Have you ever noticed spilled food is only attracted to clean clothes? I am convinced of it. Put on a dirty shirt and you will never spill on it. You can eat spaghetti, dripping wet barbecue ribs, or melting ice cream and you will still come out unscathed. Put on a clean shirt and you are destined to drip ketchup from your hotdog right in the middle of your chest. Murphy’s Law, I guess.
When I was young my mother’s last instructions to me any time I went out to play in the yard with my friends were “Stay clean!” Of course, I never did. A muddy hand is made clean again by rubbing them down the legs of your pants. A bloody nose is stopped by the front of your shirt held up to your nose. Right?
Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians today are the same: Stay clean!
You were washed clean; you were made holy; you were put back to right — in the name of the Lord, King Jesus, and in the spirit of our God. (6:11)
God has cleaned them up, now stay clean and don’t make His work for naught. But it seems everything they did was making them dirty once again. Sure, they were under grace and not under Law, so this was not a matter of staying clean so as to earn salvation, but just because “everything is lawful” (6:12) for them doesn’t mean they should take advantage of grace.
How were the Corinthians sullying their new clothes?
- Dragging each other into the Roman courts to settle their personal differences and offenses (6:1-6). They looked like an uncharitable bunch who couldn’t solve the problems of the world as they couldn’t even settle their own problems.
- Forgetting that the hallmark of a follower of Christ is to model selfless sacrifice, even if it means being wronged and losing what is rightfully yours (6:7-8)
- Indulging the body with immorality and possibly food (6:12-14)
- Possibly using the services of prostitutes, maybe even religious prostitutes in the pagan temples (6:15-17)
That is no way to show God appreciation for what He has done. One brings glory with a holy life. One worships God by what one does in the body, as that is His temple (6:19-20).