1 Corinthians 1:4-9

I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus,

that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge,

even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you,

so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

It must have pleased the apostle Paul, in writing to the churches he had established, to be able to express thanks to God for what had been accomplished in and through them.

But what is this we find in his salutation to the Corinthians believers in 1 Corinthians 1:4? Here he states himself very cautiously: I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus.

Mark well: Paul does not say that he thanks God for the fruit of the Spirit in their lives, or for what God has wrought through them. He rather thanks God on their behalf that God has been so gracious to them. — Stam, pages 26-27.

utterance (v.5) = outward expression of truth

knowledge (v.5) = inward apprehension of truth

confirmed (v.6) = warrant, guarantee of title, made sure — by the gifts they manifested and their attitude toward Christ’s return

come short (v.7) = lack

gift (v.7) = “gift of grace”

How were these Corinthian saints “enriched” by God? Evidently by the gifts of prophecy and knowledge (v.5; cf. v.7). And thus the testimony of God was confirmed in them (v.6). But let us consider this more carefully:

1 Corinthians 1:22 states that “the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom.” Why, then were the signs of Pentecost wrought among Gentile believers?

In answer it must be remembered that this assembly of believers had begun in a Jewish synagogue, had then moved to the home of a Gentile and had now become a large city church, composed predominantly of Gentiles, though also of some Jews. Moreover the synagogue which they had left was carrying on much as before. What, then, would the Jews there think of this Christian church? Surely the conduct of these believers would not convince the Jews that this was a work of God, but their miraculous demonstrations would, or should, for to the Jews a miracle was a sign that God was at work (See John 3:2).

Thus God was leaving the Jews without excuse for further unbelief and further refusal to believe Paul’s message about Christ. Whatever the carnality, the pride, the permissiveness, the divisions among the Corinthians believers, the Jews were confronted with the signs. God must be speaking to them. Thus these signs wrought among the Gentiles harmonize perfectly with 1 Corinthians 1:22. — Stam, page 29.

unto the end (v.8) — can mean degree or time

the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (v.8) — the rapture

Verse 8 is a statement of the eternal security of the believer.

called (v.9) — The calling of saints is always attributed to the Father.

I think it’s interesting that right here at the beginning of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, a letter written primarily to scold them for their carnality, he makes a clear statement that God’s confirmation of their salvation was evident and that they were confirmed to the end. It’s obvious that they were saved, even though they didn’t look saved and weren’t producing good works. This disproves the statement, so often heard, that failure to produce good works proves that a person was never saved. Yes, we should produce good works in response to God’s grace on our behalf, but failure to do so does not lose us our salvation or prove that we were never saved. Salvation is by grace, through faith, and our works don’t enter into it at any point — before, during, or after salvation. If they did, then we would be saved by works.

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