Through the Bible Day by Day
Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
ENRICHED AND UNITED IN CHRIST
It was pleasant to the church at Corinth to realize that one of their own number was associated with the Apostle in his great ministry. Compare 1Co_1:1 with Act_18:17. We have been sanctified in Christ in the purpose of God, but we must make our calling sure by living as saints. Note Paul’s liberality-it was enough for him if men called on Jesus as their Lord. Such he could receive as brothers. There was no strain of narrow sectarianism in his nature.
If we would live a true life, we must draw on Jesus Christ. Our riches are in Him, awaiting our claiming and use. The unsearchable riches of Christ are at our disposal, but we must appropriate and use them. Let us begin to live as God’s heirs. Utterance and knowledge are ours through the Holy Spirit. We have looked into ourselves for them. That is the mistake! We must look up and reach down. God has called us into partnership with His Son. We share His sorrows, sufferings, and labors for a world’s conversion; He bids us share in His grace. The perfecting of 1Co_1:10 is the weaving together of a rent. Paul’s object in this Epistle was the ending of the strife that had divided the Corinthian church.
Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
THE CROSS GOD’S SAVING POWER
Apollos had gone straight from Ephesus to Corinth, Act_19:1. A party gathered around him, especially attracted by his eloquence and intellectual brilliance. Cephas was Peter, and around his name the more conservative elements gathered. Christ, stood for the promised glory of the Messianic kingdom. Paul was filled with dismay on hearing that a fourth division of the Church called themselves by his name. He told the Corinthians that whatever any of their human teachers had done for them, they had contributed only different phases or viewpoints of truth, all of which service sank into absolute insignificance as contrasted with the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
The cross here implies not only the doctrine of the Atonement, but the humble bearing of the cross in daily life. There are many who wear a cross as an article of dress, but who evince nothing of its pitying, self-immolating, sacrificial spirit. Everyone needs a Calvary in the heart. Note from 1Co_1:18, r.v., margin, that being saved is a process, as well as an immediate experience. Oh to have grace to know the Cross, never to be ashamed of it, and to preach a crucified Savior in a humble, crucified spirit!
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
GOD’S GLORY IN MEN’S WEAKNESS
Like the sons of Jesse before Samuel, so do the successive regiments on which the world relies pass before Christ. The wise, the mighty, the noble, the great, the things that are! And the King says, I have not chosen these. The warriors with whom He will win the world to Himself are the nobodies, the ciphers, the people who in the world’s estimate do not count. Do not depreciate yourself, but give yourself to Him; He will find a niche for you and make your life worth living. Notice that God has put you into union with Christ Jesus. Everything we need for life and godliness is in Him; only let us make all that we can of our wonderful position and possessions.
Paul came to Corinth from Athens, where he had sought to win his hearers by a studied and philosophical discourse as best adapted to their needs. But as he entered Corinth, he appears to have deliberately determined that his theme would be the crucified Lord, and expressed in the simplest phrases. When we speak the truth as it is in Jesus, the Spirit is ever at hand to enforce our testimony by His demonstration and power.