Today Paul concludes his first letter to the Corinthians by asking that a collection be taken up for the Christians in need in Jerusalem. Paul says he will come to take the collection back to Jerusalem but he isn’t leaving Ephesus until after Pentecost. In the meantime Paul says Timothy is on his way and he urges them to “watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong, let all that you do be done with love.”
Back in Ephesus, “there arose a great commotion about the Way.” A silversmith named Demetrius is upset that people are converting to Christianity and no longer buying his handmade false gods, which is negatively impacting his cash flow. Money appears to be the motivating factor for Demetrius’s work but he raises a claim guised under religious convictions. Demetrius says, “Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands. So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship.”
When the people hear this, they are filled with wrath and seize Paul’s companions. But since Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen did not have a legitimate charge against them, the city clerk lets them go.
“After the uproar had ceased, Paul called the disciples to himself, embraced them, and departed to go to Macedonia.” Paul and his companions visit the church in Macedonia and when they make their way to Corinth they remain there for 3 months. “Paul wrote Romans from Corinth, toward the end of his third missionary journey, AD 54.”
In the letter to the Roman church, Paul says, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world…For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’ “
Paul explains that we, as sinners, need salvation through Jesus Christ bc “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” Paul says that the people did not glorify the holy God but instead took pleasure in sin, which led to spiritual and moral decay including sexual lust, homosexuality, and a corrupt mind.
But there is always hope for sinners through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Tomorrow Paul will explain how Christ took our punishment so that we may be deemed righteous and restored to God. Keep reading.
(1 Corinthians 16:1-24, Acts 19:21-20:6, Romans 1:1-32)