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1 Corinthians; The saint and his holiness

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posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 05:35 PM
Among the writings of Paul, 1 Corinthians is the letter which teaches the church what it means to be a Christian community.
The opening verses (ch1 vv1-9) have the effect of defining where the church comes from and what it’s based on, and I will want to show how the rest of the teaching follows on from that.
I was drawing out a definition of the church in the attached thread;
Defining the church
Part of the definition was that the church has been “sanctified”, set apart for God.
So the next concern is how this affects the way they conduct themselves (ch6 vv9-20)

vv9-11 Paul describes the kinds of lifestyle which are incompatible with belonging to God.
They include idolatry and adultery, theft and habitual drunkenness.
But first on the list are the PORNOI.
Translators vary in their euphemisms, from “the fornicators” to “the immoral”.
However, the word comes from the word for “harlot”, and Paul thinks of PORNEIA in terms of dealing with harlots.

Paul’s appeal is based on the fact that they’ve already been removed from those things.
That was the old life, this is the new life.
They have been “washed”- the old defilements have been removed.
They have been “sanctified”- they have been taken away from the old life, and set apart for God.
They have been “justified”- they have been set in the right relationship with God.
And all these things have been happening “in the name of “ the Lord Jesus and in the Spirit.

v12 But some of the Corinthians must have been criticising the inclusion of PORNEIA.
It isn’t difficult to imagine their arguments, because we’ve heard them all before;
“It’s natural…doesn’t hurt anybody…there’s no law against it…”, and so on, and so on.

He deals first with “There’s no law against it”.
The slogan that “everything is lawful” (which equals “nothing is forbidden”) might have been a misunderstanding of his own critique on the Law of Moses.
They might have heard “We do not serve under the old written code” and ignored the second part of the same teaching- “We serve(instead) in the new life of the Spirit” (Romans ch7 v6).
So his first answer is that even things which are “not forbidden” might injure other people or be self-injurious.
“I’m not going to use this power, if it means that I get over-powered”.
When self-indulgence becomes addiction, the freedom turns into a kind of slavery.

vv13-14 They also seem to have used the argument “That’s what the body is made for, like the stomach is made for food”.
Paul’s answer is that the body, the SOMA, needs to be distinguished from the stomach.
The stomach is merely flesh, and will be destroyed, in the long term, along with other fleshly things.
But their bodies, properly understood, have a different destiny.
The body was not “made for” PORNEIA in the same sense that the stomach was made for food.
On the contrary, the body was “made for” the Lord, in whose name they were sanctified.
So the body will be “raised” by God’s power in the same way that he raised the Lord himself.
All this assumes that the SOMA is something more than the visible flesh, and they should be treating it accordingly.

vv15-17 Then he builds on the point of their relation with Jesus Christ, another aspect of the first chapter’s “definition”.
On the one hand, they are in union with Christ.
Their bodies are “limbs” of the body of Christ.
On the other hand, a relation with a harlot sets up a different kind of union.
They become “one flesh” (on the basis of the statement made about Adam and Eve, Genesis ch2 v24).
Whereas the Lord and the believer are united as “one Spirit”.

What happens when these two unions clash?
Paul is understood to mean that the union with Christ is broken up;
“Shall I take away the members of Christ and make them [instead] members of a harlot?”
But this doesn’t account for the difference between PORNEIA and marriage, which involves a man in physical union without necessarily taking him away from Christ.
So I can’t help thinking there’s an additional thought in Paul’s mind- the horrifying possibility of a combination between the two unions.
In the same way that a man cannot drag his hand through the mud without getting his arm dirty, so a man united with Christ, who attaches himself to a harlot, is involving even Christ in the same unclean relation.

vv18-20 Next he brings in their relation with the Spirit, a further aspect of the same “definition”.
The claim that the fornicator is offending, uniquely, against his own body is closely linked with the following verse.
If a man has received the Spirit, then his body is a place where the Spirit dwells.
It is a Temple of the Holy Spirit (which implies, as I’ve observed before, that the Holy Spirit is God).
So fornication is an offence against the Holy Spirit, a desecration of the Temple.
That imperils the man’s relations with God, and therefore imperils the resurrection of his body.

He has said that the Holy Spirit was received from God.
That brings him to his final argument.
They are the property of God by virtue of the “price” which God paid for them.
And consequently they cannot claim to belong to themselves.
Which neatly disposes of the other standard protest;
“It’s my life, and I can do what I like with it”.

The opening verses of this book were demonstrating three different relationships.
The church had been “called” by the Father.
The church had been called into fellowship with Christ.
And there was a more indirect reference to the reception of the Holy Spirit.

We found in v11 that all three relations were participating in the “sanctification” of the church, which was carried out “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God”.

