As we continue in our study of First Corinthians, Paul has begun talking about agreement in the body of Christ. We’ll now see why he brought up that subject.
My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”
1 Corinthians 1:11-12
When will we learn that among the followers of Christ, there’s only one true God? There may be a multitude of teachers and methods of teaching, but we serve the same Lord. 2000 years later, and we still fall into the same trap.
Different denominations within Christianity still quarrel over the small details of the faith. We all have a brand of teaching that we enjoy.
There’s nothing wrong with being different. That is, as long as we believe in the fundamentals – Jesus Christ, God made flesh, the One who died, rose from the dead, and is Lord of all. We believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, but my teaching is not the only way to know Christ.
Paul had to deal with this in the Corinthian church.
Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.)
1 Corinthians 1:13-16
In these questions, Paul is asking about a fundamental truth. Who is the focus of our faith? Is it our teacher, or Christ Himself? The answer should be obvious.
Paul now makes one of his most powerful statements.
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel — not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
1 Corinthians 1:17
The impact of this verse is all but lost on many in the church today. In effect, Paul is saying, “God did not call me to simply convert people to Christianity. I am not using my superior wisdom to get people to make a logical choice to follow the teachings of Christ.”
Paul was commissioned by God to preach in the power of the Holy Spirit. Hearts were to be convicted. Lives were to be changed and made new.
The Gospel is not about convincing people that they need to begin following the teachings of Christ. It’s giving them the choice to become a new person in Christ. It’s a call to leave the kingdom of this world to become a citizen of the kingdom of God.
Human wisdom has no power to change a life. But in the cross, we find the power of transformation. Paul makes that abundantly clear.
It’s unfortunate that the cross is preached so rarely in our generation. It’s actually the foundation of life on a higher level. In the next few posts, we’ll see how Paul describes it.
Question: What is the place of agreement for all believers?
© 2018 Nick Zaccardi