What the Church Is, and What the Church Ought to be
1 Corinthians 1:2
To the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints…

In introduction deal with the features of Christian life in towns and cities, as represented in Corinth, noticing its relation to complicated civilization, diversity of sects, class distinctions, society evils, and intellectual pride. Out of the population of such a town as Corinth Paul gathered what he calls a Church, and this body he regards ideally and practically. Here the full conception of what it should be is the prominent thing. His advice, given later on, applies to the Church as it actually was.

I. THE CHURCH IS A WHOLE, WITH A SPECIALITY. A whole, for it is the Church - the Church of God, who is One; and it includes "all that call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place." We fittingly call it the "one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church." But it has a characteristic speciality. It can be localized. It can be the Church at Corinth or at any other place, but the localization does not break up the unity. It is but a condition of the earthly sphere which the Church must of necessity have, and need in no way destroy our sense of the complete oneness and wholeness of the Church. The tendency to sectarian division can best be checked by failer presentations of the essential, ideal "wholeness" of Christ's Church. And the same truth alone gives efficient place to the conception of Christ's living and universal rule, with its related fact, the unity and brotherhood of all believers.

II. THE CHURCH IS A BODY ACTUALLY SANCTIFIED. The two senses in which the term "sanctified" may be used need careful consideration. It may mean "made holy;" and it may mean "set apart," or "consecrated, .... devoted to one special object," and this latter is the more frequent and familiar use in Scripture, especially in the Old Testament, where cities, lands, persons, and things were constantly "sanctified" in the sense of being devoted, or consecrated, to the Divine service. Manifestly the meaning "made actually holy" cannot be that required in our text, for this has never yet, in any age, been the fact concerning Christ's Church; and, indeed, the New Testament holds this forth only as the sublime attainment of the future. But it is true of each sincere member, and so of the whole Church, that they are sanctified in the sense of being "self dedicated," devoted to God," and so ideally a "holy people." A man is what he really wishes to be and endeavours to be; he is what he sets before himself as his highest attaimnent. Guard this truth against misrepresentation and misuse, and make it an incentive to the formation of high ambitions and patient effort for their attainment. Add that the pervading element, atmosphere, and tone of Christ's Church is holiness. Christ present brings the surroundings of the "holy," and we are "called unto holiness." So, ideally, Christ's Church is "sanctified."

III. THE CHURCH IS A BODY SEEKING TO BE PRACTICALLY WHAT IT IS MYSTICALLY. This opens the application of the subject. Our response to and acceptance of the call into Christ's Church puts us under a definite and distinct pledge and responsibility. We bind ourselves to win the personal holiness that will match our call and worthily follow it up. This involves due self watching and self mastery, as well as fitting use of the various "means of grace" provided for us. What we ought to be we shall be found every day striving to be, if we are true hearted and sincere. In conclusion, revert to the practical bearings of the oneness and wholeness of Christ's Church. It involves a tender and helpful common brotherhood in rights, in sentiments, and in duties. Such brotherhood is "becoming to saints," to those "called to be saints." - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

WEB: to the assembly of God which is at Corinth; those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, both theirs and ours:

Calling on the Name
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