discharge the duties of life. Man often degrades himself below—far below—the brutes in this thing. They never pamper their appetites, or create artificial appetites. Man, in death, sinks to the same level; and all the record of his life is, that "he lived to eat and drink, and died as the brute dieth." How low is human nature fallen! How sunken is the condition of man!
Now the body is not, etc. "But de the body is not designed for licentiousness, but to be devoted to the Lord." The remainder of this chapter is occupied with an argument against indulgence in licentiousness—a crime to which the Corinthians were particularly exposed. See the Introduction to this epistle. It cannot be supposed that any members of the church would indulge in this vice, or would vindicate it; but it was certain,
(1.) that it was the sin to which they were particularly exposed;
(2.) that they were in the midst of a people who did both practise and vindicate it. Comp. Re 2:14,15. Hence the apostle furnished them with arguments against it, as well to guard them from temptation, as to enable them to meet those who did defend it, and also to settle the morality of the question on an immovable foundation. The first argument is here stated, that the body of man was designed by its Maker to be devoted to him, and should be consecrated to the purposes of a pure and holy life. We are, therefore, bound to devote our animal as well as our rational powers to the service of the Lord alone.
And the Lord for the body. "The Lord is, in an important sense, for the body; that is, he acts, and plans, and provides for it. He sustains and keeps it; and he is making provision for its immortal purity and happiness in heaven. It is not right, therefore, to take the body, which is nourished by the kind and constant agency of a holy God, and to devote it to purposes of pollution." That there is a reference in this phrase to the resurrection, is apparent from the following verse. And as God will exert his mighty power in raising up the body, and will make it glorious, it ought not to be prostituted to purposes of licentiousness.
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