1 Corinthians 1.1-17 Alternative Attitude
Grace Makes Us Thankful
After his brief salutation Paul is remarkably positive about this church. He is full of thanksgiving for them. But how can this be so when he is about to open up a can on them? It is because of Paul’s mature gospel based perspective. Do we really understand thankfulness as described and displayed here by Paul?
Without thankfulness we betray an evil heart of unbelief (Romans 1). So we must guard our hearts against ingratitude and learn from the Holy Spirit ways of maintaining a thankful heart.
Remember this is a grace thing – a gospel thing. It cannot be manipulated, true thankfulness is gospel driven.
Grace Promotes Unity
In the third paragraph (10-17) we have Paul’s opening salvo against the fundamental failings of the church. They have written to him about a few things (7.1) – but he will not touch on them until he has got some things off his own chest. He has been told that there is serious division amongst them.
There is nothing about Paul’s message and ministry that should naturally lead to factionalism and party spirit. So another influence is at work here. The culture of Corinth was affected by an obsession with popular orators – who had a kind of rock star image. The believers in Corinth had transferred some of that man-centred hubris into the church, imagining that they belong to a particular team in the congregation – not realising that the preachers themselves – including Paul were simply servants.
Paul brings them back down to earth by pointing out the centrality and sufficiency of Jesus and his work.