November 28, 2021
Scripture: But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. 1 Corinthians 11:31-32
Observation: In this chapter of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he addresses distractions in appearance and self-indulgent behavior that detract from the worship and glorification of God and have spurred division with the body of Christ. He emplores this spiritually immature fellowship to think beyond themselves and consider how they are impacting others. Specifically, some women were exercising cultural liberties of fashion (uncovered hair) that were a stumbling block to others. The wealthier had turned the Lord’s Supper into a food and wine orgy—becoming intoxicated—while allowing the poor to go hungry. For these reasons, Paul calls out those who are self-indulgent and challenges them to be self-reflective on their sinful behavior.
Takeaway: As a word of encouragement, in the above verses, for those who are in tune with the prompting of the Holy Spirit, who consider how their actions are impacting others and dishonoring God, Paul tells us there is no condemnation (echoing his words to the church in Rome, Romans 8:1). He adds two nuances. First, it would be better to self-judge (to call ourselves out) to avoid further consequences. Secondly, if we fail to listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and face the fallout of our sins, the Lord’s judgment does not lead to condemnation but only serves to discipline us. And as Paul details in his epistle to the Romans, it is only because of Christ that the Father’s grace abounds in this matter. It is in Christ that we are justified. In Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells in us and convicts us of our self-indulgent behavior. And it is in Christ that while the godless face condemnation, we who listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and self-reflect will be pardoned.
Prayer: Father God, we genuinely give you thanks for the gift of your Son, who has delivered us from condemnation. Would you please help us, by the sanctifying work of your Holy Spirit, become more self-reflective of how we sin against you and others that we might avoid your disciplinary judgment? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling