Skip to main content

1 Corinthians 7 (Part 1)

By 1 Corinthians, Talks

Here’s the first part of the 2 part series in 1 Corinthians 7 where Paul is talking about relationships. This first part looks at the middle verses in the chapter, looking at how Christians are called by God, and defined by him and not the classifications of this world.

Read More

26 August 2012

By qanda

The passage we looked at tonight was 1 Corinthians 6:1-11. Here are the questions.

1 – If your emotions are very strong & you don’t trust what you might do/say, isn’t it sometimes wise to talk to someone else who is wise first to help you decide what to say before approaching the person you’re angry with?

This is a really helpful question. And covers an area of the talk that I skipped last night due to time. Convenient that, isn’t it – when you don’t say something just say you skipped it! Well, it happens to be true this time, so stop being so cynical. I just realised I’m talking to myself. Back to the question.

As the question really helpfully says, in the heat of the moment, when we’re really hurt or fired up, it can be good to bounce it off someone. My encouragement last night was to go God first. I stick by that – I reckon we need to use God as the person we turn to in situations like this.

But God gives us people to help us through these situations as well. And it can be really helpful to have someone to use as a sounding board to ensure you’re in the right headspace, and you’re reacting in a way that is going to be helpful for reconciliation, and God-honouring.

So it’s good to have people you go to. And it’s important that they’re the right people. Choose people who is wise, Godly, won’t just tell you what you want to hear, won’t hold a grudge against the person, and will drive you towards the things God is calling you towards – forgiveness, Godliness, reconciliation.

Great question – thanks for asking it and giving me the chance to fill in the blanks!

2 – In v.11 where it says you are not that kind of person anymore, what happens when people still struggle with that even when they’re Christians?

Yep, that’s a good question, and a question most Christians ask when they read these kinds of lists. Because the reality is we’re not perfect, and even while GOd is working in us we’re still going to struggle with sin. Let me give the short answer, and I’ll follow that by the theological one.

The short answer is this: Paul’s point here is not to say that Christians won’t struggle with this stuff, but that they won’t be defined by it or settle for it being the norm, because it’s not who we are anymore. We have been washed, sanctified (made holy), justified in the name of Jesus and by the Spirit of God (v.12). That is, we are who we are because of Jesus, and so the way in which we want to live should be consistent with who God has made us (our new self), not who we were and the sin that Jesus died for (our old self).

So if you’re a Christian, and you’re still struggling with sin – you’re perfectly normal. We’re always going to struggle within sin in this life. But God, through His Spirit, works in us to make us more like Jesus even through these struggles. We want to make sure that we work out what it looks like to be a Christian while God works these things out in our lives as well (Philippians 2:12-13).

Here’s the theological answer to go with that, so you’ve got some background. Theologians talk about sanctification in two ways, because the New Testament talks about sanctification in two ways.

1) Positional Sanctification. This is the idea that God sees us as Holy, because Jesus is Holy. When God looks at us, He see perfection, not because we are, but because we are In Christ, and therefore gain the benefit of His perfection. It’s positional in the sense that we are “positioned” with Christ.

2) Progressive Sanctification. At the same time, God knows we’re not perfect, so He actively works in us by His Spirit to shape us into the likeness of His Son. It’s progressive over our lifetime.

So sometimes the New Testament talks about God seeing us as perfect (Positional) and sometimes it talks about us being (progressively) sanctified, made Holy – and it sees no inconsistency in that. God knows we’re not perfect…but He chooses to include us In Christ, through faith, so that we can experience the benefits of what Christ has done, instead of the judgement that we deserve. Not a bad deal.

3 – In your talk there was a lot of discussion around conflict resolution however I understand it was largely direct at conflict between christians.

How does what was discussed play out when confronted with conflict between christian and non-christian, or alternatively where else in the bible is this discussed (also whether this passage is irrelevant due to it dealing with a seperate specific issue). I could see some of the principals are still valid however some of them are simply unviable (e.g. have a christian mediate). This could play out two ways as well I suppose, a Christian creating a civil case against a non-christian or vice versa.

Yep, Paul’s outrage in part at the church in Corinth was that they had infighting that spilled out into the wider community, bringing the Gospel into disrepute. But your asking about disputes between Christians & Non-Christians. Some thoughts.

