Much of this past week’s readings focused on the first letter Paul wrote to the church at Corinth. This is one of the longest epistles written…there is much that I could cover…but what left a lasting impression on me was found in the first few verses:
“Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,
To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
I Corinthians 1: 1-3 (NIV)
It is always interesting to see how Paul will identify himself in each letter. In this particular letter, he says he is an apostle of Christ Jesus…but he is self-appointed…he has been called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.
When Paul’s previous life is examined…he was more than a rascal…he was a hell raiser…he was trying his best to destroy the early church…yet by the will of God…God’s own idea to call Paul to be an apostle for the purposes of advancing the church. One of the ways this word calling can be translated is as a divine invitation to a banquet. I don’t think that Paul would have made it on my Christmas card list or better yet my Christmas party…chances are that he would spend the evening tearing away at my faith. But God wasn’t worried…He didn’t back down from the challenge…He welcomed it…and He welcomed Paul.
Who have I discounted as being beyond God’s calling?
Paul goes on to address the recipients of his letter…the church of God in Corinth…those that are sanctified and called to be holy.
This letter could be addressed to each of us…because we are the Church…we have been sanctified and we have a calling as well…even if we don’t know our own particular calling…we are told in this second verse that we are called to be holy. Walking in holiness is indeed a calling…a weighty one at that…one that will set the partaker apart…one that undoubtedly will draw others to Christ.
Am I living a life that could be called holy?
In the second part of the same verse, Paul unites the Corinthian church with believers everywhere who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Amplified version says the believers not only call on the Lord but they also honor Him. It is not possible to live a holy life without calling out to Him…giving Him honor before our own lives.
Do I call on the name of Jesus at all times and before others?
We may have been a Paul in the past…there may be things we have done that when recalled make us cringe…God has a calling according to His will for each of us.
We may have had a pretty tame life before we came to Christ…yet we still were desperate to be sanctified in Christ…and put on the path called Holiness.
Who ever you were…whatever you did…it is now hidden in Him…so call out to Him…seek His face…drink in His every Word…
It is because of who we were and who we now are that Paul could finish his greeting with these words…words that penetrate deeply in the lives of those Corinthian believers and believers of today…
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ah…such amazing and undeserved grace that immerses our hearts, minds and souls in peace…sweet sweet peace.
We are drawing to the end of our cover to cover journey…please visit Bev’s for more insights from this week’s readings.