In today’s reading, we are looking at chapter 6 of 1 Corinthians. There’s a lot of specifics within this chapter that we could spend time on, but I want us to take a step back and look at the big picture of what Paul is trying to communicate to the Corinthians in this letter. As we talked about last week and Rusty hit on in his post, Corinth was a very “free” place where all of your desires could be indulged without fear of condemnation. Corinth was a port city, so the opportunity for brief encounters with many different people was very real and gave opportunities to engage with others, including sexually, without fear of repercussions. Prostitution was connected to pagan temple worship and was also a lucrative business.
“Your life is different now” was Paul’s theme to these new believers. He wanted them to understand that they had been purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ at an incredibly high cost and they now belonged to Him. Their lives were to no longer be lived to satisfy themselves, but to honor and serve Jesus. Plus, Paul adds that the unbelievers are watching them to see if this new life is real, if following Jesus made a difference. Paul tells them that everything in their lives was now different, even their thoughts and attitudes about sex, food, and being wronged by others.
I’m constantly struck by how relevant the Bible is to today. We live in such an individualized society that it often rubs us the wrong way to hear that we “can’t” or “shouldn’t” do something. Paul’s point to the Corinthians and also to us today is that it really isn’t about this list of things that says you’re out and then another list that says you’re in. But many Christians operate that way. They pick out the things that are not issues for them and cast stones about them, while completely ignoring the sin in their own lives. They are missing the point. As followers of Jesus Christ, everything that we have and everything that we are belongs to Him. Our very bodies belong to Him and He has given us the gift of allowing His Holy Spirit to live within us. How we live our lives, how we treat others – those within the faith and outside it, the things that we fill our hearts and minds with…it all matters.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach