Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 27
SOLUTIONS TO PROBLEMS CONCERNING MARRIAGE
As we get ready to resume our study let me share with you a comment we received yesterday from one of our television viewers. She said in a letter that she even feels like she loves all the people in our studio audience, as it seems like she is part of us, and that’s the way we want you to feel. We want you to be part of this ministry. Now let’s get back into what this program is all about, and that is pretty much a verse by verse study of The Word. In our last lesson we got down to verse 11, but we will go back a couple of verses and start with verse 9.
We must always remember the background for Corinth. I can’t emphasize it too much or too often. This was a unique situation. This was a unique congregation of believers unlike anything else that Paul experienced, because you see Corinth was such a bustling commercial city located between two sea ports. So you had people coming in from all over the then-known world, tremendous exchange of money, wealth, and culture, and all the rest of it. But the main thing you have to understand as you read Corinthians is that the city of Corinth was steeped in paganism, in pagan idolaters, and the worship of the Greek gods and goddesses. So with that kind of background, and such gross immorality, and we think it’s getting bad in America, but listen we haven’t quite reached yet the level of Corinth. Our country will probably get there before long at the rate we’re sliding, (II Timothy 3:1-5) but as yet we are not as far down the tube as Corinth was, and so here is where Paul is now as he writes to these Corinthians believers, just recently converted out of that kind of a lifestyle, now look what he says in verse 9:
I Corinthians 6:9,10
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: (in other words don’t think for a minute that just because God is a God of love, and God is gracious, and merciful, that He is going to let these kind of people into His Heaven short of their Salvation.) neither fornicators, (the grossly immoral people) nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind. Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
None of those will inherit the kingdom of God They are in the hands of Satan, and they are going to be where Satan will be for all eternity, but they don’t have to be – look at the next verse.
I Corinthians 6:11
“And such (what’s the next word?) were (past tense) some of you: but ye are washed, (in other words they had been cleansed of all their wickedness) but ye are sanctified, (they were now set apart for God’s purposes) but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
And to comment on being justified, you remember when we studied in the Book of Romans it’s that judicial act of God whereby He declares the sinner, “Just as if they had never sinned.” In other words God cleanses, and justifies the idolater as though he had never fallen down before an idol. He justifies the drunkard just as though he had never taken a drink. He justifies the adulterer just as though they’d never committed adultery. Now this is the beauty of Salvation by Grace. So in verse 11 he tells us that we are washed. You know I’m always emphasizing so much of what Paul writes, but on this one just turn back to the Gospel of John, and here we find The Lord Jesus Himself uses the term with regard to the twelve disciples, or to the eleven, because Judas never was washed. So in John Chapter 13 we have Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, and we’ll begin at verse 6, and this was just shortly before His crucifixion.
“After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, `Lord, doest thou wash my feet?’ Jesus answered and said unto him, `What I do thou knowest not now; (remember scripture, and God dealing with men is a progressive thing. Peter didn’t understand what Jesus was doing right then, but he would somewhere down the road.) but thou shalt know hereafter.’ Peter saith unto him, `Thou shalt never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered him, `If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.’ Simon Peter saith unto him, `Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.'”
In other words what’s Peter saying? “Well if washing my feet can do this much then give me a bath. My what greater experience than to have The Lord of glory give you a total bath, and Peter wasn’t the least bit shy about the matter. Now verse 10:
“Jesus saith to him, `He that is washed (past tense) needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. (Now here the Lord is talking about the twelfth disciple which was Judas, which you pick up in the next verse.) For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.'”
So it wasn’t indicating in verse 10 that Peter’s Salvation wasn’t complete, that it was, but why then need the foot washing? Well as I have explained before, the main place of bathing were the public baths. And after they had left the public bath with their sandals on they had to go down those dusty trails and roads, and by the time they got home, what condition were their feet in? They were again filthy. So did he have to go back and get another bath? No he’d had his bodily bath, but he had to wash his feet. Well the indication is then that’s it’s the same thing in our Christian experience. Once we’ve been saved we’re washed. See? Now let’s come back to I Corinthians, and this is what He’s even telling these horrible Corinthians who had been in the most gross of sins.
