1 Corinthians 1** The Corinthian church contained some Jews, but more Gentiles,and the apostle had to contend with the superstition of the one,and the sinful conduct of the other. The peace of this churchwas disturbed by false teachers, who undermined the influence ofthe apostle. Two parties were the result; one contendingearnestly for the Jewish ceremonies, the other indulging inexcesses contrary to the gospel, to which they were especiallyled by the luxury and the sins which prevailed around them. Thisepistle was written to rebuke some disorderly conduct, of whichthe apostle had been apprized, and to give advice as to somepoints whereon his judgment was requested by the Corinthians.Thus the scope was twofold. 1. To apply suitable remedies to thedisorders and abuses which prevailed among them. 2. To givesatisfactory answers on all the points upon which his advice hadbeen desired. The address, and Christian mildness, yet firmness,with which the apostle writes, and goes on from general truthsdirectly to oppose the errors and evil conduct of theCorinthians, is very remarkable. He states the truth and thewill of God, as to various matters, with great force of argumentand animation of style. * A salutation and thanksgiving. (1-9) Exhortation to brotherlylove, and reproof for divisions. (10-16) The doctrine of acrucified Saviour, as advancing the glory of God, (17-25) andhumbling the creature before him. (26-31)1-9 All Christians are by baptism dedicated and devoted toChrist, and are under strict obligations to be holy. But in thetrue church of God are all who are sanctified in Christ Jesus,called to be saints, and who call upon him as God manifest inthe flesh, for all the blessings of salvation; who acknowledgeand obey him as their Lord, and as Lord of all; it includes noother persons. Christians are distinguished from the profane andatheists, that they dare not live without prayer; and they aredistinguished from Jews and pagans, that they call on the nameof Christ. Observe how often in these verses the apostle repeatsthe words, Our Lord Jesus Christ. He feared not to make toofrequent or too honourable mention of him. To all who calledupon Christ, the apostle gave his usual salutation, desiring, intheir behalf, the pardoning mercy, sanctifying grace, andcomforting peace of God, through Jesus Christ. Sinners can haveno peace with God, nor any from him, but through Christ. Hegives thanks for their conversion to the faith of Christ; thatgrace was given them by Jesus Christ. They had been enriched byhim with all spiritual gifts. He speaks of utterance andknowledge. And where God has given these two gifts, he has givengreat power for usefulness. These were gifts of the Holy Ghost,by which God bore witness to the apostles. Those that wait forthe coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, will be kept by him to theend; and those that are so, will be blameless in the day ofChrist, made so by rich and free grace. How glorious are thehopes of such a privilege; to be kept by the power of Christ,from the power of our corruptions and Satan's temptations! 10-16 In the great things of religion be of one mind; and wherethere is not unity of sentiment, still let there be union ofaffection. Agreement in the greater things should extinguishdivisions about the lesser. There will be perfect union inheaven, and the nearer we approach it on earth, the nearer wecome to perfection. Paul and Apollos both were faithfulministers of Jesus Christ, and helpers of their faith and joy;but those disposed to be contentious, broke into parties. Soliable are the best things to be corrupted, and the gospel andits institutions made engines of discord and contention. Satanhas always endeavoured to stir up strife among Christians, asone of his chief devices against the gospel. The apostle left itto other ministers to baptize, while he preached the gospel, asa more useful work. 17-25 Paul had been bred up in Jewish learning; but the plainpreaching of a crucified Jesus, was more powerful than all theoratory and philosophy of the heathen world. This is the sum andsubstance of the gospel. Christ crucified is the foundation ofall our hopes, the fountain of all our joys. And by his death welive. The preaching of salvation for lost sinners by thesufferings and death of the Son of God, if explained andfaithfully applied, appears foolishness to those in the way todestruction. The sensual, the covetous, the proud, andambitious, alike see that the gospel opposes their favouritepursuits. But those who receive the gospel, and are enlightenedby the Spirit of God, see more of God's wisdom and power in thedoctrine of Christ crucified, than in all his other works. Godleft a great part of the world to follow the dictates of man'sboasted reason, and the event has shown that human wisdom isfolly, and is unable to find or retain the knowledge of God asthe Creator. It pleased him, by the foolishness of preaching, tosave them that believe. By the foolishness of preaching; not bywhat could justly be called foolish preaching. But the thingpreached was foolishness to wordly-wise men. The gospel everwas, and ever will be, foolishness to all in the road todestruction. The message of Christ, plainly delivered, ever hasbeen a sure touchstone by which men may learn what road they aretravelling. But the despised doctrine of salvation by faith in acrucified Saviour, God in human nature, purchasing the churchwith his own blood, to save multitudes, even all that believe,from ignorance, delusion, and vice, has been blessed in everyage. And the weakest instruments God uses, are stronger in theireffects, than the strongest men can use. Not that there isfoolishness or weakness in God, but what men consider as such,overcomes all their admired wisdom and strength. 26-31 God did not choose philosophers, nor orators, norstatesmen, nor men of wealth, and power, and interest in theworld, to publish the gospel of grace and peace. He best judgeswhat men and what measures serve the purposes of his glory.Though not many noble are usually called by Divine grace, therehave been some such in every age, who have not been ashamed ofthe gospel of Christ; and persons of every rank stand in need ofpardoning grace. Often, a humble Christian, though poor as tothis world, has more true knowledge of the gospel, than thosewho have made the letter of Scripture the study of their lives,but who have studied it rather as the witness of men, than asthe word of God. And even young children have gained suchknowledge of Divine truth as to silence infidels. The reason is,they are taught of God; the design is, that no flesh shouldglory in his presence. That distinction, in which alone theymight glory, was not of themselves. It was by the sovereignchoice and regenerating grace of God, that they were in JesusChrist by faith. He is made of God to us wisdom, righteousness,sanctification, and redemption; all we need, or can desire. Andhe is made wisdom to us, that by his word and Spirit, and fromhis fulness and treasures of wisdom and knowledge, we mayreceive all that will make us wise unto salvation, and fit forevery service to which we are called. We are guilty, liable tojust punishment; and he is made righteousness, our greatatonement and sacrifice. We are depraved and corrupt, and he ismade sanctification, that he may in the end be made completeredemption; may free the soul from the being of sin, and loosethe body from the bonds of the grave. And this is, that allflesh, according to the prophecy by Jeremiah, #Jer 9:23-24|, mayglory in the special favour, all-sufficient grace, and precioussalvation of Jehovah.
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