ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 138


there. A man in the church was having sexual relations with his stepmother. The church had also divided into factions based on which
famous teacher they liked most—Paul, Peter, or Apollos. The weekly
worship gatherings were full of disorder, and believers with disputes
were even taking one another to public court. In all, Paul would have
to address twelve different problems in his letter.
We don’t have the letter the Corinthians sent to Paul, but we do have
this lengthy reply, now known as 1 Corinthians. (This was not the first
letter Paul wrote to them; in this letter he mentions an earlier one that
has not survived.)
Even with all their questions and problems, Paul addresses the Corinthian believers as God’s “own holy people” and gives thanks for them.
In the main body of his letter he addresses all their questions—as well
as his own concerns—one by one.
While he writes about many different topics in his reply to the Co­
rin­thians, a basic correction is inherent in many of Paul’s responses.
For example, being spiritual doesn’t mean being freed from the body;
instead, it means living in the human body with a true appreciation that
it is a gift from God. “Our bodies . . . were made for the Lord, and the
Lord cares about our bodies,” Paul insists. “Don’t you realize that your
body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to
you by God? . . . So you must honor God with your body.”
Paul’s stunning conclusion about the importance of the resurrection
is crucial not only for the Corinthians but also for us today. The Good
News about Jesus is built on the teaching of God’s victory over death.
Without the resurrection of Jesus, the faith of God’s people is useless,
and they are still trapped by sin and its deadly consequences. But with
it, believers know that God’s renewal of the world has already begun
in Jesus and that they will experience it fully in resurrected bodies at
his return.

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