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Acts 18:1-17, 1 Corinthians 1:1-9
It is believed that Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthian Church from Ephesus in about AD 54-55, Paul had founded this church about 4 or 5 years before this letter.
Corinth at that time was a Roman Colony in Greece, having been destroyed by the Romans about 146 years before Christ, was rebuilt by Julius Caesar. It was a large port city with about 80,000 living in the walled city and another 21,000 or so living in the surrounding area. The Isthmian (isss-me-an) games were held near Corinth, similar to the Olympic Games, and as we shall see this fact played into Paul’s use of running in chapter 9.
This is not Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian Church as he refers to the first one in chapter 5 vs 9. There were a lot of problems in the Corinthian Church and this letter deals with many that we in the church deal with today, maybe not the same exact ones, but still the same type of problems.
These problems were causing people to become disconnected from their power source. As sin separates from God.
The overall answer to the problems in the Corinthian Church, which we will see as we go along, is love.
As we see in verse 1 this is from Paul to the Church, and it appears as though Sosthenes is taking dictation from Paul as he ends the letter in his own hand. As to whether this is the same Sosthenes that was the leader of the synagogue from Acts 18, is up for debate.
Verse 2 is to the Church, to those sanctified, called to be saints. This is to every believer. Now as to how the word ‘sanctified’ is used here, sanctification is the process of being made holy. The congregation at Corinth is made up of many different people; some have matured and some were just starting their journey, but all were set apart for God’s use, therefore sanctified. But not all, if any, were fully sanctified.
In Hebrews 10:8-10 we read, “…You did not desire or delight in sacrifices and offerings, whole burnt offerings and sin offerings (which are offered according to the law), He then says, See, I have come to do your will. He takes away the first to establish the second. By this will, we have been sanctified (made holy) through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time.”
God sees us in Christ as sanctified – holy. This is a positional holiness, because of what Christ accomplished in and through His death and resurrection. But sanctification is also a process. We all start at the same place, we were sinners, now we are saved by grace. Having repented we turn from our old life to the new life we have in Christ. Think: baby Christian, born again, and learning to walk and maturing, becoming more Christ like. Holiness and sanctification cannot be separated, sanctification is how you are made holy, holiness is the result of sanctification.
Having been given new life we are now enabled by the Spirit to overcome sin. We are told in 2 Peter to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must be seeking to grow and gain knowledge.
In Philippians 2 the Holy Spirit tells us, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose.” We have responsibility in our sanctification, yes, God is working in us to accomplish His will, for His good purpose. But we are called to work out our salvation, we have free will, just like our Corinthian friends, and God has equipped us with all we need in His Church with people, “And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, equipping the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness,” and with His Grace (Ephesians 4:11-13). Before we look at Grace…
Peace is from God and the Greek word used in verse 3 encompasses totality or completeness, success, fulfilment, wholeness, harmony, security and wellbeing. The peace of God is far more than the absence of conflict.
Grace: Webster says that Grace is the free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from him, “Now if by grace, then it is not by works; otherwise grace ceases to be grace” (Romans 11:6). “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do,” there is nothing we have done, nor can ever do to earn this favor (Ephesians 2:8-10).
But we can become disconnected from our power source when we practice sin, “Anyone born of God refuses to practice sin, because God’s seed abides in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.” It is up to you to refuse to practice sin.
To say that everybody sins, that sin you will, sin you must or you will surly bust. Is a defeatist attitude. YOU are born of the Spirit!
Further Reading: Acts 18:1-19:10, John 15:1-17, 1 Peter 1:14, Colossians 3:1-3, 2 Peter 3:18, Hebrews 12:14, James 4:17, 1 John 3:4, 9