THURSDAY, MARCH 8
SCRIPTURE: 1 CORINTHIANS 6
After a few days away from church and from writing these devotions, it is good to be back and it is good to be getting back into a routine. I appreciate our other pastors taking on the devotion responsibility for the last few days. They did a remarkable job that will undoubtedly force me to “up my game”.
It is easy to shake our heads in unbelief as we read through this letter to the Corinthian church. We often find ourselves wondering how one of the early churches that wasn’t that far removed from the founding of the first church could have been such a mess. But a mess it was.
Churches can be messy. On one hand, they should be. Anytime a church is doing what she should be doing and new believers are flooding into the church along with the not-yet-redeemed, there are always going to be challenges (opportunities). On the other hand, churches should not be messy because the supposedly mature Christians in the church are creating the problems. That is the case at the Corinthian church. It is the case at a lot of churches today.
As he has done throughout this letter, Paul continues to go right at the problem. He charges headlong into the issues, states truth, and then calls people out to get them to repent and redo things the way God has always intended.
The first issue that Paul addresses here is the fact that church folks were taking other church folks to court. They were suing each other. His point is since Christ followers will have incredible authority and remarkable responsibility (e.g. judging the world and judging angels), they surely should be able to resolved disputes among themselves.
It is important to understand that this is not a rebuke of the court system. In Romans 13, we find where government, including courts, are ordained by God. Paul himself appealed to the court of Caesar. In other words, there is a real need for a good judicial system particularly for criminal cases but even for very difficult civil matters. But Christ followers should not be hauling each other into court over every little trivial matter. They should be able to resolve their differences either among themselves or with the help of the church. Never doubt that when Christians take Christians to court, especially those who attend the same church, the world laughs and mocks and is convinced that we really are just a bunch of hypocrites.
From there Paul plunges headlong into another difficult matter. In verses 9-10, he creates quite a laundry list of the former lifestyles of some of the folks at the Corinthian church. Paul makes two powerful statements. One, those who practice those kinds of lifestyles will not inherit the Kingdom of God. In other words, people who choose to live any of those kinds of behaviors are not going to heaven. Never doubt the redeemed are changed people. Not perfect but changed. Christ followers are capable of committing almost any sin. But Christ followers cannot and will not live a lifestyle of sin. When we are saved, there is always going to be undeniable evidence of our salvation.
The second powerful statement is found in verse 11. Paul says, “Such were some of you”. He was writing to people who once lived those kinds of lives. But they had been washed, set apart, and justified in the name of Jesus! That friends, changes everything!
Because we have been changed, we should flee all kinds of immorality. In particular, Paul ends this chapter talking about sexual immorality. We are changed when we are saved. Even our ownership changes. Paul ends this chapter by telling us that we are no long our own. But we have been bought with a price. So we should glorify God in the way we choose to live.