Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:4-9

“So that you are not lacking in any gift, 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. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:7-9)

At first glance, this verse seems like a pretty ordinary statement from Paul. However, if we peek into the context of Corinthians, we can see just how deep and vast Paul’s understanding of God’s grace spans as he chooses to give thanks for the church in Corinth to open his letter. 

In the context, the church in Corinth was having some major spiritual issues. Before 1 Corinthians, Paul had already sent a letter to the church in Corinth to deal with issues of sexual immorality, serious divisions and quarrels in the church, and social snobbery (thinking one higher than others). At the same time, Paul also gets news that the Corinthians were very confused in their theology. There were wrong teachings about marriage, divorce, pagan religions, corporate worship and the last days where Christians would be resurrected. All these issues were left unsolved in the Corinthian church, and so Paul wrote 1 Corinthians. 

At the root of the issue, the Corinthians were puffed up in their pride. They took on strong opinions for themselves, and this caused the church to divide. From this stems hate and malice, and disunity puts down brotherly love, which Jesus commands. Moreover, sexual immorality had become prevalent in the church. People had decided that it would be okay to be a Christian and live a life exactly like the culture around them. Corinth was known for its secular culture, and sexual promiscuity was a commonality within that city. 

If we look at Paul’s original statement in chapter 1, what can we see now? Are the Corinthians “not lacking in any gift?” This seems to be an opposite statement! The Corinthians lacked in every way. They had walked away from a life that is worthy of a Christian faith. They had disregarded holiness and put on pride instead of humility. So how could Paul give thanks that they were not lacking? 

The answer is in Paul’s assurance of God’s faithfulness. No matter how broken or sinful the church in Corinth seemed, Paul knew that God who calls and saves would be faithful in renewing His people who are in Christ. Paul knew that God would work to change the hard hearts of His people so that they would be present holy and blameless on the day of the Lord. Such a promise is of hope and comfort to us today. 

Where are you in your walk of faith? Do things seem to be stuck, and there appears to be no progress in your faith? Do you ever think to yourselves that you would never be able to change or get out of your sin? Our God is faithful, and He will finish the work that He started in you (see Philippians 1:6). If we are true children of God and if Christ is our master, inevitably, whether fast or slow, our faith will make progress because it is God who will faithfully work in us. Trust in God and keep walking in obedience to His Word. When we fall, humbly repent and walk in the footsteps of obedience once again.

On another note, do we ever desire our church community to be healed from all the sinfulness that leaves scars? Do we ever desire everyone’s faith to mature and grow so that Christ’s love may be expounded in our relationships? Pray for God’s church because God is faithful. He is working in His church, and He will present it holy and blameless on the last day (see Ephesians 5:27). He will use His church to show the glory of His love and His work. Just wait for God’s faithfulness!

Lord, thank You that You are faithful to sinful people like us. We reject You, rebel against You, fall into sin and forget about You. Forgive us for our unfaithfulness. Please help us to rise up again and to learn to walk in obedience to You. May Your love be evident within our churches and teach us to grow in faith, love You and love another. Praise be to You for Your everlasting faithfulness and the hope of salvation we have in Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen.