Paul was writing to his old friends in Corinth. It was a crazy town, full of merchant marines, sailors, as well as all the workers that support and service such a crowd. It was everything you might expect.
From the map, you’ll see that Corinth is on a narrow isthmus connecting two well protected bays of the Mediterranean Sea in the southern part of modern day Greece. During the time of year that ships navigated the Mediterranean, they could save a good bit of distance, time and risk by docking in Corinth and moving their goods overland to other boats on the other side of the isthmus. During the stormy winters, they would just dock there, secure and protected, until the storm season passed.
The town was full of coarse, crusty types, often far from home and with lots of time on their hands. This gave the town its reputation and impacted the church as well. Corinth appears to be the most troublesome and raucous of all Paul’s churches. So, it is a little startling that Paul promised right at the beginning of the letter that they would be “blameless” before God, before he goes on at great length about all the ways they were anything but blameless!
Paul writes, “He [God] will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Click here for the full passage.) The promise is not that we are “blameless” but that we stand before God blameless because of what Christ has done for us.
Are you blameless? No. Does God see you that way? Yes! In the day to day course of my life, about the only one who has ever seen me as blameless is my dog. I know how nice that feels, even if the standards are rather low! What a gift beyond measure that the creator of the universe sees me blameless, too!
This column appeared in the January 19, 2020 edition of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the full edition.
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