Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, "I am of Paul," and "I of Apollos," and "I of Cephas," and "I of Christ."1 Corinthians 1:12(NASB)
The Christian Church is one Body of believers who are all united together under One Head – Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, and He is the Chief Shepherd of the flock. Jesus is the singular Leader of the Church and Captain of our salvation Who was made perfect through His sufferings, on our account.
Sadly however, there are men, ministries, and even denominations that allow division to happen and seek to build up their own little following of sycophantic believers so that they can dominate their thinking with rites, rituals, restrictions, rules, and regulations.
Too often, this sort of leader starts to read into Scripture whatever they want it to say so that they can shackle their devoted followers with legalistic practices, for financial reward or to exert power over their weaker brethren. This eventually gives rise to unbiblical cults and religious movements that teach their own brand of Christianity.
This should not be… and Paul identified this emerging attitude in the first chapter of Corinthians and strongly criticised their ungodly behaviour. The Christians were quarrelling amongst themselves and demonstrating their gross carnality by splitting into separate little splinter groups and bolstering support for their preferred teacher, which was causing serious division among the congregation!
Paul strongly admonished the Corinthians for these foolish arguments which were causing serious disunity within the Body of Christ. Each one was saying, 'I am of Paul' or 'I of Apollos' or 'I of Peter' or 'I of Christ'. Had this attitude not been quickly corrected by Paul, or had any of these leaders allowed such foolish hero-worship to continue, the Church could have fragmented into many different sects.
But how reminiscent of the days in which we live, when Christians are engaging in some petty arguments that demonstrates this sort of carnal attitude. How often have we recognised the idolisation of certain preachers or the development of a greedy, self-seeking attitude in certain Church leaders, which too often encourages apostate teachers to sneak into the Church and start speaking lies in hypocrisy – causing many to fall away from the faith. How sad when this state of affairs is allowed to take root in our churches, and devastating disunity erupts within the Body.
May we look to Jesus and be quick to keep Christ alone as the central focus of our life. May we be diligent to preserve in the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace within the church meetings and fellowships we attend, and may we be diligent to stand firm on the truth of the glorious gospel of grace for His greater praise.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the Scriptures and the many lessons I can learn from Paul's corrective teachings in his various epistles. I pray that the Body of Christ may become increasingly united in these difficult and dangerous days in which we live. Help us to hold fast to the truth of the glorious gospel, and may we all be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in our churches and in our fellowship together, for Jesus' name's sake. In Jesus' name, AMEN.