Taking a Second Cookie: The Law and The Body of Christ
Remember when you were a child and your mother would say, “You can have ONE cookie…but no more?” That was OK because all you wanted was one anyhow…right?
But if you were like me, when the cookie was devoured a desire was born…a desire to have another cookie! But I wasn’t allowed…mother had said no. In fact the rule against having a second cookie fueled the desire to have it even more.
This is what Paul meant when he said:
What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”[b] 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead.
The rule actually provoked a desire in me to want another cookie.
But now I am an adult. I can have as many cookies as I want. I can get up from this keyboard, head over to the store, buy a big bag of Oreo cookies and eat every last one of them. There is no longer a rule against it!
But is that good or beneficial for me?
Eating that many cookies is not healthy for my BODY even though I am certainly permitted to do it.
My mother’s rule so many years ago was designed to teach me moderation in things that could hurt me. In the same way God used the law as a type of parent to teach His people until they reached completion in Christ. (aka “adulthood”)
So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith
Paul the Apostle finds himself having to write to the Christians in Corinth because they are doing a whole lot of crazy stuff…much worse than taking a second cookie! 🙂
He reminds them in 1 Corinthians 6:12 that although they may have the “right” to do anything…not everything they do is beneficial. Yes, you no longer have a parent here to tell you to only take one cookie…but grow up, act like an adult and realize that the actions you take can hurt you and others around you.
Paul’s appeal to them no longer rests in a producing of the “rules” but in an appeal not to hurt the “body”.
I assume I’m addressing believers now who are mature. Draw your own conclusions: When we drink the cup of blessing, aren’t we taking into ourselves the blood, the very life, of Christ? And isn’t it the same with the loaf of bread we break and eat? Don’t we take into ourselves the body, the very life, of Christ? Because there is one loaf, our many-ness becomes one-ness—Christ doesn’t become fragmented in us. Rather, we become unified in him. We don’t reduce Christ to what we are; he raises us to what he is. That’s basically what happened even in old Israel—those who ate the sacrifices offered on God’s altar entered into God’s action at the altar.
1 Corinthians 10: 15-18
Just as my mother taught me when I was a child that to indulge certain actions, like to many cookies, would hurt my body, Paul likewise warns us that indulging in certain actions breaks down the “body of Christ.” He asks them how can you want to participate in the Lord’s Communion and can continue to participate in communion with the things in life that break down that “body?”
The Eucharist, or the Table of the Lord, is the antidote to the curse. Christ gives us himself…we shouldn’t desire anything more.
Especially a second cookie!
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