April 2 – 1 Corinthians 1:4-9

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

1 Corinthians 1:4-9 – Thanksgiving

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.

Paul tells the Corinthians that he always thanks God for them. In other words, he didn't simply sit down to write a letter to them and all of a sudden spend a few moments in prayer. His love for the people of the Church continuously brings them to mind. As we dig further into this letter and see how much the church in Corinth has misunderstood the gifts they have received from God, it might seem odd that Paul is so thankful, but he goes on to explain that it is because of God's grace given to them in Jesus, not their goodness or lack thereof.

In each verse of this passage, the name of Jesus is lifted up (in verse 5, it is simply the pronoun 'him'). Through Jesus, God has given, enriched, confirmed, sustained and called. It is in Christ Jesus that Christians are in fellowship with each other and with God.

The wealth of Corinth was extraordinary and in this salutation, Paul begins by telling his readers that they are made rich in Jesus Christ. This is very different from what they would experience as part of their every day lives. When the focus is on ever-increasing wealth, Paul diverts it, telling the Corinthian church that the spiritual gifts fill their lives.  They are eloquent (all kinds of speech) and have great spiritual insight (all knowledge). The spiritual wealth poured out on them by God far outweighs the material wealth they know so well.

On the other hand, Paul is about to teach them about the misuse of their spiritual wealth. They have been given great gifts in order to build up the community of faith, but many used those as weapons, rather than mediating them with love.

God called the people of Corinth and gave them grace. He sustained them as they waited for the coming of Jesus and promises to keep them to the end. God is faithful. He will complete the work that he began in each of them … and in each of us.