Do you not know that your body is a shrine of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the Spirit is God’s gift to you? You do not belong to yourselves; you are bought at a price. Then honour God in your body.”
Paul wishes persons to control themselves and remain unmarried; but he recognizes that self-control is difficult and that it is “better [to] be married than burn with vain desire.” (1 Corinthians 7: 9)
Some say sex outside a committed relationship is fornication; others say any sex outside marriage is fornication. Jesus says that if a man looks at a woman with lust in his heart, this is fornication; i.e. adultery. Since Jesus always speaks the truth, fornication is rampant — for men and women certainly look at one another in lust.
Paul contrasts a man’s payment to own a harlot for a night with Christ’s payment to own us for eternity. What a contrast! A fleeting moment of pleasure contrasted with Christ’s agonizing shedding of blood so that His Father might call us His own, and give us His Holy Spirit. A man links himself to a harlot; Jesus links Himself to us through His own sacrifice. Since we belong to Christ, we are called to “shun fornication. Every other sin that a man can commit is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against his own body.” (1 Corinthians 6: 18 – 19)
Jesus calls us to purity; and this must start in our minds. Peter calls us to “be mentally stripped for action, perfectly self-controlled.” Peter writes, “Do not let your characters be shaped any longer by the desires you cherished in your days of ignorance. The One who calls you is holy; like Him, be holy in all your behaviour, because Scripture says, ‘You shall be holy, for I Am holy.’ ” (1 Peter 1: 13, 14 – 1