1 Corinthians 1:2 says,
To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
Paul addresses the letter “to the church of God that is in Corinth”. The church (group of believers) to whom he was writing had some issues, as evidenced by the rest of the letter. They were marked by division in several different areas, whether regarding which teacher they identified with, or whether it was right to eat meat sacrificed to idols, or what gifts were most important. The fact that he refers to them as “the church of God that is in Corinth” reminds them of God’s ownership of and rule over the church. It’s not Paul’s church; it’s not Apollos’s church; it is the church of God, the part which resides in the city of Corinth.
He adds to the address, “to those sanctified in Christ Jesus”. This audience of Christians in Corinth was made up of people who were sanctified, or set apart, in Christ Jesus. Again, they were separated from the world to Christ, and he’s perhaps priming them here for the upcoming teaching that they ought not be dividing in factions of teachers.
These sanctified in Jesus were “called to be saints”. They were saints, holy ones, ones set apart, by God’s calling them. They could not boast about being saints, for they were called to be saints.
He adds even more to the address: “together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours”. Not only was the church at Corinth one with each other, but they were also one with the rest of the church all over the world, all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And just as He was the Corinthians’ Lord, He is the Lord of all Christians everywhere.
Jesus laid down His life for the church, the whole church, everyone who believes in Him. He is sanctifying His church, and His will is that it not be divided, whether within a local congregation or the church as a whole.
Sometimes, we may have the tendency to feel distinct from and better than the parts of the church that don’t line up with us doctrinally. Often, some may find pride in being a Calvinist, for example, but if we’re not careful, we may be like these Corinthian believers who found great pride in being identified with a particular teacher. We need to remember that the church is God’s, and even those who don’t agree with us are those whom He has called to be saints, and He is not just our Lord, but theirs also.
God, grant us a heart of love to the church universal, not being boastful about what You have shown us that others might not yet see. Grant us humility, and help us to submit to Your Lordship, which is over all the church in all places.