A little history.

Posted 18 Jun, 2009 05:10 AM by Ron

It's too early to start really studying Corinthians. But its not too early to start understanding why Paul wrote these letters.

First, we need to know what Corinth was like. It's like party central. Mardi Gras year round. No rules, no moral code-that's how they like it. It was a HUGE trade center. All kinds of things passed through Corinth. The Greeks had a proverb about the city which tells a great deal about its moral decay: “It is not every man who can afford a journey to Corinth.” Those who were worldly wise used the verb “corinthianize” to describe an act of immorality. “Corinthian girl” was known to be a synonym for prostitute.

The christians in corinth have taken to being "culturally relevant" and have joined in on the parties. They fight. They argue. They party. They ignore all that Paul had taught them about what it meant to follow Christ. So, Paul writes them a letter to remind them. and he starts it out in a peculiar manner.

To the Church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified 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.

REALLY?? We just saw the things they were doing. Wouldn't a more fitting introduction be: To the idiots in Corinth, who are too busy partying and fighting to pay attention to the truth they were called to in our Lord Jesus Christ. May God have mercy on your pitiful souls.

Why does paul start out his letter in such a positive and affirming way? What is he trying to do?

We all know what it's like to not be good enough, to screw up and get in trouble. The church in Corinth was in some serious trouble. But instead of just yelling, Paul reaches out to them, and says "Grace and Peace to you". They know they've screwed up, and Paul starts out his letter letting them know that God is still extending his grace and peace to them. In those opening verses, he affirms them and lets them know that there is still hope. That God can still reign in their lives, regardless of their recent behavior. He gives them identity: the CHURCH OF GOD.

Isn't it awesome to know we serve a God who loves us, even when we screw up? He expects us to correct the behavior, to learn from our mistakes (as we find out soon enough when Paul launches into the problems in Corinth) Even when we mess up, God still calls us His.

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