1 Corinthians 10:1-5 ESV
“For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.”
Even though the Israelites were God’s people by natural birth, as physical descendants of Abraham and Sarah, they didn’t all have faith, i.e. they didn’t all obey the Lord. But many of them continued to follow after the passions of the flesh, instead, in rebellion and in disobedience to the Lord. And so God was not pleased with them, and so many of them were overthrown in the wilderness, and thus they did not enter into God’s eternal rest.
Today this would be similar to the gatherings of the church. Not all who are gathering together as “the church” are people of genuine faith in Jesus Christ. Even though they participate with the church (or with what is falsely called church) in their gatherings, and even though they may or may not be taking in the truth of God’s Holy Word on a regular basis, and even though they may or may not be professing faith in Jesus, they don’t really follow him. They are also living in rebellion and disobedience to the Lord Jesus.
And if we, as professing Christians, continue to walk in sin, in sinful rebellion against our Lord, in deliberate and habitual sin, as did most of the Israelites at that time, we will be overthrown, as well. We will not enter into God’s eternal rest, but we will die in our sins. And we will face the wrath of God, too, because we refused to submit to Christ as Lord and to forsake our sinful practices and to walk in obedience to his commands, in his power.
[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
1 Corinthians 10:6-11 ESV
“Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.’ We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.”
Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do you fully grasp the meaning of what that just said? It is saying to us who profess faith in Jesus Christ that if we do as they did that we also will be overthrown and we will face the wrath of God and we will not enter into God’s eternal rest, i.e. we will not inherit eternal life with God.
And now we are given more specifics as to the types of things which they did which were displeasing to God. They were idolaters and they were revelers. They followed after the things and the pleasures of this world rather than following after God and his holiness and righteousness. Their “god” was not the God of heaven and earth, but a man-created god who would permit them to live in open rebellion against the Lord without consequence.
And this same “god” is the one that many professers of faith in Jesus are following today. For they are being convinced that they can merely profess faith in Jesus (once) and now all their sins are forgiven and heaven is guaranteed them when they die regardless of how they live. And so many of them are living in open rebellion against the Lord in the practicing of sexual immorality, revelry, and idolatry, in grumbling against God, and in putting Christ to the test by their sinful behaviors, taking his grace for granted.
But again, these things happened to them and they were written down for our instruction so that we might not desire and practice the evil that they desired and practiced, so that we don’t also end up dying in our sins and not entering into God’s eternal rest. So, we need to take these warnings seriously, for they are here to warn us of the consequences of sinful rebellion against our Lord and of refusal to bow to him in obedience.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 ESV
“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
So, what is this saying? It is saying that we who think we are in good standing with God and that we are secure in our salvation and who are convinced that heaven is our eternal destiny, we should take heed lest we fall. Why? Well, for one, if we take pride in our standing with God we may begin to think that we are incapable of falling back into sin, and that is a dangerous place to be. Why? Because we still live in flesh bodies, we are still tempted to sin, and we still have the propensity to sin against God.
Another reason is that many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ are convinced that they are saved from their sins and that heaven is their eternal destiny guaranteed regardless of how they live. And that is a false presumption, and it is anti-biblical. All throughout the New Testament we are taught that genuine faith in Jesus Christ is proven to be genuine by what we do, not by our words only. We must die to sin and obey our Lord daily.
And then all throughout the New Testament we are taught that if we walk in sin, i.e. if sin is what we practice, and if righteousness and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, and if we do not love our brethren (fellow Christians), then we will die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God. We will not enter into God’s eternal rest, i.e. into the kingdom of heaven, but we will spend eternity in the fires of hell (see Scriptures above).
Now I hear a lot of people who profess faith in Jesus Christ try to excuse away the fact that they are still walking in deliberate and habitual sin, saying things like, “I’m not perfect,” “No one is sinless,” and “We all sin,” and so on and so forth. And then they will use the term “struggling” to make it not sound so bad or as though they are trying to not sin, but it also means they are regularly, habitually, and deliberately sinning against the Lord Jesus.
But there are no excuses for deliberate and habitual and premeditated sin against the Lord and against other humans. No genuine believer in Jesus Christ has any excuse. For Jesus put our sin to death with him on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him, and that we might now honor God with our bodies, all in his power and strength.
In other words, Jesus already made the way of escape for you from temptation to sin. It is called faith in practice. If we walk by the Spirit we will not fulfill the passions of the flesh. And the works of the flesh are “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (see Galatians 5:16-21).
So, we can take the way of escape which our Lord provided, or we can foolishly continue in deliberate and habitual sin and face God’s wrath.
Thou Art Worthy
Thou art worthy, Thou art worthy,
Thou art worthy, O Lord.
To receive glory, glory and honor,
Glory and honor and power.
For Thou hast created, hast all things created,
Thou hast created all things.
And for Thy pleasure they are created;
Thou art worthy, O Lord.
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