The Future Is As Bright As The Promises Of God

Archive for August 5, 2014

Immorality Weakens The Body Of Christ

“It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans. Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?” 1 Corinthians 5:1a; 6:9a (RSV)
Seemingly everyone knew about the sin existing in the Corinthian church. The Greek wording suggests that it was not only reported to Paul, but was talked about among the members of the assembly. Paul condemned the believers for allowing sin to go unchallenged in their midst.
We live in a rather permissive, live-and-let-live age. There are those who think it old-fashioned to be concerned about people’s personal behavior. What we do in the privacy of our own homes is our business and no one else’s. Who cares as long as no one gets hurt?
We have lost confidence in our values. Old standards of right and wrong don’t seem as clear as they once did. Our world is so new and unusual that we must invent our rules as we go. We are on our own. Old values can’t be trusted. Besides, we Christians don’t want to appear a bunch of killjoys. “Everyone else is doing it,” has become a slogan of our society.
Often our goal as contemporary Christians is to blend in to the surrounding society lest we appear prudish, out of step, and backward. This is the real world; one must adjust to the status quo rather than resist it. Nothing is really good or bad–it all depends on the particular situation and how I feel about it at the moment.
“The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God,” Paul says in 6:9. The kingdom is such that it demands a complete change of life. This is not a kingdom without boundaries in which anything goes and any behavior is accepted. A kingdom without boundaries is no kingdom at all.
To say that we are saved by God’s grace–accepted just as we are–does not mean that we are left just as we are. People who enter this faith are people who are willing to form their lives accordingly.
Paul lists the behavior that he regards as immoral (6:9-10); misguided religion, betrayal of trust, forsaking nature, taking advantage of others, and abuse of self are among the sins he lists.
He might have said to the Corinthians, “Don’t do these things because God will punish people who do things like this.” That response is implied in these verses, but it is not at the heart of the matter. Rather, Paul argues that though the Corinthians were once people who acted this way (6:11), they can no longer live like this without appearing out of step with who they are now.
All Paul is urging the believers to do is to become who they are. Now they must either adjust their actions in accordance with their new lives or appear oddly out of step with the way things are. They are now citizens of a different country. They speak a different language. Occasionally their former accents will crop up in their speech, even as their immorality appears now. But that does not change their new citizenship. It is now too late for their old habits and attitudes. They are changed people–so they might as well wake up and start living like changed people.

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