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"It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among the pagans…" - 1 Corinthians 5:1 (NLT)
Nothing like starting the week with a big topic. Sort of like a firecracker going off, when you weren’t expecting it.
Sexual immorality. There. I said it. There is perhaps no more relaxed attitude regarding sin among us, God’s children, than this one. If Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (and He is), do we think He’s somehow lightened up on this one just for our day and age?
A hallmark of false religions -- then and now -- is sexual immorality, deviation, and perversion. David Koresh, Branch Davidian leader, observed “spiritual weddings” which enabled him to bed “God-chosen” female followers of all ages. Jim Jones, of the Kool-Aid-drinking, suicide-pact-making Peoples Temple, had multiple adulterous relationships with female members. Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormons, wed over 40 wives. Sexual sin is a sure sign that God is not IN a thing. It’s that simple.
A hallmark of Christianity is the concept of sexual purity. Any sexual activity apart from being inside marriage between a man and a woman is not to be part of the landscape of God’s holy people. “Among you, there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity … because these are improper for God’s holy people.” (Ephesians 5:3). Not even a hint. How much clearer does God need to be?
"It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among the pagans…" 1 Corinthians 5:1
Mincing no words, Paul lays the case against the Church’s tolerance of sin in her midst.
This is a hard concept to receive, given how messed up our culture is regarding sex. This is the age of mainstreaming pornography, cohabitation, same-sex marriage, human trafficking, and hooking up. It’s little wonder we struggle with the competing messages of God’s best design for us versus the world’s cavalier attitude toward sex.
Enough of a firecracker to start the week? Nope. More like a grenade.
- How has God changed your attitude regarding this very personal subject?
- Seek God today to confess any ways you have used your body as an object of unrighteousness. He is faithful to forgive every sin. Choose from today forward to honor Him first in all of your relationships. You can do this.
"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." - 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NLT)
Well, that pretty much eliminates all of us. Looks like nobody’s gettin’ into Heaven!
Despair not, friend. Because of one game-changing, life-giving statement.
Does verse 11 say, “And that is what some of you are”? No, beloved. W-E-R-E. “And that is what some of you were.” Oh, Hallelujah! Jesus sees us not as we are, steeped in sin and unable to lift our pitiful heads toward His brilliant holiness. He declares us to be righteous by faith in Him. To be sanctified, which is a big, fat churchy word that simply means to be put to our proper use.
No human was ever created to be any of the things listed above. Not one. Those endeavors are improper uses of who God designed us to be. Let’s set the record straight: you are no longer a “sinner saved by grace.” You are a much-loved, cherished child of the Most High King. You are royalty. A saint. Nowhere in the New Testament are believers called sinners. One word alone is used to describe us: hagios. In the Greek, those are the “holy ones, set apart ones, consecrated ones, saints.”
Don’t get all squirrelly and remind me that there’s no way you could be a saint. You’ve done too much that doesn’t square up with your idea of that word.
Whatever came before is no more. New creation. Old person? Gone. Buried in the deepest sea. Now, why is this important for you to know? Because, friend, you will always behave like what you believe you are.
Believe you are a sinner -- sexually immoral, drunk, thief, liar -- and you’ll behave like one. Believe you are a saint and you’ll behave like a saint. It always comes down to this: at the root of sin is unbelief.
"Everything is permissible for me -- but not everything is beneficial." - 1 Corinthians 6:12 (NLT)
Our grandson, Jack, loves to spend time at our house. In fact, if we’d let him, he’d move in and never leave! He’s always sad when the weekend is over and it’s time to go home. Not because he doesn’t love his parents, but because, well, things are done his way here. A lot. We have Mimi-cakes for dinner (pancakes), and ice cream is, shall we say, abundant. There are always treats around when grandbabies are present.
Full disclosure: It’s sort of our way of payback for the teenage years of their parents. On Sundays, we fill them full of Red Bull and chocolate chip cookies and send them home. I’m kidding, y’all … sort of!
