Like Paul, the Christians in Corinth believed that God had made them free. But they disagreed about the purpose of that freedom.
Many of those Christians wanted to be free so that they could enjoy themselves more. In their opinion, freedom allowed them to do whatever they wanted. However, Paul wanted to be free so that he could serve God, and other people, better. He did not want his emotions and feelings to control his life. Instead, he had to deal severely with his own wrong feelings.
Those Christians complained that Paul was behaving like a slave. Paul could agree with that; as a free Christian, he was the slave of Christ (7:22). In fact, as Christ commanded, Paul made himself the slave of all (Mark 10:44; 1 Corinthians 9:19). That is, he worked constantly for the benefit of other people. But his orders came not from them, but from Christ.
Paul said that Christians must behave like runners in a race. If they desire success, runners cannot allow their emotions to control their lives. They cannot do whatever they want. They cannot eat whatever food they desire. They cannot relax whenever they please. They must learn self-discipline and self-control.
The reward for all that effort lasts only for a short time. But Christians desire a reward that lasts for all time. They do not earn their relationship with God by their efforts (Romans 4:1-8); it is Godís gift because of Christís death. But they can spoil that relationship if they follow wrong desires and wrong emotions (10:6-12). God will not be pleased with them if they allow such things to rule their lives.
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.