If you haven't yet subscribed to the White Horse Inn podcast then you need to repent. This week, Horton and co. were discussing the first century church in Corinth and the problems faced there. Corinth was a city of libertines and the church, to an extent, reflected the madness of the culture. There were factions for a start. The believers in Corinth were playing the teachings of one preacher off and against that of the other (see 1 Cor. 1:11, 12). Some were gathering round Paul, others round Apollos and some even around Christ (red letter Christians?)!
They was so much in-fighting, Paul described them as Christian babies and 'fleshy' (3:1-4). That's not all. A man was sleeping with his step-mother (ugh!), they were suing each other in the courts ruled by unbelievers, they were abusing the poor, getting drunk at communion, abusing spiritual gifts, allowing demons to speak in worship (12:3) and to top it all, some were denying the resurrection.
How would we expect Paul to react to a church like that? He could maybe say something like, "I DOUBT WHETHER ANY OF YOU ARE SAVED!", or read some statistics from Gallup to show how cases of immorality in the church are almost as prevalent as that of the world. He doesn't do that. He opens by writing, "To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people" (v2 TNIV). He continues in verse 8 "He will keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." (TNIV)
WOW! We might ask, where's the motivation to holy living in that? We'd have preached the law. Instead Paul reminds them of the Gospel. He starts with the Gospel indicatives (i.e. who they ARE in Christ, what God has DONE in Christ) and from THERE moves to imperatives (therefore do this etc).
These verses are proof positive that the Gospel is counter-intuitive. I know what I'm like; I would have thanked God for the Galatians and called down curses on Corinth. Further evidence that I need to beat the truth of justification into my own sin sick heart/mind.