As we discussed last time, God’s ways are often counter-cultural and opposite of what we might expect. Therefore, it should be no surprise that His values are completely different than ours. The things and people God uses to bring Himself glory and build His kingdom are often the least likely and most commonly overlooked. However, through this, He receives greater glory and reminds us that apart from Jesus we are nothing.
In 1 Corinthians 1, Paul continues to expound on the differences between the world’s wisdom and God’s, and at the end of the chapter he gives a nugget of truth that is crucial for us to understand and embrace.
God’s ways and how He designed His kingdom and church to operate often seem upside down and backwards to us. His purposes and commands run opposite of what our sinful human nature naturally wants to do and goes against the cultural norms of our fallen world. But it is through this that God’s glory is revealed and the beauty of the gospel is made evident.
Conflict is inevitable whenever two or more human beings together for long enough. However, as Christians, we must ensure that our conflict is resolved quickly and in a loving manner so that we will not become divided. Unity is the central topic of 1 Corinthians and one Paul tackles from various angles. However, here in he first chapter, he dives straight into one of the main issues the Corinthians were arguing over and addresses it with firmness.
Before giving heavy words of correction or discipline, it’s important start with a word of encouragement and affirmation. Paul knew this important principle and, therefore, started his letter with a powerful reminder that though the Corinthians had issues, they were still complete in Christ and firmly held and sustained by the mercy and grace of God.
Discipline is not pleasant, and in the midst of spiritual chastisement, the enemy can easily bring condemnation and discouragement into our hearts and cause us to question our position in Christ. God knows the enemy’s schemes and, thus, inspired Paul to open his letter with this beautiful word of affirmation for the Corinthians.