“GOD’S GRACE FOR THE SAINTS”              By Pastor YAU

Text: 1 Corinthians 1:4-9                                    October 30, 2011

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   We are called to be saints: Paul always used the word saints to refer to Christians not to the dead ones but to the living, not to a few distinctive honorable but to all who Christ had died for and had sanctified. In most of his letters to the early churches, Paul used this word some 60 times. We are called saints not because we have no sin or we have done something extraordinary, but because we are sanctified through the blood of Jesus Christ.

2)   We are called to live saintly: The main thrust of 1 Corinthians is exhortation for pure, godly living. Because believers of Christ have been declared as saints, holy, and have been given the holy nature, Paul pleads they should live their life holy. The case of indicative “you are” is the basis of the imperative “you ought”, a basic principle of Christian live throughout the Bible.

 

PAST BENEFITS OF GRACE: (Gal. 1:4,6) What grace has done:

1)   Grace cancels all human sin: “I always thank God for you because His grace given you in Christ Jesus.” (1:4) Grace of God cannot coexist with human sin. Grace provides for the cancellation of sin. God gives us grace without condition on our own efforts to keep grace valid. No human effort may earn God’s grace, and no human failure may cancel God’s grace. No one may do anything to merit his salvation and no one may do anything to cancel God’s grace.

2)   Grace cancels all human work: “Therefore, no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather through the law, we become conscious of sin.” (Romans 3:20) Grace can’t coexist with human obligation or work. We are not to say, “Well, God has gracious to us to save us, so now we have to pay him back.” Grace is a free gift, not a loan. Grace makes us totally indebted to God, but the cost is so great we may never repay it, and therefore we do not need to repay it. We are completely indebted, but we have no debt to pay. We cannot pay for our salvation either before or after we are saved.

3)   Grace cancels all human goodness: “For (we) all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)Grace of God cannot coexist with human goodness or merit. God’s grace is not offered to good people but to sinners. In relation to each other, some may be morally better than others. But in relation to God and His righteousness, human best is like “filthy garment.” (Isaiah 64:6) No human goodness is worthy of consideration for God’s grace.

 

PRESENT BENEFITS OF GRACE: (1:5,7a) What grace is doing:

1)   We are enriched in Him: “That in everything you were enriched in Him.” (1:5)The benefit of salvation was done in the past when we accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. But the benefit of grace continues to enrich us throughout our earthly lives. The grace of God doesn’t stop at the moment when we are saved. It continues to bring us “everything in Him” as we continue to live for Him. God’s grace covers all areas of our needs, spiritual, emotional and physical. God never stops provide all our needs.

2)   We will speak His knowledge: “In all speech and knowledge.” (1:5b)When Jesus gave his command that “We are his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the outer most parts of the world,” He did not just give grace to his disciples but to all whom were saved by His grace, you and me. God’s grace will help us in our understanding of His truth, and his grace will also give us the wisdom and power to share His truth. This benefit is for others, those who have not heard of His love and need to be saved.

3)   We are given all of His gifts: “So that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift.” (1:7a) Gift charisma in Greek, comes from charis, grace. Paul was talking about the endowment by God of gracious gifts so people of God may minister to each other and God. No one may claim he/she doesn’t have any gift of God, and so, he/she doesn’t need to serve God and others. In 1 Cor. 12, Paul listed the unique privilege of believers to serve the needs of others by using the gift of grace from God.

 

FUTURE BENEFITS OF GRACE: (1:7b-9) What grace may do in the future?

1)     Grace will reveal Christ to us: “As you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.” (1:7b)There are two ways Christ will reveal to us: He will reveal himself to us in our journey in earth to direct our everyday life as His faithful followers. Grace will also enable us to see Christ in the final time when He reveals himself to all in the universe in His second coming to redeem the world and bring the faithful to be with him. Looking for Christ’ second coming was the biggest issue during Paul’s time. Under severe persecution, the early Christians were eager to see Christ come back soon.

2)     Grace will keep us blameless: “He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1:8)The power of God’s grace will protect us from temptation and sin, so we will be blameless when we see the Lord in his final return. No man may keep himself blameless by his own power or will. It is the grace of Jesus we may be kept blameless when we see him on that day. Thousands of years ago, King Solomon advised us to be humble before God, “Trust in the Lord will all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge hi, and he will make your paths straight.” (Pro. 3:5-6)

3)     Grace will join us with Christ: “God who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ, is faithful.” (1:9)The word fellowship, Koinonia in Greek, also means partnership or oneness. We are secured with the Lord by the power of God’s grace, not by our meager human effort to do right or good. Our security with God and Christ are kept and sealed by the grace of God. No one may do anything to guarantee his position in the Lord or his relationship with Christ. We are saved by God’s grace. We are enabled to serve the Lord by the gifts of God’s grace, and we are secured of our final destiny and partnership in God’s kingdom also by the power of God’s grace. Without the grace of God we can do nothing.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)   God’s grace to the saints: Paul stressed so much in his letters to the early church about the importance of salvation by grace not by human merit. We are saved totally by the grace of God and his Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross to forgive our sins and to give us eternal life. Anything we are able to do, to give and to serve is by the grace of God, not by our own ability or goodness. We should not develop pride or self glory as we are called to serve in God’s kingdom and his church.

2)   God’s grace for all others: All who have not yet place their faith in the Lord need to understand that God is waiting to open the door of salvation for you to enter. It is never what you can do to save your souls, but the total grace of God. Ask God to forgive your sins and to enter into your heart to be your Lord of life. He will grant you eternal life and direct your path to a higher ground for a meaningful life.