Letters to the Corinthians: An Attitude Check

We’re back in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 and it brings me back to the word corinthianize – he might as well be asking Las Vegas or Atlantic City to give up gambling. So far the picture we have of this church makes the average American church seem angelic in comparison: there was division based on different preferences for different teachers, there was jealousy, quarreling, and strife, there was pride, sexual immorality is abundant even compared to rest of the region, and this is just the snapshot we see from the first third of the book – there’s plenty of time for Paul to add to the list. Oh, and remember the chiasms we talked about? This is another one. Paul talked about sexual immorality, then law suits against believers, and now he’s back to sexual immorality. So that means that somewhere in the previous section is the key verse that ties these sections together. My guess is in includes: “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God?” Whether it’s sexual immorality, defrauding and cheating one another, or whatever other kind of wrong that people can do – far too often Christians crusade against sexual immorality while giving a pass to the prosperity gospel televangelists who cheat and steal in the name of God.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

This section points to the Corinthians’ attitudes and beliefs. Probably not the same thing, but similar – in my region there are churches that try to draw in people by having gun giveaways. There is, after all, a general acceptance about guns. It’s our right to bear arms and a great many people exercise that right. So it shouldn’t be surprising that pro-gun attitudes prevail in churches because the believers bring them with them wherever they go. Since each church takes on the characteristics of the culture it serves, and the Corinthians have a well-earned reputation for sexual immorality, then it should be no surprise that Paul has to constantly remind them to flee from sexual immorality.

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

The only people who have been bought at a price are the believers – the Christians. Yet today many give themselves permission to command non-believers to follow Christian ethics on this regard. Some of it is probably due to the founders themselves being more or less Christians who believed that the Bible was the best source of morality. We based our laws from the cues from Scripture and have tended judge outsiders as guilty of sin when we misuse Scripture. These passages are geared toward the believer – Jesus was beaten and crucified, his body subjected to cuts and gashes, painful blows, and bleeding wounds to buy your body it’s freedom so therefore, honor Him with your body. Elsewhere it uses the term ‘as a living sacrifice’ (Romans 12:1).

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