“It’s my body body, I can do whatever I want.” Though this is only a partially true statement, it is not at all wise.”
Corinth was a first century Las Vegas. It was a large port city where sailers sought to unload their cargo and load up on booze. It was the city where all newly freed slaves were released to chase all their unbridled passions. It was incredibly pagan with multiple temples to unknown gods, the most well known of them all was the temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty and pleasure. It is believed that at one point the temple of Aphrodite had employed over 1,000 temple prostitutes. When men were leaving work in the evening, the prostitutes would begin to wander the streets to solicit men to join them in the temple of Aphrodite to worship with they bodies and their money. Corinth became a city known throughout the entire Roman empire for its sexual immorality, deviance and lewdness, so much so that when someone in Rome committed an act of sexual immorality they said they were “corinthisizing”.
Paul summed up all of the various forms of sexual immorality using one word, “porneia”. It is a junk drawer word that includes everything like adultery, fortification, homosexuality, prostitution, lewdness. Today it would include nearly a quarter of all internet sites, all forms of pornography, sexting, 50 Shades of Grey and other movies like Magic Mike. Of such things Paul gives a very simply warning, “FLEE!”
However, the Corinthians Christians were a group of people who thought they they were so special that the normal rules that governed the rest of Christ kingdom did not apply to them. Yes, those rules were for a great many others, but they were so much more spiritual than everyone else and therefore they need not follow any rules. This was a group of people that heralded their liberties and sang a mantra that went something like, “I can do whatever I want.” So when it came to issues of sexual immorality, adultery and prostitution the Corinthians engaged freely. If we are honest with ourselves, judging by what we read in statistics and by conversations I have had with innumerable individuals over the years there is no much separating the Corinthians of yesterday from those of today. Maybe the only difference is that our mantra has slightly changed to “Its my body, I can do what I want.” Though this is only a partially true, it is no at all wise.
The question we have is how did Paul respond to such people? This is an enormous question that we should seek to ask seeing as we are a culture that is inundated with “porneia”. This question has risen to the surface over the past few weeks as a well known book turned movie is projected to make a big “splash” at the box office (50 Shades of Grey). How should Christian men and women respond to Porneia? How does it effect us, our relationship with one another and most importably our relationship with our Creator? What does the gospel say on this matter?
We will be discussing all of this this Sunday morning at City on a Hill as we continue our journey through 1 Corinthians. We hope that you can join us for this special message. Service is held at 107 East Parish Street Suite A from 10:00 – 11:30 AM. Look for the giant thrift store sign as we have not yet put our permanent sign in place.