Antinomianism—being “against the law”—is a significant danger to the church. Misconstruing grace and turning Christian freedom into a license to sin, antinomians say that believers have no obligation to the moral law of God. Instead of seeing our freedom in Christ as the liberty to do what is right—which is the essence of God’s own freedom and thus the essence of true liberty—antinomians see freedom as the liberty to do whatever we want even when our desires oppose divine revelation. Antinomianism rejects true Christianity, for Jesus Himself told us that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15).
When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, an antinomian spirit had infected the church. That much is clear from 1 Corinthians 6:12–13, where the Apostle quotes catchphrases that the Corinthian believers were using to argue that they could do whatever they wanted and that whatever they did with their bodies could not truly affect their souls. Specifically, they were attempting to justify sexual immorality (v. 13), and in today’s passage we see the particular form this immorality took. Apparently, some of the believers in Corinth believed that they could be Christians and visit prostitutes (vv. 15–16).
Paul demolishes this view, first by noting that God will raise the body from the dead (v. 14). As Paul later argues in this epistle, in the final resurrection, we will be made like Jesus, fully bearing His image (15:35–49). We will have perfected bodies, free from the effects of sin. Because these will be the bodies we have now, only fully restored and cleansed of all infirmities, there is a certain continuity between our preresurrection and postresurrection bodies. What we will be in the future should be reflected now, albeit imperfectly. So, we should live in holiness now in anticipation of the perfect holiness we will have at the last day. Using our physical bodies for sin today is incompatible with the sinlessness they will enjoy when Jesus returns. Matthew Henry writes, “The hopes of a resurrection to glory should restrain Christians from dishonoring their bodies by fleshly lusts.”
The Apostle also explains that we should not be sexually immoral because of our union with Christ. We are members of His body, and His members should not be united to others through illicit sexual acts. Having been made one spirit with Christ through faith, we cannot seek the union of these holy members with those who use sex as a commodity, which is an unholy practice (1 Cor. 6:14–17).