Last week we reached a turning point in the Epistle to the Corinthians. Saint Paul begins to directly confront the idea of "rights" in the Church. Focusing on our rights is the wrong way to look at things and it is not theologically correct. God is the giver of rights for His purposes. Rather than seeking after our rights, we must look at our gifts for the Church.
“You are not your own, you were bought with a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
Saint Paul writes this again and again. The price is Jesus' sacrifice, of course. Chapters 6-9 seem “Un-American” as well as "Un-Corinthian” Due to the way that Liberty is seen as Freedom (license) in our cultural mindset, it will probably grate on you and me, as it did on the Corinthian Nonetheless Saint Paul is concerned about the more important things of eternality.
In addition to this St. Paul gives the Christian a matrix to judge good things of life and our rights.
- Is asserting my moral freedom or just right bring benefit to the rest of the body of Christ and relationship with God?
- Is my asserting my moral freedom or just right going to cause me to fall into a trap where I am controlled or dominated?
Lastly, St. Paul drives home the fact that our Liberty is in Jesus Christ. The flesh, the world, and the devil continually tell us that freedom is found in fulfilling (or becoming) our desires. St. Paul tells us that this is a trap that leads to slavery to desire.
- How does this passage challenge your way of thinking about rights and gifts?
- How does subduing our desires show Jesus and his bride the Church more clearly?
- In what ways have you taken on the priorities and ways of this world rather than things eternal and good for your soul?
- Where are you dominated or entrapped? How can you be helped? Where can the Church help?
O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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