Questions for Littles: Through what was Paul called to be an apostle (v1)? What does he say that the Corinthian church is in Christ Jesus (v2)? What are they called? To whom else is this letter written? With what two things does Paul greet them in v3? For what does Paul thank God in v4? What had the grace of God done for them (v5)? Whose testimony had been confirmed in them (v6)? In what did they not come short (v7)? For what were they eagerly waiting? What would Jesus do until the end (v8)? What would they be like in the day of Christ? Who is faithful (v9)? Who had called them into the fellowship of Christ? Who is Christ to Him? Who is Christ to us?In this week’s Epistle reading, we began 1Corinthians. The two letters to the Corinthian church identify some of the most shocking sins, errors, and flaws about any church known to Scripture, so it is helpful to consider some of the things that Paul says about them here right at the beginning.
Yes, there is one sense in which he is writing as an impossible, and thus has inspiration to help with his letter in a way that we do not. But, he also models for us what we call “the judgment of charity”: giving a believer the benefit of the doubt as long as they are a member in good standing, precisely because God’s ongoing covenant with His church on earth, and statements about it.
Here, the apostle says several things to highlight that this is what is behind his glowing thanksgivings for such a church as this is.
They are the “church of God.” Whoever else is in that church, however else it is identified, the most important thing about it is that it belongs to God.
They are the “sanctified” in Christ Jesus. That means set apart, consecrated, or holy.
How did they come to be set apart? Because the Lord Himself has called them saints. And Paul’s work and word are not just for the saints that he likes or prefers. Rather, they are for “all who in every place call on the name of Jesus.”
We, too, may not decline to love, respect, and serve any church members simply upon the basis of liking them less or judging them worse.
They confess to eagerly wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is not for today that they are blameless, but on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
They are not only in fellowship with us but with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Did you catch the pattern? The main thing about other believers is not how they relate to us ourselves. Rather, it is in how they relate to our Lord Jesus Christ. Though they may have various serious problems, as long as they maintain a formal covenant relationship as a member in good standing of a true church, they are to be treated that way! (They even have a “right” to undergo church discipline, as we shall soon see)
Whom do you have a more difficult time loving, respecting, and serving in the church?Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or HB473 “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”