“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.” (1 Corinthians 6:12–13, AV)
As I have mentioned in other posts, my undergraduate degree is in mechanical engineering and later in my career I designed printing machinery and components. Every one of the things I designed were designed for a purpose. On one machine, I designed a specialized device for maintaining constant tension on the roll of paper as it was unwound and run through the machine. This device could be used for nothing else but this intended purpose. It could not be used to actually print the paper. I designed it for a very specific purpose.
Paul has been dealing with the issue of a man who was living in sexual sin. Now he exhorts the believers in the church at Corinth to flee from sexual immorality. In this, he dealt with the issue of grace with a purpose.
Paul stated, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient.” He used this particular phrase twice in the letter. We will see it again in chapter 10. The verb translated “expedient,” sumphero, means to bear together with the implication of bearing together for good (Strong G4851). Paul understood that the blessing of God’s grace was not for the purpose of indulging one’s sensual passions at the expense of what was good and what was beneficial to others. He understood that freedom could only be exercised for good. In other words, God’s grace was given for a purpose and one’s walk in grace needed to align with that purpose.
This point is further explained in the next verse. Paul used the metaphor of food and the stomach stating that food was meant for the stomach and the stomach for food. God had designed the stomach and the food for a mutual purpose. For example, when you do not have food, you experience hunger pains because the stomach needs food.
In the same way, God had designed the human body for a purpose and it was not to indulge the sinful nature. He stated that the body if for the Lord and the Lord is for the body. In God’s perfect design, He created man for an intimate relationship with the Lord. Thus, man’s body was not to be defiled by a sinful substitute found in sexual immorality. God had designed man for a perfect union with the Lord.
Now, the unbeliever does not understand this concept because he does not believe the Scriptures and has not experienced saving grace. However, those who have been saved should understand this truth. God created man in His image for a higher purpose. Man was made for pure relationships with God and others.