Today’s reading in THE Story begins on page 419 with the words “While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews of Corinth…” and ends on page 429 ”My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.” Acts 18:12-28, Act 19:1, 8-20, 23-41, 20:1; 1 Cor. 1:1-3, 10-13; 3:1-11, 21-23, 5:9-13, 6:18-20, 10:14-20, 10:14-21, 12:1,4-6,12-18, 27, 13:1-7, 15:1-25, 51-58, 16:19-24
1 Corinthians 1:2-3 (NIV) 2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, 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.
Paul’s opening words in his first letter make the Corinthians sound like the greatest group of believers who ever lived. But when you read through all the “issues” that were present in that congregation, you might be tempted to change your mind. Here are a few of their issues:
fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners…
And that is just the list that comes 1 Corinthians 6. Yet, when the Gospel of grace turn them into believers, everything changed. Paul attributes their new life now to this:
1 Corinthians 1:4 (NIV) I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.
Where would they be without the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ? The same place where 2/3rds of the world is today: LOST! HOPELESS! They are facing a grave that will usher in an eternity of suffering, shame, and most of all, an eternal life without God, and they don’t even know it, and worst of all, most don’t care!
Except for “grace” that’s where they we would end up too. But here is God’s promise to all who by grace believe:
1 Corinthians 1:8-9 (NIV) 8 He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
God will keep us strong to the end…blameless on the day of Christ, and not because we are faithful, but because God is faithful.
So…even when the temptations of life come our way…
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV) God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
That’s grace. God will not let temptations come our way that are too strong for us to resist OR He will provide a way for us. What is that way? Better question is: Who is that way?
John 14:6 (NIV) 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Jesus is our way out. When we give in to sin’s temptations, He leads us out through the forgiveness of sins, promising that “nothing can separate us from His love.” Jesus always has been our WAY out and He always will be!
Proverbs 4:11 (NIV) I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.
And our prayer?
Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness…make straight your way before me. When I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, accompany me that I will not fear, comfort me with your rod and your staff, anoint my head with your oil of mercy, that goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in Your house O LORD forever. In Jesus’ name. Amen. (portions of the prayer came from Psalm 5:8 and Psalm 23)