Friday, 13 June 2014
Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 1 Corinthians 5:10
In the previous verse, it was noted that it wasn’t a stand alone verse. Paul had said, ” I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.” If that were all he had said, one might be under the misguided impression that they had to hide themselves in a cave or go to a remote island with no people on it or some other place like that. Where else could one go to keep away from such people? And this is the false impression that is obtained when only that verse is cited.
However, Paul continues with his thoughts here and he will further refine them in the coming verses. His intent was not for believers to refrain from being around sexually immoral people, or people with any other such vile habits. How could the gospel spread if such were the case? Even Jesus ate with “tax collectors and sinners.” Christianity isn’t supposed to be conducted in walled fortresses. Instead it is to be proclaimed to those in the fallen world, such as –
To the sexually immoral – people who practice sexual acts outside of the bonds of marriage. This includes any of a host of perverse acts as well. It includes the vast majority of people in any given society. It is true that there are people who are faithful as spouses in any given culture, but if there are no limits imposed by God on how to conduct one’s affairs, sexual immorality quickly becomes a predominate trait in most societies.
To the covetous – Coveting is desiring something that someone else possesses. It is the greed of the heart which is not content with what one rightfully owns. It also doesn’t consider taking the time to earn what is desired. Instead it is a lust of the eyes for that which one has not been worked for or which has been rightly received, such as a gift or inheritance. It is an avaricious attitude which will eventually be realized in hatred, theft, murder, etc. if not reigned in.
To extortioners – Such are those who take advantage of others for illicit gain. They may charge high rates of repayment on loans, forced payment for “protection” which if not paid will end in any sort of punishment, etc. In this type, there is little consideration for others, but rather a rapacious desire to profit off anyone for any reason.
To idolaters – An idolater is one who puts anything or anyone before a right relationship with God. It can be a mere devotion or service to idols, such as is authorized even by some “Christian” denominations. It can be realized in prayers to or through any other person – such as praying to Mary or the saints. People can make almost anything into an idol – sex, money, gems, artwork, cars, sport teams or sports figures, etc. Idolatry includes the unhealthy devotion to anything or anyone which causes our hearts and affections to be directed away from God.
Paul tells those at Corinth that although they are not to keep company with such people, he didn’t mean that it included the people of the world. This is because if so, it would mean that they “would need to go out of the world.” This is obviously impossible. And so he will continue to explain what he meant in the verses ahead.
Life application: How is the gospel going to be shared by you if you isolate yourself in a room away from the wicked world? Someone took the time to share it with you. Now it’s your turn. God has you exactly where He desires you. So step out and share what you know. It could change eternity for someone else.
O God, I know that the world is a wicked place
And that I would be so safe behind a locked door
But how will the lost ever come to see Your face
In You I am so rich, but others are so poor
Give me the heart to step out and share this word
To talk to those who are bound by the devil’s hand
Give me boldness to tell about Jesus my Lord
So that they too can be saved to an eternity so grand
Yes Lord God, if Jesus’ words are true that He is the only way to be reconciled to the Father, then I know that what I share about Him is of eternal significance to them. Give me boldness of speech, right thinking in how I convey the message, and a heartfelt attitude to follow up as You direct. Let me not be slack in my sharing of this wonderful message of salvation. Amen.