“This Doctrine Of The Cross” ( 1 Corinthians 1: 18, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“We proclaim Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:23) and “the doctrine of the cross” which “is sheer folly to those on their way to ruin, but to us who are on the way to salvation it is the power of God.” “What room then is left for human pride? It is excluded. And on what principle? The keeping of the law would not exclude it, but faith does. For our argument is that a man is justified by faith quite apart from success in keeping the law.” (Romans 3:27-28) “For if those who hold by the law, and they alone, are heirs, then faith is empty and the promise goes for nothing, because law can bring only retribution.” (Romans 4:14-15) “[God] is Himself just and also justifies any man who puts his faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:26) Therefore,”all are justified by God’s free grace alone.” (Romans 3:24)

“Now, quite independently of law, God’s justice has been brought to light.” (Romans 3:21) And this is simultaneously the folly and the power of God. “Divine folly is wiser than the wisdom of man, and divine weakness stronger than man’s strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:25) And Jesus, “nailed to the cross” “is the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:23, 24)

Put your faith in His power and wisdom though it may appear to be folly.

“Honour God With Your Bodies” (1 Corinthians 6: 19 – 20, NEB) by Carley Evans


Do you not know that your body is a shrine of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the Spirit is God’s gift to you? You do not belong to yourselves; you are bought at a price. Then honour God in your body.”

Paul wishes persons to control themselves and remain unmarried; but he recognizes that self-control is difficult and that it is “better [to] be married than burn with vain desire.” (1 Corinthians 7: 9)

Some say sex outside a committed relationship is fornication; others say any sex outside marriage is fornication. Jesus says that if a man looks at a woman with lust in his heart, this is fornication; i.e. adultery. Since Jesus always speaks the truth, fornication is rampant — for men and women certainly look at one another in lust.

Paul contrasts a man’s payment to own a harlot for a night with Christ’s payment to own us for eternity. What a contrast! A fleeting moment of pleasure contrasted with Christ’s agonizing shedding of blood so that His Father might call us His own, and give us His Holy Spirit. A man links himself to a harlot; Jesus links Himself to us through His own sacrifice. Since we belong to Christ, we are called to “shun fornication. Every other sin that a man can commit is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against his own body.” (1 Corinthians 6: 18 – 19)

Jesus calls us to purity; and this must start in our minds. Peter calls us to “be mentally stripped for action, perfectly self-controlled.” Peter writes, “Do not let your characters be shaped any longer by the desires you cherished in your days of ignorance. The One who calls you is holy; like Him, be holy in all your behaviour, because Scripture says, ‘You shall be holy, for I Am holy.’ ” (1 Peter 1: 13, 14 – 1

“Become All Things To All People” (Romans 12: 15, HCSB) by Carley Evans


With those who are happy, be happy alongside them. With those who are sad, be sad alongside them. With those who are rejoicing, rejoice alongside them. With those who are praying, pray alongside them.

With those who persecute you, bless them — “bless and do not curse.” (Romans 12: 14) “Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.” (Romans 12: 21)

With those who have little, share what you have. Open your home; showing hospitality. “Love must be without hypocrisy.” (Romans 12: 9)

“Be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord.” (Romans 12: 11) With those who are lost, reach out to them. “For God has imprisoned all in disobedience, so that He may have mercy on all.” (Romans 11: 32)

“Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes.” (Romans 12: 17)

Paul sets the example, saying: “Although I am a free man and not anyone’s slave, I make myself a slave to everyone, in order to win more people… I become all things to all people, so that I may by every means possible save some.” (1 Corinthians 9: 19, 22)

“God Is Not Tempted By Evil” (James 1: 12, HCSB) by Carley Evans


Trials, writes James, are to be considered as great joys because “the testing of your faith produces endurance.” Endurance then leads to maturity and completeness, so that you are “lacking nothing.” (James 1: 3, 4) When undergoing a trial, you must not say to yourself, ” ‘I am being tempted by God.’ For God is not tempted by evil.” (James 1: 13) Instead, temptations come from your “own evil desires.” (James 1: 14)

Paul warns, “Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation overtakes you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He does not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He also provides the way of escape, that you are able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10: 12 – 13, ESV)

See a trial as an opportunity to grow into Christ. “A man who endures trials is blessed,” writes James, “because when he passes the test he receives the crown of life that God promises to those who love Him.” (James 1: 12)

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, who loves us and gives us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2: 16 – 17, ESV)

“You May Have Peace” (John 16: 33, ESV) by Carley Evans


Jesus says, “In Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

 

And Paul says, “God has called you to peace” when writing of the unbelieving spouse abandoning the marriage. (1 Corinthians 7: 15) The author of Hebrews tells us to “strive for peace with everyone.” (Hebrews 12: 14) Peter writes, “Let [us] seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Peter 3: 11)

Yet, Paul also promises, “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4: 7) God’s peace is not our own, not a peace we strive for or fight — in some sort of human effort — to give to others. Rather this is a peace residing within us, shown to the world through us.

From whence comes this inner peace? From Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus tells us, “In Me you may have peace.” We already are fully aware that we have tribulation in the world. We know less fully that Jesus has overcome the world. Of this, we need reminding.

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!’ ” (Luke 2: 13 – 14)

Remember! Jesus has overcome the world.

“United With Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1: 4 – 5, ESV) by Carley Evans


God’s grace is given us in Christ Jesus. In Him, we are “enriched…in all speech and all knowledge.” Because of Jesus in us, we “are not lacking in any spiritual gift.” (1 Corinthians 1: 7) He “will sustain [us] to the end;” and we will be found “guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1: 8)

Paul is telling us that we are enriched by the grace of God; we have all the spiritual giftings we require; we are sustained by Christ for all time; and we are without guilt before His Father’s throne on the day of judgment.

Think on these truths; and know you are standing on the mountain of transfiguration united with Jesus in all His glory.

“Fools For Christ” (1 Corinthians 4: 10, ESV) by Carley Evans


A dear friend of mine is a street evangelist — a fool for Christ. On top of it, he is a fool for Christ in a foreign land. I know of others who wear cardboard jackets and stand on street corners or in the middle of college campuses or outside malls with big red lettering calling men, women, children to Jesus. Yes, these are also fools for Christ.

What better company to have — Paul, the ultimate street preacher — writes to the Corinthian church, “We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour, we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like scum of the world, the refuse of all things.” (1 Corinthians 4: 10 – 13)

When Jesus sends out His twelve, He tells them to “go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ ” (Matthew 10: 7) He tells them to “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons.” (Matthew 10: 8)

Jesus also tells them to “give without pay.” (Matthew 10: 8) They are to take no overcoat, umbrella, or tent. They are to stay wherever they are welcome, and walk away from places and people who do not welcome them.

Jesus tells the twelve, “Whoever receives you receives Me.” (Matthew 10: 40)

Let those of us who sit in the especially comfortable pews of mega-churches, cathedrals, sanctuaries around the world pray for those who stand on street corners with cardboard witness.

“If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of His household.” (Matthew 10: 28)