But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God [revealing His plan of salvation], and righteousness [making us acceptable to God], and sanctification [making us holy and setting us apart for God], and redemption [providing our ransom from the penalty for sin], so then as it is written [in Scripture] “He who boasts and glories, let him boast and glory in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:30-31) The Amplified Bible
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from
yourselves, it is a gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do. ( Ephesians 2:8-10) NIV [Emphasis added.]
I am curious about what the reception of Paul’s letter may have been by the quarreling, competitive groups in the Corinthian church.
I can imagine how well they received the gracious beginning and the reminder of all that had been given to them by God in Christ Jesus. And the reminder that God is faithful in his calling of the Corinthians into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
But when Paul addresses the first of the failings of the community, I can imagine tension rising in the hearers as each faction heard about their attitude toward God, toward what and who God considers of importance and of value – how they claimed rights based on which apostle they were following. And, I can imagine that the leaders of the factions were looking around to see who from Chloe’s household had sent the report to Paul.
What would the Roman contingent think about the cross? For them, the word power meant “aggression and conquest” – that what they thought foolish, actually was “the power of God to [those] who [were] being saved”. Or the Greeks, who thought that their intelligence was supreme proof of their acceptance by God? Or the Jews, who were still bolstering the idea that the coming Messiah must not be crucified, or that gentiles should be excluded from the community?
For our communities in Christ, let’s pray Psalm 139 like this:
“Investigate [our lives], O God, find out everything about [us];
Cross-examine and test [us], get a clear picture of what [we’re] about;
See for yourself whether [we’ve] done anything wrong—then guide [us] on the road to eternal life.”
(Psalm 139:23-24) The Message Bible