Online Bible Commentary
Being a Christian
1 Corinthians 10:5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. 6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (NKJV)
In the previous passage, Paul wrote of the privileges of being used by God using the example of the Israelites when they were freed from captivity of the Egyptians. The Israelites were being used by God to establish a great nation in the Promised Land.
The privileges cited by Paul were God’s leadership, His protection, and His provision both in physical and spiritual matters. Unfortunately, despite these privileges most of His people failed to please God (v. 5).
This failure of the Israelites should serve as a warning to us to not lust after the things of the world as did the Israelites (v. 6). Paul cites four ways that the Israelites sinned and did not please God.
First, they decided to commit idolatry by putting something else before God. They idolized the things of the world, deciding to eat, drink, and be merry (v. 7).
Second, the Israelites committed “sexual immorality” (v. 8a). They followed the prophet Balaam and intermarried with the daughters of Moab, thus disobeying God (Numbers 25). In one single day 23,000 Israelites died because of God’s judgment (v. 8b).
Next, they tempted God, “and were destroyed by serpents” (v. 9). They tempted God by doubting His goodness. (Numbers 25).
The fourth sin was that the Israelites complained about God’s provision, in this case the food, the manna (v. 10a). The Israelites were not content with God’s provision and allowed themselves to fall under the control of “the destroyer”, Satan (v. 10b).
As a result, they were not allowed to enter the Promised Land. A whole generation, 24,000 Israelites, died in the wilderness as God caused them to wander through the wilderness for forty years (Numbers 24:9).
Only two from the older generation were faithful and survived, Joshua and Caleb. Joshua succeeded Moses and led his people into the Promised Land.
“All these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition” (v. 11a). These examples of the Israelites are given as warnings to Christians, those who will inherit eternal life (v. 11b).
“Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (v. 12). Paul is addressing some of the Corinthian believers who thought that all things were permissible for them because they were forgiven.
His warning was that, like the Israelites, they should be careful not to take advantage of God’s grace. Even though their sins have been forgiven, being a Christian requires being a Christ follower by obeying His commandments.
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man” (v. 13a) As Christians, we are all tempted in one way or the other.
But God is faithful to not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to resist (v. 13b). He will make “the way of escape” so that we can bear every temptation (v. 13c).
These words from Paul to the Christians in Corinth are also God’s words to all Christians. As Christians, it is our responsibility to live a life that pleases God.
We are to resist sin in all of its forms. God has given us the Holy Spirit to be our Helper in resisting sin, “the way of escape”. And yet, we also bear a responsibility to allow the Holy Spirit to rule over our sinful desires.
The fact that the unfaithful Israelites were not allowed to enter the Promised Land should be a warning to us. We should not live, nor should we support sinful lifestyles.
We show our love and devotion to God by obeying His commandments. It is not enough to pledge our love for Him and worship Him without living out His commandments.
Being a Christian means that we have made Jesus our Lord and Savior. We make Him our Lord by allowing the Holy Spirit to control our actions. In this way we please Him and exhibit that we really are a Christian.