Today, through the CBR journals, we began reading in 1 Corinthians as a church. As I started reading this morning, I was struck by these first three verses of Paul's letter to the Church in Corinth.
The church Paul started in Corinth was young, full of life, and also full of problems. We know that, as Paul sat down to write to them, they were on the verge of self-destruction. So, how should Paul begin to address them? How should he start his letter? Which of the serious issues would he decide to tackle first?
Paul starts his letter by simply reminding the church who they are. This is God's church in Corinth. Which means that God deeply cares about this church (and ours!).
Then, he calls them something interesting... he calls them "sanctified". This word means "declared holy and righteous".
And last, he tells them from where this holiness and righteousness has been made available... through Jesus, by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Christians, whatever their problems, whatever their weaknesses, mistakes, difficulties... they don't need to labor under condemnation. Through faith in God's Son, Jesus' righteousness and holiness are given freely to us. If you are a Christian, you are sanctified. Not because of your good efforts, but through the object of your faith, the Lord Jesus Christ!
With all the problems evident in Corinth, we might expect Paul to skip his opening encouragement. Perhaps the reason he doesn't skip it is because of all the problems there. This is exactly what they needed to hear. When we face difficulties as Christians, what we need to be reminded of is that we are SANCTIFIED, HOLY, enjoying grace and peace. Thank God today that these things are true about you!