Mastered by God Alone

The Wednesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is a Scriptural meditation whereby I take a verse or passage I have been pondering lately and seek to edify my readers with it’s promises, encouragements, warnings, rebukes, etc.


The city of Corinth was financially wealthy, but was also morally bankrupt. Imagine having your city’s name associated with sexual immorality. To “play the Corinthian” was equal “to fornicating.” Women in Corinth were often thought of as prostitutes. The clearest example of this perversion of Corinthian culture was the Temple of Aphrodite – Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love, pleasure and procreation.

Temple of AphroditeBecause Corinth was located on a major waterway, sailors would stop in it’s ports to fulfill their sexual fantasies at this Temple. In fact, the historian Strabo tells us roughly 1,000 prostitutes would wait in this Temple; it was a brothel known throughout the world.

According to other historians, there was a shrine at the top of the tower containing a bed, where a chosen girl slept at night, constantly prepared for a “sacred wedding” – the symbolic sex act with the god Marduk.[1] The Corinthians believed these opportunities for sexual infidelity were religious, because they believed that to have an ecstatic experience with a Corinthian prostitute was to have a spiritual communion with the divine.

This was a city mastered by the sin of sexual idolatry. And we get an illustration of how that sexual perversion had made it’s way into the church in our passage for today.

The Corinthian church had been influenced by the world. Instead of helping change the Corinthian culture, Corinthian culture was permeating the church. They were mastered by wrong things and also sought to glorify God simultaneously. Jesus said in Matthew 6:24,

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

We cannot have one foot in the door of the world and another foot in the door of the church. Charles Spurgeon said about money (but the truth is universal),

“God and the world will never agree. However much we may attempt it, we can never serve both. Our danger is that in trying to gain money, or in the pursuit of any other goal, we should put it out of its place and allow it to master our minds. Gain and godliness cannot both be masters of our souls. You can live for this world or the next one, but it is impossible to live for both.”[2]

A few months ago, my family drove to Emporia, KS … (1) to visit friends that recently moved there and (2) I wanted to hear a fellow alum who spoke at Emporia St. on the subject of “Homosexuality, Same-sex Attraction and the Bible.”

After presenting the doctrinal convictions on the subject and giving pastoral advice about how to interact with the LBGTQ community, there was Q/A. One young lady, who professed to be an active lesbian, asked, “What if I want to feed my lesbianism and be Christian? Can’t I do that if both things bring me joy?”

That’s a pretty common question, and it’s answer is driven what Jesus says in Matthew 6:24. We cannot have it both ways. When we come to Christ for salvation, we come to Him on His terms and not our own. We cannot serve two masters.


[2] Spurgeon’s Commentary on Great Chapters of the Bible, pg. 125


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