"The critical thing is that the church, those who worship God in Christ Jesus, should function as a family in which every member is accepted as an equal member, no matter what their social, cultural, or moral background. The very existence of such a community demonstrates to the principalities and powers, the hidden but powerful forces of prejudice and suspicion, that their time is up, that the living God has indeed won the victory over them, that there is now launched upon the world a very different way of being human, a way in which the traditional distinctions between human beings are done away with."
"Clearly, the existence and flourishing of such a community is the thing that is going to reveal to the pagan world that the gospel of Jesus Christ is what it claims to be. That is why, when writing 1 Corinthians, Paul builds up his argument step by step showing at point after point the way in which this community is radically different from its pagan neighbors until at last he reaches chapter 13, when, like the chorale theme in Sibelius' 'Finlandia', the clear poetry and praise of love, agape, rings out, and we realize that this was all along the subtext of the entire letter:
Love is patient; love is kind;
love is not envious or boastful
or arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice in wrongdoing,
but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things...
- WSPRS p. 146-147