KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:20)
Chapter 5 begins the second major division of the epistle. In these chapters, Paul was writing to this group of believers to address a variety of issues that had arisen and were severely affecting the unity of the church. Basically, the Christian faith was under attack in Corinth.
Although the Corinthian converts had broken from idolatry and stepped out of the corruption of their society to form a local church, it was imperative for them to realize that the Gospel does not tolerate compromise. There must be a clean break with the old sinful lifestyle, and it was at this point the Corinthian believers had faltered.
In addition, the Corinthians needed to understand the supreme importance of love in order to build and preserve unity among their members. Followers of Christ cannot be in unity if they are in conflict with one another, and this was a primary issue in the church at Corinth.
Non-believers watched the Early Church, much as they do today, to see if Christians lived the message they preached. Paul desired for the Corinthian church to grow spiritually and mature into the Spirit-led believers he knew they could be. How could a church reach out to those in need of the Gospel when they are bickering from within? So many issues were unresolved in Corinth that the Holy Spirit was hindered. When hearts of believers are in unity with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit is able to move on their behalf, convicting sinners, healing the sick in body and spirit, and moving believers to a closer walk with God.
As in any church, those at Corinth were in different stages of growth. Many were truly “babes in Christ.” Others were slow to abandon their pagan ways. Because of this, they did not know the answers to questions that arose and they needed guidance. Paul offered that guidance — a sort of “how to” manual; gentle when appropriate, but in many cases up front and to the point. Some of the key issues needing to be addressed included: fornication, marriage, discipline within the church, handling differences with fellow believers, caring for those who were weaker in the faith, eating food that had been offered to idols, and proper conduct at the Lord’s Supper.
The Gospel message is plain and simple. Paul encouraged the church to pursue a bond of unity with this being the focus.
Paul had a desire for the church at Corinth to have unity with the Spirit of God. We should have that same desire for our church today, and be taking steps to ensure that we are building the unity of the Body of Christ, not tearing it down.