Faithlife Sermons

Purchased at a Price

To the Church of God at Corinth  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Scripture:  None (suggest scripture) Tags:  Love, Wait, Sexuality, Affection  (view more) (suggest tag) Denomination: Baptist
J Vernon McGee told the story of the days before the Civil War in a city in the south. At the center of town, there is a commotion as a crowd gathers for a public auction to watch the proceedings. In the crowd is an uncouth, foulmouthed, loud, boisterous man who is the meanest, cruelest, most hateful man around. In the crowd is another man who stands out for his dignity, genteel mannerisms and soft-spoken tone, and is one the most kind, gentle, and gracious man. Both men, along with the crowd wait for the auction to begin. The auctioneer steps to the podium and begins rattling his words as the first item to be sold is brought to the auction block. On the block is a beautiful young black girl, about 20 years of age. Her dress is old and torn, but remarkably clean. She is obviously filled with anxiety and fear as the bidding begins.
Crystal Michelle, a 10th Grade in Bigelow, Arkansas isn’t buying it. She won’t settle for anything but extreme intimacy, here’s an excerpt from an essay she wrote.
From the outset the loud obnoxious man seemed to have his evil, lecherous eyes set on this lovely, innocent, young lady. She cringed in fear as he opened the bidding. When the kind gentleman saw her fear, he too placed a bid. Soon only these two men were involved in the bidding as the price of the girl rose higher and higher. Finally, the evil man bowed out of the bidding when he realized that the price of the girl was more than he was willing to pay.
"Hey, My name is Crystal Michelle. I decided to wait for sex among other things a while back. I have pledged to God that I would not even kiss until the pastor says "and NOW you may kiss your bride."
When the auctioneer closed the bidding, the kind gentleman paid the price for his purchase, was handed the Bill-of-Sale and turned to leave. The young girl started to follow her new master. He then turned to her and asked, “Where are you going?” “Why, I’m going with you,” she responded; “You bought me and I belong to you.” “O! You misunderstood,” the man said, “I didn’t buy you to make you my slave, I bought you to set you free.” Then he took the Bill-of-Sale and wrote across in big block letters – FREE! – signed his name and gave it to the girl. “I don’t understand,” the girl said. “You mean I am FREE!” “Yes, you are FREE!” ‘I can go wherever I want and do as I please.” “Exactly, You are FREE!” “Sir, I don’t know who you are, but no one has ever shown such love and kindness to me. If I am free to do as I please, nothing would please me more than to go with you and serve you till the day I die.” And that day she went home with him, not as his slave but as his willing servant.
She understands that being "in love" isn’t reason enough to become sexually active. One of her favorite quotes to spread her message of abstinence comes from Ann Landers, it goes: "I met him; I like him. I liked him, I loved him. I loved him; I let him. I let him; I lost him."
Each of us have been a slave to sin. But we have also been given the free gracious gift, at an incredible price, paid for by Jesus; not to make us his slave, but to set us free. How could we respond in any other way than to say, “If you love me that much, I’ll serve you forever!” This is the power of God's amazing grace and it is available right here and right now for you, to heal you, to free you, to forgive you and to set you free. That's why He brought you here today. You're not here by accident. He brought you here today to hear this message and once and for all, receive His grace that you might begin to live the life He created you to live.
Michelle has some answers for boys who pressure her, if a boy says to her: "Real men are sexually active." She will say, "So is my REAL dog." If he says, "If you loved me, You’d let me." She’ll say, "If you loved me, you wouldn’t ask." He says, "But I want to." She’ll say, "But I don’t!" If he says, "Everybody’s doing it." She’ll say, "Not true. I’m somebody, and I’m not doing it!" If he asks her "Have you ever done it?" She’ll respond with, "Have you ever made the wonderful discovery of knowing Jesus Christ?"" If he asks, "Don’t you love me?" She’ll say, "Yeah, But I love God more." If he says, "I won’t get you pregnant." She’ll say, "That’s right, because you aren’t going to touch me." If he says, "If you won’t let me, I’ll find someone who will." She’ll say, "It was nice knowing you." And my personal favorite, if he says, "But you owe me!" She’ll say, "Okay, I’ll get you a key chain or something."

