Scour Away the Filth

Note from JesusDear Faithful Follower,

Even when Paul first worked with the Corinthians, he sought to help them turn from the unbridled immorality that was a part of their city’s culture. This lifestyle change was a predictable challenge that My new disciples faced in most places (1 Thessalonians 1:8-10; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12).

The grip of their immoral past was hard to break. Many activities in Corinth were tied to the worship of idols and the pervasive paganism of the city. The Corinthians encountered cultic prostitution at the pagan temples. Meat bought in their city market was first sacrificed to the idols before being available for sale. Pagan celebrations involving sexual immorality and drunkenness were connected to feasts and trade guild meetings. Pagan celebrations and sacrifices went with athletic contests and theater productions.

Paul tried to teach these new Christians that their lives were to be holy. Their lives were to be lived in total dedication to honor Us — Father, Son, and Spirit. This sense of holy purpose meant their bodies were sacred and should be used to glorify Us (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). Paul had repeatedly taught them, both when physically present and through letters, about their need to practice holiness in all things. This teaching meant getting away and staying far away from sexual immorality, idolatry, and paganism.

In Paul’s letter that you know as 1 Corinthians, he referred to a previous letter to the Corinthian Christians and his earlier teaching about avoiding immorality (1 Corinthians 5:9). That previous teaching was very similar to what you find in a passage from 2 Corinthians included in the verses below. As you read these verses, try to think through the implications of Paul’s teachings for you in your culture. How will you apply these teachings to your world so saturated in sexual immorality, false religions, greed, and materialism?

How are you going to live as My holy person in your immoral culture and influence that culture for good?

How are you going to influence your culture while not letting the bad parts of your culture influence you?

As you live and serve Me in the culture around you, what are the limits of Christian fellowship?

These are hard questions. Rather than answer these questions for you, I am asking you to wrestle with them as you follow Me. I want your heart to belong to Me. If your heart belongs to Me, you will work through these questions seeking to honor Me with a holy life that demonstrates My compassionate concern for the lost. Think through what Paul wrote and see how his teachings apply to you. When you read his teachings this way, you will have more empathy for the Corinthians. You will get a clearer understanding of the challenges they faced in their day if they obeyed Paul’s teaching. You will also be better prepared to face similar challenges in your day.Verses to LiveHow are you going to impact your culture with My character and compassion without getting entangled and soiled with its immorality?

In the verses below, you find two readings from Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. The first passage is one verse from 1 Corinthians and refers to what Paul taught in a previous letter that he wrote the Christians in Corinth. The second section is from 2 Corinthians and addresses the same matters as referenced in the first passage. The final short paragraph is Paul’s exhortation to the people based on what he had written in the previous verses. This part is at the heart of what I want you to incorporate into your life.In the letter I wrote to you previously, I made it clear that you are not to band together with those who have embraced immoral lives.
(1 Corinthians 5:9)

Don’t develop partnerships with those who are not followers of Jesus’ teachings. For what real connection can exist between righteousness and rebellion? How can light participate in darkness? What harmony can exist between the Anointed and Satan? Do the faithful and the faithless have anything in common? Can the temple of God find common ground with idols? Don’t you see that we house the temple of the living God within us? Remember when He said,”I will make My home with them and walk among them.
I will be their God,
and they will be My people.

“So then turn away from them,
turn away and leave without looking back,” says the Lord.

“Stay away from anything unclean, anything impure,
and I will welcome you.

“And I will be for you as a father,
and you will be for Me as sons and daughters,”
says the Lord Almighty!Because we have these promises, dearly loved ones, out of respect for God we should scour the filth from our flesh and spirit and move toward perfect beauty and holiness.
(2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 2 Corinthians 7:1)Response in PrayerFather, make me Yours completely. Set me apart from those who do not know You. I want to display Your grace to others and live Your holiness before them. May my whole spirit, soul, and body be kept free from any sort of sin as I await the glorious coming of My Lord and Savior Jesus, the Anointed. You, O God, are faithful. I know that You can be trusted to make this happen in me to Your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

This prayer is adapted from Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24.’A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware. © 1998-2022, Heartlight, Inc. ‘A Year with Jesus’ is part of the Heartlight Network.All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scour Away the Filth
Source: Passion for Praise