Friday, September 22, 2017

1st Corinthians and Sexual Immorality

Major Themes

The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth to inform them that he was sending Timothy to them and to give them some much needed reminders and instructions. His major themes are: divisions within the church, his own authority, sexual morality, what to do about food sacrificed to idols, the Lord ’s Supper, spiritual gifts, love, and the resurrection.

Let’s look first at the word division as it comes up in Young’s Literal Translation of 1st Corinthians 1:10 and 3:3:

 10 And I call upon you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that the same thing ye may all say, and there may not be divisions among you, and ye may be perfected in the same mind, and in the same judgment,
 3 for yet ye are fleshly, for where [there is] among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not fleshly, and in the manner of men do walk?

There is a direct correlation to Exodus. 

See Exodus 8:23:
 23 and I have put a division between My people and thy people: to-morrow is this sign.'

Now compare how closely God has related these two books in the following passages from 1st Corinthians 10:1 and Exodus 14:16 where God divided the waters:

 1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea.
16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.
In 1st Corinthians Paul tells us that the church (the Christian body) is, in essence, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. 1st Corinthians 3: 16:
16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?
Furthermore, we are entrusted with the “secret things” of God (1st Corinthians 4:1) and must prove faithful. He gets to the meat of the matter in chapter 5 and begins by addressing the immorality in the Corinthian church. Apparently a man in the church hooked up with his own step-mother (5:1) and the rest of the church didn’t even balk. Read the chapter to see how strongly Paul scolds them. What does Paul command them to do? (Nope, I’m not telling. Go read it for yourself.)

Sexual Immorality

Chapter 6 makes some very strong points against suing a fellow Christian and then hits again the topic of sexual immorality. Verses 18 – 20 are the best verses I can think of to show to our sons and daughters:
 18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
Read it again aloud. There is much to contemplate there. I found it interesting that Paul asks the question about knowing that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit when he had earlier in his letter stated it twice. When something is stated three times . . . you better pay attention! As a Christian, your body is the Holy Spirit’s temple, don’t smoke Him out. Don’t pollute the temple or harm it in any way.

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