Thursday, December 22, 2016, 2:09 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “When in the Stillness.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 (NIV).
To Those Sanctified (vv. 1-3)
Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,
To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul, an apostle (sent out one) of Jesus Christ (God the Son), wrote this letter to the church of God in Corinth. So, who is the church? Well, the church is not a denomination, such as Baptist, nor is it a building built by human hands. It is also not a human-based organization (business), nor a corporation under the federal government. The church is a spiritual entity; a living organism. We, who are followers of Jesus Christ, are the church. Church is not something we go to. The people are the church, but they do gather together. When we enter a building called “church,” we are not entering into God’s house. We, the people of God, are his house, which is a spiritual building, with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone. When we enter into the “church” sanctuary (or worship center), we are not entering the presence of Almighty God, either, because his presence dwells within us.
There is just one church, but it meets in multiple locations, such as the church of God (not a denomination) in Corinth (a city). Or, it could be the church that meets at so and so’s house, but it is still one church, one body, but with many members and locations. And, church membership is also not membership with a human organization or corporation (business) or denomination. If we are believers in Jesus Christ, then we are already members of the one true church, which is his body, and no other membership is required, at least not by God. And, if the church gathers together, it should be the church, i.e. born again Christians meeting together for mutual edification and encouragement, etc., not a place for inviting in the world and for entertaining the world so the world will feel at home. Instead, the church is to go out into the world to make disciples of Christ of people of all nations, baptizing and teaching them to obey Christ.
So, who are these people who are the church? They are those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ, and called to be his holy people. And, what does it mean to be sanctified? It means to be made holy. It means to be purified, i.e. cleansed of our sins. And, what does it mean to be holy? It means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are becoming like Jesus Christ. And, how do we become sanctified and made holy? Only by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, via turning from sin to God, to walk in his ways, being born anew of the Spirit of God, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). So, what happens when we believe in Jesus? We are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life to be lived to his righteousness. And, we are delivered from slavery to sin so that we can now become slaves (servants) of his righteousness.
His Grace Given You (vv. 4-9)
I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
We are saved by God’s grace. That means we do nothing to earn or to deserve or our own salvation. Our good will never outweigh our bad. That is why Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins. He who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Co. 5:21). Only through faith in Jesus Christ can we be made righteous in God’s sight, be cleansed of our sins, and have the hope of eternal life. Yet, faith is not a feeling, or an emotional or intellectual experience, nor is it reciting words after someone else, after which we are congratulated for joining God’s family. When we truly believe in Jesus to save us from our sins, we die to sin in order that we might live to righteousness, for that is why Jesus died. And, we are only able to do this because of God’s grace, and via his grace to us.
When we do put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, his Spirit comes within us to dwell – to counsel, lead, guide, teach, nurture, comfort, encourage, exhort, convict, strengthen and empower us to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God. The Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts to be used for the glory of God and the strengthening and edification of the saints of God, as well as to be used in sharing the gospel of our salvation with a lost world. These gifts are to be used in accord with God’s Word, and in the power of God’s Spirit within us. The Spirit gives us wisdom, too, and words to speak, and knowledge and understanding of the truths of scripture in how they are to be applied to our lives, to the church and in or to the world. The Holy Spirit speaks God’s truths to our hearts in many ways, but always in accord with God’s Word and his divine character and will.
True faith in Jesus Christ is enduring faith, because even the faith to believe in Jesus Christ is a gift from God. But, true faith also has requirements which reveal whether or not our faith is real or it is not real. Because Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, true faith dies with Christ to sin and is resurrected with Christ to newness of life to be lived to his righteousness. It no longer lives (in lifestyle) according to the sinful flesh, but it conducts itself according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God. And, it is God and his grace which sustains us, which keeps us going, and which gives us endurance to keep believing, trusting and resting in our Lord. We do none of this in our own strength, will-power or wisdom. All glory to God!
When in The Stillness / An Original Work / September 26, 2011
When in the stillness of this moment,
Speak to me, Lord, I humbly pray.
Be my desire, set me on fire,
Teach me to love always.
Help me to walk in fellowship with You,
Listening to You; sit at Your feet.
Whisper Your words to me,
Oh, how gently, guiding me in Your truth.
While we are waiting for Your blessing,
Lord, in our hearts be King today.
Help us to live for you ev’ry moment,
List’ning to what You say.
May we not stray from your word within us,
Help us obey You, Lord, in all things,
Walking each moment, Lord, in Your presence,
Our offerings to You bring.
Help us to love You, Lord, our master;
Be an example of Your love,
Helping the hurting, lift up the fallen,
Showing them Your great love.
Teach them to love You, follow You always,
Bearing their cross and turning from sin;
Walking in daily fellowship with You,
Making You Lord and King.