The Testimony of Christ in Corinth 1 Cor. 1: 1-9 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
In Paul’s introduction to his letter to the Corinthians, he mentions several things concerning the testimony of Christ [1 Cor 1:6] in his life and in the church. Truly, if it weren’t for Jesus Christ, we would have nothing about to teach about Corinth except a dead religion and a man’s work. But because of the testimony of Jesus Christ, we have much to say.
Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ – 1 Cor 1:1 – Here are our comments from the Introduction to Timothy. Paul “didn’t confer apostleship to himself and men did not give him the title of apostle. He was an apostle by the commandment of God [Eph 4:11]. He was called, enabled and put into the ministry by God [1 Cor 1:1, 1 Tim 1:12]. He had the signs of an apostle [2 Cor 12:12; Rom 15:19; Acts 19:11-12]. Paul referred to himself as, “the least of the apostles,” and “as of one born out of due time,” [Acts 1:23; 1 Cor 15:8-9]. That’s because there were only the original 12 apostles [Matt 10:2], then Matthias, Judas’ replacement [Acts 1:15-26], and Barnabas, James’ replacement [Acts 12:1-2; Acts 14:14]. There weren’t any other apostles besides these and their work ends with the end of the Acts of the Apostles. Therefore, there is no such thing as apostolic succession; the continuation of the work of the apostles through a series of bishops. This is a lie concocted by men to confer to themselves authority that God never gave them. It is prevalent in the Catholic Church and among Charismatics. The charismatics use it to prove that they have the apostolic sign gifts and the Catholics use it to prove that they have the authority over the Christian church. Both are wrong.”
Sosthenes was a brother in Jesus Christ – 1 Cor 1:1 – Sosthenes became the chief ruler of the synagogue in Corinth after Crispus got saved [Acts 18:1, 8, 17]. Then, after Paul had been in Corinth for 18 months, the Jews made insurrection against Paul [Acts 18:12] and brought him to Gallio’s judgment seat. When Gallio refused to hear their case, the Greeks retaliated against the Jews and beat Sosthenes. Even after all this, Sosthenes got saved and stood with Paul for Jesus Christ. Jesus is worthy.
The church of God at Corinth was Christ’s – 1 Cor 1:2 – when Paul writes to the church of God, as here, or about the church of God, as in Gal 1:13, he is writing to or about “them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus.” He is addressing saved believers in the body of Christ who are living in Corinth, in this letter.
There is an ongoing argument among Baptists about the Church. Some Baptists believe that the Church is always a reference to a local church. This problem stems from a misunderstanding of the body of Christ. All saved people are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ and comprise the Church [1 Cor 12:13, 1 Cor 10:32, Eph 5:30-32; 1:22-23]. This body is Christ’s literal, resurrected body which is seated in heaven [Eph 2:6]. If you could go to heaven right now, you would see his body at the right hand of God. This body is visible and only those saved by the shed blood of Jesus Christ are in it. As a matter of fact, all who are saved by the shed blood of Jesus Christ are in it. Hence, this body is not, what some call, a “universal, invisible” church, as taught by Catholicism. But it is not just a local church, either.
At times you must discern, when reading a verse about the church, whether Paul is referring to a local church or to the body of Christ. They are not the same thing. Here, Paul is writing to the “saints” who are in a local church in Corinth. And he addresses these believers as “the church of God which is at Corinth.” Paul is not writing to a church called the “Church of God” anymore than he was writing about churches called the “Church of Christ” in Rom 16:16.
The saints were sanctified in Christ Jesus – 1 Cor 1:2 – That is, we are washed, sanctified and justified as soon as we are saved [1 Cor 6:11, Heb 10:10, 1 Pet 1:2]. And, thus, we are saints. There is more to the doctrine of sanctification, but this part of the doctrine explains why we can be called saints, now. Saints are, therefore, not dead people who have this title conferred upon them by some church after their death.
They were saved by the name of Jesus Christ – 1 Cor 1:2 – they were saved by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus [Rom 10:13; Acts 4:12]. “All” people, “in every place” must call upon the name of the Lord to be saved [Rom 10:9-10]. Then he becomes their Savior and ours.
The grace of God was given to them by Jesus Christ – 1 Cor 1:4-7 – we are saved by the grace of God [Eph 2:8-9]. But there is much more to the grace of God than just getting saved. The grace of God is “given” to us “by Jesus Christ” for many additional purposes. By the grace of God, the Corinthians were enriched:
- In all utterance – referring to preaching the gospel of Christ [Eph 6:19; Col 4:3].
- In all knowledge – referring to knowing Christ [2 Pet 3:18]. However, they were still “babes in Christ,” [1 Cor 3:1-2]. Yet, they had enough of a testimony to confirm [assure others of] their faith in Christ.
- In all gifts – Paul said, “so that ye come behind in no gift,” including faith, diligence, love and giving [2 Cor 8:7].
They were waiting for the coming of Jesus Christ – 1 Cor 1:7 – every true Bible believing Christian and congregation throughout the church age has looked for the return of Jesus Christ in their day. He is our blessed hope [Titus 2:13; Rom 8:23-25].
They were confirmed by Jesus Christ – 1 Cor 1:8 – Jesus Christ confirmed [strengthened] them unto the end. That is, we can be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ because of his strength in us. He’s the one who keeps us [2 Tim 1:12], he’s the one who brings us to God [1 Pet 3:18], and he’s the one who sanctifies us wholly [1 Thes 5:23].
They had fellowship with Jesus Christ – 1 Cor 1:9 – Our faithful God designed salvation so that when we get saved, we don’t have to wait for the coming of Jesus to begin to enjoy his fellowship. We have fellowship with him right now [1 Jn 1:3].
Conclusion: when a person is saved, he will have the testimony of Christ in his life. And when Jesus Christ is the head of a church and working in that church, the church will have the testimony of Christ in it, as well.