To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours. (1 Corinthians 1:2)
Those In Christ In The Church
The church at Corinth faced many problems as evident by the first letter of the apostle Paul to this challenged church. They had internal strife, doctrinal missteps, rebellious spirits and a host of things that would have destroyed most groups. Through the writing of Paul and admonition of the Holy Spirit, the second letter to Corinth seems to show they corrected many of these problems. A remarkable part of the first letter is not the content of the letter but how Paul begins his letter. He knows what he must address to the church and all of the things the Lord was very displeased with what they were doing. His tenor was going to be harsh, pointed, and demanding changes be made. His beginning shows wisdom in dealing with a difficult situation and the real nature of the disciples in the church of Christ. First he refers to the brethren as a church of God which is exactly what they were. With all the problems they still were a people of God and Paul wanted to know that. The church is made up of sinners trying to find their way through life with a few regrets as possible. As the church is made up of people there will be struggles such as found in Corinth. Reading the first letter to the Corinthians one would wonder how anyone could worship at such a place. Jesus would later tell the saints at Sardis that while the Lord viewed the church as dead there were still some that would walk with Him in white. Corinth was a church that belonged to God and He loved them. They would respond to the teaching of Paul showing the grace of the Lord to give them time to correct the matters that were concerning. Corinth was a church of God.
When Paul spoke of the people who made up the church of God at Corinth he referred to them by three descriptions. First he referred to the members as those who were sanctified in Christ Jesus. The meaning of sanctification is to be set apart to holiness. This is a paradox considering what Paul was about to write about the problems at Corinth but the church of God remains a place for sanctified people. Those in Christ are to be set apart for holy living. Implied in the description is the need for the brethren to change their lives to emulate the character of Jesus. Secondly Paul calls the brethren saints or to show them they are what they are called to be. They were members together of a spiritual community given to higher ideals found in Jesus Christ. The modern religious world has destroyed the real meaning of a saint and taken away the Biblical use of a term endearing to the nature of God’s children. Paul wanted the brethren to know they had a nobler calling to live for than the carnality that plagued the church of God at Corinth. They were saints and should live as such. As sanctified people of God in Christ Jesus and part of the church of God at Corinth they should look at themselves as the saints of the Lord living with the character of holiness. Finally Paul calls the people of Corinth by the character that set them apart from the pagan world they lived in and those who opposed righteousness; he referred to them as those who called on the name of Jesus Christ. Children of God call upon the name of Jesus Christ as their Lord, Savior and King. Those who call upon the Lord worship Him, honor Him and pledge their devotion to Him. The members of the church of God at Corinth were sanctified, saints and people who called on the name of Jesus Christ.
Those in Christ Jesus are part of the church that belongs to God. What sets them apart from the world is their sanctification to the holy word of God and holy lives. The measure of their life is based upon a relationship with the Lord walking in the steps of Jesus Christ. Sanctification is a visible means of showing the world a higher walk of life. Professing to be a Christian and not living in the word is hypocritical and contrary to the purpose of being called out of the world. Those called from the world should leave the things of the world and live like saints who are called to form their lives by the grace of God. Saints are all the people of God who have dedicated themselves to growing in Christ, meditating on the word of God, walking according to truth and in the light and serving the will of the Father as their only guide. It is special to be called a saint but only because the blood of Christ that takes away the stain of sin. Holiness is the character of a saint because they are calling on the name of the Lord as their King and Lord. Allegiance is found in the name of Christ serving as a faithful servant. Calling on the name of the Lord is a manner of living. Everyone will hear the voice of God in the lives of those who spend their days calling on the His name. What they will hear is the glory of God in each part of the life of the saint. The church of God at Corinth was filled with those sanctified, saints and calling on the name of the Lord kinds of people that God loved. May we strive to be like Corinth. Sanctified. Saints. Calling on the name of the Lord.