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1. Divisions in the Church

1Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2unto the church of God which is at Corinth, even them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, their Lord and ours: 3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4I thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus; 5that in everything ye were enriched in him, in all utterance and all knowledge; 6even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ; 8who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye be unreproveable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful, through whom ye were called into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 10Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11For it hath been signified unto me concerning you, my brethren, by them that are of the household of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12Now this I mean, that each one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos: and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized into the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I baptized none of you, save Crispus and Gaius; 15lest any man should say that ye were baptized into my name. 16And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. 17For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not in wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made void. 18For the word of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written,

I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,

And the discernment of the discerning will I bring to nought.

20Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe. 22Seeing that Jews ask for signs, and Greeks seek after wisdom: 23but we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumblingblock, and unto Gentiles foolishness; 24but unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26For behold your calling, brethren, that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put to shame them that are wise; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong; 28and the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, did God choose, yea and the things that are not, that he might bring to nought the things that are: 29that no flesh should glory before God. 30But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: 31that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

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9. God is faithful When the Scripture speaks of God as faithful the meaning in many cases is, that in God there is steadfastness and evenness of tenor, so that what he begins he prosecutes to the end, 5050     Calvin probably refers to the following (among other) passagess: — 1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; Hebrews 10:23. as Paul himself says elsewhere, that the calling of God is without repentance (Romans 11:29.) Hence, in my opinion, the meaning of this passage is, that God is steadfast in what he purposes. This being the case, he consequently does not make sport as to his calling, but will unceasingly take care of his work. 5151     “La vocation done qu’il fait d’un chacun des siens, n’est point un jeu, et en les appellant il ne se mocque point, ainsi il entretiendra et pour suyura son ceuvre perpetuellement;” — “The calling, therefore, that he makes of each of his own, is not mere play; and in calling them he does not make sport, but will unceasingly maintain and prosecute his work.” From God’s past benefits we ought always to hope well as to the future. Paul, however, has something higher in view, for he argues that the Corinthians cannot be cast off, having been once called by the Lord into Christ’s fellowship. To apprehend fully, however, the force of this argument, let us observe first of all, that every one ought to regard his calling as a token of his election. Farther, although one cannot judge with the same certainty as to another’s election, yet we must always in the judgment of charity conclude that all that are called are called to salvation; I mean efficaciously and fruitfully. Paul, however, directed his discourse to those in whom the word of the Lord had taken root, and in whom some fruits of it had been produced.

Should any one object that many who have once received the word afterwards fall away, I answer that the Spirit alone is to every one a faithful and sure witness of his election, upon which perseverance depends. This, however, did not stand in the way of Paul’s being persuaded, in the judgment of charity, that the calling of the Corinthians would prove firm and immovable, as being persons in whom he saw the tokens of God’s fatherly benevolence. These things, however, do not by any means tend to beget carnal security, to divest us of which the Scriptures frequently remind us of our weakness, but simply to confirm our confidence in the Lord. Now this was needful, in order that their minds might not be disheartened on discovering so many faults, as he comes afterwards to present before their view. The sum of all this may be stated thus, — that it is the part of Christian candor to hope well of all who have entered on the right way of salvation, and are still persevering in that course, notwithstanding that they are at the same time still beset with really distempers. Every one of us, too, from the time of his being illuminated (Hebrews 10:32) by the Spirit of God in the knowledge of Christ, ought to conclude with certainty from this that he has been adopted by the Lord to an inheritance of eternal life. For effectual calling ought to be to believers an evidence of divine adoption; yet in the meantime we must all walk with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12.) On this point I shall touch again to some extent when we come to the tenth chapter.

Into the fellowship. Instead of this rendering Erasmus translates it into partnership The old interpreter renders it society I have preferred, however, to render it fellowship, as bringing out better the force of the Greek word κοινωνιας 5252     Calvin in his Institutes, (volume 2,) after speaking of Christ’s being represented by Paul as “offered to us in the gospel with all the abundance of heavenly blessings, with all his merits, all his righteousness, wisdom, and grace, without exception,” remarks — “And what is meant by the fellowship κοινωνια of Christ, which, according to the same apostle (1 Corinthians 1:9) is offered to us in the gospel, all believers know.” — Ed For this is the design of the gospel, that Christ may become ours, and that we may be engrafted into his body. Now when the Father gives him to us in possession, he also communicates himself to us in him; and hence arises a participation in every benefit. Paul’s argument, then, is this — “Since you have, by means of the gospel which you have received by faith, been called into the fellowship of Christ, you have no reason to dread the danger of death, 5353     “La mort et perdition;” — “Death and perdition.” having been made partakers of him (Hebrews 3:14) who rose a conqueror over death.” In fine, when the Christian looks to himself he finds only occasion for trembling, or rather for despair; but having been called into the fellowship of Christ, he ought, in so far as assurance of salvation is concerned, to think of himself no otherwise than as a member of Christ, so as to reckon all Christ’s benefits his own. Thus he will obtain an unwavering hope of final perseverance, (as it is called,) if he reckons himself a member of him who is beyond all hazard of falling away.




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