In I Corinthians 10, we have a list of really bad sins. We get these sometimes in Scriptures, describing our lives before we were saved, or describing the extent to which sin takes people when they turn away from God. In this case, we’re told that these sins are recorded in Scripture for an example to us, warning us not to do the same things.
I Corinthians 10:5-6, 11-12
5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
6 Now these things were our examples….
11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
So Paul here tells us that the sins listed in verses 6-10 are sins that brought destruction on the children of Israel when they were in the wilderness, and that these things are examples we must not follow. They are written (in the Scriptures) to teach and warn us against doing the same things. Let’s take the time to look at them.
I Corinthians 10:6
Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
Paul doesn’t here tell us exactly which event in the Old Testament he is describing, but there are several that could apply. “We should not lust after evil things.”
This one isn’t hard to understand. We know this. If we find out a Christian is lusting after evil things, we aren’t going to say, “Oh, that’s ok, his circumstances make it all right for him to do that.” We know there is no excuse.
We would tell someone who is doing this that he needs to repent and confess his sin. We wouldn’t give sympathy to someone for sinning in this way, we’d tell him he needs to stop. We know that God destroys people for this kind of sin. We know the examples from the Old Testament that “are written for our admonition.” We’d warn him.
I Corinthians 10:7
Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
This sin is also easy for us to see clearly. Oh, there are forms of idolatry that are deceptive, for we’re told that covetousness is idolatry. But once idolatry is clearly recognised as such, no Christian would permit another Christian to make excuses for it. It is wrong, and we know it. If we try to make excuses and say that our circumstance is different, is a situation that creates an exception and makes it ok to commit idolatry, we know we are lying to ourselves.
We know this is a dangerous sin. The Old Testament examples are clear. This is one we wouldn’t dare to take lightly.
I Corinthians 10:8
Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
This is another easy one. Sure, people make excuses for their immoral behaviour, but we can see right through those excuses, and so can they. We know that when people do this, it is simply because they want to, not because they have to or because God put them in an impossible situation where they had no other choice. Sin is sin, and we know it.
Some churches just let these things go, but even they know it is wrong. No one who takes the Bible seriously at all will condone this or give any sympathy to a person who makes excuses for their sin. A person doing this needs to repent — it is a really, really bad sin, one Christians should never ignore.
I Corinthians 10:9
Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
In the Old Testament account (Numbers 21), we’re told that the people spoke against God by saying He had brought them into the wilderness to die. Thus, they accused God of either malice or incompetence — in other words, blasphemy.
We know that is wrong. No one who claims to be a Christian should speak against God in this way. We know that unbelievers might say things like this, but it is sin, and any Christian who does this needs to repent. We wouldn’t hesitate to warn people against making accusations like this against God. We know this is a really, really bad sin. If we love God, we wouldn’t listen to someone who claims to be a Christian speaking this way about Him, would we? We would remind them of the Scriptural warnings and examples.
I Corinthians 10:10
Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
Murmuring and complaining. We know this is a really, really bad sin. We wouldn’t accept excuses for this, would we? Would we?
Would we give someone sympathy for this sin? Would we let them use the excuse that their circumstance is bad enough that it is ok to sin in this way?
Would we fail to warn them that this is a really dangerous sin that can bring destruction?
Would we neglect to tell a complainer that their sin is listed right in there with fornication and idolatry?
Or do we let them decide, and so we decide right along with them, that murmuring and complaining isn’t a really, really bad sin after all?
Maybe we even decide it is a sin we ourselves can get away with. After all, there aren’t really any Scriptural examples / warnings about this, are there?
Murmuring and complaining. It is a really, really bad sin. It is listed right there in I Corinthians 10 with evil lusts, idolatry, fornication, and blasphemy. We have no right to decide it isn’t really that bad after all. The murmurer does not need sympathy, the murmurer needs to change his thinking and his words, to repent.