One of many indicators that the Bible really did come from God and is not man-made is that so many of the heroes are portrayed warts and all. Only a God-inspired letter to a famous congregation like the one in Corinth would have dared to expose so many of the group’s sins and weaknesses.
The Christians in Corinth were riddled with cliques and factions, confused about the last times, careless in what they did with the Lord’s Supper, and way too lax about the gross immorality in their midst.
And yet. And yet Paul looked for and found reasons to praise them and build them up. He had plenty of corrective criticism in his letters to them, but he also celebrated the Spirit’s powerful and effective working in them. “I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge” (1 Corinthians 1:4,5).
They weren’t hopeless, and you aren’t either. Paul knew that only the message of God’s love and mercy can give people forgiveness from their burdens of guilt and failure, that only God’s message of hope can move us forward even when we feel like quitting. The wonder isn’t that we have failed sometimes but that we have overcome Satan’s overwhelming attacks, still held onto our faith though surrounded by unbelievers, and are still exhibiting love and service to one another.
I thank God for you too.
Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of six books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics.
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