Scripture Passage

1 Corinthians 6:1–20 NASB95
1 Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? 4 So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, 6 but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers? 7 Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren. 9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 12 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. 13 Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. 14 Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! 16 Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” 17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
Last week Matt covered verses 1-11 where Paul counsels the Corinthian church regarding lawsuits between its members. He urges them to resolve matters internally rather than appeal to authorities outside the church.
6:1–11 Paul counsels the Corinthian church regarding lawsuits between its members. He urges them to resolve matters internally rather than appeal to authorities outside the church.
Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Paul finds it highly objectionable that Christians should go to pagan courts with fellow Christians to deal with minor or civil matters (6:2). He admonishes them to judge matters for themselves. Dio Chrysostom (ca a.d. 40–120) refers to the corruption of the legal system in Corinth that involved “lawyers innumerable perverting judgment” (Eighth Discourse, On Virtue, 8.9, LCL). Why he discusses Christians before pagan courts here is not clear since the rest of his discussion in this section deals with sexual promiscuity. It could be that the matters taken before the court included such matters of sexual perversion or indiscretion since both are listed in the catalogue of vices in 6:1–10, but that is not clear.
McDonald, L. M. (2004). 1 Corinthians. In C. A. Evans & C. A. Bubeck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Acts–Philemon (First Edition, pp. 285–286). Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook.
The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Acts–Philemon 6:1–11. Going to the Courts with Fellow Christians

the Roman court system did not allow social inferiors to take their social superiors to court, what takes place here is a reflection of Corinthians of similar social status going before the courts in Corinth. On the other hand, a social superior could bring charges against a social inferior, and this often happened. The jurors were selected from the wealthier social classes and not from among one’s peers. The corruption of the courts was well-known in Paul’s day

Basically Paul sarcastically lets this church know that they are not as wise as they think they are.
Matt also spoke about people with these 8 character descriptions...
sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, practicing homosexuals, thieves, greedy, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers...
Do you remember the two most important facts about people who are characterized in this regard?
Do not be deceived: these people will NOT inherit the kingdom of God.
Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. 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.
And such WERE some of you. 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.
This is the Gospel; there is hope for the hopeless, there is hope for the unrighteous. All of us were or are in one of those 8 groups, yet for those of us who are saved we are no longer trapped…we were washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
One of the notes I wrote is this, “the world fears so much…yet it does NOT fear the judgement of God.”
Remember back to when we first started this study:

Essential Understanding

A. In 1 Corinthians we see Paul, a pastor, dealing with a problem church. In this letter and in Galatians, we see him apply universal gospel truth in different ways, based on the need of the church: freedom for the Galatian churches/limits to the Corinthian church.
B. This book is either a series of "cultural dinosaurs" or a wealth of principled truth applied to a particular historical/cultural setting. We must be careful not to confuse truth and cultural applications of that truth. For a good discussion of this very important hermeneutical issue see Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart's How To Read the Bible for All Its Worth, pp. 65-76 and Gordon Fee, Gospel and Spirit.
C. This book will push you to the limit of your spiritual ability to interpret the Bible. It will force you to rethink aspects of your theology. It will open a window to God's will for our day, practically speaking, as few other biblical writings.
How can we outline this text?
We need to look back a bit…Let’s start in Ch.3
Foundations for Unity 3:1-21
I. Problem: Spiritually Immature 3:1-4
Paul returns to the “spiritual” and “carnal” or “fleshly” categories in his discussion of the failures of the Corinthian Christians to urge them to set aside their differences. In the process, he accuses them of immaturity, that is, of being “babes” in Christ.
II. Reality: Unity in Ministry 3:5-17
I planted Paul uses an agricultural metaphor to explain that different leaders have different roles in the growth of the church. Paul was responsible for founding the Corinthian church (). Since these ministries are interdependent, each one is important.
watered Refers to the instruction of the church community ().
God was causing it to grow Identifies God as the source of maturity in the faith. Paul directs the Corinthian believers to God, the source of life and unity. In doing so, he casts himself and Apollos as servants of God.
III. Solution: Turn from Worldly -23
Some of the believers at Corinth were priding themselves on their membership in or allegiance to certain leaders and/or special knowledge.
Many of the leaders of the factions at Corinth thought they were mature and wise, but they were self-deceived.
The gospel of God, Christ Himself, is the only true wisdom.
Ch 4.

Applications for Church Unity

Faithlife Study Bible Chapter 44:1–13 In this passage, Paul discusses the nature of genuine Christian leadership. He argues that the standard for Christian leaders is set by God alone (vv. 1–5) and that suffering is a hallmark of Christian ministry (vv. 6–13).

Faithfulness of Servants and Stewards

Add to slide.The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Acts–Philemon 4:1–5. Paul’s Application of This Wisdom to Himself. He indicates that as a servant of Christ he is commanded by God to be faithful in this service and to the ministry to the church.

Corinthian Stewards Contrasted with Godly Stewards

according to the world’s wisdom.

