2 Corinthians 7 Lesson

Defilement of the flesh and Spirit

There is great wisdom to be found in Chapter 7 of Paul's second letter to the Corinthians.  In this chapter, Paul is imploring the brethren to cleanse themselves from, “All defilement of flesh and spirit.”   It is important to understand what these terms mean.  

We will begin by defining the word, “Defilement.”

“The Greek word used in this passage is Koinoo, and means to make common, unclean, profane, defile, to declare unclean or count unclean. ... the Hebrew word is אםט tame', and simply means to become unclean, sexually, religiously or ceremonially. ” – goltman.wordpress.com 


When we defile our own flesh, we do something to make it unclean. There are a lot of ways that this defilement of the flesh can take place, some are obvious, others are more subtle. Defilement of the flesh is the result of poor decisions that give way to sinful lust. It is often sexual in nature, but not always.

Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians:

Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from  God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:18-10.

One of the best things that we can do to avoid defilement of our own bodies is to remove ourselves from bad situations. Simply leave. If we find ourselves about to do something that we know is wrong, we can get up and walk away. Remove ourselves from the situation.


To understand defilement of the Spirit, we will start by reviewing the following scriptures about the Holy Spirit:  

  • “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” - John 14:26.

  • “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” - Romans 8:26.

  • “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” – Romans 8:5-6.

We defile the Spirit when we make the choice to not follow God.  Once we do that, we are lost.  Defilement of the Spirit starts with us choosing who we are going to serve.  

If we serve God, we are motivated by love for Him and for our neighbor. Serving God means following His Spirit.

If we serve ourselves, what God says really is not that important to us. People in this category think nothing of defiling their own bodies. Those serving themselves care more about satisfying their own lusts than they do about pleasing God.

We all have a choice to make; will we serve our own flesh, or will we serve God?  

There is no more important question to ask ourselves.   How we answer that question will decide where we spend eternity.

As we have seen, we can defile both our bodies and the Holy Spirit.   God is hoping that we choose to treat them both with the reverence and respect that they deserve.   Both our bodies and the Spirit come from God, and there is a relationship between the two as described in 1 Corinthians 6:15-20:

“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be!  Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.”  But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.  Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”        

We will end today’s lesson with a quote from the book of Joshua.   This scripture beautifully and assertively illustrates the correct choice to make:

“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15.


Dan Wheeler

Don't know that I could say it any better or more straightforward than what you have said here about it. So, it is imperative that we think about how to avoid defiling the flesh and Spirit.

Nick Helliwell

Phillipians 4:8,9
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (v.9) What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Paul appeals to the Philipian church by reminding them about his testimony.
What we see, we think, what we think, becomes our attitude, and what affects our attitude, affects our behaviours. But it goes beyond that, for no one lives in a bubble. Others - our spouse, our children, neighbors and co-workers see our behavior and our attitudes. And that becomes our testimony. Can we truly say to those people who have known us best, "what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me - practice these things, and the peace of God will be with you"?
Do people know the peace of God by imitating our behaviors and attitudes?
"Lord Jesus, let me take Your Word to heart today. May you find me to be today, faithful and obedient, making every effort to cleanse myself from every defilement of my body and spirit, bringing YOUR holiness to completion, so that there might be in my life, a testimony of the peace of God to everyone who sees my behavior, and attitude.
Father, let nothing of my behavior and attitude ruin the testimony of your grace and mercy which was poured out upon me.
Holy Spirit, I invite you to walk the corridors of my heart and mind. I ask you to consume by the fire of your Holy Spirit, anything that would defile Your Holiness in Me. I submit and surrender every thought to You and humbly ask that you reveal and destroy every stronghold, every thought, pride or pretense that rises up against the knowledge of Christ.
Sanctify me, Oh God, that I might abide in you today.
I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.

Nick Helliwell