By Don Gentry
We are living in an increasingly culturally decadent society. It is difficult as a pastor, a messenger of God’s truth, to point people to God’s declared Holy Word and not receive all kinds of rebuttal as to why the scripture is archaic and out of date within the church circles, let alone the world.
Our culture is not that far removed from the Corinthian church. According to 1 Corinthians 6:12, the church people were saying “they had the right to do anything they wanted,” but Paul had a different message of tolerance for them. Note that Paul was talking to church people not the world.
Paul was a modern day Haggai to his culture. Haggai’s people repented, many of the Corinthians appeared to repent as well. Look at what the Corinthians were struggling with in their culture. Look at how their temple was being violated.
The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. 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.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything . . . But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.
1 Corinthians 6:7-12, 17-18
The New Testament identifies what sin is in multiple passages, yet God’s church continually tries to pick and choose the “worst ones.” We stand at a crossroads culturally. Our culture demands that we worship God a certain way, with a certain universalistic and tolerant approach; however, God defines worship in a completely different manner.
As we are tempted to look back at the ‘good ol days’ or look at the world and cry out how evil it is, I think we need to take a closer internal look. I am convinced we don’t need political reform, we need temple reform.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Haggai no longer talked to the kings and rulers, he talked to priests and the people. Our message of reform has to be to God’s people, in the wake of Christ’s patient return. My question for each one of us is, “How do you honor God with your temple?”
Haggai called for obedient repentance, Paul called for obedient repentance, and God still calls us to obedient repentance in honor of Him. What will be your response?