In my last post, I finished my series on First Thessalonians. The next Scripture that was inspired by the Holy Spirit was Paul’s letters to the Corinthian church. The background for these is found in Acts 18-19.
The Apostle Paul ministered in Corinth for about two years, establishing the church. After some further travels, he came to Ephesus, where he stayed for almost three years, working with that church.
During his stay at Ephesus, Paul began to hear rumors of disorder in the Corinthian church. He then made a hurried visit, but matters only got worse. He then started to receive numerous visits and letters from the leadership of the church in Corinth.
As a result, Paul was led by the Holy Spirit to write his first letter to the Corinthian church. This is probably the most practical of all his letters. It deals with many of the issues that believers face in their daily lives.
His opening statements are important in setting the tone for this letter.
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.
1 Corinthians 1:1-3
This is probably one of the most important things that believers of any generation need to hear. I think that sometimes we miss it in our present walk with God. It’s Paul’s statement that we are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy.
We don’t get it because of the words used in the translation. Both the word, sanctified and the word, holy are the same Greek word, just different tenses. Sanctified means to be made holy.
The next question that arises is; what does holy mean? The definition of holy is to be pure, clean, and blameless in a religious sense. It’s used in speaking about something that has been set apart and consecrated to God for His purposes.
In the Scripture, holiness has two important uses. We need to know both. The first is the position of holiness that we’re given in Christ. Because the Holy Spirit lives in me, I’m holy in Christ; set apart by God for His use.
There’s also the walk of holiness. That’s when I actually live like I’m set apart to God. The Bible speaks of both kinds of holiness.
In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
2 Timothy 2:20-21
When I submit to the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit, He can work God’s holiness into my life. Then those around me will recognize the fact that I’m set apart to the Lord.
We need both the position and the walk of holiness if we’re going to fulfill our callings in Christ. That’s why Paul starts this letter on that foundation. He’s going to be explaining this in detail to the Corinthian church.
It’s something that I believe we also need in our generation. As I’ve said before, the first letter to the Corinthians is one of the most important messages to strengthen our walk with the Lord.
Question: How does the walk of holiness differ from the position of holiness?
© 2018 Nick Zaccardi