Paul founded the church at Corinth during his second missionary journey. Most of its membership were ex-pagan Gentiles. As a result, they still walked in their worldly desires. Their spiritual immaturity blinded them to the seriousness of their behavior. Paul (and God) desired this church to be victorious over sin. Painful as it was, Paul was obligated to address their questionable behavior
Paul’s heart must have been breaking as he penned this letter to a church he had founded and loved. He reminds them right away of their call to holiness and commends them on their spiritual gifts. 3+ and a wish.
The Corinthian church had lost its focus. There were arguments over petty events. They pledged allegiance to different apostles instead of Jesus. There was a rash of jealousy and quarrels. There were quarrels and disagreements. They were in critical danger of conforming to the world, and they were unconcerned about that possibility.
Corinth is a long way from America, but the similarities are chilling. The Full Life Study Bible calls the believers at Corinth, “worldly Christians”. These Christians had not submitted to sin and rebellion. They were not immoral or unrighteous. Most troubling, they were tolerating sin in the name of love. They didn’t want to offend by calling out sin among their brethren. They had not conformed to the world, but they were walking a fine line. Paul was filled with grief because of this and in I Corinthians 5:2 he suggests that the church should be also. In the name of tolerance, in fear of “hate speech”, we hesitate to speak out against immorality. We ignore racism in the name of “minding our own business”. Too many of our leaders are afraid to speak truth for fear of income loss. The evil around us should fill us with grief. And send us to our knees in repentance and petition. Later, Jesus will call these people, “lukewarm” and that will not end well.