The church in Corinth got off to a good start. In Paul’s first letter to them, he expressed his gratitude for the evidence of God’s grace among them. In their early days they had exercised their spiritual gifts harmoniously and had proven the genuineness of their faith.

But in his letter he also had stern words for them because they were quarreling and competing instead of agreeing and cooperating. He rebuked them for a tolerant attitude toward sexual immorality and a self-centeredness that led them to sue one another before secular judges. Instead of moving forward spiritually, many members were regressing.

The tendency toward spiritual decline was not limited to the early church. It has happened again and again down through the centuries, and has been especially evident when Christians prospered and enjoyed freedom from persecution. It’s a danger we must all be aware of.

Jesus gave us the antidote for this disorder. He said, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works” (Rev. 2:5). This prescription will prevent the spiritual regression that brings so much harm to us individually and to our churches.