Such were some of you; but you were washed
1 Corinthians 6 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? 4 So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, 6 but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers?
7 Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren.
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
12 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. 14 Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! 16 Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” 17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
Today’s text is one which is not well received in our culture and society. Our culture has determined that morality is subjective, undefined, that each person has the right to do as they choose. Of course there is truth to that. We do have free will. We are able to choose for ourselves. There are of course consequences when we choose to act outside of what is acceptable. Even the most lenient culture or society has limits or boundaries of what is acceptable. People within those cultures still can choose to go beyond those boundaries. When we look throughout history and in our current society, we must admit that there is no limit to the depravity of man. There is only a limit to what is deemed acceptable. Within cultures those lines, those boundaries tend to change and move. There really is nothing new. Every choice concerning morality has existed as long as man has. The only thing that changes is what a particular culture or society deems acceptable, at a particular time. God on the other hand, does not change. Numbers 23:19 says: “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Hebrews 13:8 says: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. James 1:17 says: Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. God is eternal. He doesn’t change with the times, nor is what He deems acceptable subject to the whims of society. There are many who reject what the Bible, God’s word, says about morality, saying it is outdated and unfair. In truth though, it is much more fair to have clear, definite and unchanging boundaries than those that are subject to change with the whims of man. Imagine if the laws changed arbitrarily, from day to day, on the route you drive to work, if where you were permitted to drive 60 m.p.h. yesterday was reduced to 30 today, simply by the choice of the police officer. What is the place you parked yesterday became a tow away zone today, at the whim of man. While we may not like every rule or boundary that exists, at least when they are clear and unchanging it is fair.
Our culture and our society attempts to defend immorality with the argument that it is beyond control or unfair, because it’s the way we were created. It is how I feel. Again, this leaves the definition or the boundary up to the individual and even society can no longer limit what is acceptable. God says: Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes And clever in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:20-21) The truth is we all are tempted by something or by many things. We were created with a free will and so we must choose how we will respond to temptation. Temptation itself is not sin, nor is being tempted a violation of God’s boundaries. Jesus Himself was tempted. Hebrews 4:15 says: We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. James 1:13-16 says: Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. It is not the temptation of our individual lusts that are the problem. It is our response to the temptation, our choice to do what we want rather than what God has clearly says.
Neither my words nor God’s words are meant to bring judgment or condemnation. For me I am no different than any other. I have both struggled and failed regarding my own lusts. But as today’s text says: Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. Being redeemed by the cross does not mean that there is no longer temptation, simply that there is no longer condemnation. Romans 8:1 says: Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Jesus Himself says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (John 3:16-21)
The things which tempt people have not changed. They have existed from the beginning. God has not changed. He still calls the same things good and evil. He still calls the same things light and darkness. The fact that we are free to choose has not changed. We can choose to remain inside or outside the boundaries set by both man or God and our choice will have consequences. Most importantly though, God’s love never changes. He loves us with an everlasting love. He has given us a way out of sin. There is no escape from temptation, but in Christ, through the cross, there is forgiveness for sin. Through the Holy Spirit there is the power and ability to live as Jesus did, tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. The text says: Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
Thank You heavenly Father for Your clear and unchanging boundaries. Thank You Jesus for paying the price for my sin and for being an example of how to live above the temptations of this life. Thank You Holy Spirit that You do not condemn, but rather convict concerning sin and righteousness and more over empower me live as, as Jesus did, without sin. Amen.