Admonished to be Imitators

Chapters 5&6 address

Immorality and Lawsuits

5:1-8 Incest

1 Corinthians 6:12

5:9-13 Excommunication

6:1-11 Judicial System...

Verses 6:12-20 Deal with Immorality

6:12–20 Paul continues to address the conduct of the Corinthian believers. Here he denounces them for using a distorted understanding of freedom in Christ to validate their visitations of prostitutes.

The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Acts–Philemon 6:12–20. Christians Involved with Prostitutes: Freedom and Sexuality

Paul acknowledges that Christians are free in Christ (see also 10:23), there are nevertheless limits to that freedom. Evidently some of the Christians at Corinth were involved with prostitutes, and Paul reminds them that God forbids premarital sexual intercourse or marital sexual intercourse with one who is not his/her spouse. Such comments reflect Paul’s understanding of Deut. 22:12–29. Some Greeks of Paul’s day argued that sex outside of the bonds of marriage was acceptable as long as it did not control the person. For most Greek males under the age of thirty, sex outside of marriage was available through prostitution and slaves. Fornication was only a problem if it occurred within aristocratic or free families, but not if it occurred with slaves or prostitutes.

ROBERT UTLEY:
This may refer to something Paul had said on an earlier occasion (cf. ; ,,) but it had been taken out of context by (1) the legalism of the Jewish believers or (2) the libertine false teachers who were using Christian freedom as a license to sin (cf. ; ). Paul is trying to walk a fine line between the two extremes and yet speak to both.
This may be the first of Paul's quoting of the slogans of the false teachers or the false teachers taking something out of context he had preached and extending his sayings into other areas (cf. ,; ; ,; . It is not that what they said was not true, but they took the truth beyond legitimate bounds. It is hard to know when Paul is using this technique. Possibly the following criteria may be helpful.
1. It is something Paul has himself said in other writings (cf. ; ,,).
2. It is a brief general statement of truth (like a proverb).
3. All biblical metaphors are true, but have limits as to their relevant application. No example or metaphor can be pushed at every level. They usually have one major application.
Paul attempts to restate the intended truth and limit the inappropriate extensions.

6:12-14 Permission

1. The act of permitting or allowing.
2. Allowance; license or liberty granted.
Remember when we started this study...freedom for the Galatian churches/limits to the Corinthian church
1 Corinthians 6:12 NASB95
12 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.
The proper use of Christian freedom which must be exercised in self-limiting love (cf. ; ; ; ). The building up of the body of Christ is more important than personal rights and freedoms.
speaks to the proper use of Christian freedom which must be exercised in self-limiting love (cf. ; ; ; ). The building up of the body of Christ is more important than personal rights and freedoms.

All things are permitted for me The Corinthians likely used this slogan as an excuse to mistreat and abuse the physical body (e.g., through sexual immorality; v. 19). Paul cites it negatively in 10:23. He also says in this verse that it is not beneficial for people to elevate their desires above God’s.

"profitable" This is a compound Greek term which means "to bring together for one's benefit"
Just because a believer is free in Christ does not mean that every thing edifies other believers. We limit our freedom in love for the Lord and His church. We always seek and promote the health and vitality of the whole body of Christ .
ust because a believer is free in Christ does not mean that every thing edifies other believers. We limit our freedom in love for the Lord and His church. We always seek and promote the health and vitality of the whole body of Christ
1 Corinthians 6:13 NASB95
13 Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.

the stomach for food

the stomach for food
This may be another slogan. It seems to refer to an improper, hermeneutical extension by the libertine false teachers. Paul asserts there is an element of truth in what they say (cf. ). Paul is either
This may be another slogan. It seems to refer to an improper, hermeneutical extension by the libertine false teachers. Paul asserts there is an element of truth in what they say (cf. ). Paul is either
1. using a literary technique called diatribe, where he is using supposed objectors to make his theological points
OR
2. quoting the slogans of the false teachers, some part of which may have come from Jesus' teachings or Paul's teachings

Describes a person’s sexual appetite using a well-known euphemism from the ancient world. The logic of the metaphor is that just as the stomach’s appetite is meant to be satisfied with food, so the body is meant to be satisfied through sexual activity.

The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Acts–Philemon 6:12–20. Christians Involved with Prostitutes: Freedom and Sexuality

Paul is familiar with Hellenistic notions of sexual morality and also of their view of the body. Just as the stomach was for food and food was for the stomach, so it was, as some argued, the body was for sex and sex was for the body and, since the body had no future in the Greek notion of immortality with the gods, many argued that it did not matter what was done sexually in the body. Paul rejects this notion and appeals to the Jewish tradition on human sexuality.

