Motives to Holiness

1 Corinthians 6  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
In 1 Cor. 6, the apostle deals with wrongs among brethren; gives warning as to the characters which would be shut out of the kingdom of God; deprecates the attaching importance to meats; and, lastly, insists upon personal purity. The course of this teaching gives occasion for the presentation of a remarkable series of motives for the exercise of those principles he presses upon the saints. "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?" "Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" What striking grounds are here presented for absence of litigation among brethren! what a showing cause for arrest of judgment! Causes are pending, cases are waiting for the grand assize, but, far from being those of the saints, they are those of the world and of angels, in which we shall be the adjudicators together with Christ! Again: "Ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." What a precious cluster is here. The apostle appeals to what the blood of Christ had accomplished. They had been washed in His own blood (Rev. 1:55And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, (Revelation 1:5)); had been sanctified by blood (Heb. 10:29; 13: 1229Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:29)); and had been justified in the power of that same blood. (Rom. 5:99Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Romans 5:9)) The washing was a personal, individual thing; the sanctification was relative, separating them from the world; the justification was Godward; each was by blood, and each was final. It had been in the name of the Lord Jesus too, not for our sakes primarily, but for His; we were but the means to an end-the glory of His name; the bowing to His rights, the owning His authority-according to that eternal purpose which was purposed in Christ Jesus before the world began. Thus also it was "by the Spirit of our God "-by the agency of Him who ever works with a view to that one only end and object, the exaltation and glory of Christ. How blessed to see the Spirit of God thus constituting us parts of that wonderful economy which shall be displayed by-and-by in glory, and using His own work already wrought in view of it as motives for that holiness which is the true and suited expression of it here. Again: "And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by His own power." Here is a new and precious motive for holiness. He is the risen Lord, and His glorified body was the pledge of theirs; these saints were going to be raised too, as surely as He was raised. And thus he says further, " Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?" Marvelous fact for faith -when He came they would be raised up, because God had already raised Him up, and thus have bodies glorified like His; but meanwhile the very bodies they then had were members of Christ, not of His body (another line of truth altogether), but of Himself, and to this is added also, "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit." What powerful motives to holiness! Who could resist them? Yet again: " Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." How remarkable are these appeals. Six times over in the chapter he says, " Know ye not?" And here in this closing appeal, the strongest of all, he connects these foundation facts (1), that the believer's body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, because (2) he is not his own, but is bought with a price! Purchased with the blood of Christ, and being thus His property, having no vested rights even in our own bodies, but His right being admitted when we truly own Him Lord, the Holy Ghost makes our body His temple; He is in us, for we have received Him from God. THEREFORE GLORIFY GOD IN YOUR BODY.
These seven motives to holiness-precious, powerful, and complete—may thus be clearly traced in the chapter. (1) Saints are going to judge angels and the world. (2) They are washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (3) They are going to be raised up. (4) Meanwhile their very bodies are members of Christ. (5) Being joined to the Lord, they are one spirit. (6) The saint's body is a temple of the Holy Ghost. (7) He is not his own, but bought with a price!
May so weighty an appeal by the Spirit of God work in us " that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen."
W.R. D.