Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Committing Spiritual Adultery
2Cor. 11:2 I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
2Cor. 11:3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by its cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
2Cor. 11:4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough.
Paul has some pretty strong words for the church in Corinth. It sounds as if they have been inviting new and popular preachers to come into their midst. They're willing to pay these people to come and preach because they are exciting and can put on a really good show. Paul is deeply concerned! Do these people really preach the gospel of Jesus Christ? Do they have sound doctrine? Why are the people flocking to them?
Paul speaks of his divine jealousy for the church in Corinth which has been prepared to be the bride of Christ. This bride is to be faithful to the Bridegroom and not to turn away to others who come along. The church is just like Eve -- cunning and talented speakers have come along and tempted the church to go a different direction. Why stay with the grind of faithfulness to God on a daily basis, when we can turn toward the newest and most exciting craze in religion?
In today's vernacular, Paul is saying that either you are watching too much TV religion, or getting too much of your teaching from the internet! He's saying that it's time to shut that stuff down and to stop allowing yourselves to be led astray by everything you hear and that you read. Paul is all about the fruit of the spirit being revealed in the life of the individual. For those who become hung up on arguments which are read about on the internet, the question has to be whether the fruit of the spirit is present!
Paul had faithfully lived a life of service to God. He was willing to put up with being mistreated for the sake of the Gospel. His life and his lifestyle proved his faithfulness to God, and yet, there were those in his beloved church who would forget the teachings of Paul and follow the latest fad.
There are those today who do not realize how destructive they are being to the body of Christ by attacking those who have been faithful and obedient leaders of the church. Somehow there seems to be an appeal toward legalism. It seems that it is easier to follow a list of rules than to follow the one who wants to write the rules on our hearts. We jump at the chance to become critics of those around us, instead of following him wholeheartedly. Paul had obviously been wounded by the things that were being said about him. We must be careful to seek him with all our hearts and ask God to help us live a lifestyle worthy of him!
Paul was daring enough to call this spiritual adultery -- to be drawn away to the latest fad or teaching. There is value in the truths that have been passed down to us for generations from those heroes of the faith who have gone before us. They may not be as pretty or articulate as some of the things that we run into these days, but their lives reveal to us a faithfulness beyond what we can imagine. Being a follower of Jesus Christ often involves grunt work on a daily basis where we learn to be faithful to him. It is like a marriage! We love him and are committed to him and we stick with him through thick and thin.
God has been faithful. Paul was faithful. For many of us, our churches have been faithful. Be careful because the enemy is cunning and he will come at us and tempt us with the things that we think look good, drawing us away to spiritual adultery.
Lord, please help me to keep my eyes on you and help me to be faithful to you, and to those who have paid the price and have gone before. Amen.