1 CORINTHIANS 6: CLAIMING COMPENSATION
Today’s chapter comes from a 1st Century letter written to Followers of the Creator God who were living in the Roman port city of Corinth. It was written by a Jewish religious academic who had all the foundation information needed, from his strict religious training in Judaism, to make his bold statements of training and correction.
But if you’re wondering what a 1st Century letter has of benefit to you, it was preserved quite miraculously and translated just for you to read today. I can’t understand why the leaves on my new plants by my driveway, keep getting destroyed by mites, or black fly, or something. Yet this letter, originally written on parchment and easily destroyed by mite, mould or simply lost in someone’s house clearance, has survived now 1,948+/- years! My guess is that your Maker thinks it’s important and relevant, and that’s why you’re reading it today.
This portion of Paul’s letter can be broken up into two parts: Initiating Lawsuits is Discouraged [v1-11], and Our Human Body is the Lord’s. [v12-20] But to understand it more easily, I think it’s better to first understand our status and our body first – our own self and how we stand before our Maker. This understanding or “worldview”, should click into place our behaviour in the community – in this case, how we respond to wrongs. So, I’ve switched the topics around because, hinged between these two topics is a very interesting statement:
“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” [v12]
But to explain why this is an important hinge, I need to take you back to The Beginning… In The Beginning, the Creator God made humankind in His own image. What you see in the mirror is an image of Him. In fact, the word “man” (which meant male and female humans) wasn’t a word that existed until we came on the scene. And, the word was introduced to the planet to mean “a creature that is a mortal image of the Creator God”.[a] So when Paul says, “…the body is… for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body”, he was speaking the truth.
In truth, our body was specifically created for HIM and HIS purposes. It’s like us cloning ourselves and then our clone wanting nothing to do with us! Of course we’d say, “Wait… I created you. You’re a copy of me. I own you. You only have this body because I had a plan in my head as to why I cloned you and enabled you to exist.” But we went our own way and allowed “sin” (anything that was clearly anti-God – everything that a true clone wouldn’t do) to master us.[b]
Now fast-forward in time to Paul and his letter to those living in Corinth. All things may be lawful but not all are profitable. [v12] We’re to think as our Creator designed us to think so that we can pick what’s profitable i.e. what’s constructive and not destructive and, at the same time, not be mastered by anything – especially the destructive things. But there’s more to it then what we were meant to be from The Beginning – there’s our future…
Humans will be raised by the same power of God that raised Jesus from the dead. [v14] As Believers who have been “born again” by the Spirit of the Creator God[c], we’re part of the Global family and members of one body. If humans were designed to become one-flesh with their sexual partner[d], how can the members of Christ (who is holy) be united with anything unholy? [ v14-16] In this same way, when we join ourselves with Christ, we’re one spirit with Him [v17] and need to flee in the opposite direction to sin. [v18] This especially relates to sins committed inside our body which is now the Temple (the dwelling place and home building) of God’s Holy Spirit. [v19]
It’s because we’ve be bought at a price (our soul and body has been purchased back by our Creator and we’re now standing at Ground Zero as a new creation[e] as if we were standing in the Book of Genesis Chapter 1), that every true believer will bring glory to God in their body. [v20] In my skin, in the whole package of me, I’ll live and operate so as to bring God glory – not bring Him disgrace.
With that settled, we can now turn to examples of how we can live as a completely new person with a clean slate and a new start, as if it were the first day of Creation. Where do I go from these starting blocks?
Paul tackles lawsuits first. [v1-8] But Paul explains it in a way that should cross over many areas in life where a judgement between right and wrong is needed. Again, to get the full impact of what Paul is saying, we need to go back to The Beginning. We were originally created in the image of God to be like Him. We have a conscience and free will in addition to gaining the knowledge of good and evil.[f] In time, our Maker has given us wisdom – to Moses then Joshua[g]; to King Solomon[h] and even to us…
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” [James 1:5]
Sitting in judgement and discerning the right path when conflict or wrongs arise, has been a God-given ability, second-nature, and “part of the job description” of God’s People right back to the days of Moses.[i] But Paul adds to it by saying that, as images of the Living God, we’ll be able to even judge angels who are not created images of God. [v3] So high is our status and (theoretically) our ability to judge right from wrong, thus settling every matter rightly.
But if the price has indeed been paid in full, then the price can’t be said to cover one thing and not the other. The matter has been settled – this matter and every other matter, by the price that Christ paid on the cross. The price was paid for me, and for everyone else around me. This is why we pray: “…Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us…”[j] If I want the price to be 100% paid for me, I must allow it to cover 100% for others – including what others do to me.[k]
When we pray: “…give us today our daily bread…” we’re not just asking for food and our basic needs. We’re acknowledging that, from the ground up, everything comes from Jehovah Jirah – meaning: The Lord Who Provides; The Lord Who Sees, or The Lord Who Will See To It.[l] That so, then everything belongs to Him. So when it comes to claiming compensation for the wrongs done to our possessions, it all belongs to the Lord and, in their place, we’re given eternal possessions.[m] If we’re merely stewards of our earthly possessions and stewards of our bodies then, as stewards, it’s not our place to seek compensation or retribution for our Master’s belongings. That’s His affair.[n]
For me to trust in my Creator God and His Word, I need to read His Manual for Life. In it, is a wealth of information on various everyday situations. Stepping out as a new creature on a lifelong journey, I’m a restored human image of the Living God. I’m the mobile home of His Holy Spirit. If so, of course I’m not going to act in sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, homosexuality, thievery, greed, drunkenness, slander, or swindling. [v9-10] While things may be lawful in our culture, not everything is beneficial. [v12] The clear “benefit” at stake here is in not inheriting the Kingdom of our Father God, and there’s really no way of claiming compensation for that.
If I want to be the person that I was created to be, and if I want what my Maker has planned for me in His Kingdom, something’s got to give. I’m not my own belonging, I’ve been bought at a price. [v19,20] Now I’m washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. [v11] Today’s the first day of the rest of my life in Him. I’ve only got one shot and I’m going to take it now. No second chances. No practice runs. I’m going ‘all in’ and going to make it count…
CLICK to return to today’s “Daily Breadcrumbs”
[a] Genesis 1:26-28a
[b] Genesis 4:7
[c] John 3:3-8
[d] Genesis 2:21-24
[e] 2 Corinthians 5:17
[f] Genesis 3:22
[g] Deuteronomy 34:9-12
[h] 2 Chronicles 1:8-12
[i] Exodus 18:17-23
[j] Luke 11:1-4 (Referencing v4)
[k] Matthew 18:21-35
[l] Genesis 22:12-14
[m] Matthew 6:19-21
[n] Deuteronomy 32:35