Nothing mattered more to the first Christians than the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. The Holy Spirit was the evidence that they really did have a relationship with God. In fact, by means of the Holy Spirit, God was actually present in their lives. Their life, strength and freedom came from him.
Because of that, many Christians considered themselves free to do whatever they wanted. They were the people who had the right to eat and to drink as the people of God (10:16-17). So they believed that they had the right to please themselves. They even claimed the right to eat food that someone had offered to a false god (8:10).
Paul reminded those Christians about a previous group of people who had behaved like that. The people whom Moses led had received their freedom from God. The Holy Spirit was working in their lives also. For 40 years, their entire nation lived in the desert, where there was hardly any food or water. But God provided their food - not by natural means, but by the power of his Holy Spirit (Exodus chapter 16).
Also, the Holy Spirit gave them water, even when it had to come from a rock (Exodus 17:1-7). So, in a very clear manner, their life, strength and freedom came from the Holy Spirit.
However, those people desired to do evil things, and they refused to obey God. Paul will explain the results in 1 Corinthians 10:7-10. They suffered greatly because of their evil attitudes.
It seems that the first Christian leaders often had to warn about such attitudes. There is another similar passage in Hebrews 3:7-19.
Please use the links at the top of the page to find our other articles in this series. You can download all our articles if you go to the download page for our free 450 page course book.
© 2014, Keith Simons.