1 Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. (1 Corinthians 7:1–2, NKJV)
The “present distress” of persecution facing the Corinthian Christians made it advisable for them not to marriage (1 Cor. 7:25-33). But, the temptation of sexual immorality was strong then, just as it is today. And so, God gave marriage as the holy fulfillment of human sexual desire. The apostle had just warned Christians to “flee fornication” (1 Cor. 6:18). Now, he reminds them that God gave marriage as the one, moral means of their sexual desires. The bed is “undefiled” in marriage (Heb. 13:4). This one flesh uniting of husband and wife meets one of the Lord’s purposes for marriage; the avoidance of sexual sin. Thus, both husband and wife are obliged to serve their mate in this matter (see 1 Cor. 7:3-4). The marriage bed is not an exercise in selfish pleasure. Nor is it a bargaining chip to hold power over one’s spouse. Such selfish treatment of the marriage bed shows shameful disrespect for what God deems to be a holy safeguard against sin. “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4).
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19–20, NKJV)
We have been reared to think of ourselves as autonomous, in control of ourselves and unfettered by the authority of others. In one sense, this is true, for we are free moral agents – each one morally responsible and accountable to God and others for our actions. This demonstrates that while we are free to act without regard for others, such a decision is sinful and foolish. We must regard God and man in all our actions. Not only were our bodies were given to us by God, we were “bought at a price” by the offering of the blood of Jesus Christ (Heb. 9:28; 10:10-12; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). Instead of using our bodies to fulfill sinful lusts through sexual immorality, we are to offer our bodies in the service of the Lord to do His will (see Rom. 12:1-2). Coming out of the sinful defilement of the world, God will dwell with us and we with Him (2 Cor. 6:16-7:1). So then, both our redemption and our subsequent relation with God demands that we “flee fornication” and pursue righteousness (1 Cor. 6:18; 2 Tim. 2:22).
Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18, NKJV)
Like the citizens of Corinth when the apostle Paul visited their city, many people today believe fornication (sexual immorality) is normal and natural, and no violation of social norms or divine truth. Yet, the Bible is clear. It violates God’s will. God intends us to use our bodies for holiness, not to fulfill sinful passions (1 Thess. 4:3-7). To commit sexual immorality (whether it is premarital sex, adultery – whether homosexual or heterosexual, bestiality, incest or pedophilia) is to sin against God and against the purpose He gave the body. Every sin we commit begins in the mind (“outside the body”), as Jesus taught in Mark 7:20-23. Sexually immorality is antagonistic to the very purpose God gave your body – to give glory to God as His dwelling place (1 Cor. 6:19-20). It is not love when sexual activity occurs outside of God-endorsed marriage; it is dishonorable in His sight. This is God’s judgment: “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4). Christians are “joined to the Lord,” therefore, we must not join ourselves to a harlot (1 Cor. 6:16-18). Keep both mind and body pure, and serve the Lord in holiness.
4 The pangs of death surrounded me, and the floods of ungodliness made me afraid. 5 The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; The snares of death confronted me. 6 In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears. (Psalm 18:4–6, NKJV)
Songwriters Frank E. Graeff and J. Lincoln Hall wrote, “Does Jesus Care?”, which begins, “Does Jesus care when my heart is pained too deeply for mirth or song, as the burdens press, and the cares distress, and the way grows weary and long? Oh yes, He cares, I know He cares, His heart is touched with my grief; When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Savior cares.” Death enveloped David like a noose around his neck. His only relief was the Lord, to whom he cried. God heard him, and saved him from his enemies (Psa. 18:3, 16-19). Each of us will face death at some point. Perhaps you (or a loved one) are facing it now. Christians are confident that death does not defeat our faith, because our Lord Jesus Christ has conquered death! Yes, He cares when that robber of life comes with its sorrow and pain. But, Jesus gives us joyous hope beyond this land of parting and weeping – of the land of endless day and of His eternal love. Oh yes, He cares!
17 O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works. 18 Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come. (Psalm 71:17–18, NKJV)
From youth to old age, God teaches us of His mighty works. His creation speaks to us of unseen things – “His eternal power and Godhead” (Rom. 1:20). The heavens declare His glory (Psa. 19:1). From childhood, His Holy Scriptures teach wisdom and salvation to those who are trained thereby (2 Tim. 3:15). Those who are faithful to Him declare His wonderful works. Age does not diminish this righteous man’s determination to tell the next generation of God’s powerful works. May our resolve grow stronger as we grow older, to tell the next generation of the Almighty and His great works. Tell them of His eternal power, and of His enduring love. Tell them of His truth and His salvation (Psa. 71:15, 23-24). May the younger generation learn well the lessons their predecessors have discovered; youth fades and the body weakens, but the power and righteousness of God endures forever. Praise Him until your last breathe. He will be your everlasting strength.
13 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13–14, NKJV)
We are tempted to think that keeping silent in the face of trouble (when we have the ability and opportunity to speak up and to act in the name of truth and righteousness) is the right thing to do. More times than not, trouble finds us anyway. And so, let us rather trust God to work out His purposes through our obedient faith. By faithfully obeying the Lord, “it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12-13). God providentially fulfills His purposes. Let us be like Esther, and speak up for the innocent and the righteous, also standing against the wicked who try to destroy the people of God. Truth and righteousness will prevail in this world of sin. Victory is assured in Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:57). God’s will is that you stand up for Christ, His truth and His people. “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Well, God knows. What will you do, knowing this to be true?
19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:19–22, NKJV)
The Holy Spirit guided the apostles of Christ into all truth by revealing to them the mind of God and giving to them the inspiration to speak it and write it (Jno. 16:13-15; 1 Cor. 2:10-13; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). We rejoice in the Spirit’s work and His word. We will not stifle the Holy Spirit’s word and work by minimizing the divine blessings we have as a result His work. Neither will we hold God’s prophecies in contempt. We are strengthened by knowing the Spirit’s prophecies are fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Acts 3:22-26). The Spirit expects us to test all things by the word He gave us. Consequently, we can cling to good things and refrain from evil in every form it takes. Christians do not refuse the Spirit and the word He gave us. Instead, we walk in the Spirit, are led by the Spirit and live in the Spirit by letting His word define and direct our lives (Gal. 5:16, 18, 25).