1 Jan 2001

Were the Corinthian letters written to unbelievers?

Submitted by theshovel
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You don't think that Paul wrote this letter to unbelievers, too, do you? Anonymous

You are correct in saying that the whole letter of 1 Corinthians is to the church, however, everything he wrote wasn't necessarily about the believers. What do I mean? Read all the way through the letter and then even through 2 Corinthians and you will discover that Paul addresses many things about:

false apostles, deceitful workers ... disguised as ... servants of righteousness 2 Corinthians 11:13,15

Some AMONG YOU say there is no resurrection of the dead ... Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for SOME have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame. 1 Corinthians 15:12,34

There are many such references to the fact that deceivers had infiltrated their ranks and were leading the believers by the nose (the cause of their sinning). There is a re-occurring theme in 1 Corinthians that the believers had become dull in knowing who they really were. No wonder. they had been adopting the mindset of the world from those who desired to deceive them. Paul wanted these brothers of his to wise up, for their ignorance of the life they had been called to and had grown in was shameful. But he made no mistake about those who were born of the Spirit and had the mind of Christ. Where Paul could have slammed the believers for their sinning (because they were indeed manifesting many of the things he mentioned) he instead says this incredible thing,

And such WERE some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Remember what Paul had said near the beginning of the letter:

For I determined to know NOTHING AMONG YOU EXCEPT CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED. 1 Corinthians 2:2

He brought up examples of their day-to-day existence to tie it in with the mindset of the world so that they would be shaken from their stupor. These believers were having an identity crisis. It is true that all believers by birthright, love the Lord. This is the miracle ... it is the major change between the old and new. In the Old Covenant they had failed. This meant (among other things) that NO ONE HAD REALLY LOVED GOD OR HIS NEIGHBOR (except for those miraculous interventions when the Spirit had come upon people for a length of time ... which provided a shadow of what was coming).

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. John 13:34

When Jesus said this to his disciples, he was not pleading with them, he was speaking its reality into being. Loving one another is the trademark of the Spirit of Christ within a person. No wonder Paul was so upset that they had let "the wisdom of the world" dull the reality of the MIRACULOUS work of God within them. Those who do not love the Lord are those in whom their is no Spirit. And then, if that was the case, why would Paul bring it up there? It almost seems irrelevant. But until you put it into context and realize that the people Paul was referring to had names, and that the believers knew these people by name, and had been afraid to call things as they were, that they had allowed the wisdom of the world to bring the old back into their daily living because these people who OBVIOUSLY did NOT love the Lord (except by "lipservice") were leading them ... it takes on a whole new meaning. I sure hope I didn't totally lose you there. :) Love, Jim

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Random Shovelquote: Former religious imaginations (view all shovelquotes)

My assumptions of what grace and life in Christ look like often reflect my former religious imaginations.   source