1 Corinthians 1:4-8

In 1 Corinthians 1:4-8 Paul delivers a prayer for the church in Corinth. He begins with giving thanks. Paul will later spend most of this letter rebuking sin and correcting error, yet he is still sincerely thankful for God’s work in the Corinthian Christians. “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus”. There was the specific reason for Paul’s gratitude. Everything good the Corinthian Christians have from God has come to them by grace. Grace means that God gives freely, for His own reasons. Grace happens without any reason or deserving of it.

He continues by explaining how the people experienced the effect of grace in the life of the Corinthian Christians. The Corinthians were a “rich” church, not only materially, but also in their speech and knowledge of Jesus (all utterance and in all knowledge… the testimony of Christ), in their abounding in the gifts (come short in no gift), and in that they lived in anticipation of Jesus’ coming. “….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 spiritual gift….”

The work of God in the Corinthian Christians could be seen by what they said, by what they learned, by a supernatural element in their lives, and by their expectant anticipation of Jesus’ return. Yet, these positives were no great credit to the Corinthian Christians themselves. They were not the spiritual achievements of the Corinthians, but the work of the grace of God in them. Paul thanks God for the gifts among the Corinthians, even though they were causing some trouble. He recognizes that the gifts were not the problem, but wrong attitudes and beliefs about the gifts. Gifts are given for unity and building up the body, not causing division.

The Corinthian Christians had their strong points, and they had their weak points. Paul praises God for their positives, and expresses confidence that God will take care of their weak points, and confirm them to the end, so that they would be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. “….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.” How can Paul be confident of this when the Corinthian church has so many problems? He can be confident because God is faithful. In these first 10 verses, Paul refers to Jesus in every verse, for a total of 11 times. In this emphasis on Jesus, Paul promotes the sure cure for the problems of the Corinthians: getting your eyes off self and on Jesus.

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