1 – Paul wasn’t afraid to use the legal / political system. In Acts he appeals to Caesar, and pulls the “I’m a Roman citizen” card which afforded him certain rights (Acts 21:39, 22:22-40, 25:10-12). He also talks in Romans 13:1-7 about submitting to the government, as it’s an instrument of God. So there’s no problem with using the “system” in place – we just need to work out whether we’re using it for our benefit or God’s. Paul used the system not for his good, but for the good of the Gospel.

2 – In disputes with those who aren’t Christians, I’m not sure there are too many specific examples like 1 Cor 6 where we see it played out. But I think Romans 12:9-21 is a helpful passages to draw some principles from:
– Christians aren’t trying to “win” conflict. In response to curses, they bless, they love, they forgive. They never repay evil for evil.
– We aren’t driven by pride, or a need to protect our reputation (although this can be good for the gospel), but by a desire to see God glorified & people come to understand the Gospel.
– Christians don’t engage in revenge / retribution. God will take care of that. I don’t think this means not calling people to account for what they do, it’s about us not taking the law into our own hands.
– Our response to being wronged is to love. Never to respond in kind.

We have the balance in the bible of Jesus who submitted to evil for the sake of God. And we have Paul who used the system for the benefit of the Gospel while not abusing it. But the common theme we have in both is this – that their focus was not on themselves, but on what would bring glory to God.

12 August 2012

By qanda

The passage we looked at tonight was 1 Corinthians 5. Here are the questions.

1 – The same way that we don’t just let someone be destructive to themselves, that’s the same thing that’s done by God himself under “free will” as if you want to go to hell and not follow him you can on judgement day.

This is a tricky question (which is why I let it go through to the keeper last night), and it touches on a number of key doctrines in Christianity. I’ll try to keep the answer short.

I mentioned last night that it’s not loving to let people continue in self-destructive behaviour. And yet (quite rightly) the question puts forward that God does this at points. Romans 1 is a clear example of it where people’s desire to want to ignore God and do-away with him is so great that he leaves them to their own devices (Romans 1:18-32).

When Tim Keller talks about hell, he often puts it in the context of God giving people what they choose (I’m aligning this with “free will” although i don’t use that term because I think it’s pretty loaded). Note here though, that the decision is made in this life, and not on judgement day. We decide for or against, God now, and then we will be judged by God for that decision when we front up to him.

So I think where the question is driving at is how can I say it’s unloving to leave people to their destruction, and yet that’s precisely what God does? (Sorry if it’s not – email me and I’ll correct my answer)

God is both just & merciful. He longs for people to return to him (2 Peter 3:9), and he makes clear his love for us in Christ (1 John 4:9-10). And he gives us a lifetime, and plentiful opportunity to repent…but at some point we need to be called to account, otherwise he wouldn’t be just.

As much as he loves us, we are accountable for our actions. He would much prefer to take the punishment himself…but if we don’t want to hand that over to him, then we need to take responsibility for it.

So does God ultimately leave people to their own choices? Eventually yes – he “respects” people’s decision not to come back to Him. But this is done reluctantly.

2 – Paul seems to say that when the guy in 1 Corinthians 5 gets kicked out of the church fellowship his spirit will be saved. Is that only if he repents and comes back, or is it always? Because how often, when someone is expelled from the church will they actually repent and not fall deeper into sin?

The verse referred to here is 1 Corinthians 5:5. In this verse I’m not sure Paul is drawing a causal link – if you kick him out he WILL be saved. It’s more the hope that when he is kicked out he’ll realise the seriousness of his sin & come back. That’s always the hope (see 2 Corinthians 2:5-11).

In the Corinthian culture there’s two things to not. The Corinthian church was the ONLY church in the city. If he was kicked out of their fellowship, unlike our culture today where you could just pop down to the other church on the corner, there was no other options in Corinth. Because of the practicalities of living in Corinth, the kicking out carries much more weight.

The other thing to remember is that Corinth was an honour-shame culture. If you were kicked out of a community, it brought shame on you and lessened your “status” in the eyes of everyone. We might not care about that today, because we’re not an honour-shame culture, but it was a big deal in the Corinthian culture.

So because of these two things, the sentence of being kicked out of the church, would have been enough to motivate people to reconsider their lifestyle. The argument may also be similar to that of the lost son (Luke 14:11-32) where it’s only when people hit rock-bottom that they realise what they’re excluding themselves from – a loving community that is ready, willing & enthusiastic about forgiving them, just as we all have been forgiven in Christ.

So while we may question whether this method would have the same effect in our culture (for reasons touched on above), they’re some of the reasons behind what Paul says here.

3 – Are there big sins and little sins?

