1 Corinthians 1 v 10 - 17

For Paul, it is all about what Christ accomplished on the cross. As we had noticed in previous studies of others of Paul's letters, his writing is always focussed on that fact. He is saying here, in effect: Because Jesus died for the salvation of ALL on the cross, all who say they follow Him must make every effort to remain united. The strong ego of Paul which used to prevail before his meeting with the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus has disappeared and here is the man who declared that for him to live is Christ, to die is gain. If ever there was a person whose one-eyed focus was on Christ, it was Paul. As believers, we do like to identify ourselves with a saintly Christian-mine is Mother Teresa- or a top class theologian- mine is Tom Wright- but that does not mean that we follow them without blinking! I know that both those people had/have their faults, just as Paul, Apollos and Peter did. So Paul begins the task of mending the situation which has arisen in the church at Corinth and we will find out more details as we work our way through these two letters. There are four divisions in the fellowship-Paul describes these divisions as 'rents in a garment'-and these do no favours to the work of the Gospel in that great city. Apollos was a great intellectual; the Jews followed Peter; the Gentiles followed Paul; and then there were those who claimed to belong to Christ. They were probably those who believed themselves in the right and compared other believers unfavourably to themselves. I grew up in such a church, which believed itself rather better than the other churches in the neighbourhood. I personally love that Paul continually reiterates that he preached only the cross of Christ and used no fancy language. I believe like Paul that the cross of Jesus has extraordinary power, power to bring the most obdurate person to their knees. Remember the comment of C S Lewis on his conversion? ''There was no more reluctant convert in the whole of Britain than I.''

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