Wednesday, 19 March 2014
…lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. 1 Corinthians 1:15
Paul had a unique commission which transitioned the church from almost a solely Jewish entity into one which was quickly growing in gentile converts. At some point, a majority of gentiles would inevitably exist, thus the church would be considered a gentile entity. And this would have been brought about by the instruction and writings of Paul. If he were to have been out baptizing people in large numbers, others who disliked this move to gentile predominance could easily make the charge that Paul had baptized these people into his own name.
Thus, this would become “the church of Paul” regardless of whether he directed the disciples to Christ or not. As noted in verses 10 and 12, such divisions exist in today’s church. Rightly or wrongly, we identify ourselves among a host of lines. Some are by name – “I am a Lutheran.” Some are by doctrine – “I am a Baptist.” Some are by a member of the Godhead other than Jesus, “I belong to the Church of the Holy Spirit.”
Within the church there is misdirection, there is division, and there is boasting in individual names. Paul tried to waive this type of thing off from the start by not making the work of Christ about himself. Instead, he proclaimed Christ and made his sole boasting in the cross of Christ (Galatians 6:14). In some ways, divisions are inevitable and even healthy. When Paul and Barnabas divided over an argument, they were able to accomplish twice the work that had previously been done.
Dividing from a church because it is straying from the truth of Christ is a good thing. However, in the process of division, care needs to be taken that the division doesn’t produce another idol. Paul’s example is one that will keep such things from occurring. His continuous boasting in Christ is the right approach at all times and in all seasons!
Life application: He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Lord Jesus, help me to continuously and forever redirect my heart to You. It is You alone who fulfilled the Scriptures, died for me, and was resurrected to life again. If I am to boast in another’s preaching, may it only be because he preaches about You. May the song on my lips be one which brings You honor. And may my every step be one securely planted on the truth of Your superior word. Amen.