“Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us.” (1Cor 10:6, 11)
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed; Hallelujah!
Paul writes in musical style the text of 1Cor 10:1-13, with a repeating refrain or chorus at verse 6 and verse 11 – this refrain is all about ‘examples and warnings’. Although he draws important lessons from various particular events, this refrain gives us the purpose of the Bible at large –we have examples both positive and negative, warnings to deter us from similar evil, and assurances to strengthen us in faith and in similar circumstances. Before we reflect on Paul’s message in the above text, consider the events of this Resurrection season:
From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” (Matt 27:45-54).
At the cross, the blood that was shed in great pain brought healing to believers in a new covenant. The cross that was supposed to rain down immense shame on our Lord ended in highest splendor. The government authorities lost control and were instead were terrified and converted. The Centurion’s confession sounded like Simon Peter’s in Matt 16:16, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” The grave could not keep His body; the Jewish authorities were given a final blow and could not deny the Resurrection. Who now can fight against the Lord Jesus Christ? These events as recorded are examples and warnings for those who would be tempted to reject or persecute Him. Confess today – whether as believing Peter or as the caught up Captain – that Jesus Christ is Lord and the Son of God.
Now back to Paul: he warns against idolatry, against immorality and against grumbling – using examples and warning from his Bible then. The God who did not spare his redeemed will not spare any disobedient today. After delivering them miraculously from Egypt, baptizing them in the cloud and in the sea, feeding them with spiritual food and spiritual drink, God was not pleased with them because of sin – and all the adults died in the desert and did not make it to the Promised Land except two. The heat of God’s anger against His people caught in idolatry and fornication at different occasions caused the immediate execution of 3,000 and 23,000 respectively. Murmuring and grumbling were similarly punished.
Paul’s message is that those are examples and warnings, that we may shun the deadly vices and honor God in a life of faithful obedience. Today, not just for fear of consequences, but more in love, responding to the immense love Jesus Christ loved us with, all the way to the cross.