| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 45 - Page 57 of 251 Index | Zoom | |
(16: 17). These may be seen in the recurring phrase "now concerning" (peri de 7: 1,
25; 8: 1; 12: 1; 16: 1, 2). There were problems too about spiritual gifts. Some were
placing too much emphasis upon the gift of tongues and upon these gifts in general,
which appeared to be producing pride. Furthermore the gifts were not being used in an
orderly or balanced manner. One can therefore readily see that guidance and warning
through an epistle was absolutely necessary.
Before we go any further, it will be helpful to give the outline of the epistle as a whole:
A | 1: 1-9. Waiting for the Coming of the Lord.
B | 1: 10 - 4: 21. "IT HATH BEEN DECLARED UNTO ME."
C | 5: 1 - 14: 40. The Body, physically, spiritually, ecclesiastically.
B | 15: "I DECLARE UNTO YOU."--the gospel and the resurrection.
The antidote to their errors.
A | 16: Maranatha. The Lord cometh.
The first section revolves around these words, calling, confirmation, coming. The
word "call" occurs in the first two verses. In each case the A.V. supplies the words
"to be" though they are lacking in the original. Whether they are supplied or not, truth is
stated, for Paul was a `called Apostle' by none less than the risen Christ, and so was
obviously called to exercise apostolic functions. Likewise in verse 2 the Corinthians
were `called saint' (holy ones), through the salvation and grace of God, and certainly
should have been saints in their everyday lives, though it is manifest from the epistle that
many of them were anything but saintly in their walk. Here is a good example of the
difference between state and standing in Christ. As God sees us in His Son, with all His
holiness reckoned ours, we are indeed perfect and complete in Him. In ourselves, and in
our experience and walk day by day, we come a long way behind such a glorious
position, but it should be a constant concern to us to seek to balance state and standing in
the strength of the risen Saviour.
Paul links Sosthenes with himself in the opening salutation. We read of a Sosthenes
in Acts 18: 17 who was a ruler of the Corinthian synagogue and was brought before
Gallio's judgment seat and beaten. The book of the Acts does not tell us that this
Sosthenes became a believer, so we cannot say dogmatically that the Sosthenes of our
epistle is the same person, but the probability is that he was. Not only does the Apostle
refer to the Divine calling of the Corinthian believers, but he states that the epistle is "to
them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus" (2). The basic meaning of sanctification is
separation in a twofold way: separated to and separated from. Basically God separates
His children to and for Himself and His will. This is the first and positive aspect of
sanctification. Secondly, all such are separated from everything that is opposed to His
will. This is the negative aspect. We need to take care to stress the positive side first.
Failure to do this has resulted in a man-made narrowness and finally in nunneries and
monasteries. This is a false separation which can lead to barrenness and spiritual pride.
Once we have realized fully what it means to be claimed by God for Himself, we shall
see clearly that the old sinful nature and the spirit of the world which lies in Satan's
power, must not intrude or be allowed to mix with such a position.