Believers – Cleaned Up by Jesus

I talked with a friend about the short in the soundboard on Sunday. She told me everyone knew what was going on by the expressions on my face.

I wonder what they saw? Anger? Frustration? Shock? I am not good at hiding my feelings. My face is an open book. (This is why I would like to play behind the screen.)

On the way home, I considered turning the keyboard to hide my face. I thought I handled the situation pretty well. My face said otherwise. Maybe, I should just keep my head down.

“When people become Christians, they don’t at the same moment become nice. This always comes as something of a surprise. Conversion to Christ and his ways don’t automatically furnish a person with impeccable manners and suitable morals.

…The people of Corinth had a reputation in the ancient world as an unruly, hard-drinking, sexually promiscuous bunch of people. When Paul arrived with the Message and many of them became believers in Jesus, they brought their reputations with them right into the church!

…Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is a classic of pastoral response: affectionate, firm, clear, and unswerving in the conviction that God among them, revealed in Jesus and present in His Holy Spirit, continued to be the central issue in their lives, regardless of how much of a mess they had made of things.” The Message Introduction to 1 Corinthians

There’s hope for me! I’ve made my share of messes. *sigh*

When you read 1 Corinthians, the impression is Paul is talking to saints. Which they are – but their behavior is not always “saintly.”

1 Corinthians 1:2, “I send this letter to you in God’s church at Corinth, believers cleaned up by Jesus and set apart for a God-filled life. …” The Message

* * * * * * *

1 Corinthians 1:6-7, “The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your life. (7) Just think – you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you…” The Message

* * * * * * *

1 Corinthians 1:9, “And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of His Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.” The Message

Paul doesn’t try to force them to “walk the straight and narrow.” He doesn’t give them a list of “Do’s and Don’ts.” He leaves the job of keeping them on track to Jesus. He reminds them God will never give up on them.

Satan wants us to keep our head down. He wants to heap shame and guilt on our heads. He says, “Everybody has it together, but you.” He tells us to shape up, fix our face, and act like we are somebody. We can try, but then our body language gives us away.

1 Corinthians 1:28-30, “Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these ‘nobodies’ to expose the hollow pretensions of the ‘somebodies’? (29) That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. (30) Everything that we have – right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start – comes from God by way of Jesus Christ.” The Message

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“Corinth’s location made it a center of the trade routes passing from east to west. Prosperity brought luxury and immorality. The expression ‘To live like a Corinthian’ to one Athenian writer meant living in gross immorality.” Chronological Study Bible Notes

The next time I am at church for my “spiritual dialysis,” I will remember the people of Corinth. No matter what is going on in people’s lives, I will be affectionate. I will be firm, clear, and unswerving in the conviction that they are believers – cleaned up by Jesus.

And remember, I am the same.

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