1 Corinthians 5-8
What a year we have had… and that’s about all I am going to say on that
Diving into the chapters for today I am reminded how many good bits Paul has in these letters! Sometimes I envision Paul as a public speaker just because his words can pack such an impactful punch that makes me stop and go, “Woah.”
In all the great one-liners throughout these chapters I was made aware of one theme that Paul was trying to get the church in Corinth to understand. Ultimately, Paul was trying to get the church to look at themselves introspectively and fix their body of believers. 1 Corinthians 5:12 sums his idea up nicely as he writes “For what business is it of mine to judge outsiders? Don’t you judge those who are inside?”
Here Paul is basically calling this church out for being self-righteous. He explains to them the difference in expectations for those who are called believers and those who are not (1 Corinthians 5:11; 7:15). Paul is not saying anything in these few chapters about how the church should be bringing outsiders to truth or spreading the Gospel (but don’t worry, that Good News message is coming later) because he knows that they will be ineffective in that area until they can rebuild and refocus their own body of believers.
When I look at our global Church today, I think we need to take this same introspective approach before we can be as effective in spreading the Word. While every individual church looks different, globally the Church has been struggling to balance the extremes of our world. Some churches are hateful and judgmental to those unlike them, while others celebrate and condone individual choices that directly go against what the Bible says is righteous. Both kinds of churches are ignoring the message from this particular passage; Show respect and love to all while keeping believers on the path of righteousness. It is as simple, and as complex, as that.
When you look at your own church, or even your own family, where do you see room for improvement within this message? Our world is hurting right now, and clearly in need of grace, hope, and redemption that Jesus offers. Are you in a position to show this same grace, hope, and message of redemption to outsiders? If you are, are you acting on that? And if not, what needs to happen for you to get to this place? I encourage you to take time today to consider where you stand on this area and ask God to show you where He wants you to be instead. I know for myself I always have room to grow.
I look forward to journeying through these letters with you over this next week! I am always struck by how much God can speak through these devotions, and I hope you are too.
-Sarah (Blanchard) Johnson
Today’s Bible reading passage can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – 1 Corinthians 5-8.
Tomorrow we continue with chapters 9-11.