"BAD COMPANY RUINS GOOD MORALS"
We pondered why the above saying rather suddenly occurs in today’s very moving and oft quoted 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians. Parts of this chapter are often read at funerals, it contains a powerful testimony to the certainty of resurrection and that “in Christ shall all be made alive” [v.22] eternally “at his coming” adding the qualification “those who belong to Christ” [v.23]
We must not cease to “belong to Christ” but that is not the same as belonging to a group of believers, one can do that, but in one’s heart have ceased to belong to Christ – even though we have been baptised. Paul says that among the Corinthians, “some have no knowledge of God, I say this to your shame” [v.34] He writes this immediately after making the point, “Do not be deceived,bad company ruins good morals.”
We are surrounded by people who do not believe in the God of the Bible, but that is not the same as having “no knowledge of God” in the sense Paul meant in this chapter. Look how the Bible uses this phrase. Read Proverbs 2 v.1-5 and note the “ifs” that lead to one having a “knowledge of God” and then the prayer of Jesus in John 17 v.3, 25. In these and similar passages we see that in having a “knowledge of God” we must, as a result, have a real relationship with him.
It is “bad company” that will undermine our “knowledge of God” and then destroy that relationship or prevent it ever happening. But what is “bad company?” Today it occurs in dangerous and new ways. Television provides us with “company” and much of it qualifies as “bad company”! As we see badness multiplying in the world – often all around us – we recognise that TV is a powerful influence in this. As a result human behaviour is displaying more and more selfish self-love and animal like instincts. Over and above the effects of much that is on TV, most now have regular access to the Internet – which offers a whole range of opportunities for even worse “bad company.”
Returning to our chapter we notice the last 2 verses, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved … be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.”