1 Cor. 1:1,2 – Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
These first two verses in 1 Corinthians are aimed at one of the challenges the church in Corinth was dealing with that we can understand in our secular world today. Corinth was a very worldly city overrun with drunkenness, idolatry and sexual immorality. Sound familiar? Living in a dark world either effects us or we become lights in the midst of darkness. I want to touch on some key words in this verse that may help us make a clean break from worldly behavior. The first word is called – kletos in the greek. Here is how Thayer defines this word –
“called, invited (to a banquet); in the N.T. a. invited (by God in the proclamation of the gospel) to obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God through Christ”
Paul is saying that we are called, as christians, out of the world’s party into the banquet feast of the Lord. The next word is the word church. The greek word is ekklesia. Here is how Thayer defines that.
“properly, a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place; an assembly;”
The word church literally means the called out ones. We are called from the community of the world into the community of Jesus. The next word is a beautiful Bible word, sanctified. It is hagiazo in the original text. Mounce describes this word like this:
“to separate, consecrate; cleanse, purify, sanctify; regard or reverence as holy”
The implication is obvious, we are set apart for the Lord. The last word is the word saints; it comes from the greek word hagios. This is how Mounce defines this word.
“separate from common condition and use; dedicated –
character of the God who has thus set them apart. Thus holiness forms part of God’s intention in saving his people. Paul’s concept of holiness regularly entails observable behavior.”
So this is what Paul is getting at; we are God’s called out people. We are called to a better life and we are called into a relationship with an amazing and holy God. We are no longer part of the community we used to live in, we are called into the church of God.