1 Corinthians is a letter to a church that found itself in the most influential and cosmopolitan city of its day. Yet this was a troubled church. The church received the gospel, but it was not governed by it. In many practical ways, the church was governed by culturally-derived mottos rather than mature reflection on the gospel and its implications for life.
Every person was created by God in a body. Those who have been born again are indwelt by the Holy Spirit; their bodies are sacred and owned by Jesus Christ. In a culture that declares themselves free to do whatever they want with their bodies, we are able to do with our bodies what is pleasing to the Lord.
Americans spend an astounding amount of money every year to take care of our bodies, whether that involves medical costs, fitness, or weight loss. God cares about the body as well. He determined to redeem and resurrect our human bodies before Creation. The Mosaic law shows great care for the physical body. The Israelites took Joseph's body with them when they left Egypt, and God Himself buried Moses' body when he died. Jesus healed the human body multiple times in His earthly ministry. Jesus was resurrected bodily, and so will we be.
The local church is characterized by believers who love one another and are excited to serve together. This delights God's heart. We serve not merely to be busy but to build each other up and be light in the culture. Our influence in the community is only as strong as our relationships with one another in the local church.
The classic passage on the "blessed hope" of Christians is Titus 2:11-15. Paul is instructing Titus as his apostolic delegate in Crete and Corinth. He trusts and depends on Titus to teach sound doctrine and the importance of adorning it with one's pattern of life.
Paul refers to two phases of future history in verse 13. The "blessed hope" is the rapture of believers to meet Christ in the air. The "glorious appearing" is when Christ comes again to establish His millennial kingdom.
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