Such Were Some of You

Corinth was a major city in the Roman Empire, which was located on the major trade routes and had a population of half a million. It was a city known for its immorality, so much so, that a popular saying of the day was, "to act like a Corinthian" meant "to practice fornication;" somewhat or similar to our "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."  To support Corinth's reputation, a temple of Aphrodite there, had a thousand prostitutes, which contributed to the immorality of the city.

The church suffered a number of problems since many Christians had come from this immoral background and were tempted to be drawn back into their life that they had left. We know this because Paul had to remind them in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." I draw your attention to the fact that everything on this list is prevalent in our society, as it was in Corinth. These practices are encouraged, legal or winked at in our society just as they were in the first century. However, Paul told these Christians that these unrighteous people that he identified would not be a part of the kingdom of God and they were not to deceive themselves (like many have today) into thinking they could participate in these activities and be all right. None on this list can inherit the kingdom of God no matter what man thinks.

There is a push in our culture to identify homosexuality as acceptable to God. Some claim that the only reason Paul identified it as sin was because it was not acceptable in the first century culture. Not true. Homosexuality and male prostitution was characteristic of Greco-Roman society (Romans 1:26-32; 1 Tim 1:10). Plato lauded in 'The Symposium' homosexual love. Nero, who was emperor when Paul wrote the letter to the church in Corinth, was about to marry the boy Sporus (Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars), an incident noted only in its formality, since 14 of the first 15 emperors were bisexual or homosexual. Every kind of homosexual activity practiced today was practiced in the first century. There is no evidence within the text that Paul's teaching was limited to certain types of homosexual activity. Paul's teaching on sexual relations is tied to the order of creation, which Jesus identified in his answer to the Pharisees' question on divorce. Jesus told them in Matthew 19:4-6, "And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Clearly, from the beginning, marriage was made for male and female. Marriage between other than male and female is no more made valid than marriage between human and any other species.

It is our hope that these words will be taken in the spirit that they were written. We wish no individual to be lost and that all everywhere will turn from their sins and be saved. Hopefully, one will answer in the negative, the question Paul posed in Galatians 4:16, "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?"

 Charles Royal, Decatur AL