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The Nature of Shame | Corinth

Commentary on Paul’s Letters to the Corinthian Church

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Ideal for those getting acquainted with our thought process at Ammi Ruhama Community.

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1 Corinthians 1:26-31

26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,[c] not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being[d] might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him[e] you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 English Standard Version

The Nature of Shame

Paul writes to the Corinthians an aspect of God that is rather uncomfortable for the sitting people of God who have received mercy, and that is that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. Or, as Paul writes, “God uses the things that are not, to bring to nothing the things that are”.

Those who have been called by God unto salvation and to the repair of the interface have to be an unassuming people by necessity. This is largely because the assuming people will have already been well entrenched in their symbiotic organisations and be too comfortable to make any substantial repairs to the interface which, frankly, works just fine for them; and why fix what’s not broken?

But God uses the people that are not strong by the world’s measure to bring to nothing the people who are:

The unrighteous to shame the righteous,

The sexually divergent to shame the chaste,

The Gentiles to shame the Jews,

The women to shame the men,

The slaves to shame the free.

What is shame then, but the offering of grace and mercy by God to those we thought were not deserving? I will take it a step further in light of adversarial unity. What is shame but when God blesses those who curse us when we won’t? What is shame but when God loves our neighbours when we won’t? What is shame but when a church opens across the road who are reaching people with the Gospel who vote differently than we do? What is shame but when a child sees what it took an adult a lifetime and a doctorate to see; and who speaks the truth without reticence or thought of payment?

We pay lip service to the levelling nature of the cross, but the result of God’s grace to us is that all hierarchies of distinction in the body are done away with until we are all one in the mind of Christ Whatever gradations of so-called righteousness that remain as a result of our organisation and structure; those things we pride ourselves in will be our shame and our humbling before God.

Ammi Ruhama Community Christian Union


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