And even to today we’re living in a society where a good percentage of America has had at least some exposure to the Scriptures. They have probably been to Sunday School when they were kids. A lot of denominations put their children through catechism and so forth, and this at least is exposing them to some of the things of The Bible. But these Corinthians had none. They knew absolutely nothing of the things of God. They knew nothing of Adam or Abraham, or Moses and the Law, they were pagan, they were idol worshipers. When we were in Corinth we came to this out-cropping that must have been at least 200 feet high, it was almost a sheer cliff, and right at the top of this out-cropping is this temple to the goddess. And I asked the guide how in the world did they get the building material from down here to up there? Slave labor, many, many hours of hard work, not to build some beautiful library, campus, or place of education, but rather a temple to a female goddess. Imagine, but you see that’s all they lived for. Whatever they could work, and sweat, and do to somehow appease their gods and goddesses. Now this wasn’t just Corinth, it was the whole ancient world. Now then along with the worship of these goddesses (and that was even worse than the worship of the male gods), was gross immorality, and I’ve pointed this out ever since we’ve been in the Book of Corinthians. This gross immorality was just part and parcel of their everyday experience, they didn’t know any different. And it wasn’t just the common people, it was all the way to the top. Now coming back to Chapter 6 we find Paul telling the Corinthians:
I Corinthians 6:11
“And such were some of you: but (now) ye are washed,…”
Now just like the eleven disciples, they had their Salvation, they were washed of their sins, and iniquities, and so were these Corinthians. So what does it all boil down to? Just like Paul said in Romans, “That where sin abounds, what is always greater?” God Grace! That is if the individual wants to partake of it. Now then Paul says at the end of that verse:
I Corinthians 6:11b
“…but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
Now here again is the working of the Three Persons of the Godhead. God the Father in Heaven looks down on sinful men. And the Holy Spirit in turn convicts sinful men of the finished work of God the Son, and so the whole Triune God comes in and washes these kinds of people of which you and I are no different. We might not have been steeped in idolatry, or practicing gross immorality, but the potential was there. My heart was born just as wicked as these Corinthians, and so was yours, but as a result of the Grace of God, and the finished Work of the Cross, and our faith in it, we too have been washed, sanctified, and justified. Verse 12, and this may throw a curve at people.
I Corinthians 6:12
“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
Now what is Paul saying? Is Paul saying, I can go ahead and steal? Is Paul saying I can go ahead and commit adultery? Or covet? No. What Paul is really saying is that he is no longer under that demanding burden of the Law, but is now under Grace. Now let’s go back and compare some Scripture, and the first one we will go to is Romans 6:14, and this is where we get it the most clear.
“For sin (or that old adamic nature) shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.”
Now if you’re not under the Law then it doesn’t have any effect on you. And that’s what he means back in verse 12 when Paul says: “All things are lawful unto me,…” because I’m not under the Law. Now a thought just comes to mind of another Scripture in Romans Chapter 7, and let’s look at verses 5 & 6:
“For when we were in the flesh, (we were like those Corinthians) the motions of sins, which were by the law, (all the things that the Law was revealing) did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; (by the Law) that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” (of the Law)
Now what’s Paul saying? That we’re no longer under those demands of the Ten Commandments of Moses, but rather we are now under the control of the Holy Spirit. Now let’s be logical. Will the Holy Spirit ever lead a believer to do something contrary to the Law? No, of course not. The Holy Spirit will never lead someone into adultery, or idolatry, or stealing, now that’s just logical isn’t it? But without that burden of the Law, and the fear of breaking it, we now have Grace, and the Holy Spirit is the One Who leads us, and guides us, and directs us so that we keep the Law, but it’s under a whole set of different circumstances. And that’s exactly what Paul is talking about here in I Corinthians when he says:
I Corinthians 6:12a
“All things are lawful unto me…”
Paul is not under that burden of Law per se, he is free from that, but he’s not going to take advantage of it, and make license of it, because the Holy Spirit is now controlling every part of his life, and so it should be with us believers. Now in verse 13 we’re going to come into something that we’re going to cover a little more in detail, I think, when we get over to Chapter 8, but here in this verse Paul brings out one of the physical aspects of everyday life, and that is:
I Corinthians 6:13a
“Meats for the belly, (or food for the stomach) and the belly for meats; but God shall destroy both it and them….”
