To the Church of God
1 Corinthians 1:2-3 ESV
“To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The church is the body of Christ comprised of all who believe in Jesus Christ with genuine God-given faith which submits to Christ as Lord, leaves our sinful lifestyles behind us, and walks in obedience to our Lord’s commands.
The church is not a building called “church.” It is not a church denomination. The building called “church” is not God’s house. It is not holy ground. The church is also not a business of men incorporated under the state, though that is what many have made it out to be. And it is not to be marketed to the world like any other product of human-based businesses.
The church is comprised of those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints. And to be sanctified is to be made holy, to be set apart for God and for his service, to do his will, and to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being made into the likeness of Jesus Christ.
And “called to be saints” is not about being a “good deed doer.” It is the same as being made holy, separate from worldly influences, and set apart for God for his will and purposes. It has to do with us having the likeness of the nature of the Lord and living lives which are different from the world.
The Grace of God
1 Corinthians 1:4 ESV
“I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus.”
There is much confusion these days regarding the grace of God. Many are teaching God’s grace as a free license to continue living in deliberate and habitual sin against God while operating under the notion that Jesus has forgiven all their sins so that how they live from this moment forward doesn’t matter in light of eternity, for they believe their eternity has been sealed and settled.
But God’s grace is not free license to continue in habitual and deliberate sin against God. God’s grace, which brings salvation, trains us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return.
God’s grace delivers us from our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin so that we can now become slaves of God and of his righteousness. For, Jesus died on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so that we would now be God’s possession and so we would honor him with our lives. Jesus gave his life up for us on that cross so that we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us.
For, he died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. God, by sending Jesus to die for us, condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For, if we live (walk in conduct, in practice) according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God.
[Eph 2:8-10; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15; 1 Pet 2:24; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8]
Not Lacking in Any Gift
1 Corinthians 1:5-9 ESV
“…that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
This is speaking to those who believe in Jesus Christ with genuine God-given faith which submits to Christ as Lord, leaves our sinful lifestyles behind us, and walks in obedience to our Lord’s commands. This is speaking to those who are set apart for God and for his service, to do his will, to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being made into the likeness of Jesus Christ.
This is not speaking to everyone who makes a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. This is not speaking to those who give lip service only to Jesus while refusing to leave their lives of sin behind them, while refusing to honor Jesus as Lord (owner-master) of their lives, and while refusing to walk in obedience to his commands.
If we are genuine in our walks of faith in Jesus Christ, and we are not living to please ourselves, but to please God, we are enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge because we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us speaking God’s words to our hearts, and speaking through us who are his willing vessels to bring forth the truths of God’s word to others.
We are also not lacking in any gift from God, not that we all have the same gifts, but that God will supply all that we need to do his will for our lives. We are not without resources. We have everything we need in Christ in order to do his will, so we are without excuse if we refuse.
Our Lord is the founder and the perfecter of our faith in him. This means that all that we have that is good and is of God comes from him and not from our own flesh. So, if our faith comes from him, it will submit to his will and purposes. And if he is the perfecter of our faith, he is the one deciding how we live our lives, not us.
So, when this says that Jesus will sustain us to the end, this is not saying that he does it all and that we do nothing. And it is definitely not saying that we can continue in deliberate and habitual sin against him while he sustains us to the end, i.e., while he makes sure we still get to go to heaven.
We have our part that we must do, but we do it in the power of God, in submission to him as Lord, under his guidance and direction, and according to his will and purpose. We must obey our Lord and live the life he has called us to if we want to have the promise of salvation from sin and inherit eternal life with God. The fact that he sustains us to the end means we only do this in his power and strength.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Jn 6:44; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2]
The Great Redeemer
Lyrics by Francis Foster, 1915
Music by Samuel W. Beazley, 1915
How I love the great Redeemer
Who is doing so much for me;
With what joy I tell the story
Of the love that makes men free.
Till my earthly life is ended,
I will send songs above,
Then beside the crystal sea
More and more my soul shall be
Praising Jesus and His love.
He has purchased my redemption,
Rolled my burden of sin away,
And is walking on beside me,
Growing dearer day by day.
That is why I sing His praises,
That is why joy is mine,
That is why forevermore
On the everlasting shore
I shall sing of love divine.
Glory be to Him forever!
Endless praises to Christ the Lamb!
He has filled my life with sunshine,
He has made me what I am.
Oh, that everyone would know Him,
Oh, that all would adore!
Oh, that all would trust the love
Of the mighty Friend above
And be His forevermore.
He is everything to me, to me,
He is everything to me,
And everything shall always be;
I will never cease to raise
A song of gladness in His praise;
Here, and in the world above,
My soul shall sing of saving love;
Life and light and joy is He,
The precious Friend who died for me.
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