Practical Devastation of Our Old Humanity (continued)
The Tragedy of the Carry-Over of the Other Humanity (continued)
I am not going to stay this week with all those questions, but there they are. There is confusion, terrible complications in Corinth. There is weakness - weakness in life, in a living testimony. There is shame, reproach. The apostle has to say some very strong and some very hard things to Christians because of a carry-over of the old humanity into a relationship with the new with the clean cut. Is that why the apostle, after his introduction in the First Letter says: "I made up my mind, I determined, I resolved, to know nothing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." Oh, we are going to meet "Christ crucified" repeatedly through these two letters, at critical points in their spiritual life. "Christ crucified," Paul says, - "that is the foundation on which we are going to build, you Corinthians, you who have carried-over some of the old humanity into the realm of the New and find that the two things will not go together: - immediately there is confusion and defeat."
Well, here we are in these letters to the Corinthians, and these more than any other letters in the New Testament represent the battleground of the two humanities. Right there at the beginning of the First Letter as a heading, this is carried right through. The battleground of the two humanities - that is with the Corinthians.
May I mark one thing before I go further. Paul came to this situation to deal with it, in Corinth, and said in doing so: "In coming to you, I made a definite, positive, conclusive resolve 'to know nothing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.' " What did he do when he said that? What does that mean? - "I am not coming to you people who are philosophically-minded and are so interested in philosophy, I am not coming to you with a new philosophy, I am not coming to you with a new religion, I am not coming to you with a new system of teaching. I am not coming to you with a new order and form and technique. I am coming with everything gathered up and focused in a Person, in a Man."
You see the force of that? It is forceful. In essence, Paul said, "No, I am not interested in any of these other things that you may be interested in. For me it is this Man, Christ Jesus, this different kind of Man and this Man Who is crucified to all the other kind of man: crucified to this world, crucified to ole humanity, crucified to all these things that you think so much of, that are so important to you, crucified to the whole realm."
It is a Man, and a Man only, a kind of a Man, that is the point of this letter; all is focused, gathered into a Man. Now from that point onward, the whole thing develops. There is on the other side that man that they have tried to bring over and are still nursing here at Corinth, and there is on the other side this Other Man. You read right on and find: "If any man be in Christ, there is a New Creation, the old things have passed away; and behold all have become new." The great divide is at the Cross. Well, this is Corinth, and the old and New Humanity is the real battleground; and what a battleground it is.
(continued with # 14)