At it’s heart sin is rebellion against God. Our actions that the Bible refers to as sin, are expressions of that rebellion, and the disease that causes these decisions infects every one of us (Romans 3:9-23). So while some sins look less “harmful” than others, the actions reflect an attitude that is opposed to God, where we decide how we will live, and what is right & wrong, independently of Him. Yet there are clearly some actions & behaviours that are more harmful to us, and others. 1 Corinthians 5 is an example of where Paul sees particular behaviour as incredibly destructive, whereas other examples of sin in the Corinthians he deals with less severely, but no less seriously. Christians still struggle with sin, but the call in Corinthians is to not shape our actions around what you used to be, but what God has made us in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:4-9). We’re to live cross-shaped lives.

Class Aptent Taciti Soci Ad Litora

By Uncategorized

Quisque ligula ipsum, euismod a vulputate a, ultricies et elit. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Nulla nunc dui, tristique in semper vel, congue sed ligula. Nam dolor ligula, faucibus id sodales in, auctor fringilla libero. Pellentesque pellentesque tempor tellus eget hendrerit. Morbi id aliquam ligula. Aliquam id dui sem. Proin rhoncus consequat nisl, eu ornare mauris tincidunt vitae.

Vestibulum sodales ante a purus volutpat euismod. Proin sodales quam nec ante sollicitudin lacinia. Ut egestas bibendum tempor. Morbi non nibh sit amet ligula blandit ullamcorper in nec risus. Pellentesque fringilla diam faucibus tortor bibendum vulputate. Etiam turpis urna, rhoncus et mattis ut, dapibus eu nunc. Nunc sed aliquet nisi. Nullam ut magna non lacus adipiscing volutpat. Aenean odio mauris, consectetur quis consequat quis, blandit a nunc. Sed orci erat, placerat ac interdum ut, suscipit eu augue. Nunc vitae mi tortor. Ut vel justo quis lectus elementum ullamcorper volutpat vel libero.

Donec volutpat nibh sit amet libero ornare non laoreet arcu luctus. Donec id arcu quis mauris euismod placerat sit amet ut metus. Sed imperdiet fringilla sem eget euismod. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Pellentesque adipiscing, neque ut pulvinar tincidunt, est sem euismod odio, eu ullamcorper turpis nisl sit amet velit. Nullam vitae nibh odio, non scelerisque nibh. Vestibulum ut est augue, in varius purus.

Proin dictum lobortis justo at pretium. Nunc malesuada ante sit amet purus ornare pulvinar. Donec suscipit dignissim ipsum at euismod. Curabitur malesuada lorem sed metus adipiscing in vehicula quam commodo. Sed porttitor elementum elementum. Proin eu ligula eget leo consectetur sodales et non mauris. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.

Nunc tincidunt, elit non cursus euismod, lacus augue ornare metus, egestas imperdiet nulla nisl quis mauris. Suspendisse a pharetra urna. Morbi dui lectus, pharetra nec elementum eget, vulputate ut nisi. Aliquam accumsan, nulla sed feugiat vehicula, lacus justo semper libero, quis porttitor turpis odio sit amet ligula. Duis dapibus fermentum orci, nec malesuada libero vehicula ut. Integer sodales, urna eget interdum eleifend, nulla nibh laoreet nisl, quis dignissim mauris dolor eget mi. Donec at mauris enim. Duis nisi tellus, adipiscing a convallis quis, tristique vitae risus. Nullam molestie gravida lobortis. Proin ut nibh quis felis auctor ornare. Cras ultricies, nibh at mollis faucibus, justo eros porttitor mi, quis auctor lectus arcu sit amet nunc. Vivamus gravida vehicula arcu, vitae vulputate augue lacinia faucibus.

Ut porttitor euismod cursus. Mauris suscipit, turpis ut dapibus rhoncus, odio erat egestas orci, in sollicitudin enim erat id est. Sed auctor gravida arcu, nec fringilla orci aliquet ut. Nullam eu pretium purus. Maecenas fermentum posuere sem vel posuere. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Morbi ornare convallis lectus a faucibus. Praesent et urna turpis. Fusce tincidunt augue in velit tincidunt sed tempor felis porta. Nunc sodales, metus ut vestibulum ornare, est magna laoreet lectus, ut adipiscing massa odio sed turpis. In nec lorem porttitor urna consequat sagittis. Nullam eget elit ante. Pellentesque justo urna, semper nec faucibus sit amet, aliquam at mi. Maecenas eget diam nec mi dignissim pharetra.