God will abolish both of them Many Greeks rejected the idea of a bodily resurrection because they believed that death separated the body and spirit permanently

Since we are one with Christ…i.e. we have unity with Christ we should not take part in sexual immorality.
"Yet the body is not for immorality" This clearly shows the false extension. Humans are wonderfully created for life and its development on this planet. However, there are some God-given boundaries to insure a long, happy, fruitful existence. Since the fall (cf. ), humanity tends to grab the immediate, the self-satisfying, the personal gratification at any cost!
▣ "the body. . .for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body" These phrases are in a parallel relationship. The thrust seems to be that believers belong to the Lord (cf. ; ; ). He wants to use their bodies for His service, His purposes.
In light of Greek thought (i.e., the physical body is evil) it needs to be emphasized that biblical thought does not depreciate the body. In this very context the body is
In light of Greek thought (i.e., the physical body is evil) it needs to be emphasized that biblical thought does not depreciate the body. In this very context the body is
1. made "for the Lord" (cf. )
2. "members of Christ" (cf. )
3. a temple indwelt by the Spirit (cf. )
4. to glorify Christ (cf. )
The body is not evil. It will be resurrected and will be part of the eternal kingdom. However, it is also the realm of temptation and the moral battleground of sin. Jesus gave Himself physically for the church. Believers must follow the example (cf. ).
1 John 3:16 NASB95
16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
1 Corinthians 6:14 NASB95
14 Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power.

will raise us up Believers should not misuse their bodies for sexual immorality because God cares about their bodies that will be resurrected; rather, they must recognize that their bodies belong to the Lord, who will resurrect them

6:15-17 Membership matters

Members of Christ or members of a Prostitute

1 Corinthians 6:15 NASB95
15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be!

The doctrine of the believer’s union with Christ is one of the most fundamental teachings of the apostle. What is significant about this verse is that it represents that union as involving the whole person, including the physical body (Rom. 12:1). The Corinthians were wrong in thinking that sexual union with a prostitute, just because it was physical, did not affect their relationship with Christ.

The Faithlife Study Bible states:

members of Christ The individual members of the Church comprise the body of Christ (the Church as a unit). If a believer visits a prostitute, the person not only joins their entire self to a prostitute, but the whole body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 6:16 NASB95
16 Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.”
"prostitute" This is the Greek term pornē, which comes from the verb "to sell." In Corinth (and the Ancient Near East) there were two kinds of prostitutes, one cultic (i.e., pagan worship) and slaves (i.e., for profit). Paul repeatedly discussed porneia (cf. [twice]; 9,10,11; 6:9,13,15, 16,18; 7:2; 10:8; ). Pagan fertility worship was expressed in sexual acts. Paul's hearers had grown up and participated in these rituals and rites, but they are now Christians!
1 Corinthians 6:17 NASB95
17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

The two will become one flesh Paul quotes the Septuagint (Greek translation of the OT) version of Gen 2:24 to support his prohibition of sexual relations with prostitutes. Sexual intercourse creates a unique bond between two people.

"The two shall become one flesh" This is a quote from . In marriage two persons voluntarily become one flesh. Physical intimacy is a strong bonding experience. It has an appropriate, God-ordained place in life. Like all of God's gifts, it can be abused and taken beyond God-given bounds.

6:18-20 Solution & Explanation

1 Corinthians 6:18 NASB95
18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.
See the solution? “FLEE”
φεύγω pheugó (fyoo'-go) to run or move away quickly, as to escape
pheugó
flee; escape; disappear quickly; avoid; become invisible
Phonetic Spelling: (fyoo'-go)
escape “IMMORALITY”
πορνεία porneía (the root of the English terms "pornography, pornographic;") which is derived from pernaō, "to sell off") – properly, a selling off (or surrendering) of sexual purity; promiscuity of any and every type. fornication; sexual immorality…sexual acts that are morally objectionable; especially related to prostitution.
1 Corinthians 6:19 NASB95
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

outside his body The Corinthians may have assumed that their physical bodies were not subject to moral instruction (see note on v. 13); thus, they believed that everything is permissible. Paul counters their assumption; he argues that those who sin sexually also sin against their own bodies.

do you not know Paul asks a question to explain his association of the physical body with holiness (vv. 13–17). The nature of this question suggests that the Corinthian believers should already know about this truth.

your body Refers to the body of each believer. Paul’s use of the singular form of “body” may emphasize that each believer is a temple of God. Paul also described the entire church community as the temple of God in 3:16.

the temple In this context, Paul focuses on individual believers instead of the entire church community.

