I Corinthians 6:1-8
Buster wanted to take an earlier flight home but the plane appeared to be completely full. The gate agent confirmed his thoughts and placed his name on the standby list. Just moments before the plane was scheduled to depart, a large group of people deboarded. After some discussion with the agent, the group sat down in the lounge area. And then it happened, Buster heard his name called from the standby list. He rushed to the counter and paid for his fare. Then with his boarding pass in hand, he asked about the sudden availability. The attendant replied, “That group that got off of the plane is headed to a psychics’ convention and they felt directed to take the next flight.”
How do we decide what is right and wrong? Congress passes a law and we know right and wrong because it is defined by law. Whether something is moral or immoral is defined by scripture. Scripture defines us as moral if we do the will of God, but immoral if we do not. “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (I Corinthians 6:11)
I remember as a student in seminary visiting in the hospital, a patient was in the hospital suffering from some illnesses because of some life choices. She had been sexually promiscuous. I had been called in because she had been warned that her lifestyle was unhealthy and she could die if it continued. When we got to the heart of the problem she said, “God let the people in Sodom live this way.” “Didn’t you read the rest of the story? God destroyed Sodom because of the people’s sin.” Behavior contrary to established moral principles.
Paul confesses that often he does not understand himself, often he feels trapped in the bondage of sin. (Romans 7:15) Judah had three sons, Er, Onan and Shelah. Judah finds a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But Er, was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so the LORD put him to death. Then Judah said to Onan, “Lie with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother.” But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. What he did was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so he put him to death also. Judah then said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Live as a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up.” For he thought, “He may die too, just like his brothers.” So Tamar went to live in her father’s house. After a long time Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. When Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is on his way to Timnah to shear his sheep,” she took off her widow’s clothes, covered herself with a veil to disguise herself, and then sat down at the entrance on the road to Timnah. When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute and propositions her, for she had covered her face. “Your seal and its cord, and the staff in your hand,” she answered. Meanwhile Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite in order to get his pledge back from the woman, but he did not find her. The story of Tamar ends with talk of “righteousness.” Judah proclaims that this wily woman is “more righteous” than he. The story can thus be read as a contrast between two types of righteousness.
Someone was telling me about their home church. They said it was a “Bible-believing church, a church taking stands against abortion and other assorted immorality. But when the pastor’s son got his girlfriend pregnant, and then confessed it and they married, the Board met and fired the pastor.
That’s our righteousness.
The Carr brothers trial ended with a death sentence. If I read my Bible correctly, God’s word gives government the right to punish evil doers, even with death. It was a horrible crime, and if I had been on that jury, I too would have given the death penalty. But with that sentence do we feel safer, or did a little of our society die?
Here is the point, with every sin we commit, no matter how small, we grieve God. Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. (Luke 22)
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (Heb 10:26)
Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. What is the cure? Fill the heart with things that will prevent immorality.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36)
A safari hunter was startled by the loud screeching of a bird. When he caught sight of the bird, it was darting back and forth around its nest. He was perplexed by all the racket until he noticed a huge snake moving up the tree.
The hunter could have easily aided the bird with one shot from his gun but he was captivated by the drama before him. As the snake slithered up the tree, the bird became silent and flew from the nest. It now seemed as though the snake would dine without resistance. But before the reptile could reach the nest, the mother bird returned with a leaf in her beak. She carefully placed the leaf over her babies then flew to another tree. The snake raised his head to strike but then hesitated. It froze as if it had met a foe. Slowly it recoiled from the nest and wound its way down the tree. The puzzled hunter related the event to native Africans when he returned to the camp. They laughed with enthusiasm as they explained this unlikely victory of the bird. The leaf that the mother had used to cover her nest was poisonous to the snake. What looked like nothing more than a leaf was in fact a life-saving shield. Our faith may at times feel as flimsy as a leaf, but God’s Word reminds us that it is a shield against the attacks of our serpentine enemy.