Israelites Are Our Examples
Read 1 Corinthians Chapter 10
1Co 10:1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. 6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.” 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. 11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
This passage is one which should forever dispel the idea of hyper-grace that is being preached in many churches of our day. We have a tendency to think that Christ’s work on the cross, which provided redemption for sinful man, has given us somewhat of a license to sin without giving it too much thought. We just don’t take sin as seriously as we should. Let’s examine this passage and find some reasons why sin is still very serious in God’s eyes. Jesus did a marvelous work for us on the cross, but He did not sanction willful sinfulness.
- Twice, in verses 6 and 11, Paul stated that the Israelites served as an example to us. That example was to show us how NOT to live. If hyper-grace were truth, we would not have to look at these examples of how not to live. We could do as we please. I fear that many Christians believe that. Also, if the tenets of the Old Testament were completely invalidated, Paul would have no reason to warn us against living as the Israelites lived.
- We cannot indulge in the behaviors of the Israelites. We cannot set our hearts on evil things as they did (verse 6). We are not allowed to commit sexual immorality (verse 8) or indulge in pagan revelry (verse 7) as they did. These things were serious in the OT, and Paul confirms that they are still serious in the NT.
- This one I totally do not understand. They were exposed to the coming Christ (verse 4). I doubt that He appeared to them in any recognizable form, but He was there. Their faith, whether they knew it or not, was based on the work Christ was going to do for them on the cross. In other words, they were “in Christ,” so to speak. I will repeat: I don’t understand that. But it’s true nonetheless. They had no business turning away from God’s teaching. As modern day believers, we also are in Christ, and we have no business believing that we can treat sinfulness lightly.
Yes, we are under grace. We have committed many sins that have been forgiven, and atoned for by Jesus Christ. But that grace does not give us any more license to sin than the grace the Israelites had in their day. Sin was serious for them, and it is serious for us. We must have great respect and reverence for our forgiveness, our redemption, our righteousness bestowed upon us by Jesus. They should make us so thankful for our salvation that we would never want to sin again. But if we do:
Heb 7:23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
Prayer: Thank You for Your salvation, Your intercession in our behalf. Thank You for grace, mercy, and forgiveness. We confess that we have not taken sin as seriously as we should have. Paul’s words have reminded us that we must do all we can to avoid sinning. Lord, You have been so kind and compassionate, loving and forgiving. Help us, for we are weak.