A Letter Addressing Problems in Corinth (Part 2)
NOVEMBER 10 Nº 314 1 Corinthians 6:12 – 14:39
After explaining the need for unity among the believers (see #313 - November 9), Paul addressed some other issues that plagued the church in Corinth. The city was known for its wild behavior (see #309 - November 5), and several church members had become engaged in corrupt lifestyles. Paul emphasized the fact that every believer was a member of the body of Christ. Jesus had paid a very high price to make that possible—he had died on the cross! In addition, the Holy Spirit had come to live inside every believer. “Don’t you know,” Paul exhorted them, “that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, whom God sent to live in you? Therefore, you should honor God with your bodies!” Then Paul focused on specific concerns the Corinthian leaders had mentioned in a letter addressed to him: · He dealt with whether Christians should get married or remain single. Although he was not married and felt that being single allowed him greater freedom to minister and share the Gospel, he knew that celibacy was not for everyone. He said that married couples were to recognize the importance of their vows. Unity and unselfishness should be distinguishing characteristics of a Christian marriage. · They questioned whether they should eat meat from animals that had been sacrificed to idols. Paul said that it was wrong to eat such meat if it caused someone else to think that the church members worshiped idols. Otherwise, it was a matter of personal conscience. Paul explained that the liberty Christians enjoyed should give them the freedom to minister in different ways to different people from different cultures. When sharing the Gospel with Jews, they should honor Jewish traditions and laws. When ministering to Gentiles, they should not offend the Gentiles or ignore their traditions. Paul said that he was willing to do anything (except sin) to bring someone to Jesus. · Some women in the church were flaunting their new freedom from the old laws. In the process they were upsetting others by the way they dressed. Paul advised them not to remove their head coverings, because in that culture, head coverings were a sign of respect for God. · It had come to Paul’s attention that some church members were turning the observance of the Lord’s Supper into a party rather than a time to remember Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Those church members were actually excluding others from fellowshipping with them. Paul said that God would judge them harshly for this. · Paul spent a lot of time instructing the Corinthians about spiritual gifts. These gifts were given by the Holy Spirit for the good of the church—not the prestige of any individual. No one should be jealous of a gift someone else had received, since no particular gift was better than any other. As a matter of fact, “love” was the greatest gift of all. If they had love for each other, they would no longer experience most of the issues he was now having to address.
Is there someone in your life who is difficult to love? Pray for your relationship with that person, then read 1 Corinthians 13:1-7. Notice if there is an aspect of love you need to work on. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you develop it toward the person he brought to your mind.