Christians are called to be holy, and dare not live without prayer, for they are acutely aware of the "pardoning mercy, sanctifying grace, and comforting peace of God." ~(Matthew Henry's Commentary, henceforth MHC. It is available free online.) Those who are saved are given useful gifts by which they are to bless others, and they will be kept to the end and found blameless when the Lord Jesus Christ returns.
Kept and found blameless! Think about that!
"How glorious are the hopes of such a privilege; to be kept by the power of Christ, from the power of our corruptions and Satan's temptations!"~ MHC
You'd think that because of this marvellous fact that we are sanctified and kept by the power of God, we Christians would be unified. Sadly, just as there were divisions in the Corinthian church of the first century, there are divisions today in churches, in families, in organizations that are made up of Christian people. Paul addresses this in I Corinthians 1. He says there ought to be no divisions among them.
"In the great things of religion be of one mind; and where there is not unity of sentiment, still let there be union of affection. Agreement in the greater things should extinguish divisions about the lesser. There will be perfect union in heaven, and the nearer we approach it on earth, the nearer we come to perfection."~MHC
Paul and Apollos were both faithful ministers of Jesus, and they must have been appalled when their followers broke into dissenting parties over lesser things.
"Satan has always endeavoured to stir up strife among Christians, as one of his chief devices against the gospel."~MHC
So what were these Divisions in the Church? The people of Corinth were quarreling among themselves over minutiae that were not essential to the faith. The same thing happens today. Is there one covenant, or many? Can Christians drink wine, or not? Should women wear dresses, or are they free to wear jeans? Is the Lord's supper restricted to members of a local church, or ought visitors to be welcomed as brothers in Christ? So many little things, so many opportunities to disagree.
But what is of utmost importance? Is it not the plain preaching of a crucified Jesus? Is it not the fact that Christ crucified is the foundation of all our hopes, the fountain of all our joys? By His death we live. This seems foolish to those who are perishing, who have not been given eyes to see, Yet those who have been enlightened by the gospel see the great treasure there is in Christ.
I do know what makes someone a Christian. It is not the life that we live for God but the life that Jesus lived for us! ...believe what the Bible says. ...understand that God is a good and holy God who deserves worship.
Instead of honoring and loving him with all of our lives we have loved and served ourselves. This deserves wrath and hell. Instead, God has sent his Son Jesus to live the life that I could not and would not and to die the death that I deserve. He bore my penalty of wrath upon the cross of Calvary. I must turn from my sin and rebellion and turn to trust and treasure Christ, living in response to his finished work, submitting to his Lordship. ~Erik Raymond, Ordinary Pastor
God did not choose the rich and the powerful, the men of wealth and pomp and circumstance to demonstrate and be partakers of the gospel of grace and peace. Oh, they need Christ and His pardoning grace - everyone needs the regenerating grace of God. We are guilty, deserving only punishment, yet we are given His righteousness. We are depraved and corrupt, yet we are sanctified by His grace, redeemed from the power of sin, and given the sure hope of eternal life.
God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
~1 Corinthians 1:28-31Boast in the Lord! You have nothing to boast about, Christian. Your doctrines, your convictions, your standards, your opinions - they all pale in comparison to the Treasure that is in Christ Jesus. Boast in Him. Speak much of Him. Be thankful for Him. Bless His holy name.
If you are doing that, you won't have time to argue and fight, to quarrel and bicker.
If you are doing that, you won't be grieving the Holy Spirit, or making Satan smile with glee.
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. ~James 3:13-18 ESV“Selfish ambition” is a divisive willingness to split the group in order to achieve personal power and prestige. Are you willing to do so?
What is more important to you? Your reputation, or that of Jesus Christ? Remember, God chose the weak to confound the wise. Are you willing to decrease, so Christ may increase? Are you willing to humble yourself in order to magnify the Lord?