When we take a good hard look at the Corinthian church, what we see is a first century church, that was still in the formation process. The believers which comprised this church at Corinth, were from all walks of life, but the one thing they all had in common besides the new birth experience which is found in Jesus Christ, was they were all BABES there were none which could be called elders. They also didn’t have the Bible in which to study, they were Heathens, Pagans, and Jews.
In studying the history of the church, you will find in most cases, these Epistles were the only things they had, and they were usually written because of some kind of misunderstanding, or problems arising within the church, which had to be addressed, by Paul, Peter, and the others, to once again set in order the things which they had taught before.
Try to imagine for a moment, what it must have been like to belong to the first church, (in any area) Corinth, Emphasis, Colossi, Galatia, Thessalonica. It must have been a mess, people coming from all kinds of backgrounds, with all levels of understanding, but at the same time, everyone didn’t have any more knowledge than anyone else, they were all beginners, starting at the same time.
The Heathens, and Pagans going back into their old practices, (Idolatry, Witchcraft) because that is what they knew, they were familiar, plus all of the people they use to know that didn’t get Saved, they were still living within the same areas as they were before, making it hard to break the ties with the old life, and walk in the new one. Then there were the Jews, doing exactly the same things as the Heathens, and Pagans were doing, in that they were trying to get everyone to follow the law, because this Christianity did come out of Judaism, therefore to them it was nothing more than just another SECT of Judaism, as the Sadducees, and the Pharisees were.
Then we have to throw into the mix, those which were called Judaisers, which were sent in by the Devout Jews, to disrupt the new Christian Faith, and cause divisions among the Believers themselves.
Must have been a constant battle for the Apostles to keep things on an even keel, with everyone going into all directions, at the same time.
These people were not as sophisticated as we are today, so there isn’t any reason to believe the teachings they were receiving from the Apostles were as complicated as we make them out to be.
Look at the salvation message, “Believing on the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins” that is how simple God has made it for us, God Reveals Himself to us through the person of His son Jesus, He then gives to us, the Faith necessary to believe the truth and except the gift of Salvation for our lives, He even allows us the free will to reject that free gift, then after He has done everything needful for us to come unto Him, we then are the ones who complicate this thing we call Christianity, in order to keep our Salvation.
We do the same thing the Jews did with “The Ten Commandments of God” given to Moses, they turned them into “The Six Hundred Thirteen Rabbinic Laws”.
God has given us a free gift, but we go about for the rest of our lives, trying to earn the right to keep it. Give me a break people.
If God made provision for us to come to Him, by supplying the only sacrifice acceptable for the Remission of Sins, why then do we think God would not also make the provision necessary for the keeping of the free gift, and which would not be dependent upon us. Just how far reaching does the gift of Gods’ Grace go? If we have to keep that which God has given to us, then isn’t there room for our boasting, if there is room for even only one person to boast, then God does not get ALL the Glory.
It seems as though within the nature of man, there is an innate distrust, a believing that nothing can truly be free, there must always a cost, everything has to be earned, either before or after the fact.
If a gift is freely given, then by definition, that means the gift didn’t have to be given in the first place, the giver was under no obligation to give the gift.
But if this same gift being given, has stipulations attached in order to keep the gift, is the gift then freely given, or does the keeping of the stipulations mean you earned the keeping of it. Wouldn’t that then render the freely given part of the gift null and void?
What I am trying to illustrate is this.
One day out of the clear blue sky, a friend of yours shows up with a brand new car in tow, he states that the car has been paid for in full including insurance, handing you the keys he tells you the car is a free gift for you to enjoy, it is yours for the taking, then just before he leaves he says if the car gets a scratch in the paint, or a dent in the metal, or if you drive the car someplace that he doesn’t want you to drive it, you will automatically lose the car. Has he given you a free gift?
If there is a gift given out of debt to the receiver,
If there is a gift given to the receiver, which must be kept by debt.
Is the gift given, truly a free gift?
Anything which constrains us, such as a (Condition, Stipulation, Requirement), they become a law in themselves. Where then is free will?
The term “Free Will” denotes free agency, a right to self determination, free from the fear of retribution for the exercising of that free will, therefore there can be neither right nor wrong choices made.
The use of constraints, no matter how benign or well intended, in fact deny the rightful exercise of “Free Will”
by the use of coercion, usually fear, thereby compelling a person to hopefully act against there will, and thereby effectively nullifying “Free will”.
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.