1 Corinthians 6:9–12, 19-20 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial

Submission to Christ (Courtesy of Revelife.com)

The following is a guest post from my friend and brother in Christ, David Smith.

In Chapter 6 of 1 Corinthians, Paul is dealing with a church where some very poor choices are being made. There are people in the church that are living like the world. They claim a faith in Jesus Christ, yet they still openly walk in the sin of the world. Paul then gives a very stern warning that speaks to eternity. I don’t know about you, but when inheriting the Kingdom of God is mentioned, I really pay close attention.

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

As a side note, look at the part where he says “do not be deceived.” This implies that there are people in the world that will try and deceive you concerning these things. Do not be fooled. The lists of sins in these verses are non-negotiable. We know the world will try and deceive us into thinking they are ok, but we must head his warning and not play the fool.

In reading this list, we all find conviction. Although as Christians we do not walk in these sins, to say that since I have been saved I have never had a sexually immoral thought or made a decision that greed played a factor or spoke a slander about someone out of anger or frustration would be a lie. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, right? Is Paul sentencing all who have committed these sins to hell?

No, what Paul is saying is that salvation in Christ is submission to Christ. That is, are you submitted to what Christ deems is right or wrong, or are you simply claiming Christ as your Lord, but not submitted to Him? Look at the next verse.

“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. (1 Corinthians 6:12)

So they are coming to the table saying “Hey, you said that in Christ, I am free from sin. Sin has no hold over me anymore and because sin has no hold, I can do whatever I want.” And in one sense they are right. In Christ you are free from sin. It no longer needs to reign over your life and eternally you are saved from the ultimate consequence, eternal separation from God. But let’s jump up to verses 19 and 20 to see how Paul closes out this argument.

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)

This is where the submission to Christ comes in. See, Paul is not saying you must be perfect. What he is saying is that you need to check yourself and see if you are living for you or living for God. Look to the list of sins mentioned above. Do you believe they are wrong? You are free from them, yes. But do you believe they are wrong? By giving your life to Christ by being born again in the spirit and claiming Him as your Lord and savior, you agree that you should not walk in sin. That is, salvation in Christ is submission to Christ. You cannot separate the two.

Paul is calling out those that are living as luke warm Christians. Do you have something in your life that you are holding on to? Do you have something that you are hiding behind the freedom in Christ, yet in hiding behind the freedom in Christ, ignoring what Christ has commanded? If you are, let it go. The game you play is one that could have eternal consequence. Remember, salvation in Christ is submission to Christ.

In walking with Christ we need to constantly be reckoning the old sinful nature of our flesh dead. Do not be deceived, as some were at the church of Corinth. You are free in Christ, but to be in Christ is to be dead to yourself. Carrying your cross is the calling of a Christian. The world has many “prizes” that it offers to those who give in to its lusts. Those prizes will always fail you. As you’re carrying your cross in this life, do not forget to keep your eye on the only prize that never fades, eternity with a loving, awesome, gracious, and beautiful Father God.

Photo Courtesy of revelife.com

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