Consequently Paul’s argument for the preservation of holiness draws upon all three relations.
It draws upon the fact that the believer is “in Christ”.
It draws upon the fact that the Spirit resides in the believer.
And it draws upon the believer’s obligation to glorify God.

Since their calling has called them away from the world, the separation needs to be maintained.

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 05:45 PM
What is the point of this thread? I can't tell what point you are making.

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 05:49 PM
reply to post by AfterInfinity

The point is in the last line.
That's the way these things work.
One builds a case towards a conclusion, and then finish by stating the conclusion.

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 05:55 PM
Our passage includes (vv9-10) a list of the kind of behaviour which means that people will not “inherit the kingdom of heaven”.
The OP has not highlighted the fact that the list includes homosexual behaviour.
However, we need to face up to this, and consider the point from two angles.

On the one hand, there is no denying that the statement is there, and consistent with the statements in Leviticus (ch18 v22 and ch20 v13) calling it an “abomination” that one man should lie with another man as with a woman.

On the other hand, there needs to be, at the same time, a sense of perspective.
This criticism of homosexual behaviour does not appear in isolation.
It is not even the first item on the list.
What is said about homosexual behaviour is also said about people who are adulterers, drunkards, and the just plain greedy.
Therefore nobody should be drawing any conclusions about the status of homosexuals from this chapter unless they are also drawing exactly the same conclusions about adulterers, drunkards, and the greedy.
All these people are in the same boat.

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 06:13 PM
reply to post by DISRAELI

Here is the last line:

Since their calling has called them away from the world, the separation needs to be maintained.

Whose calling? What world? What separation? What does it need to be maintained? Your "conclusion" doesn't tell me crap. I didn't read the rest of it because I like the SparkNotes version and I get the distinct feeling it would be a waste of time.

Let's get straight to the point here. I'm sure other members would appreciate it.

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 06:20 PM
reply to post by AfterInfinity

The "calling" is the one described in the first thread in the series, which is why I referred back to it.
One theme follows on from another, and builds on what was said before.
You tell me that you don't understand my conclusion because you didn't bother reading the arguments that led to the conclusion?
I'm not surprised.
If you want to know how I get from A to D, you need to go through B and C.
I refer you to the unread portion of the OP.
That's what it's there for.

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 06:37 PM
reply to post by DISRAELI

And clearly, your threads are such a source of inspiration. That's why I'm the only one participating. But that's
edit on 14-10-2013 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 06:46 PM
reply to post by AfterInfinity

Yet there is something about them which makes them worth attacking, apparently.

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 08:21 PM
reply to post by DISRAELI

Faith is one matter, devotion to it is another in cleaving for a Firm residing of the Holy Spirit to Lead one within.

Keep holding to all that is good and true, for I felt the Leading in your words as we pray for the laborers that are fewer than those who are devoted to serving the world and the flesh.

posted on Oct, 14 2013 @ 10:47 PM
reply to post by PrimeLight

thank you. Words to calm my troubled spirit at the moment.

posted on Oct, 15 2013 @ 12:41 AM
I think your final point about the text was accurate. I believe that Paul's overall message to the Church of Corinth was to maintain separation. However, I think you missed some very important contextual facts in your analysis.

First, what is the significance of porneia to the Corinithians? It was not just any immorality. Consider the challenges of a burgeoning Christian church in a city centered around the Temple of Aphrodite. What did it mean to THEM? That's who Paul wrote it to. Not me. Not you. Is porneia just immorality to a church attempting to minister in the shadow of a thousand prostitutes? No. It's much more than that.

Secondly, Paul's commentary about all things being lawful is much more than it appears to be from a modern perspective. I encourage you to investigate Paul's rebuttal of Pathagoras' philosophy in Athens a short time before he wrote this epistle. It is a direct refutation of "man is the measure of all things". There is a reason why this is repeated-virtually verbatim-in 10:32.

I don't mean to criticize. Please don't take it that way. I found much of your interpretation to be thoughtful. Sometimes a little insight into cultural and historical context can reveal much depth to a particular message. Most importantly, as Christians we are commanded to love God with all our hearts, all our souls, and all our MINDS. To be critical. To challenge face value. To challenge ideas fed to us by pastors. To seek and find answers to our own questions. Our duty is to be the exact opposite of what some on this site call "weak-minded Christians". Sadly, much of the time these critics might just be right. Let's change that.
edit on 10am10314335f2013Tue, 15 Oct 2013 00:43:35 -050031 by mantisfortress because: spelling

posted on Oct, 15 2013 @ 03:33 AM
reply to post by ezekielken

thank you. Words to calm my troubled spirit at the moment.

I prayed that our Father turn my hand to a page on the Bible that would provide a message for you. I then opened a page to reveal the following...Blessings to you and thank you for your sentiments shared in an uplifting. Hopefully the OP does not mind me sharing it openly as a fellow lover of the Word.

