As Paul gets set to start confronting the Corinthians for their less-than-holy behavior, he starts off with a couple reminders that frame the context. First, what we studied in 1 Cor 1:1-3, that in Christ they are holy and called to be holy. Second, yesterday’s passage 1 Cor 1:4-9, a very encouraging section. I think I ought to print it out and post it on my office wall. In the sermon, we went line by line through it. Take a look at the words, read them slowly, as they are awesome:
4 I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— 6 God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. 7 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8 He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Isn’t that excellent? Take note at how many times he uses the words “in Christ” or “in him”. Look at how he reminds them of God’s empowerment in their lives, giving them gifts, keeping them strong, and blameless. And then he finishes with a flourish talking about God’s faithfulness, especially that they are in fellowship with Christ.
How often do you think about your relationship with the Lord? The Corinthians needed a reminder of how they had a relationship with Christ, and that God was actively at work in sustaining that relationship. I can imagine the Corinthians nervously receiving Paul’s letter. They knew things had gotten out of control in the church. They knew that they had allowed things to veer far from how Paul had taught them. I wouldn’t be surprised if more than a few of them were feeling convicted even before they read the first word. At least they didn’t throw the letter in the garbage before reading it!
So what would God say to you? Would you say your relationship with the Lord is close, distant, dry, thriving? What God would say is pretty much what Paul says here in 1 Cor 1:4-9. Be encouraged!
If you need to confess and repent, do so, and be encouraged that you are in fellowship with Christ.
If you need to spend more time with him, do so, and be encouraged that he is actively involved in your life!