Friday in the Twenty-Third Week of Ordinary Time

1 Corinthians 10:6-14

Idolatry and Sexual Immorality Go Hand in Hand

Paul continues his journey through the Old Testament, citing examples from Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness, with the goal of helping the Corinthians to see themselves in those Scriptures and be forewarned of the danger yet to come if they do not repent.  He will cite some specific instances; however, I wish now to highlight what he writes after these instances: “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.”  This is such an important verse for us to hear and applies to the whole Bible: It has all been written down for our instruction.  Why?  So that we may fear Him after whom there is no court of appeal.

By citing these specific examples, Paul now returns to his discussion in chapter eight which he momentarily broke off to defend his apostleship.  You will remember that the subject was dining out at the local pagan temple.  Those Corinthians who saw no problem therein argued that they knew that the gods in the temples were not gods at all, so why worry.  Paul’s argument then was that such behavior might stumble a brother with a conscience more tender, who might fall away after following the other’s example.  But now Paul turns a corner in his argument and leaves no doubt that such an act is sinful in itself.  And this is where the pertinence of his citing the golden calf episode (Exodus 32-33) makes it appearance.  The people made an idol, offered sacrifices, ate and drank, “and rose up to play,” which is a euphemistic way of referring to sexual immorality.  Throughout the Bible and in ancient secular literature, illicit sex accompanied idol worship.  As for tempting the pre-Incarnate Christ, that episode involved the people’s complaining about “loathsome manna” (Numbers 21).

So Paul exhorts: “Flee from idolatry.”  Sure, you think you can go in there and come out not singed, but not so.  Of course, there is only one God, but there are “many gods and many lords,” and behind every false god is a very real demon.  And given the sexual sin that seems to plague your church, and your appetite for rich food, surely a pagan temple is last place you need to be.  Yes, God can and will deliver us from temptation, but we can’t just jump into the fire.  And let us not forget that we are the people “on whom the end of the ages has come.”  Christ is the end of earthly time and existence and beginning of a new time and existence.  We live as people who are already heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, whose citizenship is above.  We certainly don’t belong in pagan temples.  Let us keep ourselves holy.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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