We started studying 1 Corinthians in Sunday school this morning and talked about how there’s no division in Christ but always seems to be in His church. How can this be?
The Corinthian church was not unlike the church of our day in that it was filled with immature Christians who were self-centered and confused about who they were in Christ. Paul starts out the letter like many of his letters telling them they are sanctified saints by calling, they were enriched in everything, in speech and knowledge and weren’t lacking in any gift. He told them Jesus Christ would confirm, or keep, them blameless till the day of His return because God is faithful. Now that’s something to get excited about isn’t it? Today is no different in that those that are in Christ are blameless and kept by Him but most don’t seem to walk in it because they don’t yet believe.
After he reminded them of who they are in Christ he went on to let them know he had heard about division in the camp. He said, “some say they’re of Paul, some are of Apollos, some of Peter and others say Christ.” The Apostle Paul asked them, “Has Christ been divided?” Of course the answer to that question is No! You see as long as they were dividing into groups following after men, even if they were great men, they were still acting worldly. We were meant to be attached to another but sometimes we get attached to a visible person rather than the invisible Christ within them.
Think back with me for a minute. In the beginning God said, “Let Us make man in our own image.” God is a Trinity made up of Father, Son and Spirit; so in other words we humans were meant to be a visible, earthly, creaturely illustration of who God is. The invisible God being displayed in the visible by means of His image in and through us. What a plan! With this in mind the fall sort of takes on new light don’t you think? When man fell the image of the Trinity-Father/Son/Spirit- in him was divided. Don’t get me wrong there has never, nor ever could be, division within the Godhead but in man which is in His image. Man is at odds with himself.
In other words, the fall not only affected our relationship to God and each other it actually caused us to be at odds with ourselves. You see when God created us we were in harmony, whole in spirit, soul and body but in the fall a death, or separation, took place. Our spirit was deadened to God’s Spirit therefore our entire being was affected. We became enslaved to the outer realm of light and dark, cold and hot, good and evil and so on. For the first time we found ourselves dealing with trouble on a body/soul level in a way we never had. Immediately Adam and Eve ran for cover and sowed fig leaves together for clothing. They felt fear and shame for the first time; and they had fallen into an earthly creature and became dependent upon earthly provision. Let me just say, “they saw that they were naked” doesn’t mean they weren’t always naked in a sense, but what it does mean is God’s glory had departed leaving them needy of a covering.
What Paul was dealing with in Corinth was believers who didn’t really have a clue how far they had fallen. It is only natural to look to others that seem to have it together, in hope that they will help you get it together, but that only works for a while. These folks apparently had broken down into groups of people following after men but never really coming to know Christ for themselves. They had become dependent upon the teacher/preacher and not learned how to depend on Christ within them. I see it like a relay race of sorts where the one runner hands over the baton to the next one in line. There is a brief moment where they are connected by both having their hands on the baton at the same time but only until the new guy gets hold of it for himself then the first one lets go. You see God’s plan is for all of His people to have their own baton, or His Spirit, for themselves. Others help us on but we are never ultimately needy of them in the same sense we need Christ.