1 Corinthians 5-8

Paul covers a lot of ground in these few chapters, and his thoughts in print have provided many generations with wise guidance that helps us maneuver our way past many obstacles that have the potential to collapse families, communities and nations.
There is sexual sin within the church, and in verse 5 we see they are actually boasting about it.   I doubt they are boasting about “sin”, rather they don’t recognize what they are doing as being sinful, so they are celebrating the union of two people.    5:4 Paul says he has “passed judgment” on this man.   Do believers judge one another?    According to this reading we do.
5:9 Paul says “when I wrote to you before” …but this is “First” Corinthians…and the Corinthians have written Paul and asked questions (which he answers in this letter).    Obviously, we don’t have all the letters Paul wrote.  Thinking of that…I wonder how many letters Paul actually wrote?
5:12 “it is your responsibility to judge those within the church who are sinning”.    Remember, the word “within” means people who claim to have accepted Christ as Savior…not those who come to church on Sunday.
6:3  Since we as believers will one day judge the world, or angels…shouldn’t we be able to make wise decisions about contentious matters in this life?   What does it say about our level of maturity when we abandon the authority of our spiritual family and allow someone who doesn’t know the Lord at all to make decisions in our life?     If such a person is forced upon us, like a duly elected official we must submit…but why would we seek out a person who doesn’t believe in Jesus, who isn’t operating with spiritual wisdom from the Holy Spirit to make judgments for us?    Such a person could single handedly destroy our relationships, our testimony and our witness to the community.
6:9-10 provides clear language that those who participate in these activities will not inherit the kingdom of God.   If God can make this claim (through Paul) then salvation can provide healing from these desires.   What I am saying is this “If God says these behaviors are bad and must be stopped, then they cannot be genetic and unchanging, because if they were we wouldn’t be able to change them.”    The very fact that the Bible tells us to “not engage in sexual sins” means that the Holy Spirit is giving us the power to resist sexual sins of all types.     Yes, you can be healed.   Yes, God can change the way you think, and what you desire.    I promise you this, because I have experienced it myself, and I have the testimony of countless others who have experienced radical change in thought and behavior that is unexplainable apart from the work of the Holy Spirit.    Don’t let someone lie to you and tell you that you have to be the way your are.
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  Old things are passed away and everything (that is “all things”) becomes new”       When everything becomes new, it includes your nature…it won’t happen all at once, but it will happen.
Meditate on this, and it will help you make daily decisions.  6:15  “your body is a part of Christ”
6:18 tells me that sexual sin is in a class by itself.  No other sin affects the body like sexual sin does.   There must be a reason that ministers and other leaders are so often taken out by sexual temptation.  Either it is more powerful than other desires, or it is a preferred attack of the enemy against leaders.   I think it’s the first one, because not only leaders are succumbing to this desire.
7:4   The wife surrenders her body to her husband.    And, the husband surrenders his body to his wife….I think that’s the perfect model for marriage, but too often men only read the first part, and women only “read into” the second half.    Men desire gratification and want it without any relational “buy in”, and women pressure the men into gratifying them in others ways (beyond sexual, such as: working around the house, buying things, taking their side in arguments, etc.) using sex as an incentive.    That’s a perversion of the true model.
Don’t leave your spouse if they will agree to remain within the confines of the marriage relationship with you.   That applies even if they are not a believer.  There are cases where the believing spouse has won the unbeliever over, and where children who were raised with one unbelieving parent became wholesome, godly men and women.
7:17 says that we should remain in whatever situation we were in when we became believers.   Of course, we should try to “progress” by all legal means, but I think what Paul is trying to say here is that we shouldn’t associate spiritual growth and maturity with a particular social status or occupation.    A slave can be a more mature believer than a President, and a poor person can be more wealthy in Christ than a Billionaire.    And, the reverse is also true.     According to this, there is no spiritual value in circumcision anymore.  there may be other traditional or hygiene related benefits, but spiritually speaking it isn’t necessary.
7:29-31 is a huge thought.   We shouldn’t be completely absorbed by the things of this world.  Marriage is of this world. (wow).  Toys, tools, trucks (for the guys) and homes, decorations, clothes (again, stereotyping the fairer sex) is one way the devil distracts us.    Marriage isn’t bad, it’s clearly of God, but it’s meant for this world alone.  In heaven there won’t be any marriage…think about that.     There also won’t be distractions that are founded on greed and other ungodly base desires.     There are no dump trucks in heaven…and the place is already decorated.   There won’t be any “knick-knacks” there, so if you spend all your time obsessing over these things, you are actually being distracted right now.    It takes a mature believer to understand how marriage can be a distraction to spiritual growth and development, because marriage is also a powerful influence for good in our spiritual development.     I think it all comes back to balance.
All through today’s reading I keep having the feeling that the church in Corinth had become a little arrogant.  They were intelligent, respected and they knew it.   They seemed to have enough education to speak on a higher level than what the average person could, but that doesn’t mean they had more to say…
I can’t shake the feeling that the Church had a high opinion of themselves, and had allowed that temptation to lead them into sins that others would avoid.   There is such a thing as being tempted by the thought that you have acquired “special knowledge or insight” that isn’t available to others.  For instance: they understand that idols are nothing, so there is nothing to be gained or lost by eating food associated with idols.   What they have forgotten is that their actions are speaking volumes to others.    They are caught up in pride about their own wisdom,    I think they have forgotteh that God’s Word is made comprehensible by the Holy Spirit, who speaks across all education levels.   In light of that, there isn’t any great advantage to being “smart”,   sure there are some opportunities that wisdom provides..and we should seek to be wise.   But we should also be careful we don’t fall into the traps that satan lays specifically for the wise.     Paul is pointing out some of the things that have “tripped up” the Corinthians.   We should pay attention.