As we rush towards the real subject that I want to spend some time with which is the 13th Chapter of 1st Corinthians we have found some real nuggets of truth that if properly applied to our lives will help us gain perfection in Christ.
So far we have learned about the things that we should avoid in order to keep ourselves clean before God. One point I would like to make here. When we speak of how sin is anything that brings separation between you and God. That separation can (and I suspect often is) be the fact that you condemn yourself when you commit some type of sin (big or small in your mind) and that causes you to feel unworthy until you are able to personally feel that you have been forgiven.
As Paul opens the 10th Chapter of 1st Corinthians he tries to explain through verse 4 how the Jewish forefathers were all led and followed the same laws and were under the same dispensation. THE LAW.
Verses 5 & 6 Paul was very careful to point out that God was not pleased with “all” of the people and how they were led away from God by their own desires.
Verses 7 through 10 explains some of the things that can bring personal condemnation and therefor creates that separation between us and God.
- Idolatry seemed to be the one thing that the children of Israel were constantly falling for.
- Fornication has always been a major temptation. Sexual sins seem to be the one thing that people are always drawn away by.
- Tempting Christ is a hard one to explain. It is when we continue to purposely fall into traps knowing exactly where we are and what we are doing yet, we still go against His will.
- Murmuring against the Church and our fellow Christians. Paul speaks of murmuring often. This is a quick way to damage your testimony.
Verse 11 points out that we should have learned from all that these guys went through and how their faith was damaged.
Verses 12 through 13 is a warning and a way out to us. First off Paul tells us to be careful about how we stand lest we fall. In other words we should watch our walk. However, God has promised us that he would not allow us to be tempted without giving us an escape route.
Paul points out in 14 through 21 that we can not follow the things of the world and the things of Christ and be successful. We are encouraged to follow one path or the other. Long periods of trying to be two different people in church and in the world can and usually does lead a person down a very dark path.
What I find very interesting is that Paul allowed the rest of this chapter to be directed to NOT offending others.
In the early church it was understood that we are now under a new dispensation. Not being under the law but under grace was one of the reasons Christ came to earth in the place. But there is also a problem with NOT being under the law.
Imagine a world of no laws. In some ways it would be a much better world to live in and in other ways it would be a lot more dangerous. Because people are simply going to be people, some will take advantage of others as if it is second nature while others will naturally care when you are in trouble.
Paul explains this by showing us this: When we have this kind of freedom we are not to do things in front of people who do not approve or would be offended by our actions.
Here’s a great example: I am not a drinker at all. I couldn’t fill up a wine bottle with the amount of wine I have had to drink in the past 5 years. However, I am not offended when a fellow Christian has a glass of wine while I am with them. This would immediately be offensive to many people. In this situation, if you are the drinker, it is better to leave that aside so you don’t offend someone else or damage your witness.
Do NOT offend people just because you can. More on all of this in a couple of chapters.