I would not have chosen to pair the soaring beauty of Isaiah with the practical how-to’s of 1 Corinthians. But, as I think further, I’m thankful for the reminder that the beautiful, sweeping truths of Isaiah can be applied to our nitty-gritty daily grind.
In typical ‘Isaiah’ fashion, he skips around in time – first declaring that God would save Jerusalem from the impending Assyrian threat (chapter 33) and then fast-forwarding in time to the end of the age – when the nations would be judged (chapter 34) and his people would be saved (chapter 35).
Meanwhile, Paul is talking about court cases and sexual purity. Great. But at the heart of the sins of the Corinthian church was a shallow understanding of the gospel. Both Isaiah and Paul commended their readers to delve into the depths of God’s character found in the beauty of the gospel.
Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you (Isaiah 35:4).
Isaiah points forward to the sure promise of God’s salvation. Hope in God is the key to persevering faith.
Paul encourages the Corinthians to look past the physical world and acknowledge the forever spiritual realm. In doing so, he challenges them to apply the truths of the gospel to their everyday lives.
He argues that our present-day actions will have an eternal impact. The deeds done in the body affect us forever spiritually because even our bodies are “members of Christ.”
How are we united with Christ? How is it that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit? Because of our faith in the gospel… that Jesus’ sacrifice has reconciled us to God. Our faith seals us with the promised Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14). We are his.
You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Isaiah reminds us of the beauty of the salvation of God. It comes as “waters break forth in the wilderness” (35:6) and causes “sorrow and sighing [to] flee away” (35:10). But Paul makes the gospel practical – and challenges us to make these beautiful truths affect our moment-by-moment choices.
Remember. You were bought with a price. The love of Christ should compel us to obey.