Friday, 15 May 2015
My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen. 1 Corinthians 16:24
After a short introduction, Paul’s words in this first epistle to the Corinthians began with grace and peace –
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:3
Now his words end in love. This is a beautiful example of Paul’s ability to take the most difficult of issues and weave them into a letter with painstaking care in order to ensure that they are neither misconstrued, nor taken in an ill light. During the letter, he has gone on a walk through the dark valley of discontent. He has gone over jagged rocks of disharmony, and over rough roads of bad-doctrine. He has traversed through a jungle of immorality. There in the midst of it, the sharp and painful thorns of misconduct caused the Corinthians to stray in their thinking.
He also traveled along a highway of introduced heresy. With each step, he confidently placed his feet where the snakes of wayward thinking could not strike out and ruin him. After all of this, and much more difficult terrain, he now arrives on the quiet and peaceful shore of a tranquil ending to the epistle with words of comfort and love. Such is the nature of Paul’s heart for the Corinthians. He was willing to take himself and his doctrine though all of this in order to bring them to that contented place with him. May we so conduct ourselves in such matters as well!
Life application: It is time-consuming and difficult to mentor people who are caught in spiritual confusion. It is so much easier to simply say, “They had it coming.” But to take the time to correct others in faulty doctrine is no less important than bringing a person to Christ. The reason for this is that those with faulty doctrine may be a witness of their beliefs to another at some point. If they teach an incorrect gospel, then the hearer of their words will never come to a saving knowledge of the Lord. Therefore, correction of doctrine is as important as the saving of souls.
Lord God, today I ask for patience in my interactions with others who have misunderstood Your word. Grant me the right approach to handling such difficult matters so that I will not be confrontational or belligerent in my attitude as their questions come forth. I know that if their doctrine is wrong and they teach it to another person, that poor soul may never come to a saving knowledge of Your gospel truth. And so help me in this. May my words be in love and my doctrine pure. Amen.