Bible Studies for Life
1 Corinthians 6:9-20
Chris Allen, pastor
First Baptist Church, Cairo
In the first lesson of this study, we learned about what it meant to be Holy. Specifically, God’s holiness was addressed. We learned that no one compares to God. He is distinct from and above absolutely everything else. He is the Creator, He has all knowledge, and He is the Sustainer.
We know that God is Holy, but we also know from scripture that God has called His children to be set apart, to be different, to be Holy. According to the “Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms,” “sanctify” literally means “to make holy by purifying of sin.” The process of sanctification is ongoing, and it is a result of God’s continuing work in Christian believers through the power of the Holy Spirit. Although it is a work of the Holy Spirit, as believers, we have a part in this process also. We must want to be sanctified and be willing to allow God to convict and make changes in our lives for His Glory.
Paul’s words to the Corinthians were meant to address several thoughts and concerns of the day. Naturally, they are still applicable for us today. Primarily, Paul is reminding them of God’s Holy character and then applying that to the walk of the believer. We are to live lives that are consistent with God’s holiness and character.
We were set apart from our old way of life
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Paul describes a list of characteristics of the unbeliever. It almost seems as if Paul is describing the actions of our society today, but as we read God’s Word, we understand that sin (in its various forms) have been part of this world since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden.
As this list was read, many of the Corinthian believers were reminded of their life and actions before they believed in Christ. They were reminded that they were once included in this category. Christians come out of all kinds of different backgrounds and may still struggle with fleshly desires. In fact, many of these characteristics Paul listed were still prevalent even among the Christians community. So, Paul reminded them that as believers, Christians are set apart by Christ. They have been sanctified and justified by Christ’s complete work. There is no need to continue living the same way.
We were set apart to be one with Christ
1 Corinthians 6:12-17
For many of the Corinthian believers, the seriousness of their sin was not realized. They were taking the concept of Christian freedom too far and believed that they could continue living in their old ways because they had forgiveness in Christ. This is a dangerous way to view Christ’s sacrifice.
He did not die so that we could live as we wanted. He died so that we might live as He has instructed us. Freedom is the mark of the Christian life, but it is freedom from sin and guilt not freedom to sin.
In this section Paul addresses three important subjects as it relates to the body: sexual relations, food offered to idols, and the resurrection of the body. Corinth was an immoral city. Many of the topics Paul preached against were a common practice throughout the city. The city was home to the temple of the love God Aphrodite. It employed thousands of prostitutes and priestesses, and sex was a part of the worship ritual.
Paul was reminding them that in the midst of the cultural and societal practices that were taking place, they were to have no part in participating even though it was acceptable and popular. Instead, their goal was to seek Christ more and become more like Him which was noticeably different than the social norms of that day.
We were set apart to glorify God
1 Corinthians 6:18-20
The prevalence of sexual immorality was so great in Corinth that it was very likely that the believers in Corinth would face the temptation. Paul tells them how they should react; they should flee. Paul wants the Corinthian believes to see that when they revert back to old sins or continue living as if they were not believers, they were sinning against themselves and the Holy Spirit that lives inside of them.
Christians have freedom in God but not freedom from God. God has set us apart to glorify him. Our purpose is to now live a life that points others to Him and salvation offered through Jesus.
Questions to Consider
- Take a moment and compare your old self (pre-Christ) to your new self. What significant changes can you see? What areas are you relying on the Holy Spirit to help you change?
- What actions do you take when fleshly desires begin to become prevalent in your life?
- In what ways has God’s Word called us to be noticeably different than the norms of society?
- Do you notice unbelievers watching you and how you live your life? How can you be a witness for Jesus?