2 Samuel 15:23-16:23
1 Corinthians 5:1-13
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Focus Verses: 1 Corinthians 5:9-11
9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
Corinth was famous for sexual immorality. The church there would certainly have had to deal with a wide variety of sexual issues as people were coming to God through faith in Christ. How does the church extend grace and hope to all people—all sinners—and still hold up a standard for holy living?
The case in 1 Corinthians 5 was one of incest. A man was having a sexual relationship with a woman who was or who had been his father's wife. The church was evidently proud of how tolerant they were, thinking that non-confrontation would be the gracious, Christian thing to do. Paul counters this attitude in no uncertain terms. The problem seems to be that the man claimed to be a Christian, but didn't see his sexual behavior as inconsistent with this claim.
Paul says that Christians need to take holiness and morality very seriously because Christian fellowship should be moving people toward maturity and holiness. Sin must be seen as sin if it is to be dealt with. A "toleration" that turns a blind eye toward sin and a deaf ear to Christ's call to holiness is a form of tolerance that denies the need for change and the possibility of transformation.
Response and Action:
I need to pursue holiness and take sin seriously in my life. I also need to take it seriously when I see it in the lives of my Christian friends. To tolerate open and defiant sin in my life or in the lives of my Christian friends would be to ignore the calling of Christ and the resurrection power he offers for our transformation. We must recognize sin in our lives, repent of this sin, and work together toward holiness by the grace of God.
O God, help me to be honest about sin in my life. Help me to be honest and loving with my Christian friends about the sins I recognize in their lives. Help us all to humbly turn to you for the power we need to change. Help us to graciously receive the gentle corrections and admonitions we extend to each other. Help the Christian community I'm a part of to be both loving and straightforward in a spirit of gracious accountability and support. Amen.
Spiritual Formation Verses: 2 Corinthians 5:16-17
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
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