Psalm 31:14-25
14 All I hear is whispering,
terror is all around me;
they plot together against me,
scheming to take my life.

15 But I, I trust in you, Adonai;
I say, “You are my God.”
16 My times are in your hand;
rescue me from my enemies’ power,
from those who persecute me.

17 Make your face shine on your servant;
in your grace, save me.
18 Adonai, don’t let me be put to shame,
for I have called on you;
let the wicked be put to shame,
let them be silenced in Sh’ol.
19 May lying lips be struck dumb,
that speak insolently against the righteous
with such pride and contempt.

20 But oh, how great is your goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you,
which you do for those who take refuge in you,
before people’s very eyes!
21 In the shelter of your presence
you hide them from human plots,
you conceal them in your shelter,
safe from contentious tongues.

22 Blessed be Adonai!
For he has shown me his amazing grace
when I was in a city under siege.
23 As for me, in my alarm I said,
“I have been cut off from your sight!”
Nevertheless, you heard my pleas
when I cried out to you.

24 Love Adonai, you faithful of his.
Adonai preserves the loyal,
but the proud he repays in full.
25 Be strong, and fill your hearts with courage,
all of you who hope in Adonai.
edit on 15-10-2013 by PrimeLight because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 15 2013 @ 05:33 PM
reply to post by mantisfortress

No, I don't take your comments as criticism.
I understand that they're meant in good faith and in a friendly spirit.
However, I need to explain my intentions.
The character-limit alone, never mind the impatience of such youngsters as AfterInfinity, limits what can be included in the OP.
But apart from that, my purpose in this series is also more limited.
My main concern is to extract from Paul's teaching whatever is applicable to the church generally, so that the church generally can use it as a guide and a model.
So when I was looking at the first chapter, for example, I did not pay much attention to the details of the divisions in the Corinthian church, though I'm aware of the academic discussions, and concentrated instead on the more universally applicable exhortation to rise above these disputes by focussing on the Cross.
Your explanations of what was happening in Paul's time are valuable and a very useful contribution to the thread, so please feel free to continue.
But for the reasons I've just given, they could not be included in the OP itself.

posted on Oct, 15 2013 @ 06:56 PM
reply to post by PrimeLight

Thank you for your encouraging comments.
Yes, this series is essentially about how the Faith of the Christian community should be expressed in the way it conducts itself.

posted on Oct, 16 2013 @ 05:18 PM
This thread is the sequel to;

The calling and the teachers

posted on Oct, 16 2013 @ 06:34 PM
I do not intend to go through the whole of 1 Corinthians systematically.
It will only be a selection of passages.
This series has been inspired, indirectly, by the commentary written by Hans Conzellman.
In his comments on the first verse in ch6 (a passage which I do not intend to cover) he remarks that “The criterion of conduct is accordingly found in the nature of the community”.
In effect, I have taken this dictum and made it a guideline for a major part of the epistle.
The premise is that Paul’s teaching here is largely about getting the church to live up to the description of itself which he supplies in the opening verses.
The way this works will become evident in the different stages.

(It has to be said, though, that I increasingly find Robertson and Plummer more reliable on points of detail).

posted on Oct, 17 2013 @ 05:19 PM

Whose calling? What world? What separation? What does it need to be maintained?

I will belatedly answer these questions;

1) "Whose calling?"; The "calling" is God's calling. I said so in one of the earlier lines. That is, God has called them out of the world, to be separate from it, as described in the very first thread of the series.

2) "What world?"; In the New Testament, "the world" frequently refers to human life in detachment from God, so that "God" and "the world" are set up in opposition to each other.
This has become a common Christian usage, so you should not have been confused (and I don't think you were genuinely confused).

3) "What separation?"; the separation in question is the separation from the world, as already mentioned, to which God is calling us.

4) "Why does it need to be maintained?" [I have reworded your question to express what seems to be your meaning]; If God has called us to this separation, it needs to be maintained because God has called us to it.

It all makes much more sense if you follow the reasoning through, instead of jumping on one sentence and demanding an explanation of things which have already been explained.

edit on 17-10-2013 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 18 2013 @ 05:13 PM
The sequence of threads in this series is expected to be as follows;

Defining the church
The calling and the cross
The calling and the Spirit
The calling and the teachers
The saint and his holiness (current thread)
The saints and the sinner
The saints and the idols
The fellowship and the common Spirit
The fellowship and the gifts
The fellowship and the Supper
The fellowship and its love
The waiting and the resurrection

posted on Oct, 24 2013 @ 05:01 PM
The most recent thread in this series is;

The saints and the sinner

posted on Nov, 1 2013 @ 04:31 PM
The most recent thread in this series is;

The saints and the idols

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