Sometimes, however, the Jack-man partakes a little more than he should. He sneaks an extra cookie or gummy bear. It’s then that the tummy ache happens. Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.
Of all the spiritual gifts that come with placing our hope and trust in Jesus Christ, perhaps the one I’m most grateful for is freedom. I don’t know about you, but I know the prison I lived in before I learned the truth that set me free. I believed very specific lies about myself that kept me hiding in the corner of my particular cell. I was unaware that my prison door locked from the inside. Yours does too, by the way.
In Christ, we’ve been set free from the lies of sin and death. We’ve been set free from the law that declared us disobedient. In freedom, we can live a life that reflects what we believe about our Freedom-Giver, Jesus. But we’ve been set free to never again wear the yoke of slavery. Though we have everything available to us, we must choose to participate with the Holy Spirit inside us, who guides and directs us. It takes daily, lifelong submission to Him to choose the beneficial.
"Everything is permissible for me -- but I will not be mastered by anything." - 1 Corinthians 6:12 (NLT)
Here we go again. Paul strikes at the core of how believers can be picked off by the enemy, Satan. Taken out, one by one.
We have not been given freedom in Christ to be dragged back to the same old sins. God’s Word declares that whom the Son sets free is free indeed.
But there is no other sin quite like sexual sin. Paul says don’t walk away from this one… Run! “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18)
Because it binds us from the inside out, sexual sin has a way of invading a life, heart, and mind to the point few other rational thoughts can break through. Just sit with even a few of the men and women whose lives have been overtaken by sexual sin. Their story is not one of thrilling excitement, but rather lonely despair and heartbroken disappointment.
It’s like jumping off a cliff. The ride may seem wild and exciting. But the landing will never fail to stink. Sin never delivers, never completes, never fulfills what it promises. It's one job is to entrap us in a whirlwind of self-loathing and disgust. Your enemy has one plan: lure you into dark places of sin, and then shine a spotlight on you.
When sex is outside God’s design, it never does what we hope. As with all of the enemy’s plans, it divides rather than unites. It’s a counterfeit of true intimacy.
If you’ve been trapped in this particular area of sin, there is hope. It is found in the person of Jesus Christ. Repair and restoration can happen when we turn our hearts to the only One who can heal us.
Christ-followers, we have been called to be light in a dark and sin-sick culture. We’ve been called to be truth in a world full of deception. And we’ve been called to stand firm for Jesus, even if everyone around us wavers.
"You are not your own - you were bought at a price." - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 7:23 (NLT)
Paul has spent chapters 5 to 7 warning us about the lure of sin. In particular, sexual sin. His reminder here in the latter part of 6, and again in 7, is clear. We are not our own.
In biblical times, when a young man wanted to take a wife, he sought the permission and advice of his father. Together, father and son would make the match. The son then went to the home of the girl’s father to ask for her hand and agree upon the mohar, in Hebrew, the bride price.
Three things were true of the mohar: it was required by law, it was paid by the father of the groom, and it reflected the value of the bride. With the blessing of her father, a cup of wine sealed the betrothal. The groom drank from it, then offered it to his future wife. His pledge of love and the offer of his life to her could not be final until she accepted the cup he offered. With the match set, the son returned home to build onto his father’s house a place where they would reside.
From the moment the bride agreed to marry, she was veiled and remained so until the wedding ceremony. This showed the world that she belonged to one man -- all that she had, including her physical appearance, was for his glory and pleasure alone. She spent her days preparing for her groom’s return. She simply had to be ready whenever he arrived for her.
She was known in her community as “one who has been bought with a price.” In Hebrew, this term is “me ‘kedoshet,” or “one who is sanctified, dedicated to another, betrothed.”
Listen, if the hair on the back of your neck isn’t standing up right now, you’re d-e-a-d. Here’s why this matters: We’re all betrothed. We’re awaiting our Groom to show up. He’s been gone a long time, building onto his father’s house. But He IS coming back for us. Soon.