Sexual immorality was a pervasive issue in first century Corinth. The number of prostitutes in the city and extremely loose morals in Corinthian culture were famous throughout the known world. Corinth was known as the place to be to partake in debauchery and all types of sinful and selfish pleasure. The mentality of the city was “I have rights and will use those rights to get what I want and nobody can tell me no.”
In the midst of this, God started a church and called people out from the evil culture that surrounded them, setting them apart to be His representatives to a broken world. But transformation doesn’t typically happen overnight. It’s a process. The Corinthians came out of the ungodly culture, but did not rid themselves of all the trappings of their former life. They tried to blend their Christian life and values with those held by the godless culture around them.
As we’ve already seen in the last couple chapters, the church at Corinth was struggling with some serious sin issues. They were turning a blind eye to sexual immorality within the church, allowing disunity and conflict to get out of hand, and in general letting culture and the world influence them more than the truth of God’s Word. But as Paul starts to address these issues and bring strong words of rebuke, he also sprinkles in words of encouragement—reminding them who they are in Christ and that despite their struggles with sin, they are still redeemed children of God. They just needed to learn how to act and live like it
Conflict is an inevitable part of doing life with other sinful human beings. Some things will rub us the wrong way, miscommunication will arise, or someone will hurt someone else intentionally or otherwise. When these things occur, emotions rise, tempers flare, and conflict ensues. While conflict is a normal and expected part of life here on this broken planet and often outside the realm of our control, how we navigate conflict is within our sphere of control and should be different as followers of Jesus Christ.
God is perfectly holy and calls His children to live holy and blameless lives as well. While on this side of eternity, we are unable to attain perfection in this life, we do need to be actively striving and working towards increased holiness both in our lives individually and as a corporate body of believers. Therefore, as we pursue the holiness God desires, we should have zero tolerance for deliberate, habitual, and public sin within our own lives and within the church.
Sin destroys. It infects like a disease. It spreads and grows, bringing destruction and eventually death. It is an ugly monster that gradually consumes and takes one captive. But Jesus Christ broke the power of sin on the cross. By His blood, we are redeemed and saved from the slave-like hold sin has on us. However, that doesn’t mean that we no longer have to deal with sin.
On the contrary, we all daily battle sin and its temptations. Even though we have been saved from the power of it and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, we haven’t been freed from the presence of sin yet. Therefore, we must be on guard and constantly wage war on sin and our flesh. No one is exempt from the battle against sin. We all must fight it on a daily level because intentional, habitual, and deliberate sin has no place in the life of a believer or church
Words are everywhere. As you read this post, you’ll be inundated with hundreds of words. Words allow us to communicate thoughts, ideas, messages, ideologies, beliefs, and reasoning. Without words we’d be unable to communicate and thus unable to collaborate, effectively do life together, or exchange knowledge. However, for all the positive things we can do with words, they can also be used for evil. With our words, we can boast in our limited knowledge, puff ourselves up with pride, and mock the God who created us.
In America, we have many unspoken expectations out of life. The quest for the American dream consisting of a life of plenty, affluence, and luxury is still very much alive. We want a life of comfort, ease, and abundance. While these desires and aspirations are not bad or evil, the truth is that throughout history, most true followers of Jesus Christ rarely experienced these things. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 4, Paul gives a rather sobering picture of what life as a first century Apostle was like.
“To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.”
~1 Corinthians 4:11-13
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