I’m continuing to look at Paul’s teaching on how to handle the grey areas of sin – things that the Bible doesn’t specifically talk about. We’re finding that it’s more about spiritual principles than a black and white list of do’s and don’ts.
He now begins talking about Israel under the Old Testament.
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. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:1-4
Paul is now talking about the spiritual walk of the ancient Israelites. Specifically, he tells us about those who were saved and walking with God, the same as we are. The only difference is that their salvation was “on credit”.
They were looking forward to what God was going to do in Christ. They didn’t know how or when it would happen. We look back on the completed work of Christ and know all the details.
Just like us, in order for them to be saved, they had to walk by faith. It wasn’t the observing of the law that saved them. The sacrificial system was simply an ongoing observance to which they could attach their faith.
Paul shows us that they went through the same type of ongoing process that we have in our walk with Christ. They had to undergo two baptisms – representing water baptism and the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
They were also provided with food (manna) and water through the wilderness. It was only obtained through a daily act of faith in God. Paul goes as far as to say that the rock from which the water flowed was an Old Testament manifestation of Christ.
Why is it important for us to know this?
Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.
Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.
1 Corinthians 10:5-6
Here are the facts. Even though they were saved and in God’s kingdom by observing the law by faith, God wasn’t pleased with most of them. Many of them ended up dying before seeing the fulfillment of God’s promise.
Paul tells us clearly that this was recorded in Scripture as an example to us. We need to understand how this applies to our walk with the Lord.
I think that in the modern church, we’ve mixed up the concepts of God’s love and God’s pleasure. God can love us unconditionally, yet at the same time be displeased with us. We need to take this truth to heart.
I have three children. There have been times that I was absolutely displeased with them. But even at their worst, I loved them and would give my life to defend and protect them.
We have to understand that the law of sowing and reaping is a definite part of the New Covenant experience. The Bible tells us that we can either sow to please our flesh or our spirit. What we set our hearts on will determine the outcome.
There are many Christians that are in bad situations. It’s not because God doesn’t love them or because He’s judging them. Instead, they’re simply reaping the bad seed that they’ve planted.
This is Paul’s warning to us. Don’t follow the bad example of Israel. Set your heart on the good things of the Lord.
Question: How have you seen the results of sowing and reaping in your life?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi