Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Project 4:4--Day Three Hundred Thirty-Five

Day Three Hundred Thirty-Five, I Corinthians 5-11

As Paul continues his letter to the Corinthians, he now begins to get into dealing with the "nitty-gritty" issues that this church is dealing with, and a major one is sexual immorality. Paul hammers them about this, so to speak, reminding them of their obligation to watch out for the lives and behavior of each other.

He reminds them that "the saints will judge the world," so they need to learn to solve disputes among themselves. I think that's an interesting segue, because as surely as they begin to watch out for each other, there will most definitely be disputes.

Paul can't be any plainer about the purity with which these Christians should live: "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God...Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body."
Next Paul goes into some instructions regarding being married versus being single. He talks about some advantages and disadvantages of each. Among the main points are: for married couples, fulfill your duty to each other and do not deprive each other; if you are married to an unbeliever, do not leave them if they are willing to stay with you; and for those who are single, remain single if possible.
Paul moves from this topic of marriage and singleness into another issue: food sacrificed to idols. Some in the Corinthian church knew that they belonged to God and an idol is nothing at all, so they saw no problem in eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols. However, others in the church were scandalized by such, feeling as though partaking of that meat was partaking int he worship of the idol. Paul begins this section by stating that "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up." His main point is that, yes, the people do have the freedom to eat of the meat if their consciences allow it. However, they should not do so, and so offend a brother, just for freedom's sake. They must be willing to submit to one another. As an example, Paul gives himself. As an apostle of the Lord, he had certain rights that he might've exercised while among them, but he chose not to, instead treating the Corinthians in love. They should treat each other in the same manner.
Although Paul seems to be touching on some unrelated issues that the Corinthian church is dealing with, it feels to me like there is an underlying theme beneath all of these issues. In each of these, Paul is preaching to them self-control, rather than self-indulgence. He ends by encouraging them with these words: "Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others...So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God...Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ."

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