The apostle Paul had some major culture-challenging to do in the city of Corinth. And he couldn’t be too concerned about social acceptance or political correctness. The Corinthians were a tough bunch.
A large part of the issue Paul was facing was that Corinthian culture, religion and morality had trained them to live in a way that was displeasing to God. But they didn’t know this until Paul arrived.
To them, their behavior was not sinful. It was normal and accepted. It was the way their family members and friends all lived. It was the way things were done in Corinth. So Paul had some educating to do if he wanted to teach the Corinthians to switch from what was socially and politically acceptable to what was acceptable in God’s sight.
And Paul knew that the only way his teaching could have a prayer of producing changed lives would be if he connected the Corinthians with the gospel. Yes, he had to be clear about what God considers right and wrong. But that was merely the beginning.
The real change would occur when the Corinthians understood that God accepted them while they were still wrong-doers. And then he washed them clean of their sins. He purified them of their wrong-doing, and the Holy Spirit led them onto a path of life change. Jesus had transferred his status of perfection to them. In God’s sight, because of the cross, their status was changed to perfect and holy.
And those are still the two things we need to have in our lives today. Truth and grace. Law and gospel.
First, we need people in our lives who will challenge the status quo, stand up against the social norm, and make it clear to us what God expects. And we need to hear that straight from God’s word, the Bible. When it comes to right and wrong, we need the truth, not the politically correct. And not the socially acceptable.
But second (and even more importantly!) we need God’s grace. We need to know that because of Jesus, our sins have been washed away. We are now forgiven children of God. Our lives are being transformed by God’s love for us, and our status has changed from sinner to saint.
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. 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 (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, NIV).
Our Bible reading for Monday, August 10, is 2 Chronicles 1:1-17, 1 Corinthians 6:1-20 and Psalm 94:1-11.
Lord, give me truth and grace. I need both. But most of all, I need your grace, and I need it every day. Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to be my Savior from sin.