1 Corinthians 3:16-17
We have covered three chapters in 1 Corinthians and, primarily, the theme that we have seen is that of divisions in the local church at Corinth. The apostle Paul pleaded with them “that there be no divisions among” them (1:10).
We learned that some of the divisions in the church came about because some of them decided to follow Paul and some Apollos and some Peter.
They thought themselves to be wise for figuring out the best person to follow, but they were rebuked for following such worldly wisdom. The only wisdom worth anything was and is today, the cross of Jesus Christ.
The cross is foolishness to the unbeliever, but for believers, it’s the thing that draws us together—it’s what we must focus on more than anything other thing.
More than all the moral and political issues of the day, it’s the cross that caused Paul to say, “I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (2:2) That’s to be the core of our doctrine, the core of our very lives.
When Christians don’t live for the crucified Lord, we live, Paul said, carnally, that is, just like the unsaved person.
That causes more divisions in the church because, instead of solving our differences like Christians should, with love, and looking out for those with weaker consciences, we rely on worldly tactics—for example, we push policies through with majority votes and tell others, if they don’t like it, they can leave.
We need to realize that God grows his church and we are to be humble servants in his field.
Another result of not living for the crucified Jesus Christ is that believers can lose rewards that God promises to them that build on his foundation with good materials. Oh, those Christians will still be saved, Paul said, just that he or she will suffer loss, “as by fire” (3:15).
Paul’s frustration with the Corinthian church reaches a fevered pitch in the next couple verses before he shows them how to quench the divisive attitudes among them.
16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. 20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; 22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; 23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s. (1 Corinthians 3:16–23)
First, in verses 16 and 17, we find…