Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians
A Church in the world with the world in the Church
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
18 May 2014
Problems in the church are plentiful and always have been. These are problems that split churches, divide families and friends, and rob us of the peace that ought to be ours in the Gospel. No wonder there are many who prefer to remain outside, professing to love Jesus but hating the church. The Corinthian church was a prime example of a church in turmoil. That too, despite being founded by Paul himself. And so, because it was floundering in chaos, Paul writes to confront them about their issues.
In the introductory passage itself, Paul sets the tone for the rest of his letter as to what a genuine church is. He addresses the genuine believers who were in the Corinthian church by establishing a fundamental truth at the outset – that the church belongs to God. He owns it, not the members. Therefore, He is the one who lays down the rules, not the members themselves. Sadly, this is the exact opposite of what we see around us. Many churches today have lost this truth by becoming territorial in the sense that their members see themselves as members of a club where they call the shots on how matters should be conducted.
Paul focuses the Corinthian church on its true identity of being a group of people who have been called by God. And he urges them to live in the light of this reality. After all, they weren't merely called by grace; they were also being sustained by grace. In other words, they had all the spiritual resources they needed to be all that God wanted them to be.
And as children of God, that's true of us too. We are saints even though we may not feel like it at times. But the fact remains that if God has called us, then we are saints. And His divine enablement is all we need to live up to our transformed identity. What's more, our faith in Christ is not something that's only anchored in history. Rather, our faith in Christ also fills us with anticipation for the future. May we be saints who praise God for His work in our past, who praise His work in our present, and who praise what He will do for us in the future!
• A true Church has divine ownership (vs 2a)
• True Church members are saints (vs 2b-7a)
• A true Church has direction for the future (vs 7b-9)