Saturday, 8 March 2014
I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus… 1 Corinthians 1:4
Paul’s introduction and greetings are friendly and filled with encouragement. His closing statements will likewise be uplifting and attentive to the building up of his recipients. However, in the main body of the epistle, Paul is going to address, rather directly at times, many hard issues. Some of these issues may be found offensive in today’s climate of “tolerance,” but these are things which are important to God and which He expects us to pay heed to. We are saved by grace through faith, but we are expected to live out our salvation in holiness and right living.
Before addressing the difficult issues which much be addressed though, he first ensures those at Corinth that they are dear to him and ever on his mind. He states, “I thank my God always concerning you.” One can just picture him walking along the road to his next destination and recalling the people and experiences there at Corinth. As they came to mind, he probably uttered such thoughts out loud… “Yes Lord, thank You for those in Corinth. Thank you for Mikeopolus, Lisatha, and Philipherous. And Lord, you know how good Kristiniki was to me while I was there. Thank you for these folks, and all of those I’ve come to know.” It is Paul who wrote to the Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and he certainly did this himself in such a manner.
Next he explains why he was so thankful to God for them. It was based on “the grace of God which was given to you.” Grace is unmerited favor. It cannot be bought, it cannot be earned, it is completely undeserved. But at the same time, it isn’t forced upon us by God. Grace is bestowed upon us when we submit to Him properly. And this grace is “by Christ Jesus.” He did the work; through Him we receive God’s grace.
Upon receiving this grace, many benefits are available to the believer. Paul will continue with his thought in the coming verses concerning this, but then his writing will also cover those things that the Corinthians were engaged in which imposed upon God’s grace. We will see that such behavior is not what God intends for His children. Let us pay heed to the words of 1 Corinthians. It is a classic example of a church in crisis and needing sound theology, proper doctrine, and right direction.
Life application: God’s grace is sufficient to cover all our sins – past, present, and future. But He does not intended for this grace to be abused. We are saved in order to be holy and glorifying of Him, not to continue to participate in the sins of the flesh.
Lord God, I know that Your grace is sufficient to cover all my sins, but I would rather that the future be free from such things. May I never presume upon Your favor by living in a manner contrary to the high-calling I have received through the shed blood of Your precious Son, my Lord Jesus. Be with me, strengthen me, and help me along this rocky path of life. To Your glory I pray. Amen.