Hi! Welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the Daily Challenge. Today’s Tuesday; it’s the day we explore in the Bible the topic that we introduced yesterday. We’re in a series called, “Reset” right now, looking at how deciding to follow Jesus resets some really important areas of our lives. We’ve looked at several and this week we’re looking at how it resets our view of sexuality and marriage.
We’re going to try to understand it using some of the words that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth. The letter is called 1 Corinthians. This is the same passage as last week, on food, but this time we’ll highlight how Paul used it as an example for sexuality gone wrong.
12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined[a] to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin[b] a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Paul has heard what’s going on in the Corinthian community. They are notorious for prostitution, as a port city. They have a reputation for sexual promiscuity, since the temple to Aphrodite (the Greek goddess of love, beauty, and sexuality) was there, and temple prostitution a common thing.
Promiscuous and unlimited sex was quite common and accepted in that culture, something the Corinthians had within their rights, or at least knew they could get away with. But Paul isn’t worried about the City of Corinth and the rights of its citizens today, he’s worried about the City of God, the Kingdom of Heaven, and its citizens.
He wrote in Chapter 5 that a church member was sleeping with his stepmother. And from this passage, we can tell that church members are involved in prostitution as well, and he alludes to all sorts of other practices where sexuality has gone wrong.
Worse, it appears they’re justifying it using Paul’s teaching, using them like slogans. They are saying things like: All things are lawful for me! I can understand Paul saying words like that – he’d have been teaching about how Jesus fulfilled the law. They no longer had to try and make themselves acceptable to God by following laws, but Jesus’ death and resurrection meant that God had made them acceptable once again.
That is great news people need to hear: Christianity is not about a list of what’s wrong, and trying to fix that before we’re right with God.
The problem is they took that too far, and basically said that God’s grace, through Jesus dying on the cross, means anything goes! They were left with no law at all.
But Jesus only said he came to fulfill the law, not throw it away.
Jesus gift of grace isn’t about saying nothing’s wrong, but it’s about what is right, what we were created for and what God has done to allow us, through his power, to experience that once again. He invites us to begin practicing what is right now, in anticipation of the day when his work is completed and we live in his kingdom.
God created us from one ancestor, a’dam, and separated a’dam into two genders, male and female. In the first allusion to sexual intercourse in the Bible, sex is the rejoining together of what was once united as one, where there is potential to reproduce and extend God’s love to create other human beings. God’s original plan for us included sex as a good part of his creation, and a necessary one. But we and all humans have rebelled against God’s plan in numerous ways, pushed God from the center of our lives, and put other things there instead. Sex is a favourite – so many people act as if sex is the center of life, taking it out of its proper place and putting it in God’s place.
Remember, sin is simply when we take something good, pretend it’s the ultimate good, and it becomes very bad. Those who take sex out of context often experience the negative consequences in the moment or in hindsight. Sin can trap us. If you have ever tried to stop sexual sin on your own, you’ll know how impossible it is and that it has relational, emotional and spiritual effects for years, if not a lifetime.
But the good news is God has begun to transform our world into the kingdom of God, to reform the world as he originally intended it. He made it possible for us to practice life as God intended it, to fully experience all he created in all its goodness, which includes experiencing sex not as a simple biological act, as exercising our rights or as a false God. He made that possible for his followers by destroying sin, which had originally separated us from God and led us to rip sexuality from its context.
The bottom line for Paul: Having acknowledged God as creator means we are free to use our gifts, including our sexual bodies, as God intended them, rather than as we wish.
I’ve got a question for you to consider today and hopefully discuss with others you know from the commute, or from work, or from home.
Question: From this passage, how do you anticipate Paul sees God’s plan for humans to use their sexuality?
Have a great discussion. Don’t forget we’re reading the Bible in sync as a community, so check our website or app to see what today’s reading is. Have a great one. I’ll see you tomorrow.Read the Bible in Sync Today