Going Deeper 01.14.2021

The second reading for Epiphany 2... 1 Corinthians 6:11-20

And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.  “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,” and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is said, “The two shall be one flesh.” But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

There is that extremely important word again, right there in that last verse... "therefore."  Of all of the words and concepts which define what is to motivate us to seek to increasingly put sin behind us and to grow in obedience, this is right at the top of the list.  It is all about responding to God's goodness and grace.

Sadly, too many have been taught that obedience is to be motivated by fear and/or a desire for reward.  Over the many generations fear has been used to try to get people to shape up lest they be shipped out.  "If you don't stop sinning and start obeying God will punish and ultimately reject you!"  And/or... "If you want God to richly bless your life, you need to earn those blessings through obedience."

But that last verse lays out for us the truth: "you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God ..."  ‚ÄčOur primary motives are not to be fear or a desire for gain, but gratitude and a love for the one Who has undeservedly saved and blessed us.  

Yes, there is a time and place for hard, fear-producing truth... as seen in the entirety of this text.  We need wake-up calls, calls to repentance challenging us to turn away from disobedience and to pursue growth in obedience.  But the primary purpose of wake-up calls, and the foremost goal of repentance, is to prepare us to see our significant need for grace and then to experience our Abba's unconditional love.  This generates the fuel for faithful living-- gratitude and love.

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.  We love because he first loved us."  1 John 4:18-19

With You in His Love,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"