Your Body?

I Corinthians 5-9

1Corinthians.6.20_lg

Monday, June 19

 

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.                                                 I Corinthians 6:19-20

 

Paul’s discussion on sexual immorality in the second half of chapter 6 can be difficult to hear. Even though Paul uses the example of being “joined to a prostitute” (v. 16), he is talking about sexual intercourse outside of the marriage covenant in general (i.e., before marriage or with someone not our spouse).

 

Paul’s reasoning is that our body is a temple of his spirit that he has given us, and that joining ourselves to (i.e., having sex with) someone who we are not married to defiles our body. And since we are members of Christ’s body, we defile Christ as we each have become “one spirit” with him (v. 17).

 

Now what is the point of Paul’s injunction except to say that you should not have sex before marriage? In a beautiful declaration to conclude this section of his letter, Paul proclaims, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (v. 20). What does it mean that I am “not my own”? Am I not a person, do I not have a mind, am I not free? Paul’s language here is couched in the language of being purchased as a household servant was purchased in the ancient biblical culture, and it communicates the value that is inherent in each person’s life.

 

Something was sacrificed and given in order to be claimed by God as his. In Paul’s metaphor, he is portraying the crucifixion of his son, Jesus Christ, as a price that was paid in order for us to be purchased by God. So if we are not our own, what does that mean for my life? We are not our own because our life has been rescued from the power of darkness, but not by our own doing. We were dead and helplessly lost in sin. But because God loved us so much, he sent Jesus to die and redeem us and reconcile us back to God.

 

Therefore, our life is not ours to do with whatever we want. We are not free to live in whatever way we please. Being purchased by God and given new life in Christ means that our life should reflect that reality. We don’t get to decide what is right and wrong, or good and bad. If we choose to follow our fleshly desires and every inclination of our heart, we would be living no differently than an unbeliever, and our life would not be a testimony to God’s love and mercy. It would be mocking and making fun of God’s love by treating it as a trifling thing of no importance at all.

 

So rather than making the mistake of living however we feel, Paul exhorts his readers to “glorify God in our body” (v. 20). Glorifying God is more than the duty of one who believes in God, it is a response of worship and thanksgiving that recognizes the life we now have and the fellowship we enjoy with God and the Lord Jesus Christ is all because of the cost that God paid by sacrificing his son on the cross.

 

In conclusion, think upon the words of Paul in his letter to the Galatians as he considered himself to be joined to Christ both in his death and also in his resurrected life.

 

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

 

If we live in ways that are contrary to being united with Christ, then nothing has really changed in us, and it would be as if Christ died for no purpose. How can our lives can be a living sacrifice that brings glory to God and is a light to the world? How can we demonstrate that we are connected to Christ and united with him in one spirit?

 

-Jerry Wierwille

(Photo Credit by: http://www.warrencampdesign.com/graphicDesign.html .  Found at http://www.warrencampdesign.com/heartyBoys/corinthians/letter1a/week8.html)

 

What’s Yours?

Acts 24-28

purpose

Monday, June 12

 

In this section of scripture, I was most impressed with Paul’s focus on his purpose, to preach the kingdom of God and to teach the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 28:31) all through confrontations, imprisonments, and wild storms at sea.  Throughout these major crises, Paul kept his cool and stuck to his mission.  He saw every crowd, every Jewish leader or government official as an opportunity to share the good news.

 

Many times in our lives, we face overwhelming situations or things that aren’t fair and each time we have a decision to make.  Do you lose yourself to the circumstances that surround you or do you stay focused on your mission?  Have you made a conscious realization or decision about your purpose in life? If not, take a moment to write down and define your purpose.  Here are a few scriptures that might help:

 

Matthew 22:36-40

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”

And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’

“This is the great and foremost commandment.

“The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’

“On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

 

Matthew 28:19-20

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

 

These sections of scripture give a basis for our purpose.  Love God, love your neighbor, go and preach the gospel to all creation and baptize them, and teach them all that Jesus taught.  Paul was entirely focused on this, so much so, that being accused by leaders in the Jewish community did not deter him, nor did he get shaken when the governor imprisoned and questioned him.  He still maintained his calm and focus as he appealed to Caesar.  He used each situation as an opportunity to speak truth.  I found this section to be confrontational personally because there are times when I do lose my focus.  I only see what is happening around me and start to feel overwhelmed instead of putting my attention on God and the purpose He has given me!  We have power through the holy spirit just as Paul did.

 

We can harness our minds, no matter what our situation whether it is good or bad, to accomplish our mission.  We may be unjustly accused, people may lie and scheme against us, or we may even be imprisoned or face major storms in life…but we can look beyond the surface and fulfill our purpose by loving people enough to share the gospel and spread the truth.  Go be a Paul!

-Ruth Finnegan

 

 

 

The “Paraclete”

John 16-17

john 16

Thursday, June 1

Here is a helpful bit of information about the Bible: It was not written in English. (Of course, we all know English is God’s language. (*wink*) No, what we have in the Bible are three different languages used in varying degrees. The Bible is written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine Greek. When the Bible speaks about an issue, a person, a place, a time, an event, or anything else, it speaks in a language that is not our own to a culture not our own to a time and place not our own. This is not a reason to be afraid, because men and women for centuries have been working to preserve the meaning of the text and also to interpret it fresh for a new day. It just means when we talk about words in Scripture, it can be very helpful to go back and see what that would mean in its original context. (Just like you need to translate Shakespeare, and he WAS writing in English!)
Therefore, when we read in John 14-16 about a “counselor” we need to see what is being said in the original language to help us flesh out what Jesus is talking about. Who or what is the counselor? The counselor in Greek is “παράκλητος” which is transliterated (four dollar word) as “paracletos” or “paraclete” (think a ”pair-of-cleet”s would be really “helpful”). This word literally means “someone who calls out from beside,” but as it was used as a metaphor, it means someone who advocates, pleads, counsels, or helps. In the world around Scripture, it would be used of someone who pleads another’s case before a judge; more widely, it is someone who acts as an intercessor, a go-between; in the widest sense, it means a helper. It’s a good word, and what is defined as the Paraclete is something that we would want! Who doesn’t need some help?
But then, what is the Paraclete? In John 14:16-17, the Paraclete is the spirit of Truth, and in verse 26, the Paraclete is equated to the Holy Spirit. Jesus says the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, will teach us all things (14:26) and that the Paraclete will testify about the Son. Here in chapter 16, we learn from Jesus that it is GOOD for us that Jesus left, because we are now given the Paraclete in us and among us, and the Spirit will guide us into all truth.
The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of all truth. It’s a little hard to get our heads around. But this is the heartbeat of the Christian life. That’s a pretty bold claim, but it is the claim Jesus makes. In these chapters, we are given a picture. Jesus is going away to the Father, and he will send the Spirit of the Father to believers. Then, Jesus and the Father himself will come and dwell with the Christian. The life of the Christian is a Father-, Son-, Spirit-filled life. This is an important part of the Christian life; Acts is full of people who are guided, led, and drenched in the spirit. May the spirit of truth, the helper, the counselor, the Paraclete be with you and lead you into all truth.
In Christ,
Jake Ballard
(Photo Credit: https://nharmony.org/sermons/we-have-a-helper/john-161-15)