In other words, those are part of our temporal existence. We can’t go a day hardly without food, we get hungry, and that’s the way God intended it, but the day is coming when that won’t be true. When we get our new resurrected body we’re not going to have to eat three meals a day. I think for those of us who love to eat The Lord is going to have the pleasure of eating, otherwise He wouldn’t have eaten in His resurrected body there on the shores of Galilee. And you know that He ate fish that morning, and I imagine like me He had some bread. But anyway the resurrected body is not going to need food, and demand it day after day. So this is part of our temporal existence. Now in the rest of verse 13 Paul goes on into another area of everyday life, and that’s sexuality.
I Corinthians 6:13b,14
“Now the body is not for fornication, (The body was not created for man to live in immorality) but for the Lord: and the Lord for the body.” The body was created for The Lord, and The Lord for the body, it’s a two way street. Now verse 14:
“And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.”
Now here’s just one little introduction to resurrection which is going to come full-blast when we get to Chapter 15. When we get to that chapter we will see more on resurrection than any other place in The Bible. But you see here Paul is just sort of whetting our appetite, he’s giving us just an inkling of that which is yet to come.
I Corinthians 6:15a
“Know ye not…”
You know what he’s saying? Well how did these believers know? Well Paul was with these people long enough to lay out all these Biblical principals of morality, and spiritual things. Now granted he wasn’t with them long. If it hadn’t been for the miraculous working power of God, Christianity would have never gotten off the ground. It was just an impossible set of odds, because these Corinthians were all so steeped in idolatry, and the Jews were just as steeped in their Judaism that, had it not been a miracle, Christianity would have never survived. Paul was never in any one place very long. Now I can see the Jewish Church at Jerusalem prospering to a certain degree because the disciples continued on with that ministry teaching the Jews only, and they stayed there for many years. But every place that Paul established a church it was only for a short time. I think Antioch was the longest and that was only about 1 1/2 years. At Thessalonica it was just for about 2 or 3 weeks, and then he moved on, so how in the world did those new believers fresh out of paganism make it? Well I can’t understand it, except that it was the miraculous power of God that Christianity was now to take off and start permeating the whole Roman empire.
I Corinthians 6:15
“Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? (remember Paul is talking to believers) shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the member an harlot? God forbid.”
Now you see we think this is horrible language. Why has The Bible got this in here for? Hey this was their whole lifestyle. Remember when those 1000 prostitute goddesses of Corinth would leave their temple at night they would in turn go out into the street, and the men of that city were confronted with that every night of the week, and so this is why The Bible is so explicit. It was so rampant, and it didn’t stop there. Their immorality went to the very depths, and we’re seeing it happen in our own country today. Our society is getting closer and closer to that of Corinth, so this letter is becoming more appropriate for our society with each passing day. Now verse 16:
I Corinthians 6:16
“What? know ye not that he which is joined (that is sexually) to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.”
Well where does Paul get this? Let’s go back to the Book of Genesis, Chapter 2 for a moment and I’ll show you.
“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man, And Adam said, `This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.'”
Now in our present day weddings the kids like to have two candles burning, and at the end of the service they snuff the two, and light the one. Well that’s the whole concept, but you see they take it so lightly. In a recent poll over 50% of young married couples expected their marriage to end up in divorce within the first year or two. Now this is shocking, and I know it is, but these marriages don’t last. They go into the marriage with absolutely no commitment, and do you know why they do it? The Church has failed to teach our young people, as they no longer understand these Biblical principals of marriages, sex, kids, and all the rest. It’s completely unknown to them so consequently they can enter into this marriage relationship with no commitment, or no moral foundation, no anchor. No wonder we’re in trouble.
But you see the Biblical concept has never changed from the Garden of Eden to this day, and that is “God intended for one man married for life to one woman,” and if death interrupted it, as we’ll be seeing over in Chapter 7, then yes they were free to remarry. Now remember even the taunters of Jesus’ day brought up the subject of divorce. They said,“Well Moses granted a writing of divorcement. How about that?” Well what was Jesus’ answer? “Granted because of your sin, Moses granted writing of divorce, but in the beginning it was not so.” In the beginning when God laid out the format for marriage and family it was one man for one woman until death do them part. Now come back to I Corinthians Chapter 6.
I Corinthians 6:16
“What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot (prostitute) is one body?…”
So you become one with that prostitute. That’s some sobering thinking isn’t it? So consequently Paul says:
I Corinthians 6:18
“Flee fornication.” (Immorality)