One of the things that I love about being a follower of Jesus is witnessing the transformational power of the gospel in the lives of those who receive it. This transformation happens as the Holy Spirit applies the truths of God to the believers’ lives. For about 2000 years the Holy Spirit has been transforming the behavior of millions of Christians, most of the time in contrast to the behavioral standards of their cultural settings.

When the apostle Paul came into the city of Corinth to preach the gospel, the Corinthians held as normal some very corrupted standards of sexual behavior. In Corinth it was normal for the husbands to have sexual relationships with multiple women, including prostitutes and slaves, while the wives were expected to remain sexually loyal to their husbands. As people within the city began to respond to the gospel and continued to learn from the apostle Paul the fundamental principles of God’s Word, a sexual behavioral transformation took place in the lives of the new believers. Unfortunately, as the apostle left the city, the Corinthian church became very tolerant of sexual sin (1 Cor. 5:1). Apparently, some of the Corinthian male believers considered sexual relationships outside of the context of marriage to be compatible with their new life in Christ (1 Cor. 6:15).

As news about this came to the apostle Paul’s ears, he decided to write 1 Corinthians to remind them, among many other things, about some sexual principles that every married follower of Jesus ought to put into practice (1 Corinthians 7:1-5). In this section of the letter, Paul’s intentions were not to ask the Corinthians to abstain from sex altogether, but to reinstruct them in the matter of scriptural sexual morality and to admonish them to avoid the practice of adultery. Paul’s teaching most definitely set an expectation for all-male married believers of the city of Corinth that was very countercultural to their social stratum.

According to Paul’s teachings, every male married believer was expected to remain sexually loyal to his wife in a setting where this was only expected of women. This principle was so transformational that as more believers lived it out, it became one of the distinctive of early Christianity. Within the church, Christian wives were addressed by their husbands as equals and female slaves were no longer treated as sexual objects. So yes, Paul’s teachings were as radical back then as they are right now, but God intended them for the good of His people and the glory of His Name.

Pastor Esteban Tapia
En Español Pastor

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