1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Peace be with you!
Last week we discussed how churches often have different groups that cause friction within the community. Each group wants to run the show with their own ideas. Paul reminds the church community in Corinth about God’s grace, promise, and guarantee they will enter the kingdom of heaven. No matter what each group has planned, God is in charge and grants us all grace and the ability to spread the good news.
Today Paul focuses on what it means to be baptized. The various factions of Corinth are declaring that they belong to Paul, Apollos, or Cephas based on who baptized them (1 Corinthians 1:12). Paul is taken aback by such claims. First, Paul has baptized very few individuals. He has only baptized Crispus, Gaius, and the household of Stephanas (1 Corinthians 1:14, 16). Beyond those individuals, Paul has no memory of baptizing anyone else. Second, it is not about who baptized them, but it is important that they were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This is true for you today. Through your baptism, God the Father claims you as his child.’
Baptism creates a connection between the Triune God and us as well as well as among us and other baptized believers. When you are baptized, you enter into a relationship with God, and he claims you as one of his children. God knows you in the deepest way possible and loves you unconditionally despite your flaws. God created this connection between you and him through Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection. God loves his creation so deeply that he made the ultimate sacrifice by letting his son die on the cross. Nothing matters more to the Triune God than being in a relationship with you.
Baptism also creates connections among other individuals who are baptized. You become a part of the Christian community when you are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ who died for your sins. God begs us to be in a relationship with one another to express his love throughout the world. Your actions to others reflect your relationship with the Triune God. If you are rude to others, are you rude to God? If you are angry with someone, are you angry with God? If you forgive others, do you forgive God for the pain in your life? If you love others, do you love God? Your relationship with God reflects in your daily life and how you treat yourself and others.
Baptism allows anyone who believes in the Triune God and who believes that Jesus died for their sins to be a part of the community of believers. This community has a breadth of diversity because baptism is not just for a select few but for all people. Christians are found throughout the world as the map below shows.
How does God expect us to get along? Jesus makes us accountable to God and one other by influencing us to be better individuals. Our fellow Christians help keep us from sinning intentionally and they motivate us to keep striving at being the individuals God calls us to be. Paul talks about the body of Christ as individuals being united through their baptisms. Not every part of the physical human body has the same function. The same is true for the body of Christ. God has unique callings for each one of us (1 Corinthians 12:12-20). God calls us at specific times and in specific places for specific reasons that we may or may not understand. Our job is to figure out how to work together to uncover God’s bigger plan.
The friction in our churches may never disappear completely. You are only human. Instead you should acknowledge each group is a part of the body of Christ and find ways for each group to work together for God’s bigger plan. Your calling is from the Triune God and each works towards the bigger plan of everyone being in the Kingdom of God.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for baptizing us in the name of Jesus Christ. Help us to remember we are called by you to spread your love throughout the world. Lead us to fulfill our unique callings. Make us mindful of your bigger plan. Thank you for calling us to work toward your bigger plan. Amen.
Thanks to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the behavior covenant by commenting on it.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
- Why is being baptized important to you?
- What does God call you to do?