Per usual, Paul starts his letters off with a bang. He addresses everyone in Corinth with a beautiful phrase — to those of you cleaned up by Jesus and set apart for a God-filled life. How would your self-perception, your self-worth, and your value change if you viewed yourself that way every single day? Cleaned up by Jesus. Living a God-filled life.
He goes on to talk about how we have lives of free and open access to God. At that time and even today, it’s beyond speech, beyond knowledge. A human with direct access to the Creator, God. Again, what if we viewed ourselves as having that access? Even better, what if we utilized it?
- Feeling stressed — use your open access to God.
- Feeling frustrated — use your open access to God.
- Struggling to process what’s just happened — use your open access to God.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a token Paul letter if it also didn’t have some mention of the cross and what Christ did in dying and raising. So, Paul goes into an entire section on the irony of the cross. It confounds human wisdom. It’s an enigma in so many ways.
One of the basest, most destructive forms of punishment…
One of the worst ways to devalue and dehumanize someone…
One of the most abusive, painful, and shameful execution methods…
God uses that, and flips it right on its head, to bring the greatest human accomplishment in the world. The Jews wanted miraculous signs and the Greeks wanted philosophical wisdom, and through Jesus’ death on the cross, God ironically gave them both what they wanted. But even more, through that death and the subsequent resurrection, he washes away our sins for good. Wild!
I think that’s enough to stew on for a day. Tomorrow, we’ll dive more into this irony of the cross (on a personal level) and continue into chapter 2.