1 & 2 CORINTHIANS - Christ is our Sanctification.
The Apostle Paul writes to the disciples that came to the Lord when he was in Corinth. He had stayed there for over a year, working as a tentmaker, with the help of Aquila and his wife, Pricilla. (Acts 18) The Jews opposed Paul so he then went to the Gentiles. They received him and learnt much of God`s word.
`And he (Paul) continued there (Corinth) a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.` (Acts 18: 11)
Then after some time Paul moved on to other places to preach that Jesus is both Lord and Saviour. Then there came reports concerning the believers at Corinth that there were divisions among them, carnal behaviour and controversies. All these are addressed in the letters to the believers at Corinth.
`For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe`s household, that there are contentions among you.` (1 Cor. 1: 11)
The city of Corinth was the most important city of Greece in Paul`s day and its wealth was fabulous. Luxury and immorality were rampant among the population. There was much culture and art, plus study of philosophy and their gods were gods of pleasure. Thus it was that this worldliness had come right into the midst of the believers.
There were divisions among them; believers going to law against other believers; behaviour at communion was disgraceful; even contention over spiritual gifts. Finally the believers wrote Paul about these things, and asked his advice on the matter. The two letters to the Corinthians were written in answer to their requests.
The Apostle Paul addresses each matter and then goes on to explain how believers should act. He spoke of living a life pleasing to the Lord, and being members of one body, caring for each other and using the spiritual gifts for building up the Body.
`For by one Spirit we were baptised into one body.......(and) the members should have the same care for one another.` (1 Cor. 12 & 25)
In Paul`s letter to the Romans, we find the theme to be salvation - righteousness through Jesus. In these letters to the Corinthians he enlarges it into the life of righteousness in the believer. This comes through sanctification, the work of the Holy Spirit whereby the mind and affections of the believer are purified from all control by sin. It is a process that the believer is active in.
`Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.` (2 Cor. 3: 17 & 18)