1 Corinthians 6:8-11 ESV
But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. 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.
The context to this first verse recorded here is that of Christians bringing lawsuits against each other in a civil court hearing rather than taking their disagreements before the church, i.e. before the saints of God. They were taking their fellow Christians before unbelievers to settle their disputes because they believed they had been wronged by them. But, by the mere fact that they were suing their brothers and sisters in Christ was an indication that they themselves were wronging and defrauding them.
But, that is not the subject matter of this writing. Yet, I have included that verse here because it describes what follows, too. For, to wrong someone is to insult, injure, wound, abuse and harm him or her. And, to defraud is to deceive, to cheat, to trick and to take advantage of others. It is to deprive of something by deception or fraud. And, for most of these sinful practices listed here, wronging and defrauding others is definitely a primary part.
Sexual immorality, though, appears to be the primary concern here, and that includes adultery, homosexuality (the practice of), idolatry, cheating, lying, thieving, reviling, and intoxicating (head over heels in lust), too. And, the message here is strong and it is clear. Those who practice these things will not inherit the kingdom of God. And, this warning was given to those who professed faith in Jesus Christ, too, i.e. it was given to the church.
And, then Paul (the writer) says, “And such were some of you.”
Now, we know that scripture teaches us that we are all born into sin. Not one of us is righteous in our own merit. We have all sinned, and we have all come up short of attaining God’s holiness and his divine approval. So, when he says that “such were some of you,” the indication is also that some of you have been changed in heart and mind so that this no longer describes you in character or in practice, for you were cleansed by the blood of Christ.
But, not all of them who professed faith in Jesus Christ had changed. Not all of them had been washed, justified and sanctified by the blood of Christ, only some of them. For, some of them were still making these sins their practice, and that is why they were being warned that those who practice these things would not inherit the kingdom of God, because they probably assumed they would, because they professed faith in Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 6:13b-16 ESV
The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.”
When we believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith, by God’s grace, the Holy Spirit of God comes to dwell within our hearts and lives so that God now lives within us, and we become his temple, his church, his body, the body of Christ. Since we are now united with Christ in a holy union with him we are not to unite our bodies with what is impure and immoral, for that would be like taking parts of Jesus’ body and uniting them with a prostitute.
For, our bodies, our hearts, minds, souls and emotions are now to be for the Lord and the Lord for us. For when Jesus died on that cross for our sins, he died that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. He died, too, that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. In fact, in his death, he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. Through his blood shed on a cross for our sins, Jesus bought us back for God, so we are to honor God with our lives – with our bodies, minds, souls and emotions.
[1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Co. 6:20; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24]
Nonetheless, there are many professers of faith in Jesus Christ today who do not take these types of warnings seriously, or they assume that the warning does not apply to them. For, they are convinced that they can believe in Jesus, have the promise of heaven when they die, but that it does not have to significantly alter their lifestyles. They don’t believe that their behaviors will matter for eternity, because they believe they are forgiven and thus God no longer sees when they sin against him.
Since they don’t take God or his Word seriously, and they have deceived themselves into believing that their behaviors no longer matter to God, many of them have been enticed into living in sexual immorality, thinking that no harm will come to them. So, they gave into the enticement, for they were lured into sin by their own evil hearts.
Many a man or a woman have been lured into extramarital romantic and/or sexual relationships because their hearts are evil and they never did or they ceased to die with Christ to sin that they might live to him and to his righteousness. They give off an image of following Christ with their lives, but behind closed doors they are having secretive affairs of the heart, the mind and the body.
So, this is a solemn warning and a caution to not let our hearts go astray and to not make ourselves vulnerable to be enticed into sexual immorality. For, our bodies are for the Lord, and we are to honor God with our bodies, but also with our minds, hearts and emotions. We are not to unite Christ to a prostitute, but we are to be united with Christ in mind, heart and body.
1 Corinthians 6:17-20 ESV
But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
For those of us who have truly been united with Christ in spirit, we are to flee from sexual immorality. We are to run away from it. And, this means being proactive about this, too. We can’t flirt with disaster and expect not to get injured. We can’t play with fire and expect not to get burned. We can’t toy with temptation. We have to remove from our lives everything that might lead us down a path of degradation. And, this means making serious cuts.
We can’t watch TV shows and movies and commercials or half-time shows, etc. which glorify the flesh and sexual immorality. We can’t listen to music with sexually suggestive lyrics or with romantic lyrics which may draw our hearts towards wanting to be with someone other than with our spouses. We are not to even have a hint of sexual immorality among us. But, we are to be pure in heart, mind, attitude and behavior.
For many people, social media is a huge trap just waiting to happen, and many a marriage is broken up due to extramarital affairs that begin on social media, in chat rooms on discussion sites, or in lunch rooms in work places where men and women work closely together. And, with the invention of the Smart Phone, many Christians are falling prey to the trap of pornography or sexting or private texting with others of interest to whom they are not married, when they are married to someone else.
So, we need to take this seriously. And, we need to take God and His Word seriously. And, we need to run away from all that might lead us into sin or that is tempting us to sin against God and against others. And, then we need to honor and glorify God with our bodies, and with our minds and emotions. For, we were bought back for God with the blood of Jesus Christ. And, now he is our Lord (owner-master) and we are his bond-servants and slaves of his righteousness, all in his power and strength at work within us.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
Monday, August 12, 2019