Sexual freedom is supposed to bring liberty but instead it enslaves and controls people. We think that somehow our physical bodies are disconnected from the spiritual. We think that what we do with our bodies doesn’t affect us but it does. Jesus was a physical man after the resurrection and is now still a physical man.
The sexual act creates a union, we become one flesh. It is created to take place in a marriage relationship. Marriage itself is a foretaste of something greater, it points to our union with Christ, we are his bride. Also, sex points to something better, something greater. God created sex to point to the joy we’ll experience in eternity with him. Knowing God is profound union, sex is a picture of that.
We should flee from sexual immorality and deal ruthlessly with temptation
The purity of the church needs to be maintained. It must, therefore, be characterised by an atmosphere of ongoing submission to the will of God. Sin, once clearly identified in the community and in individuals, must be acknowledged and brought to repentance. When it is simply tolerated and perpetrators are allowed to carry on as if nothing mattered the purity of God’s people is compromised and threatened.
The more it is unquestioned the more dangerous this is – both for the church (which is affected by the bad yeast – v.6) and for the individuals themselves (who need the redemptive effect of discipline. It is meant to act as a safeguard – provoking people to a reality check and a sense of the serious condition. The goal is not to punish people but bring them to their senses and, thereby, draw them back into fellowship based upon true repentance).
We can be tempted to simply let things carry on unchecked and even congratulate ourselves on our ‘tolerance’ but in reality we are bringing danger on the people of God. The reality is that all of us practice some kind of ‘intolerance’ in certain contexts.
Discipline means that those who are not living a repentant life are not treated as if they are. This is NOT the way to treat non-believers. It is not our business to discipline non-Christians who know no better. We are not to be taken out of the world – not at all! So we must maintain our friendships with the lost and retain a totally non-judgemental attitude to them. But those who make out that they are believers but live an unrepentant lifestyle should know our position very clearly and not feel comfortable around us.
This is in line with the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 18. The goal is redemptive and it’s supposed to work.
Through his sacrificial death on the cross he provided righteousness that does not belong to us. We are now declared righteous and the perfect life that Jesus lived is now exchanged for our sinful one.
Communion with Him
We have not been made righteous to feel better about ourselves. It’s for communion with God, it’s so we can know God and have fellowship with Him. We have been rescued for communion.
Victory Over Darkness
Colossians 2: 15 Rulers and authorities have been disarmed (this is talking about satanic power). Although we can be led to believe that satan doesn’t exist and he’s just a comic book character, he does. His greatest trick is to convince us he does not.
At the cross Jesus destroyed Satans kingdom. Jesus has won the decisive battle over all darkness.
By his wounds we are healed. At the cross we find healing.
Grace for suffering
God gives us grace in the midst of our suffering. With Christ we will still suffer, we are not removed from the world, but God gives us grace to be able to endure and even be blessed in our suffering.
In 2 Kings 7, Elisha promised that circumstances in the besieged city would be transformed by the next day. What seemed impossible became possible when four lepers who were already exiled outside the city realised that they had nothing to lose. They were already as good as dead. Why not throw yourself on the enemy’s mercy? Why not risk everything?
Having reached the enemy camp they were amazed to discover that the enemy had gone. Defeat was turned to victory. Not only was the enemy rendered ineffective, spoil was there for the taking. Silver, gold, food, clothing – they marvelled at it, ate it, drank it, tried on the clothes, gathered it, hid it and entered another tent to do it all over again! They had a total blast and it was all free and theirs for the taking.
Spoil is a strange word to the 21st century urbanite. Isaiah 9 promises that the coming kingdom of the new born baby will be like light breaking into the darkness. It will make men rejoice as they do when gathering a harvest or when they divide the spoil (Isaiah 9:2-3).
What on earth is ‘spoil’?
Modern city-dwellers don’t know much about ‘harvest’ and are not very familiar with ‘spoil’. ‘Spoil’ was what you gathered when you defeated an enemy army. Jehoshaphat’s army took three days to gather theirs (2 Chronicles 20:25). In Isaiah 53:12 we are told that God’s triumphant Servant will share the spoils of his victory with his people. Ephesians 4 tells us that he led captivity captive and gave gifts to men.
He’s a powerful conqueror and he freely shares the spoils of his victory so that Peter, who so recently swore and cursed and said that he never knew Jesus, was invited to take the spoils of Christ victory. This hopeless failure got to preach on the Day of Pentecost! A few days later he announced to the cripple at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, ‘Such as I have, I give to you. Get up and walk!’
‘Such as I have.’ Where did you get that Peter? ‘Oh, that was one of the spoils of Jesus’ victory that I took.’ Jesus won a great victory. The spoils are breathtaking and you don’t have to be very special to pick them up. Anyone can come, like the lepers did, and put on fresh clothing, pick up phenomenal spoils and go in the strength of that victory.
We enjoyed looking at this story on Sunday at CCK. Maybe you would like to download and listen to it and enter into something of the freedom of God’s grace and the wonders of His free gifts to His people celebrating the defeat of your enemy.