For today, One Year Bible Online links here.
It is not enough to do what we think is right. We need to compare what we think is right against what God says is right. God knows whether we are trying to do what is best for others or merely looking out for own interests, even when we have convinced ourselves we are doing good.
I will trust God to take care of me. He is the strong fortress within which I will shelter from all those who pursue me. If I will follow Him, God will lead me out of danger and into safety. I commit my body, life, and spirit to God to use as He sees fit.
1 Corinthians 5
In the last chapter, which I read and commented on yesterday, Paul told us not to make judgments about people ahead of time (or as the NIV translates, “before the appointed time”). Yet he immediately follows his discussion of that by telling the Church in Corinth to judge a man guilty of sexual sin. So, obviously there is more to what we are supposed to do than “do not judge others.”
As we read Paul’s writing here he appears to be horrified by the situation. Not only was the man committing this sin an accepted member of the Church while openly committing this sin, the Church was proud about this fact. They are using him as an example of how accepting they are. When the Church is accepting of its members sins the entire Church becomes corrupted. The purpose of the Church is to call people to be transformed by the Holy Spirit so that they can learn to live without sin. Once the Church accepts one sin it will gradually lose its ability to call people to turn from ANY sin.
I believe that the problem here was not that the man was sinning. The problem was that he, and the Church, were not only pretending that there was nothing wrong with his sin, but were proud of it. All of us have sinned, and most of us will continue to sin (although the Bible gives us hope to overcome that sin). However, we are called to acknowledge that sin as a failure and to strive to allow the Holy Spirit to overcome it in our lives. Sin is not something for us to accept and continue doing. It is something for us to acknowledge the pain and suffering it causes, both to ourselves and to others. When someone who claims to be a believer in and a follower of Christ begins to live in sin (and in this case, I am not using that as a euphemism for sexual sin) without any remorse, we, as their brothers and sisters in Christ, are called upon to challenge their behavior and call them to accept the transformation of the Holy Spirit. This action must be done in love, but we may not accept those who call evil good as our brothers.
When Ezra prepared to set out with the group he had gathered he was concerned for their security because of the large amount of treasure they had been given for the Temple in Jerusalem. Ezra did not want to ask the king for a military escort because he had already spoken to the king about how God protected those who worshiped Him. There were two actions which Ezra and the rest of the group took to ensure the safety of the treasure they were entrusted with. The first was to spend time in fasting and prayer requesting that God protect them in their travels. The second thing they did was to divide up the treasure among various groups, carefully documenting how much of what was given to each group. The division was done in an open and public manner so that no one would be able to claim that one group was given more, or less, than they were actually given. A careful effort was made to avoid even the possible appearance of impropriety.