Focal Passages: 1
Corinthians 5:1-2, 9-13; 6:15-20
March 21, 2003, will stand
in infamy as the day that a new phrase was introduced to the world: Shock and
Awe. According to Wikipedia, “shock and awe” is “technically known as rapid
dominance and is a military doctrine.” The writers of the doctrine, Harlan K.
Ullman and James P. Wade, say it will “impose this overwhelming level of Shock
and Awe against an adversary on an immediate or sufficiently timely basis to
paralyze its will to carry on . . . (to) seize control of the environment and
paralyze or so overload an adversary’s perceptions and understanding of events
that the enemy would be incapable of resistance at the tactical and strategic
Sound familiar? It should.
It’s exactly what Christians face, in a world such as ours. Specifically, sex
has become something so constantly in the face of all who live in these times
that it really feels like a war is going on.
In an “immediate and
sufficiently timely way” we are all “overloaded” everywhere we look with sex —
so much so that our “perceptions and understanding” render us “incapable of
resistance.” We have become a society, both inside the church and out, where
anything goes and nothing’s sacred.
Sexual immorality within the
church is very difficult to cope with. Christians are called to hold each other
accountable and sexual immorality is not outside that calling. Literally, in
chapter 5, verses 12 and 13, the word “judge” is Krino meaning to “enter within
a judicial contest with.” In essence, Paul is encouraging Christians to “call
out” other Christians. We must walk the line between lovingly correcting and
passively condoning church members’ immoral choices with the focus on bringing
them to a life of grace and eternal salvation through our Lord and Savior.
Paul reminds us that our bodies
are temples of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps using his own shock and awe campaign,
he asks the church in Corinth if he should “unite the members of Christ with a
prostitute.” Even today, the language he uses shocks us and reminds us of the
consequences of physical union outside of marriage.
No matter how powerful it
may seem, the shock and awe campaign we face in reference to sex has a very
distinguishable difference from the military doctrine. The one who has launched
the attack has no power over our Creator and therefore, no power over us. When
Christians seek to unite with the Lord, we have victory over all things that
tempt us … including sexual immorality.