"your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit" Christianity replaces the physical temple of the Jews with the spiritual temple of Christ's physical body (cf. ) as His corporate body, the church (cf. ,; ; ). This concept of temple is used in two senses in 1 Corinthians.
1. in it is used of the entire local church
2. here it is used of the individual believer
This expresses the fluid relationship between the corporate and individual aspects.
Paul's major point in this context is a call to holiness. Believers are to be radically different from the surrounding culture. This has two purposes.
1. it accomplishes the goal of Christlikeness
2. it attracts people to faith in Christ, which are the twin foci of the Great Commission (cf. )
▣ "the Holy Spirit who is in you" This is an emphasis on the indwelling Holy Spirit. The power for the Christian life is a gift of God, just like salvation. We must yield ourselves to the Spirit's work. All three persons of the Trinity indwell the believer.
1. the Spirit (cf. ; ,; ; ; )
2. the Son (cf. ; ,; ; ; ; ; ; )
3. the Father (cf. ; )
Believers are God-possessed people. This is volitionally different from demon possession in that the volitional cooperation of the believer is crucial at every stage and level. The demonic destroys the individual's will, but the sovereign God has chosen to honor the freedom of His human creation. Only in Christian maturity (i.e., Christlikeness) does God's will become the dominate guiding force!
1 Corinthians 6:20 NASB95
20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

For you were bought at a price In Paul’s time, masters purchased slaves from other masters, thereby issuing a change in ownership for a slave. Paul reminds the Corinthians that God purchased them from slavery to sin and death through the sacrificial death of Christ. Therefore, they belong to God, not to themselves

When one accepts Christ he/she relinquishes personal rights to his/her body and takes on the responsibility for the corporate health and vitality of the whole temple, the whole body
When one accepts Christ he/she relinquishes personal rights to his/her body and takes on the responsibility for the corporate health and vitality of the whole temple, the whole body
Conclusion:
How believers live is crucial for assurance, for peace, for witness!
How believers live is crucial for assurance, for peace, for witness! See SPECIAL TOPIC: GLORY (OT) at .
There are two extremes to avoid in the Christian life: (1) everything is improper; (2) everything is proper. Our bodies are for God, not for self; they are for service, not for sin (cf. ). This view of the body is very different from the Greek view of the body as the prison house of the soul. The body is not evil, but it is the battleground of the spiritual life.
Paul's authority was from Christ. It was Christ and His Spirit who controlled and empowered him. Self-control is surely one of the fruits of the Spirit (cf. ; ; ). Paul controls his freedom so that the gospel may prosper and so should we!
Paul is asserting that Christian freedom should not be an opportunity for personal license. Many things that are good can become improper motives, attitudes, or situations (cf. ). This issue of Christian freedom and Christian responsibility is the critical issue of the Corinthian letters.
A. This chapter tries to balance the paradox of Christian freedom and responsibility. The literary unit runs through 15:13.
B. The problem which precipitated this chapter was possibly the tension between Gentile and Jewish believers in the church of Rome. Before conversion the Jews tended to be legalistic and the pagans tended to be immoral. Remember, this chapter is addressed to sincere followers of Jesus. This chapter does not address carnal believers (cf. ). The highest motive is ascribed to both groups. There is danger in the extremes on both sides. This discussion is not a license for nit-picking legalism or flaunting liberality.
C. Believers must be careful not to make their theology or ethics the standard for all other believers (cf. ). Believers must walk in the light they have, but understand that their theology is not automatically God's theology. Believers are still affected by sin. We must encourage, exhort, and teach one another from the Scriptures, reason, and experience, but always in love. The more one knows the more one knows he does not know (cf. )!
D. One's attitude and motives before God are the real keys in evaluating his actions. Christians will stand before Christ to be judged on how they treated one another (cf. , and ).
E. Martin Luther said, "A Christian man is a most free Lord of all, subject to none; the Christian man is a most dutiful servant of all, subject to all." Biblical truth is often presented in a tension-filled paradox.
F. This difficult but crucial subject is dealt with in the entire literary unit of and also in and .
G. However, it needs to be stated that pluralism among sincere believers is not a bad thing. Each believer has strengths and weaknesses. Each must walk in the light he/she has, always open to the Spirit and the Bible for more light. In this period of seeing through a glass darkly () one must walk in love (), and peace (,) for mutual edification.
H. The titles, "stronger" and "weaker," which Paul gives to these groups, prejudices them to us. This was certainly not Paul's intent. Both groups were sincere believers. We are not to attempt to mold other Christians into ourselves! We accept one another in Christ!
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