By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. – 1Cor. 15:2 NIV
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Today’s devotional is a sequel to the Devotional with the title “”, where the effort Apostle Paul attempted to proffer solution to the causes of the disputes and disagreements amongst the brethren in Corinth. He in that Devotional made it clear that all the areas of dispute were very important, especially for reasons of maintaining orderliness within the Church, but none of them was essential to Salvation like the gospel that was preached to them.
In the scripture which is the foundation of today’s Devotional, he brought their attention to the gospel that he preached to them when he was introducing the new religion to them. This was a gospel that they heard and listened to by their receiving it with all its contents and taking a stand to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour – 1Cor. 15:1-2. It was this decision of theirs with regards to the gospel that was preached to them that earned them the Salvation which they can now boast of and not all the issues in dispute as found from the first chapter of this his first letter to the Corinthians to the fourteenth chapter – 1Cor. 1:1-14:39.
Admitting his status as a former persecutor of the Way for which reason, he ideally should not have been the most appropriate person to bring that news to them and acknowledged the grace of being selected for such a noble role despite this short-coming and his attempt to justify and show appreciation for his selection is reflected in his hard work at winning more souls into the kingdom than anyone else – 1Cor. 15:9-11.
His decision to commence this portion of his letter with the word “Now”, is indicative of the fact that all earlier points put into consideration, the main points that should be essential for the Christian who desires to retain the claim to salvation is to always remember that Jesus Christ died for sins according to the Scriptures, he was buried, rose on the third day according to the Scriptures. The physical evidence of these acts is his well documented appearance, not only to the Apostle Paul, but to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time.
The significance of this reminder, in relation to all the disagreements is simply that irrespective of the state of the one that is attempting to claim sainthood, purity monitor and keeper of standard, such should never forget that
- He/she is a beneficiary of grace.
- The one that he/she is in argument with is also a beneficiary of that same grace.
- That all will only survive by grace and not by all those perfections being sought that is now dividing the body of Christ.
Jesus Christ by virtue of his death and resurrection nailed all such human errors to the cross and no matter how much the imperfections of this people is being highlighted, they may end up enjoying the grace which he enjoyed and which they who are highlighting all these divisive points, also expect to enjoy.
The fact remains that the ultimate objective of the Christian life is to be saved from damnation caused by sin and access eternal glory on the last day. This will never be by works but by simple acts of retaining faith in the completed works of Jesus Christ on the cross. It may therefore be important to enforce all those doctrines but it will be questionable if attempting to enforce all those doctrines is sufficient reason to divide the body of Christ. The fact remains that no one is saved by works even though it is still important for the Christian to avoid acts that may constitute sin as being a beneficiary of Grace is not sufficient reason to continue in sin.
Christians today need to be extra cautious not to lose souls due to the insistence on adhering to some of these important doctrines. All that can be done by all including those who have taken the self appointed position of spiritual monitor and disciplinarian is to always remember that doctrines must be taught but enforcement should be left to the owner of the doctrines so that such group may not be found guilty of losing souls as there is dire repercussion for losing such soups due to unnecessary dissensions in the body of Christ. Highlight those important doctrines but do not allow such to lead to schisms in the Church as such conduct gives the impression of a perfect person. You are better of tolerating that brother retaining peace in the body of Christ rather than attempting to enforce a doctrine that you are not completely free from transgressing, and in the process allowing Lucifer access to feast on saved souls due to divisions.
May the Almighty God guide us in all actions so that we do not find ourselves creating divisions in the body of Christ due to attempts to enforce doctrines that grace has taken care of in Jesus name. Amen.