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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


 

Daily Boost

 

March 10, 2010 - The Church in the Mirror

By George Paul Wood

Every morning, as I get ready for work, I look at myself in the mirror and see a perfect image of myself — in reverse.

The church in Corinth is a church in the mirror. Everything is in reverse. The church is supposed to be united, but it is divided (1 Corinthians 1:10—4:21). It is supposed to be sexually moral, but it is sexually immoral (5:1-13, 6:12-20). It is supposed to resolve conflicts, but it is riven by lawsuits (6:1-11). First Corinthians is Paul’s response to problems he had either heard about (1:10—6:20) or read about in a letter (7:1—16:12). Morally and theologically, the church in Corinth is the mirror image of what it should be.

And so, at the start of his letter, Paul reminds the Corinthians of whom they should be.

“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…” (1:2, NIV).

Notice four things:

First, the church is God’s church. The Corinthian church was a partisan bunch who proudly lined up behind their favorite apostle, and then fought over which of those apostles was most important. One group upped the spiritual ante by lining up behind Jesus, but evidently, even they were acting out of pride and partisanship too (1:10-12). The apostles themselves, like Paul, no doubt frowned on these antics. Why? Because the church does not belong to Paul or Peter or Apollos (the three leaders Paul specifically names). It belongs to God. There can be no end to the divisions that still plague the church until we get clear on this basic point.

Second, the church is in but not of the world. Gordon Fee described Corinth as “at once the New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas of the ancient world.” It was a center of commerce, entertainment and loose living. The historian Strabo coined the term corinthianize to describe the gross sexual immorality of old Corinth. (The city may have changed by Paul’s day.) But instead of resisting the city’s sins, the church perpetuated them. It was both in and of Corinth.

Third, the church both was and is in process of becoming holy. In Greek, the words sanctified and holy are related: hagiazo and hagios. In Christ Jesus, God has made — past tense — the church holy. But in Christ Jesus, he also calls — present tense — the church to be holy. We ought to become what, in Christ, we already are. Holy people should become holier (without getting holier than thou, I might add).

And finally, the church is universal. The church is in Corinth, but it’s also in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Our little corner of the world hasn’t cornered the Jesus market. He doesn’t belong to us; we belong to Him, and to everyone else who calls on His name.

Today, let’s be the church God intended, not its mirror image!

— George Paul Wood is director of Ministerial Resources for the Assemblies of God and author of The Daily Word online devotionals.

 

 

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