Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Corinthians 1:10)
As I type these words I am connected to the internet. That connection is important if I am to communicate with you. When this devotional is completed, I will send it out to a potential worldwide audience. There are times the connection is down and then the communication is disrupted. That is not only a technological truth, it is a theological one, as witnessed in the first chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church.
The church was a basket-case—as a host of problems plagued them. Their carnality was showing. Living in a corrupt environment, they were being contaminated by it. When they were meant to impact the city, the culture was influencing them instead. We think that our times are tough to try to live for God—when has it ever been easy? This first century message is on target for a twenty-first century church.
Of all the problems that plagued the Corinthian Christians, the one Paul confronts first is the breaking of their connection with each other. One of Satan’s chief weapons is division, and he was utilizing it effectively in Corinth. While the saints were not cooperating with each other in building up the church, they were cooperating with the devil in breaking up the fellowship!
The Apostle reminds them in verses one through seventeen that they are to be connected in fellowship. They have been set apart for God—each one. This is their common experience of an uncommon gift. Their position in Christ is that of saints. No matter the other ways that humans segment society—by color, class, gender, age, achievement, and the like—all the redeemed were one in their standing in Christ. We are reminded that since we are saints, we ought to act like it! Jesus said that the world would believe in Him when we demonstrated love and displayed unity with one another (John 17:21). If our connection in fellowship is broken by strife, then the communication of our message is lost.
Not only are God’s people to be connected in fellowship, but in faith (v.18-31). God’s children share a common faith in an uncommon Savior. Everything focuses on the cross of Christ, which is the only hope of salvation. We come by the Calvary Road to heaven, or we do not come at all. It matters not how much we have in the bank or how little, whether we are young or old, male or female, black or white, educated or uneducated—the ground is level at the foot of the cross. The world scoffs at the image of a Savior hanging in bloody agony on a tree. How can a Jew being executed in such a shameful way enable sinners to be saved? This is God’s way—and it is in the cross that we glory! It should be evident that this message is one revealed from heaven, for it would never have been dreamed up by humans! To the Jews it was a stumbling block and to the Gentles it was foolishness, but to all who are saved the old rugged cross, so despised by the world, is the power and wisdom of God for salvation.