Run from sin

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Flee sexual immorality. 1 Cor. 6:18 (ESV)

We are living in a day in which any argument for traditional moral values is immediately shouted down with cries of "Oppressor!" What is at the head of this new moral atmosphere is the idea that man gets to define his own reality. It is an outgrowth of man's long rebellion against God and his unwillingness to submit to God's good and rightful authority over us. It is believing a lie, the grand deceit that this is good for us to be this way. And it appears that our culture has been entirely given over to this lie.

Corinth was also a place that was known for its immorality. In fact, long before Paul ever stepped foot in this Greek city, "to Corinthianize" was an idiom for immorality. And yet, the apostles never contemplated going soft on the Biblical demands for moral purity in order to get a hearing with the pagans of that city. And when the church was constituted, the apostle Paul continued to insist upon Biblical standards rather than giving into the standards of the world around them.

It is thus that the apostle writes to them, "Flee sexual immorality." I recommend that you read the whole paragraph in which this is found (1 Cor. 6:9-20); it is very instructive. But I want to simply take note of three things implied by this imperative.

First, to flee from something means that, on some level, you are afraid of it. There is nothing wrong with fearing things that have the potential to destroy you, and if there is anything the Bible has to say about sexual immorality, it is that it has this potential. Speaking of the "strange woman," in Proverbs 5 we read that "her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell" (Prov. 5:4-5). And Paul speaks of false teachers who "creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts" whose "folly shall be manifest unto all men" (2 Tim. 3:6, 9). Let us not be silly men or silly women; let us fear that which is so spiritually destructive. As Paul will say at the outset of this paragraph, those who are unrepentant in their immorality will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10).

Second, to flee from something means that, on some level, you are ashamed of it. You can see how the apostle is appealing to their sense of shame, when he writes, "Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid" (15). It is shameful to take that which belongs to Christ - our bodies - and make them instruments of sin. The problem with our culture is that it has no shame; in fact, it glories in its shame. It is the moral clarity of God's good word that helps to restore that sense of shame and civilizes us in the best ways. Yes, let us be ashamed of sexual immorality, in whatever form it takes.

Third, to flee from something means that, on some level, you are disgusted by it. There ought to be a moral revulsion at sin. It is terrible when we become like those the apostle writes about in his letter to the Romans, who "knowing the judgment of God, that they which do such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them" (Rom. 1:32). Now this doesn't mean that you become a self-righteous Pharisee who looks down his nose at everyone and gives airs of moral superiority. That is also disgusting. To understand how God's grace saves us from the penalty and power of sin should keep us from that kind of pride. But it does mean that we come to hate sin, and we hate it because God hates it. "Ye that love the LORD, hate evil" (Ps. 97:10). We are to "abhor that which is evil" (Rom. 12:9). Let us be disgusted by sin.

Flee from fornication. Flee every type of evil. Let it have no place in our homes and hearts. Run from it. Fear it, be ashamed of it, and be disgusted by it. But as you run, be sure you run in the direction of Jesus Christ, for we all run as sinners ourselves, and we need his redeeming grace to cleanse us when we fall, to receive us back when we go astray, and to renew our minds when we have dirtied them at the wells of this world. Run from sin and run to Christ!

By: Jeremiah Bass