Focus verses: I Corinthians 5:1-6:20
The Corinth of Paul’s day was much like our society today. The focus was on lust and fleshly pleasure – satisfying the appetites of the body at any and all costs. Even the body of Christ seems to have been bragging about it’s broadmindedness in the case of the man who had his father’s wife.
Paul is appalled by this report. It seems that the church of Corinth has fallen into the practices of the world around it. People go to court over disputes that should have been settled by the church. There is wrangling and cheating and self-promotion and immorality of all kinds pervading the church.
Paul is very specific about those who have no inheritance in the kingdom: the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexual offenders, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers and swindlers.
This list has always looked like an outline to me.
The sexually immoral:
- Male prostitutes
- Homosexual offenders
Sexual immorality has to do with the improper use of the body, this temple of the Holy Spirit, to which Paul refers.
The first improper use of this body is using it to worship something – anything – other than God. The second improper use is the violation of the marriage covenant – a covenant between three persons – a man, a woman and God. The third improper use of the body is for monetary gain – selling the temple of the Holy Spirit which does not belong to the person, but to God. The last improper use of the body is for rebellion and open defiance of the Lord – like using the temple of God to offer sacrifices to Baal.
Greed has to do with satisfying the lusts of the flesh and this world. Drunkenness is satisfying the lusts of the physical body – whether for drink or drugs or food or whatever. Slander satisfies the lust for power – power over reputations and people’s lives. Swindling has to do with the lust for money and the things it can by – being overly impressed with the cost of items and how they look to the world.
But Paul starts with sexual immorality and closes with that same topic telling the people of Corinth to flee from sexual immorality. All other sins are to be resisted, but they are to run the other way when sexual immorality is present.
Your body is not your own. You have been bought by the price of Christ’s physical body, his suffering on the cross. It was a huge price. You are worth much to God. Recognize that your worth is tied to His sacrifice to you. And honor God with your body.
Help us to remember always that we are not self-made people. You created us. We left you in the Garden. And You bought us back at the price of Your Son. Grant that we may always express our gratitude for our redemption by acting in accordance with Your wishes.