… what I wrote you was not to associate
With anyone who is supposedly a brother
But who also engages in sexually immorality
Is greedy, worships idols, is abusive
Gets drunk or steals.
With such a person
You shouldn’t even eat. …
Don’t you know that unrighteous people
Will have no share in the Kingdom of God?
Don’t delude yourselves –
People who engage in sex before marriage
Who worship idols
Who engage in sex after marriage
With someone other than their spouse
Who engage in active or passive homosexuality
Who are greedy
Who get drunk
Who assail people with contemptuous language
Who rob –
None of them will share in the Kingdom of God.
Some of you used to do these things.
But you have cleansed yourselves
You have been set apart for God
You have come to be counted righteous
Through the power of the Lord Yeshua the Messiah
And the Spirit of our God.
-1 Corinthians 5:11; 6:9-11 (Jewish New Testament)
These words are written to the community of believers in Yeshua Ha’Maschiach – about the activities of the believers in that community. That these activities may have been happening outside of the community was not the point being made. The point was not to judge the world and the activities thereof, but to judge the activities within the community of believers.
The Kingdom of God is a very different place, a holy place. The Kingdom of God, in which all believers hope to reside, is difficult to picture without all the earthly activities that now surround us. The difficulty in seeing what God’s Kingdom is truly like will always be with us, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard and no one’s heart has imagined all the things God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 1:9). But while we may not have all the details on what the Kingdom of God is like, we certainly have all the details we need to know about what it is not like, and those details concern whether we are following the human spirit or the Spirit of God.
It is stunning to realize that not only were these activities happening in the community of 1st century believers, but they were also trying to excuse themselves from being judged for engaging in activities not of the Holy Spirit:
You say, “For me, everything is permitted”?
Maybe, but not everything is helpful.
“For me, everything is permitted”?
Maybe, but as far as I am concerned
I am not going to let anything gain control over me. …
Don’t you know that your bodies
Are parts of the Messiah? …
Or don’t you know that your body is a temple
For the Ruach HaKodesh
Who lives inside you
Whom you received from God?
The fact is
You don’t belong to yourselves
For you were bought at a price.
So use your bodies to glorify God.
-1 Corinthians 6:12, 15a, 19-20 (Jewish New Testament)
As outrageous as it might seem to the 21st century world to suggest what type of activities a person should or should not engage in, no believer should ever be outraged at being told what activities are or are not of the Holy Spirit and the Kingdom of God. If, as a believer, you are engaging in such activities, judge yourselves; you already know the criterion by which to judge yourself – whose reflection you are meant to be. Turn, see your cleansing, rise up in your separation to God, pursue the activities of the Holy Spirit and the Kingdom of God.
The Lord is coming!