The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), November 19
It is not politically correct to question anyone’s sexuality or to “call out” another believer for sexual sin. Yet the Apostle Paul was unafraid to address sexual immorality or any other sin practiced by anyone in the church. He instructed the Corinthian believers to dissociate themselves from those claiming to know Christ, but practicing sin, “But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person” (1 Cor. 5:11). Talk about intolerant!
Paul’s view of a holy God, His kingdom, and redemption dictates his response to sinful practices: “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 homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (6:9-10).
God’s kingdom belongs to those who have been, “washed”, “sanctified”, and “justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (6:11). When sinners come to Christ, He comes into them via the Holy Spirit. He dedicates their physical bodies as His temple: “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore honor God in your body” (6:19-20).
Jesus died to free guilty sinners—to free them from the guilt of sin as well as the practice of sinful behaviors. The people of this world are immoral, greedy, swindlers, and idolaters, but “new creatures in Christ” ought to be different in lifestyle and behavior. Paul firmly establishes that no one who calls himself a brother continually practices sexual immorality, greed, etc. (Eph. 5:3-7; I Cor. 6:9-10).
Lest you think Paul acted more harshly than Christ against professing Christians who live in sin, consider Jesus’ words: “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire” (Rev. 21:8), and “But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie” (22:15).
As the Gospel becomes more watered down in our day, the church becomes kinder than God toward guilty church members. That’s why sexual activity, greed, addictive behaviors, etc. abound in today’s church. The church must lead the way in repentance and brokenness, in disciplining its members for sinful practices, and in restoring those who repent.
The kingdom of God belongs to kingdom people—not perfect people, but imperfect people whose reorientation to Christ from sinful practices changes them. They are more than physical bodies with sinful urges; they are temples in which God dwells—mobile temples.
Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (1 Cor. 4:1-7:40):
Describe Paul and Apollos’ relationship. What is Paul’s view of himself?
What does Paul teach about Christian marriage and sex? About Christians married to unbelievers?