Scripture Reading: 2 Chronicles 1:1-17 / 1 Corinthians 6:1-20 / Psalm 94:1-11
Standards…we all have them. A standard is what we deem as acceptable and we use that standard as a basis for judgment. We live by business, moral, ethical and a host of other standards. They guide us, placing parameters around our actions and decisions.
The challenge with standards is that they fluctuate and differ from person to person. What one may consider “acceptable” may not be considered “acceptable” to another. Standards are subjective and often influenced by culture, family and faith. The challenge for Christians is to develop standards that are biblical and Godly.
The Corinthians had a worldly standard concerning lawsuits. They were quick to sue fellow believers for the wrongs and injustices committed against them. Paul rebukes them for having this and similar carnal and worldly standards.
He then addresses moral standards that are not acceptable, “Do you not know, that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Cor. 6:9,10)
We live in a culture that accepts many of the lifestyles and standards listed in this verse. We must be careful not to live by their standards but hold true to the standards that God has set for us. Paul warns the Corinthians to guard against deceit. These standards do not rise from the foundation of godliness but from the depths of wickedness.
Our hearts can be sympathetic to those who struggle with sin yet our standards cannot be compromised to a position of acceptable or permissive sins. Paul lists a variety of sinful lifestyles and clearly states that those who live in these sins will not inherit the kingdom of God. We must hold fast to biblical standards in a world that promotes situational ethics and acceptance of any and all lifestyles.
We must also guard our own hearts and not become entrapped by worldly standards or be pious in self-righteous judgment. The reality is this, “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (vs.11) Our lives were once caught up in the same ungodly lifestyles and standards of the world but Jesus set us free! So guard your hearts and your standards… may they be well pleasing to a Redeemer who paid the price and set the standard for this life and the life to come.
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!