I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given to you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in Him in all speech and all knowledge — even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you — so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless 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. (I Corinthians 1:6-9)

These are the Apostle Paul’s opening words in his first letter to the church at Corinth.  We know that church had many problems — divisions among the members, sexuality immorality, idolatry, abuse of spiritual gifts, disruptions in worship, to name some.  Therefore we must remember that this is a corrective epistle.

Now to these opening words.  I can not help but identify with Paul when he gives thanks to the Lord for the grace given to the church and its individual members.  As I reflect over my 30 years at Westminster Presbyterian Church, I can say the same thing.  God was and is so gracious to our church.  It is amazing to look back over these years now and see what God has done.  God did it!  And to think that He used me in the process.  I reminded of so many people who have been gripped by God’s grace and have faithfully served Christ through the ministry of our church.

I also reflect upon how I personally and hopefully many, many more have been enriched in Christ.  I was amazed at the number of cards Mary Ann and I received when I retired, thanking me for teaching them about God’s grace.

Recently God has enriched me by giving me some deep, great times of meditation and reflection upon His Word.  Yes, deep and penetrating words to my heart.  I have been waking up early in the morning as I eagerly await my time with the Lord.  It is amazing what comfort and encouragement we get from extended time in His Word.

God is doing this great work in me as I eagerly await the return of the Lord Jesus.  I do pray that He will find me faithful.  There have been and I am sure there will be more times when I have been spiritually dry and not availed myself to the sweet refreshment from HIs Word.  It is wonderful to know that God is the God of second, third, and unlimited number of chances!  These time of refreshment enable me to live a new life for Him.

The incredible news is that God Himself will sustain me, guiltless until Jesus returns.  Think of it.  He will sustain me!  This has many applications — sustain me spiritually, persevering with me; sustain me emotionally, keeping me stable and clear; and sustain me relationally, blessing greatly the most treasured relationships in my life.

What is truly amazing is that He will sustain me guiltless in the day of the Lord.  I know that means: as a result of my justification, Jesus views me spotless, blameless, and undefiled because His righteousness was imputed to me by grace.

But none the less, I must never view this as a cover up for sinful choices.  I am called to live in holiness.  I desire that now more than ever.

The last part of these opening words of Paul declare the absolute truth that God is faithful.  He, who called me into fellowship with His Son, is faithful.  In fact, He is faithful to us even when we are unfaithful to Him.

The phrase, “you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord,” cannot be overlooked.  Our ultimate calling is His calling for us to be in fellowship with Jesus.  This implies a deep, intimate relationship between us and the Lord Jesus.  The wonderful news is that even when we are unfaithful, He remains faithful to His covenant.

Fellowship with His Son implies practicing His presence in my life, drawing upon His wisdom and strength, trusting Him for both my present and my future, walking with Him, being carried in His arms, experiencing His love and acceptance, and I am sure many other implications.

Others will disappoint me and fail me at times, even the ones I love most.  This is a reality.  I cannot depend on others to sustain me.  I have to accept their weaknesses — face reality.

But the ultimate reality is that Jesus will sustain me, guiltless, until He returns.  He will be faithful to me until the end.  And He will usher me into eternity, into His glorious presence.  By His grace, may I fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith until He calls me home!

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