1 Corinthiansby David Gibb
Paul begins his letter to the Corinthians by reminding his readers who he is and what his job is. He was ″called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God″ (1 Corinthians 1:1). Paul didn't apply for the job; God chose him for it. Paul had been zealously persecuting Christians until he came face to face with the risen Lord Jesus one day, and everything changed! (see Acts 9:1-31) Paul was humbled and became Jesus' willing ″apostle″ (meaning ″sent one″) and ambassador. So, when Paul writes, he bears a message from the King, the Lord Jesus.
Paul, however, is not alone at this point -Sosthenes is with him (1 Corinthians 1:1). Years earlier, Sosthenes had been the head of the synagogue in Corinth and was beaten up by the crowd after their failed attempt to file charges against Paul (Acts 18:7-17). Yet, here he is, by Paul's side!
Notice that Paul then reminds the Corinthian church of who they are and where they live. They are the church of God both ″in Corinth″ and ″in Christ Jesus″ (1 Corinthians 1:2). Every church has two homes (see Philippians 3:20). We live in the world-we're meant to be involved in our community and be found making a difference for Jesus. But we also live ″in Christ Jesus″. Just as a gardener grafts a new shoot onto an older one so that it may grow, God planted us in Christ when we became a Christian. Now, His life flows into us: wherever we go, we are always at home, because we are always ″in Christ″.
But that's not all who the Corinthians are. Paul also notes that they are ″those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people″ (1 Corinthians 1:2). The word ″sanctified″ means to be made pure and set apart for God. The Corinthians are holy and are also called to become holy; both are true.
When we put our trust in Jesus, He removes our dirty rags and clothes us in His beautiful, clean robes. All our sin is taken away. God then begins to work on us, making us more like Jesus. So, we are holy, and we're called to be holy. But woe betide us when we look like the rotten society we're meant to be disinfecting and rescuing-and that's the danger the Corinthians face. It's no wonder Paul prays for them to know God's grace and peace (v. 3).
Heavenly Father, help me to remember that I am in Jesus wherever I go, and that I am holy and called to lead a distinctive life wherever You have placed me.
Knowing that you live not only in the world but also in Christ, what difference will it make to how you live each day?
Where has God placed you? How do you keep yourself pure and set apart for God wherever you are?