1 Corinthians 6; 1 Kings 19; Amos 3:3-4:3
The Sexual Revolution began in the 1960’s. Attitudes changed so that Christian values relating to sexuality and marriage gave way to more permissive attitudes. Fears of the consequences that came from a more sexualized community disappeared as different birth control methods, developed by science, made it less likely for women to get pregnant and antibiotics could take care of any disease that might result. Books and movies reflected this new era and Hugh Hefner’s magazine spurred the charge. Society as a whole changed from the understanding that sex was to be between one man and one woman who were married to the understanding that sexual relations could occur at practically any time with anyone.
In short, we became as free with our sexual attitudes as ancient Greece. Some of their sexual activity related to worship of various gods and goddesses. Brothels were available for young men to deal with sexual issues, and the public cheered their creation as being good for the common order. As Paul looked at how this played out in Corinthian life, he noted that those who continue in sin have no place in God’s Kingdom. There are some who might lose hope and figure that it wasn’t worth trying to get better. Paul had words for them, and for us today. “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11)
There are two wrong paths it would have been easy to take back in ancient Corinth, and many followed those paths. The first one was that the body was unimportant, only spirit was important. This is why the Greeks were so astonished by the message of the Resurrection. Why would God come in a human body, and why, once shed of that body, would He come back to life in a body? Many Greeks, because of this belief, had wild lifestyles and many new followers of Christ lived that way. What they did with the body was unimportant because spirit was important and one of the ways they indulged themselves was sex. Paul reminded them that those who indulge in sexual immorality did not have lives changed by Christ and thus would not inherit the kingdom of Heaven. The other side of that coin was that many who had lived such lives in the past may have thought that they were beyond hope. If there was no hope, why not continue. Paul reminds them that they were washed and sanctified by the Spirit of God. That things were right between them and God because Jesus forgave them and made them holy.
We deal with similar problems today. In spite of the clear teaching of the Bible regarding sex and marriage, many, even who would claim to be part of the church, feel free to interpret God’s word in their own way to satisfy their own desires. Paul would remind these people that a lifestyle of sexual immorality, like a lifestyle of self-indulgence in other ways is not for those who are in the kingdom of God. For those who recognize this and regret their past, Paul’s message is one of hope. The grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ is so great that you can look back on your life and put the past behind you. God will wash, sanctify, and justify you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. You can live not in fear of falling short of God’s Kingdom, not in regret for your sins, but in a spirit of joy and peace because of what God has done in your life. There is hope, promise, and strength for a life of joy when you’re walking in the grace of Jesus Christ.
Oh Lord, it would be so easy to fall into the patterns of this world. Temptations abound, and sometimes they seem to appeal to me. Keep me in Your grace and keep me from sin.