Paul’s Footsteps #121

Footsteps #121

First Corinthians deals with the many problems that had invaded the church as a consequence of the believer’s background. These included divisions and quarrels (1) immorality (3) Incest (5) and lawsuits (6). From Chapter 7 Paul answers questions that had posed regarding marriage,(7) idolatry(8-10), Christian liberty(8), conduct in worship (11), abuses in worship, the Lord’s Supper and spiritual gifts(12-14), drunkenness (11), resurrection (15), and a special offering(16). As you read 1Corinthians Paul’s love for his converts shines through all his counsel. His belief in the Second Coming is equally vivid. Christians “eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Cor1:7NLT).  And Paul’s joyful confidence in God’s faithfulness is an inspiration to those of us who eagerly await Christ’s soon return. The conclusions of both Revelation and 1Corinthians contain the heartfelt call, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev.22:20); “Our Lord, come!”  (1Cor.16:22).  This cry is couched in the Aramaic phrase Maranatha, the only use of the words in the NT, and is especially powerful because Paul has just pronounced a curse, anathema, against anyone who rejects Christ (c.f.Gal1:8,9).  Anathema. Maranatha.  The words occur together in the Greek text.  For Paul, anathema is appropriate to the one who refuses to love Christ. But the cry of those moved by love for their Saviour is Maranatha, “Our Lord, come!” 

The major purpose of this letter is that there was no unity in the Spirit and the purpose of that unity was being undermined by appealing to various leaders and teachers. (1Cor3:21-23). Gifted Christians tend to attract a following because of their ability to speak eloquently, argue persuasively or sing more engagingly than others. 

Using powerful imagery Paul calls his readers from divided loyalties to human leaders back to Spirit-inspired worship of God and His Son.  Christ Himself is the head of the church, and He alone should be followed.  That is why Paul seeks from his friends in Corinth a fresh dedication and loyalty to their church’s divine leader. This is the essence of chapters 1-3.  Against such divisiveness, Paul asserted the unity of Christians with a set of powerful questions (see 1:13).

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