Day 2: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Grace to you and peace from Godour Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I always thank my God for you because of the grace of God given to you in Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in him in every way, in all speech and all knowledge. In this way, the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you, so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; you were called by him into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1. Paul is writing a difficult letter to the Corinthian Christians. Ahead of his message of correction, he makes sure to encourage them. He tells them how much they matter to him. He communicates his certainty that they have been chosen by God, empowered by God, granted the grace of God in Christ, and given all that they need to endure to the end. He reminds them that they will stand blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is only after he has made certain that they understand this that he will tell them of the ways they have erred.
2. Jesus is our model for encouragement. Before his 40 days of fasting and temptation by the devil in the wilderness, Jesus was strengthened by the Spirit and given verbal encouragement by the Father as he declared This is my Son in whom I delight! Later he sought the company and encouragement of his closest companions as he faced his final test in the garden of Gethsemane.
Christ is also the means of our encouragement: it is Christ himself who grants us the spiritual gifts needed to endure until his appearance. He is also the substance of our encouragement: It is because of Christ that we are strengthened and blameless before the throne of God.
3. We may live with bold audacity in doing good, secure in the knowledge that through Christ we have all that we need. Though we may err in our habits and practices every day of our lives, we know we are enriched in him, confirmed, strengthened, and called. Since our identity is in who God has declared us to be in Christ, our lives are not to be marked by sin, but by likeness to him. As he encouraged, we are to encourage. As he was encouraged, we are to accept encouragement. As God is faithful in calling us into fellowship with Christ, we are to be faithful in calling one another into fellowship with him, offering faithful testimony of Christ through increasingly Christlike speech and knowledge.
4. Our encouragement is for a greater hope than a life well lived. We are called towards the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. His life, death, and resurrection make us blameless. His judgment of the world and revelation as the Lord of Heaven and Earth will bring ultimate fulfillment of our hope. He has paid the penalty for sin. We encourage one another to look to him to break the power of sin in our lives today. We look forward to his revelation when he will purge from us and the New Creation the very presence of sin.