Let History be an Example to Abstain From Sin - 1 Corinthians 10:1-22

Let History be an Example to Abstain From Sin

There are many examples we can learn from history. There is also the saying that ‘history
repeats itself.’ However, when it comes to sin, we are given examples so that we don’t repeat
these sins and, as a result, we live a more righteous life.

1 Corinthians 10:1-22
1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

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, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11 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. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 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.
14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? 19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

Paul reminds us that God took care of His people while in Egypt. God gave them a cloud to guide them through the desert as well as provide them shade in the desert. He used the cloud to obscure the vision of the Egyptians that were in pursuit. Then God allowed Moses to part the Red Sea. The Israelites passed through the waters from bondage to freedom, a symbol of baptism. They ate the manna that God provided them and drank from the Rock that Moses struck. Paul says these things to show that the Israelites had all these miracles performed to protect them, and this was all by the hand of God. However, they still grumbled and were disobedient to God, despite their miraculous deliverance. They benefited from God’s blessings and miracles, but they still reverted back to worshiping false gods and idols.

Again, Paul lists several examples of temptations the Israelites endured and the subsequent punishments. We must not grumble and must not tempt our Lord. The temptations we face today are the same temptations they faced in the Old Testament. There is nothing new that God hasn’t seen. Nevertheless, God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our capabilities. There is always an escape that does not require us to be disobedient to God in any way. God is faithful to all of us. God allows us to grow through our trials and temptations, but only when we seek Him and trust His will in our lives. We must realize that our own selfishness and arrogance are deceptive and actually makes us more vulnerable to succumbing to our temptations.

God does not force us into temptation beyond our capabilities, and He will not force us to use the way to escape temptation, but He makes it available to us. It may not be an easy way out, but it is from God. It is our choice. Our sins are our responsibility because we chose to engage in those sins. However, just as it is our choice to act on our temptations, it also requires an active choice to walk with God and submit to His will in our lives. 

Therefore…Paul tells us to escape from idolatry. Anything that takes the place of God is an idol in our lives. Anything that replaces God in our lives is idolatry, whether it is money, traveling, work, cars, houses, social media…anything. We must ‘flee’ from this. Run away quickly. Don’t let it take the place of God. We can’t just slide Jesus over and make room for something else. 

Paul tells them that, yes, idols are not real, but why would we participate in acts that increase the temptation to sin? We are set apart from this world because of the blood of Jesus Christ. We commune and participate in the saving grace of Jesus’ blood. We have a oneness with Him. Therefore, why would we participate in actions that are associated with sin with the thought that we are above it and it will not affect us? We are only fooling ourselves. We must flee from idolatry and know that God is there to provide us strength in our temptations. 

We all know our own weaknesses. We all will be tempted in our lives. Living a life according to Christ is not easy, and it gets harder each day in this world. However, God gives us the tools to overcome. He provides us with a pathway to escape temptations. We have the tools easily available to us through prayer and God’s Word. Remember that anything in our lives that is being put before God is an idol. God alone takes priority above all else. The Bible provides us plenty of examples of how are are to live and abstain from sin, but it requires us to actually open it and dedicate time to reading and understanding it. 
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