JohnSWilson3 Blog


“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself?”
August 30, 2009, 1:46 pm
Filed under: J First Letter to the Corinthians

Reading chapters 5 to 7 in the first letter to the church at Corinth Paul now begins to describe the results of the divisions that had occurred in the church. Paul had earlier tried to help the church to realize who they were in Christ and that the divisions were because of relying on human wisdom and human strength. In Christ there are no distinctions!

These Corinthian Christians should have been spiritual fathers and mothers, mentoring other followers of Jesus in the simple practices of loving one another as Christ had loved them in the power of the Holy Spirit. With the divisions the focus had not been on Jesus and so the body of Jesus no longer looked like Jesus. Paul stated that he “resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” and that “the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power” and reminded them of the way he lived “in Christ Jesus.” Because the church was not following the practices Paul had given them, they had become a human organization focused on selfishness and servitude versus selflessness and service.

In chapters 5 to 7 Paul describes how the church was not acting spiritually mature, “infants in Christ.” In one instance is sexual immorality where a brother “has his father’s wife” in another disputes between believers have been taken to “the ungodly for judgment” due to cheating one other. What a bunch of mess! As I have been reminded relationships can be messy and only the power of Jesus can lead us through the mess. Paul reminds them of Jesus words about what to do when a brother offends the church, saying “When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.” Wow! When the body of Christ assembles “in the name of the Lord Jesus,” when we actively make Jesus the Head, when Jesus is our focus and devotion, through worship, prayer and praise, loving His body, loving each other as Jesus loved us His “power…is present” and the body of Christ, who are meeting together in a home or wherever they decided to gather, has His authority to do the right thing! Not for the faint of heart! If the body is functioning rightly then I need to make confession and repentance a constant practice, if not the body will deal with it! Spiritual fathers and mothers, those who are focused on Jesus being Head and helping others to do the same, these are the prayer warriors, these are those on the front lines whom God can use in the spiritual warfare that wages against His body!

Because Paul lived with these Corinthians for a couple years, I could almost get a sense of hurt from this betrayal of Jesus in their lives coming from his words. To have lived among them, helping them, guiding them in the life of Jesus, and to have built such close relationships and then to have many fall away and ruin the lives of others in the church, must have hurt him terribly. But Paul is adamant and makes the point that followers of Jesus are not alone! It is “by his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also”! The body of Christ IS the body of Christ. His power is available, His resurrection POWER! “Your bodies are members of Christ himself” and that as a follower of Jesus we have been united with Christ, we are in Christ and “the Lord is one with (us) in spirit.” Our “body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you received from God” and “you were bought at a price” and should “therefore honor God with your body.” I get the sense here that Paul not only is referring to each individual person who follows Jesus but to the assembly of His followers together. We are united together as one body, we are one in spirit with Christ, and to honor God we honor His Body, one another. I hear Jesus final prayer to His disciples in this. Therefore we must “flee from sexual immorality” because any one in the Body who sins sins against HIS Body (Jesus Himself!), we hurt each other and Jesus, when we sin. We “are not our own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

Paul then describes the purity of sex in the context of marriage to prevent immorality, for those who “cannot control themselves.” And for those who do not want to marry, and have self-control, they do not have to marry. Both do right in either case. But the whole point is not about getting married or not, it is about devotion to prayer, “keeping God’s commands is what counts,” being “concerned about the Lord’s affairs – how he (or she) can please the Lord.” The issue is not even about sexual immorality but also anything in life that can keep us from being focused on Jesus. Am I more focused about my job or getting a better job or how I can dominate someone in a conversation or task? The focus according to Paul should be on knowing Jesus, being “responsible to God” in both my married or unmarried life and while I am work or unemployed.

How devoted am I to the Lord? Am I more “concerned about the affairs of the world” or “about the Lord’s affairs”? Does what I say and do reflect or express Jesus to others? Not just to other followers of Jesus but to friends, family, and co-workers? Jesus came to save them and bring them to Himself, He desires to bring them into His Family, His Body, to truly know the love of Christ.

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