I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless 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. (1 Corinthians 1:4-9)
Paul is about to level several rebukes upon the Corinthians. But first he expresses his gratitude for these “spiritual children”. This is similar to addressing your children when they have “gotten out of line” and need a little encouragement to correct their path… ”Son, I love you. But…” (Uh-ho! Here we go!)
Prior to delivering the rebukes, Paul will establish the foundation for the expectations that he has of them. The Corinthians are held to a standard based on their relationship with God and the knowledge and gifts that they have been given. For the Corinthians, as well as us, everything good that we have came through God’s grace… meaning that God gave freely, not as payment for our actions. Paul writes that the Corinthians had been “enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift”. According to Paul… they had received teaching and knowledge in abundance from God. The Corinthians were left lacking in no area when it came to their spiritual education regarding the gospel. Paul had witnessed this during his time with the Corinthians. He knew first hand of the work that God was doing in the church there in Corinth.
Keep in mind that Corinthians were known for partying, drunkenness, and loose sexual morals. The Corinthians that Paul is addressing in this letter had been called out of this carnal life and into a relationship with Jesus. They had been called into a different relationship… no longer serving the flesh and the world, but instead serving God. Upon answering this calling, and dedicating their life to God, they had received their “spiritual education” through the teaching of Paul, Apollos, Peter, and other teachers that God had placed before them.
As Paul states… “ God is faithful”. He will not simply call you out of the world and leave you to fend for yourself. He always provides for us as we enter into a new life of service to Him. His provisions come in many forms (teachers, revelation from the Holy Spirit, prayer time, scripture reading, fellowship with other believers, etc.) as God deems appropriate for the situation and circumstance. From cover to cover, we see in the Bible that “God is faithful”. When we look back at our spiritual walk with God, especially during the difficult times, we see that “God is faithful”. This is a fact that we can cling to when we enter into unknown or difficult situations. How do we know that God will be faithful as we proceed in faith? Because when we look at history, we can see that God has always been faithful.
Paul writes that “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” We have been called into fellowship with Jesus. This fellowship is constant. We don’t have to schedule meetings or wait for an opening to get a word with Jesus. He is at the right hand of the Father interceding on our behalf at all times. The relationship is constant… and eternal. It will not end. The relationship with Jesus not only provides us with a companion during our time on earth, that relationship provides us with an intercessor that cleared all of our obstacles for an eternal relationship with God in Heaven.
Paul outlines this relationship between the Corinthians, God, and Jesus because he is receiving some disturbing reports regarding their conduct. Despite the spiritual education that the Corinthians have received and their relationship with Jesus… the reports regarding the Corinthians sound like individuals who have no relationship with God. Spurgeon commented that the Corinthian Christians were indeed gifted, yet carnal… “Should it not show us that gifts are nothing, unless they are laid on the altar of God; that it is nothing to have the gift of oratory; that it is nothing to have the power of eloquence; that it is nothing to have learning; that it is nothing to have influence, unless they all be dedicated to God, and consecrated to his service?”
The rebukes that Paul delivers in the letter to the Corinthians contrast the actions of the Corinthians with the teachings of the gospel and the nature of Jesus. Despite the fact that they have been so well educated in the gospel and have a relationship with Jesus, the activities of the Corinthians cause one to believe that they are ignorant of the gospel message and the teaching of Jesus. This letter helps the Corinthians to redevelop their focus on God and their relationship with Jesus by showing them that their actions are not consistent with their “spiritual upbringing”.
Like the Corinthians, we can get distracted by the chaos of the world and forget that our first obligation as Christians is to represent our God and our Savior in this world. We begin to lose focus on God. Our relationship with Jesus begins to seem distant. We lose sight of all of the blessings that God has delivered in our lives. The faithfulness of God begins to fade in our memories and we become dependent on our own understanding and our own abilities. We begin to blend into the world.
Take inventory of your own actions and the motivations behind the actions. Do your actions look more like Jesus or more like the world? Don’t compare your own actions with that of your neighbor or even other Christians. Compare your actions to the example and teachings that Jesus provided. Ask God to show you how He wants to work in your life. Don’t be afraid to ask God that question and don’t be afraid of the answer to that question. Remember that “God is faithful”. When God shows you where He wants to work in your life… He will begin to teach you and grow you out of His love towards you. His goal in you is that you become “enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge… so that you come short in no gift.” As you allow God to work in you… watch as your relationship with Jesus becomes stronger and stronger. As your relationship with Jesus becomes stronger… watch as He begins to use you to share the gospel with others around you.
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3)