Todays readings.. Exodus 31&32, Psalm 89, 1 Corinthians 1&2
Once again we have an overflow of challenging thoughts in today’s readings. Paul’s words particularly arrested our attention. “I appeal to you brothers by the name of our Lord that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment” [1 Cor. 1 v.10-11].
This is essential among those who follow Christ, but in Corinth they were in disarray because they were following leaders. Paul stresses that the only way believers can be united is to follow Christ, and to do that they should seek to possess the “mind of Christ” [1 Cor.2 v.16] and Paul set them an example to follow.
“God is faithful,” writes Paul, “by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” [1 v.9] God is faithful to those who say they are committing their lives to him – and looks for faithfulness in response. A tragic example of failure is the situation we read today in Exodus 32: so utterly tragic after the people had witnessed so much evidence of the Divine presence at Mt. Sinai. We must accept the lessons in our daily reading of the Bible of how, after evidence of divine presence and blessings has been given, God may put people to the test to prove their faithfulness.
Paul writes about the challenge of “the cross” [v.18]. The message of “the cross is folly to those who are perishing.” The Corinthians had been attracted by the dynamics of the Christian movement and they “are not lacking in any spiritual gift” [1 v.7].
So many in Corinth wanted the experiences the church offered but failed to put their minds to understand that Paul “preached Christ crucified, a message that was “a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles” [1 v.23]
Paul’s understanding of God’s objective in his testing is this: “God chose what is low and despised in the world … so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” [1 v.28-29]
Where there is boasting and human ego, believers will never be united. So often in serving Christ, those seeking leadership, or looking for leaders to follow, are elevating men: this attitude destroys unity. Our unity needs to be based, not on human wisdom, but on the wisdom that is from above (read James 3 v.17,18).
True wisdom is totally lacking in the world today in both material and spiritual things. We must recognise the influence of this on us and Paul’s message to the Corinthians is full of encouragement for them to develop spiritual vision, for “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” [1 Cor. 2 v.9] and who are “united in the same mind.”