1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Somehow an expression of thanksgiving is not what is expected to come from the mouth of Paul at the beginning of this letter. Here is a church that has begun to listen to false teachers and is aggressively challenging Paul’s authority. This church condones immorality and “unconditionally accepts” a man whose sin shocks even the unbelieving pagans of that city. The church’s personal conflicts are being aired out before unbelieving eyes in secular courts. How could Paul give thanks? Simply put, he chose to live out (illustrate) the grace of God that had been imparted to him.
Most find it quite easy to dwell on past failures or point out all that is wrong in a given situation:
· Parents have no trouble focusing on the disappointment of spilled milk (again!) rather than the attempt one of their children had made to bring them a drink.
· An employee remembers that he had to work the day after Christmas, but forgets the generous bonus he was given at Thanksgiving.
Paul is speaking to his spiritual children in Corinth. He addresses their sin, but not before showing abundant thankfulness for what they did right. He told the Philippians to rejoice and be filled with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:4-7). The Colossians were instructed to be thankful as they learned to rest in the peace of God (Colossians 3:15-17). Consider the message to the Thessalonians: “In everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NKJV).
The Apostle Paul was a man of thanks and focused on counting blessings here in his letter to the Corinthians: The present benefits of the grace of God (based off the easily-forgotten past work of grace) given by Christ Jesus. Paul doesn’t give thanks for the sins and the failures of these people—they are there—everyone knows it. Paul gives thanks to God for what He has done and for what He will ultimately do for His children. He sets God’s grace as the beacon of hope for those who are wallowing in the mire of sin.
Hope is exactly what we all need and exactly what grace provides. How thankful we should be!
© 2018, Life Touching Life - Pastor Chris Juvinall Used by permission.