The Gospel and the Good Life Are Countercultural

The Gospel and the Good Life Are Countercultural

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Numerous themes found in 1 Corinthians 1:1–25 also appear in this week’s verses (1:26–3:32). We see Paul, once again, zeroing in on division’s threats to unity. He reiterates the fact that spiritual gifts, social status, and a fundamental misunderstanding of the gospel are cutting to the core of the congregation in Corinth. While the foundation that he laid cannot be changed (otherwise it will not be the same foundation!), it does appear that cracks are beginning to form.

It is a powerful analogy. Today, some are attempting to either take a jackhammer to or pave over the longstanding gospel foundation that Paul laid. That, however, is all in vain. Any new foundation attempting to replace the apostolic one, handed down through historic Christianity, is unworthy of building upon. Such a foundation is weak, deficient, and nothing more than a façade that will come crashing down. In our society, cultural fads are plentiful. Acts of modifying the gospel to avoid social ostracism or persecution abound. A clarion call needs to be reissued to the church. When read with fully open eyes and ears, Paul’s epistle does just that.

This is an entry from Michael Halcomb’s Bible study, The First Letter to the Corinthians.

If First Corinthians was a show, it might be slotted into the daytime melodrama genre. This letter has it all: fighting, sex, jealousy, divorce, money, and death. Like many of the apostle’s works, First Corinthians reminds us how dysfunctional the early church was. Two thousand years on, the church’s warts show no sign of fading. In some ways, that’s good news. If Paul held out hope for this stunted community, God’s people today are in no less position to receive his transforming and sanctifying grace.

The difference is that we have the opportunity to learn from their moral failures, not to mention their gross misunderstanding of the gospel. But it’s also a cautionary tale—many of the behaviors celebrated within the church today are patterns the founders of our faith ardently opposed. Thus, we’re left to wonder: Can this epistle offer some guidance on such things? Amid the turmoil present in this letter and paralleled in our present world, there is hope. This study will walk us through a vision of what a life of faith in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, can look like.

Perfect for:

  • Sunday school classes
  • Weeknight small groups
  • Individual Bible study

In these pages you’ll:

  • Gain an in-depth understanding of the Apostle Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians
  • See parallels between the ancient church’s struggles and our modern context
  • Appreciate how the saving grace of God in Christ transforms us into his holy people

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