As loving parents who see there kids about to do something that will cause great pain or even lead to death, we get right to the point and bluntly shout, “Stop that, now!” “Stop!” “Take my hand, NOW!” Right?
With the same love as a parent, Paul is blunt as he gets right to the point quickly in this part of his letter to the believers in Corinth. The city is full of sin behaviors, unbelievers in God who worship idols, indulge in sexual promiscuity to the point of abuse, dishonoring each other in all kinds of perverted ways, along with taking each other to court for every disagreement. It is not surprising that this behavior is carried into the new church of people who are young in the faith and who have not fully left that life behind. They have carried in the “old, dead life behaviors” and are trying to attach it to their new, growing life in Christ.
Paul tells them in no uncertain language that the old, dead, worldly Corinthian life behaviors have to go because they do not match their new belief! He tells them what to do, how to live for Christ, which honors God. He helps them (and us) to realize the depth of God’s love as He cherishes our own bodies in which He wants to live and abide.
CORINTHIANS—CALLED AND SENT
1 Corinthians 6, The Message
1-4 And how dare you take each other to court! When you think you have been wronged, does it make any sense to go before a court that knows nothing of God’s ways instead of a family of Christians? The day is coming when the world is going to stand before a jury made up of followers of Jesus. If someday you are going to rule on the world’s fate, wouldn’t it be a good idea to practice on some of these smaller cases? Why, we’re even going to judge angels! So why not these everyday affairs? As these disagreements and wrongs surface, why would you ever entrust them to the judgment of people you don’t trust in any other way?
5-6 I say this as bluntly as I can to wake you up to the stupidity of what you’re doing. Is it possible that there isn’t one levelheaded person among you who can make fair decisions when disagreements and disputes come up? I don’t believe it. And here you are taking each other to court before people who don’t even believe in God! How can they render justice if they don’t believe in the God of justice?
7-8 These court cases are a black eye on your community. Wouldn’t it be far better to just take it, to let yourselves be wronged and forget it? All you’re doing is providing fuel for more wrong, more injustice, bringing more hurt to the people of your own spiritual family.
9-11 Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.
12 Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims.
13 You know the old saying, “First you eat to live, and then you live to eat”? Well, it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food, or indulging it with sex. Since the Master honors you with a body, honor him with your body!
14-15 God honored the Master’s body by raising it from the grave. He’ll treat yours with the same resurrection power. Until that time, remember that your bodies are created with the same dignity as the Master’s body. You wouldn’t take the Master’s body off to a whorehouse, would you? I should hope not.
16-20 There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.
WHAT DO WE LEARN—WHAT LEAPS OFF THE PAGE!
“God honored the Master’s body by raising it from the grave. He’ll treat yours with the same resurrection power. Until that time, remember that your bodies are created with the same dignity as the Master’s body. You wouldn’t take the Master’s body off to a whorehouse, would you? I should hope not.”
SAME DIGNITY as the Master’s Body—Friends, this goes much deeper than the lessons preached at church camp…”Don’t take fellow believers to court”, “Don’t have sex until marriage”, along with other don’ts. Look deeper into what God is saying through Paul. We hear God telling us the Truth and the Reason why He sent His Son to save us—
“You are mine, bought at the high price of the sacrifice of My Son, not just your heart, mind and soul—ALL of you which includes your body in which I created. So, don’t take me where I cannot go with you.”
Before we go or do anything what if we first asked, “Is this a place or experience God will be honored? That’s the bottom line of Paul’s warning to all of us who truly believe who want to grow more intimately in our relationship with God.
God so loved the world that HE GAVE His Son to save us from all sin. Our thanks to Him is displayed in our behaviors. God wants us to give back ALL of who we are to Him. “God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.” (See also Romans 12:1-2).
It’s all about God and His Son living in and through us. “Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate.” Good advice and well played, Paul.
I offer my life to you, all that I am, all you created me to be, all the good with all the bad that needs work. I am your work and you are not finished with me, yet. I realize that full well. Each day brings new opportunities to grow as I serve, to grow as I learn to love like you love us, as I grow more intimate in our relationship. I really don’t want to go where you are not honored. I don’t want to go where you have not sent me. I want what you want for me, Your best, in exchange for the worst in me. You are amazing, Lord! Your love is amazing! May I honor you with all my heart, mind and soul housed in this body you have created. All of me belongs to you.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen