1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23

1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23
The people of Corinth to whom the Apostle Paul wrote were looking for a place to belong in their society. The particular way of belonging in the Roman world of that day has been called a "patron-client system." The socially prominent, wealthy, and powerful, the "one-percenters" or patrons, would enhance their status by recruiting "clients" among the "ninety-nine percenters." The clients were expected to promote their patron in the popular society and be rewarded perhaps with work, food, or simply status. "I belong to Gaius," a client might loudly state. The "I belong to..." is a boast or a claim to fame. Paul here is disrupting that social status game.

To believers who were seeking to belong, Paul instead tells them of a wondrous new status that belongs to them as ones called and claimed in Christ. They are not the clients so much as they are now the patrons in the inverted world of values transformed by the word of a crucified and risen Jesus.

O God of Wisdom, you have called and claimed us as your own. Help us to live in the wondrous new status that has been given us—knowing that in Christ everything is ours, because we belong to you. Amen.
1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23 (NRSV)

10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it.
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.
16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?
17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.
18 Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise.
19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their craftiness,"
20 and again, "The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile."
21 So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours,
22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all belong to you,
23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

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