ICYMI, this week at Common Ground we flew through 1 Corinthians 7-9. Actually we started a bit into 1 Corinthians 7, but still, that’s a lot of ground to cover. With such little time to dig deep, we took in the broad scope of the text and drew several conclusions.
- Best not jump from ship to ship in the middle of a raging storm. The latter half of 1 Corinthians 7 talks about various life situations and the advice Paul the Apostle gives is to hang in there where you’re at. That said, he does hedge his bets a little and admits that sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. He assumes that life in Corinth is about to be complicated by a wave of persecution, so it makes sense to consider very carefully any major life choices you’re about to undertake.
- Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. In 1 Corinthians 8, Paul points out that although there is great freedom in Jesus Christ, there is also a responsibility to consider others, specifically to consider how they might misinterpret your actions in ways that could lead them to sin… which would lead you to sin. The key point to remember in matters of Christian liberty, such as alcohol or gambling, is that there are good reasons to show restraint. First, there’s no inherent spiritual advantage in partaking. Second, partaking could possibly damage the lives of others (even inadvertently this matters). Third, if other do sin on account of your actions, you are equally guilty.
- Sharing the good new of Jesus Christ is the only thing that really matters. Whatever it takes, the price is worth it. In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul rails quite humorously at the Corinthian church for not paying him, but then goes on to deny payment because he doesn’t want anyone confusing his motive for sharing with a desire for earthly comforts. His point is that there’s no room for pride, no room for dignity, when it comes time to tell people about Jesus. Do whatever it takes. He advocates for discipline and self-control; a life lived intentionally for the sake of the gospel. We should be so compelled!