Devotional/Reflection: The problem of division in the Corinthian church is not only an issue of pride, as chapter one suggested, but it is also an issue of identity. Too often Christians struggle with finding our identity in things on the periphery. Maybe you have witnessed, as I have, divisions among Christian brothers and sisters over secondary issues like Calvinism, the age of the earth, or proper administration of the sacraments. These are important issues, and they should be discussed, but they should not be issues of division. Yet we, like the Corinthian church, often focus on the things on the periphery such that we get further and further away from the center. The center, of course, is Christ. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:6-16, that wisdom of Christ crucified, which was the focus of 1:18-2:5, was the mystery hidden through the ages. That mystery has now been revealed, and powerfully through the Holy Spirit. But in contrast to the Holy Spirit in this passage is the spirit of the world. Paul’s point here is to contrast the present age with the age to come. However, although we do not find our ultimate hope in what we see in the present, being a spiritual person does not mean we are anti-earth; rather, we are against the present evil age. The balance the Christian must strike is a delicate one, living as though who work towards and hope for the age to come while not abandoning this present age. Many we come in contact with will find this confusing, likely even foolish–but that is to be expected, since the natural person does not understand the things of God. We, however, have the mind of Christ, which for Paul is a reminder to possess the humility of Christ, an attitude that abolishes divisiveness. Therefore, Paul’s point in this passage is that the Corinthian church, and we as well, can overcome disunity by finding our identity in Christ and remembering that we posses the Spirit of God that helps us overcome the world, the flesh, and the Devil.
- In what ways have you experienced divisiveness in Christian community?
- How can we learn to better understand and experience the Spirit of God?
- How do you seek to live faithfully in the present yet with a hope in the coming age?
- How is the Spirit revealing to you the goodness of the God we serve?
- How has God accomplished His purposes in your life in unexpected ways?
Scripture Memory: “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.”–1 Corinthians 2:12