“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
– 1 Corinthians 1:10
In his first letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul gave counsel to a congregation situated in the midst of controversy. In Corinth dwelt people of various races and religious backgrounds, including Jews and Greeks. The Jews were known for their righteousness as to law and their religious superstitions; whereas the Greeks were known for their centers of learning, worship of various idols and licentious practices.
Corinth was a metropolis and a city of strategic commercial importance, but it was also a city of very low morals. The debauchery and intellectual sophistry was finding its way into the Corinthian congregation and was clashing with the superstitious and legalistic Jewish mind-set, causing divisions. How would this new Christian congregation survive in the midst of such conflicting views on God, on behavior, and on life?
The secret to its success would lie in the words written above by Paul – ‘that they be that all of you agree with one another.’ His counsel is as timely today as it was in the first century. Even those of us who do not live in a metropolis are exposed to similar diversity and similar moral challenges, if not in person, then by way of television, internet and other forms of media. Thus, modern day sons of God need to apply Paul’s counsel with even greater intensity because we exist in an even more divided community of believers. As Jesus told the scribes of his day:
But what about Paul’s words:
“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
– Mark 3:24-25
The failure of Christianity to “all of you agree ” and be a brotherhood of sons of God is the major reason why the good news of the Kingdom of God is not more readily sought after by the world. And it is also a major reason why the ‘enemies of religion’ are gaining a stronghold – some boldly and brazenly assaulting, attacking, even killing our brothers in the faith.
Let us turn our attention to Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, first to understand the letter, and second to apply it by becoming “fitly united in the same mind and in the same line of thought.”