Our Tuesday morning men’s Bible study group dove into 1 Corinthians this week. And we were struck by Paul’s comments at the beginning of this powerful letter. He’s writing to a church that’s completely eaten up with pride and divisions and arrogance and immaturity. The leaders of this church are abusing the very gifts God’s given them to prove his holy presence. They’re running the church with worldly methods according to worldly standards. This church is a mess. It’s a wreck. It’s doing more harm for the Kingdom than good.
Yet, Paul writes:
“Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.”
Paul gives thanks for this church. He praises this church for their enriched speaking and knowledge. He calls them the “sanctified.” He claims that this whacked-out church in Corinth has just as many spiritual blessings and potential as any church that’s ever been established.
How can he write that? How can he be positive and thankful? How can he, with a straight face, affirm anything good going on here?
“He [Christ] will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” ~1 Corinthians 1:8-9
God himself provides the guarantee. He will remain faithful to his promises to ultimately perfect his chosen people. No matter how immature they are, regardless of the ways they act toward one another and in their community, God is making his Church wholly blameless. We are forgiven of our sins and are in the process of “being saved.” We’re being remolded, transformed, even if it comes with great swings and dramatic ups and downs.
We’re always going to see the blemishes in God’s Church. His Church is made up of humans. Some days, those blights on the Bride of Christ are all we can see. It can be discouraging. It can bring us down. Especially when we recognize that, a lot of the times, we ourselves are actually part of the problem.
The key is to focus not on the unfaithfulness of God’s people but, instead, on the eternal faithfulness of our God. We are Christians still awaiting perfection, still awaiting the final revelation and completion and arrival of the Kingdom of God. It’s coming. And he promises that when it does, he will have made us ready.
That includes you. And me.