1 Corinthians 5 & 6
Today’s reading covers a Christian’s responsibility for standing up for the principles Jesus laid down for us. In our walk through life, we all can account for an occurrence where we noticed another Christian was saying or performing behavior that was blatant sin or was contradictory to the Lord’s will. How often have we intervened “in the correct manner”? How often have we wondered if we had the “credentials” to confront these believers? How often do we consider how our inaction affects the body of the church? These were the pressing issues Paul addressed in chap 5 and chap 6; as he confronted the incestuous behavior of a member of the church and Christians not elevating themselves to build up the body of the church.
In chap 5, Paul first admonished the believers for allowing an incestuous behavior to occur. One of the issues, Paul was already dealing with was the Corinthians’ spiritual immaturity. He urged for the offender to be removed from the church and handed over to Satan. This action would cause the believer to cease his wrong doing and repent; whether if it was through isolation or afflictions from his sinful behavior. Inevitably he would return to Christ. Why is it important that we act? Paul illustrated through the example of yeast that the smallest allowance of flagrant sin will cause confusion, a lack of spiritual development and church division. As the body of Christ, we are to lift one another up through prayer, encouragement and fellowship. As with Paul, it is up to all of us to help maintain the body and one way to accomplish this is by disassociating with those who would seek its destruction.
In looking at chap 6, Paul deals with smaller behaviors that may cause a division of the body. He starts with reprimanding the believers for utilizing the secular world to decide disputes. In an effort to increase their spiritual maturity, Paul elevates the role of a believer as he stated, they will judge the world and even the angels. Paul wanted to make clear that by engaging in legal pursuits, believers were subjecting themselves to world decisions, engaging in selfish behavior and distracted Christians from building each other up. To conclude this message, Paul reemphasized the various sins that Christians must avoid. He especially stressed their need to flee from sexual immorality. He wanted the readers to know that our bodies are temples for God that was bought with the blood of Jesus.
In April, Northwoods will host a family conference that will focus on purity. As with these two chapters, it is vital that we comply with Paul’s directions to address flagrant sin and behaviors that may cause believers to stumble. It is our responsibility to STAND UP for principles outlined by Jesus Christ.