In these two chapters Paul spends a lot of time talking about how the church ought act when it comes to conflict between believers, sexual immorality and marriage. Paul spends time in this section of the letter trying to teach the church how to live in, but not of the world. The world around them was so perverse, so Paul helps them see a better way to live.
As a youth pastor, one of the key verses I point students to when the, “sex, drugs and rock and roll” kind of questions come is 1 Corinthians 6:12. Students want to know where the boundaries are and what is ok. Paul says, “Everything is permissible for me – but not everything is beneficial…” It’s not that you can’t do certain things, but why would you want to? Why would you want to live outside the will of God?
The Good News in these two chapters is found in chapter 6, verse 11. Paul reminds us that we were all once in sin. When he lists all the ways people sin – he says – “…and this is what some of you were, but you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ…”
Thanks be to God that he didn’t leave us in our sin. It’s for this reason that we ought to live differently. We’ve been set free. Let’s use that freedom not for our own lust, greed, addictions or selfish gain…but for the glory of God.
As we begin our third week reading through Paul’s letters, we find ourselves in chapters 4 & 5 of Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth. It was a church that was in the middle of a very pagan society. Paul and Timothy spent time discipling this church to live different from the world around it. Often you hear Paul speak of not associating with the sexually immoral and other sinners, but I love how he teaches in verses 9-13 that this kind of judgement isn’t meant for people outside of the church.
“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside…” – 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 NIV
He specifically says here that we can’t hold the lost to the same standard as the church. We don’t judge non-believers for what they don’t know is wrong. Leave that to God. This is a great reminder. Our call is to live as believers under grace and by the standard Jesus set. We must approach the lost with love. In these chapters Paul challenges the church to live like Christ – not as the world. On this Father’s Day, may our lives be a reflection of Christ – not this world. Help us Lord to lead our families well. To lead them toward you and not the world.
As I write this entry, I’m in the mountains at Camp McCall in Upstate SC. It’s one of the most beautiful places in our great State! One of the best parts…no cell service. It gives me and the other dads here the opportunity to focus our attention on loving and leading our sons. What better way to spend Father’s Day weekend. I’ve been to McCall many times before, but this is the first time with Luke.
As I read 1 Corinthians 2 & 3, I notice that Paul continues in what he was writing in chapter 1. He goes on to talk more about how we need not get caught up in who is the better preacher/leader. We don’t need to take claim of who is leading more to Christ…but the point is that we be faithful in sowing and watering the seeds. The Holy Spirit is responsible for bringing about change in a person’s life. That’s refreshing news. Help me Lord to faithfully pour into Luke and I’ll trust and pray that one day you will bring about the salvation of my youngest son.