Does It Really Matter?
1 Corinthians 10:1-13
As Paul concludes his three-chapter discussion on Christian liberty, he shifts his focus toward what can occur when freedom in Christ is abused. While chapter 9 contained a positive example of possessing freedom without always exercising it, the first part of chapter 10 contains a negative example from biblical history of Israel abusing the privilege and freedom they experienced as God’s chosen people.
Paul begins by reminding the Corinthians of five blessings God provided the nation of Israel at the time He delivered them out of Egypt: His guidance and protection, His deliverance, a leader in Moses with whom they could identify, supernatural food provision, and supernatural water provision.
Yet Israel was reckless and unrestrained with its new found freedom (both physical and spiritual). They craved for more(Numbers 11:4-6, 33-34), they slid back into idolatry (Exodus 32:1-4), they chose immorality (Numbers 25:1-9), they rejected God’s provision (Numbers 21:4-6), thus provoking God’s anger (Numbers 16:41-49).
For Paul, these examples served as a warning to the Corinthians—it is a dangerous mistake to believe that the blessing of freedom in Christ can be exercised without restraint. If God disciplined Israel for their misuse of His blessings, He could discipline them too!
In an age of Christian liberty, we are all vulnerable to temptation, especially the temptation to abuse our freedom to the point of sinful rebellion against God. The question we must truthfully ask ourselves is this:
Do I really look for a way to endure through temptation, or do I find a way to indulge in temptation and pass it off as “my Christian freedom?"
Many would argue that true freedom exists only when all restraints are removed. Why does Paul argue against this idea?
It’s easy to misinterpret the meaning of 1 Corinthians 10:13 as an escape from temptation, when in reality what God offers is an escape through temptation. What is the difference between these two ideas? And why does God’s assistance through temptation provide greater strength for a believer?
As you review the recent messages from 1 Corinthians 8-10 on freedom in Christ, what has been most helpful? In what practical ways will a better understanding of “freedom in Christ” be exhibited in your life?