Start as You Will Go On
Lord, teach me to fit in with others who may not see certain Christian leaders as I see them.
Read 1 CORINTHIANS 1:1–9
Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,
2 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:
3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged—take it to the Lord in prayer” (Joseph M. Scriven, 1819–1886).
Paul greets the Corinthians in a manner shaped around the Lord Jesus Christ (1–3). His apostleship is in Christ Jesus, his readers are sanctified in Christ, and Christians everywhere are those who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. He knows that the many concerns and issues that will be addressed later in the letter will find an answer only in Christ, so he starts in the direction in which he knows he must head. When we carry burdens about our church or family, we should bring them to Jesus in prayer and obtain the grace and peace to go on.
Note how Paul addresses those in Corinth whom he knew to be at odds with each other and with him. Some of them disesteemed him, minimizing his claim to apostleship. Yet, he still sees them in the light of all that they are in Christ, thanking God for them and looking for signs of his gracious working in them, despite their many failings. Knowing what we do now about the world they lived in and knowing that they needed correction and rebuke, we can learn much from Paul’s approach. We may find it unpleasant to deal with those who dislike us or our way of doing things, but with a good dose of God’s grace, we must try to see them as they are in the Lord. Paul can even imagine them and us as “blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (8). He begins his letter with an insight into the ultimate future of his readers and their current privileged position as those who are in fellowship with God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Paul greets them with warmth, an assurance of Christ’s grace and Paul’s own love. What a start!
Thank God for the grace he has shown to us and to those whom we find hardest to love in the church, at home, at work or in school.
Lord, thank You for confirming Your testimony in me as I radiate it out to others.