Lesson 33

Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

10:13 No temptation has taken you except what is common to man. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 10:15 I speak as to wise men. Judge what I say. 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, isn't it a communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, isn't it a communion of the body of Christ? 10:17 Because we, who are many, are one bread, one body; for we all partake of the one bread.

Today's Lesson 

In Today's Lesson Paul continues to deal with the problems of trying to live a Christian life in a pagan culture. In this section he specifically lays the framework as to how one should approach the problems of idolatry.


Idolatry is any act or thought that promotes the worship of anyone other than God. Israel's greatest contribution was monotheism. "Hear O Israel, the Lord thy God is One." Every culture that surrounded them was polytheistic. There was great temptation to fall into the worship of other Gods. Even within a monotheistic culture there is a great temptation to raise other things up to the level to which God is raised.


So Paul begins this lesson with a very basic but substantial premise. He writes to them that they face no temptation that is not common to every man. Then he goes on to instruct them on the very important lesson that for every temptation God has given us a means to overcome that temptation so that it might be endured righteously. He has already given them a specific instruction on this matter as regards sexual immorality. To control lust that is common to all men and women, God ordained marriage. Through marriage a man and woman may satisfy the desires they feel and still live holy lives. Paul is now expanding this principle to include all temptations. For every temptation that is known to man, God has provided an acceptable and righteous way in which that desire might be met.


Even for the temptation toward idolatry. We have a desire, a God-given desire, to connect with that which is greater than us -- to worship. In revealing Himself to us, God has provided a means in which we may fulfill that desire. Moreover, God has now, through Christ, provided us with a means in which we might not only worship God, but be united with Him.


Man has always desired to be one with God. When we follow our own inclinations, we create or accept gods of our own choosing, lesser gods that can be embraced by men because they lack the holiness and reality of the true and living God. Such is the path of idolatry. But in Christ, God has given us Himself, freely and completely. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth, we can be united with God through Christ our Risen Lord. We become one with God through Christ.


But that unity with Christ also has implications and responsibilities. These are the matters of Paul's continuing lessons in this section of the Epistle to the Corinthians. Before Paul begins these lessons he first wishes to drive home this critical lesson. We face no temptation that is not common to all men. For every temptation that exists, God gives us a way to deal with it responsibly and righteously. Maturity and wisdom in Christian life begins with recognizing the deliverance that God has given us over our temptations and in seeking God's guidance to lead us toward the ways in which God would have us to overcome them.


What is your greatest temptation that you struggle against? Have you asked God how He would delivery you from its grasp?


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