1. From the Church of God in Rome to the Church of God in Corinth, which is called and sanctified by the will of God through Christ Jesus. Grace and peace to you from Almighty God multiplied through Christ Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, the unexpected and repeated terrible events that have happened to us have, regretfully, caused us to delay in responding to the questions you have asked us. It has also delayed us from addressing the disobedience, which is completely unbecoming of people chosen by God. A few reckless and self-willed people have incited a madness that has caused your beautiful and renowned name—that is loved by many—to suffer a great injury. Has anyone who has lived among you not experienced the stability of your faith and the fruitfulness of your works? Who has not admired your self-control and self-discipline of your devotion to Christ? Who would not proclaim your beautiful spirit of hospitality? Who would not rejoice over your perfect and established knowledge of the gospel? You did everything without caring for a person’s status and you walked in the ways of God. You were subject to the rulers and gave honor to your elders, which is what you should do. You instructed your young men to think modestly and soberly. You instructed your young women to be innocent and decent and to have a pure conscience, loving their own husbands as they should. You also taught them to live by the rule of obedience and to manage their households seriously and with discretion.
2. Yes, all of you were humble-minded, not boastful of anything, desiring to be subject rather than lead, to give than to receive. You were content with the role God had given you, relying completely on his word. You were confident and always remembering his suffering for you. Because of this, you had a heartfelt and beneficial peace; an overwhelming desire to do good. A tremendous outpouring of the Holy Spirit came upon you and being filled with His holy leadership, willingness, and devout conviction you reached out to God begging him to be merciful if you had unwillingly sinned. You prayed fervently day and night for all believers, praying that all God’s elect would be saved mercifully and with good conscience. You were sincere and without misdeed always forgetting any injury toward one another. All troublemaking and division was abhorrent to you. You mourned the sins of your neighbors, regarding their defects as your own. You were kind to one another without resentment, always ready to do good works. Your speech was entirely virtuous and godly, and you did all things looking to God. The Lord’s commandments were written on the tablets of your heart.
3. Every kind of honor and happiness was given to you, and then what was written has been fulfilled, “My beloved ate and drank and became fat and kicked out.” From this came envy and dissension, rebellion and disorder, conflict and slavery. So, the dishonorable rose against the honorable, those with poor character against the respected, the foolish against the wise, and the young against their elders. Because of this righteousness and peace have left you, everyone has walked away from the fear of God. They have become blind in their faith, and don’t walk by the rule of God’s commandments. No one acts like a Christian, instead you follow your own lusts and have given in to unjust and wicked envy. Envy is how death entered the world.
4. This is what the scripture says, After some time Cain brought a sacrifice to the Lord from the fruits of the ground. Abel also brought a sacrifice from the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. The Lord respected Abel and his offering, but he did not respect Cain and his sacrifices. So Cain was extremely sorrowful and his countenance fell. So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you extremely sorrowful? And why has your countenance fallen? Did you not sin even though you brought it rightly, but did not divide it rightly? Be still: his recourse shall be to you, and you shall rule over him.” Now Cain talked with Abel, his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, and killed him. (Orthodox Study Bible)
Brothers and sisters, envy and jealousy brought the murder of a brother. Envy is why our father Jacob fled from Esau. Jealousy is why Joseph’s brothers tried to kill him and he ended up in service in Egypt. Envy is why Moses fled from Pharaoh after a fellow Israelite asked him, “Who made you a judge and ruler over us? Are you going to Kill me like you killed the Egyptian yesterday? Through jealousy, Aaron and Miriam were thrown out of the camp. Envy sent Dathan and Abiram to Hades because they constantly rebelled against God’s servant Moses. Because of jealousy, David was hated by strangers and hunted by Saul, the King of Israel.
5. But, let’s not talk about ancient examples, let’s talk about examples close to our time of people who have fought diligently for the faith. Because of jealousy and envy, the most holy and beautiful examples of the church have been persecuted and killed. Let’s look at the holy apostles. Peter, because of undo envy, underwent not one or two hardships, but many. After enduring to the end, he went to the glory he was due. Through acts of jealousy, Paul learned the gift of patience. He was imprisoned seven times, beaten and stoned. He preached both in the East and the West, leaving behind a glorious legacy of faith. He taught the entire world righteousness all the way to the western boundary. After giving his testimony to the authorities, he was martyred and taken up to Heaven as a model of patience.