We live in a sin-corrupted world. Truth is no longer seen as an absolute external reality but a social and personal construct. Freedom and rights are now perceived as having the ability to do what is right in one’s own eyes. There is a growing hostility against tradition and authority. Henri Nouwen suggests that we are now living in a “fatherless generation” whereby the young are rejecting the ancient path of their forefathers in favour of the wider paths, seeking direction from their equally lost peers.
In this crooked and twisted generation, we are called to live in harmony with God’s grand design (Phil 2:14). This means not doubting the character of God and not arguing against the goodness of His standards. It means we live as joyful exiles adhering to the kingdom’s code of conduct in this fallen world. We are called to be blameless and innocent so that we may shine as lights in this fallen world that badly needs to see the Light (Phil 2:15). In order to be able to do so, we are to hold fast to the Word of Life. So what does the Word of Life say?
Let us hold fast to the way of prudence
1 Cor 10:12 tells us that we must not give too much credit to our self-ability in overcoming temptation.
In addition, 1 Peter 5:8 warns us that the devil prowls like a roaring lion seeking for someone to devour. In other words, let us not think too highly of ourselves nor too lowly of the devil. The way of prudence calls us to avoid any activity or lifestyle that may lead us to succumb to temptation and become the devil’s prey.
Let us hold fast to the way of allegiance
1 Cor 10:14-22 calls us to flee from idolatry. Paul explained that though idols and food offered to idols are by themselves innocuous physical objects (v19), the spiritual reference to demon worship however is there (v20). Paul therefore urges the believers to avoid participating in any references to demon worship. Likewise, we are to steer clear from any activity, event or place that suggest allegiance to the devil’s ways. We want to express our total allegiance to God alone.
Let us hold fast to the way of love
1 Cor 10:23-24 calls us to bind our freedom and rights to the way of love. While Christ has freed us from the law of sin and death, we are not to live for ourselves, but for the good of our neighbours. This means not stumbling our younger brothers in the way we use our freedom in Christ. It means choosing to avoid any activity that may mislead our brothers into sinning (see also 1 Cor 8:9-13).
Let us hold fast to the way of witness
1 Cor 10 ends with this exhortation: “so whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (v31). As unworthy recipients of God’s wondrous grace, we want to live our life in such a way that will bring Him glory and honour (see also Matt 5:16). Let us live to glorify God, and not vilify Him.
The Word of God has indeed given us clear direction in the way we should live so that we can be blameless and innocent, shining as lights, in this crooked and twisted generation. May the brief study above on 1 Cor 10 give us clear handles in responding to contemporary issues like:
- Should we watch pirated online movies or use unlicensed software even though everyone seems to be doing it?
- Should we watch M18 movies or TV-series that depict nudity, sex and violence excessively?
- Should we visit a place that promotes drunkenness, licentiousness and one-night stands?
- Should we attend an event that rejects God’s design and promotes rebellion and lawlessness?
- Should an unmarried Christian couple go for holiday trips alone together?
It is my observation and experience that lovers bind themselves consciously or unconsciously to a set of conduct to express and safeguard their love commitment to each other. To them, such bindings are never seen as laborious or legalistic.
I pray we will all fall in love with Jesus, the Lover of our soul. May the love of Christ constrains, controls and compels us to live joyfully for Him alone.
By Rick Toh, Lead Pastor/Elder (YCKC Bulletin 5&6 March 2016)