What Does the Gospel Require of Us?

Throughout the book of 1 Corinthians, the main theme is that the gospel requires God’s holy people to mature in purity and unity. This theme is validated several times through the content of 1 Corinthians. As we read 1 Corinthians, one is able to notice that the Church in Corinth was not in a good state. The church was divided and there was a great amount of internal immaturity in regards to purity and unity. In 1 Corinthians 1:10-, Paul addressed the quarreling that was going on between those in the church concerning which preacher they followed. Some followed Paul while others followed Apollos, possibly because they preferred the way that particular person preached or as Blomberg mentioned, “perhaps members of the various groups were simply aligning themselves with the human leaders who first led them to Christ and under whose ministry they were baptized.” Regardless of the reason, the people began to place the ones delivering the message above the Christ. For example, Paul mentions, “…one of you says, ‘I follow Paul’; another, ‘I follow Apollos’; another, ‘I follow Cephas’; still another, ‘I follow Christ.’” (1 Cor 1:12, NIV). The problem with the Church in Corinth is that they were following specific leaders because they associated what Christ had done for them with these human leaders which caused disunity within the church. Paul emphasized that they were to focus on the true cross of Christ in order to maintain unity. Paul urged the people to focus on the message and not the impressiveness of speech. He said, “for Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross be emptied of its power” (1 Cor 1:17, NIV). He continued to stress this point in 1 Corinthians 1:18 through 1 Corinthians 2:5. If the people refocused on Christ, then they would be unified under Christ because Christ is the head of the church, not man. As Colossian 1:17-18 states, “He is before all things and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church…” (Col 1:17-18, NIV).

The people of the church in Corinth were also immature in purity. Paul addressed many issues concerning this in chapters five through six. In 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, Paul addressed sexual immorality. This scripture specifically speaks of a particular sin that was taking place in the church which was unchecked. The church was internally immature in their purity because they mistook their freedom in Christ to mean that they could do whatever they wanted. In reference to this same scripture, Blomberg says, “…the church acts as if it is proud of its ‘freedom’ in Christ to tolerate such behavior.” The church had somehow forgotten that though they were no longer under the law, they still had to obey God’s commandments out of love for Him and what he had done for them. There was still a level of morality that had to be kept. Paul reminded the people that the church has a responsibility to discipline those who are sinning so that the church would not become crippled.

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