Holy smokes! Last night, and again this morning, I was reading 1 Corinthians 1. The context is straightforward: Paul is writing to some old friends in the 1st Century city of Corinth. He's writing to friends in the gospel, friend to whom he preached the amazing news that God had become a man in the person of Jesus, died for them, and rose again from the dead in order to bring about their redemption, forgiveness, etc. Many of the people in what was a very contemporary city in Asia Minor embraced the good news that Paul brought to them. Once they began following Jesus they had been gifted with many gifts of the Spirit, given to them for the work of engaging in Jesus' mission to redeem the whole world from the deadly effects of sin, death, and the devil.
As you might suspect, there are problems in this church, problems that will become more clear as the letter unfolds. There are sects within the church who are beginning to believe that their are levels of knowledge within God's economy of spiritual growth. This led, among other things, to an idolization of their favorite respective leaders, hence the comment by Paul that some are arguing about who they follow (v. 12). If these people were on facebook they would have had those little posts that say, "Sally Jane is now a fan of Cephas," or "Bruce is now a fan of Christ."
Paul had to open up a can, and expose their debates for what they were: quarreling! I love the fact that he couldn't even remember whom he had baptized! That's the scripture I refer to when I can't remember if I did a wedding, baptism, or if I got all the kids out of the car after going to the grocery store!
Then comes his first blow against this false knowledge garbage, the belief that their was more to know than Christ as it concerns reaching spiritual maturity. I couldn't stop pondering vv. 26-30, especially, "He [God] is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption." Everything I can ever hope to attain in terms of wisdom, holiness, right standing before God and others, and ultimate redemption is bound up completely in the person of Christ Jesus. It's all in Him.
The implications and applications for that are endless, but I'm still pondering what that means for a guy who wants to make an impact in this great city and who never feels smart enough, strong enough, righteous enough, or connected enough. Being any of those things would actually disqualify me from having an impact ministry since God has already decided to use the foolish, the weak, and the low to change the world through the simple proclamation of Jesus Christ.
I've got all I need to make a difference, and so do you. I've got nothing to defend, nothing to work for, nothing to try and maintain in terms of access to God's power and wisdom and might. Pretty cool!