It’s My Right, Right?
1 Corinthians 9
The issue of rights dominates our culture today: the right to free speech, economic rights, women’s rights, racial rights, the rights of the unborn, animal rights, etc… So many of the struggles over rights seem to revolve around attaining freedom to change the status quo.
For Paul, rights and freedoms are unimportant compared to the privilege of living for Christ. In chapter 9 he reminds the Corinthians that he chose not to exercise his right for remuneration. Why did he do that?
First, Paul provides what is to him a clear reason for this: so as not to hinder the Gospel (9:1-18). For Paul, the growth of the Corinthian believers is more important than his personal rights. He then expands on his clear reason with a clear purpose: others coming to Christ is the priority (9:19-23). For Paul, Christian liberty has nothing to prove. Finally, he describes this clear purpose with clear intensity: the rejection of mediocrity (9:24-27). For Paul, living a life of self-control is the goal, and he uses several examples from athletics to drive this point home (the Corinthians would easily relate to these analogies, as the Isthmian games were held every two years near Corinth).
The freedom to do what we want isn’t really freedom. In fact, it can easily lead to slavery. The freedom to do what is right, on the other hand, gives us direction and purpose.
Do I understand the difference between what I am free to do, and what I am here to do?
- What is your typical response when you hear a person or a group make demands for their rights?
- As you look back on this weekend’s message, what stands out to you as particularly relevant or insightful?
- What are some practical ways we can adjust our lifestyles in order to reach people with different lifestyles without compromising the Gospel?
- How will you take the final question from above and practically introduce it into your daily thought process? How can this group help?