Tuesday, September 20, 2005

1 Corinthians 6

I was reading 1 Corithians 6 last night, and there were a few things struck me. Now, if Lawrence still reads my blog, then he may well comment again as he won't like what the plain word of God says, or how I comment on it, but we are in the business of declaring the word of God, not pleasing men!

1 Cor. 6:1-20 If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? [2] Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? [3] Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! [4] Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! [5] I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? [6] But instead, one brother goes to law against another—and this in front of unbelievers! [7] The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? [8] Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers. [9] 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 [10] nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. [11] 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. [12] "Everything is permissible for me"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"—but I will not be mastered by anything. [13] "Food for the stomach and the stomach for food"—but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. [14] By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. [15] Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! [16] Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh." [17] But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. [18] Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. [19] 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; [20] you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.

I particularly want to look at verses 9-11. In them, Paul makes the declaration that sinners will not inherit the kingdom of God - by naming specific examples of sinners... We, all of us, fit into some of those categories - have you ever put something above God - to make an idol of something? Ever stolen anything, or been greedy? So what will we do? How can we inherit the kingdom of God?

Well, Paul is writing to the church in Corinth, to those who have been saved. So how did it happen? Notice two things that struck me, and are the key to the passage:

1) The past tense: 'And that is what some of you were'

2) The glorious 'BUT': Paul obviously didn't have someone correcting his grammar (although, of course he wasn't writing in English, but indulge me on this one for a minute...), because he starts a sentence with the word 'but' - 'But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified'. Thanks be to God who has provided for our washing, sanctifiying and justification through what Jesus has done for us on the cross.

Those in Corinth were no longer what they were, because 'if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation' (2 Corinthians 5:17). You, reader, if you are in Christ, then you also were washed, sanctified and justified. And if you are still in your sins, then come to Christ, and find that salvation freely offered to you.

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