Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
He Calls. He Gives. He Invites
“I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus”
Paul starts off every letter to the churches, except to the church in Thessalonica, with a confirmation of his apostleship and calling by the will of God. Was this for the stroking of his ego that he wanted to start every letter like this? Definitely not (See 2 Corinthians 11:30), it was instead a staple of his literary style and more importantly a reminder to his readers that he spoke with the authority of one called by the living God. Let’s take a minute to ask ourselves if we walk and talk with such God-given authority. It should not be a brash arrogance, but a humble confidence in the fact that—if we’re walking in obedience to His calling—the Creator of the universe called me do to exactly what I’m doing, not because of how good I am, but because of how gracious and good He is.“To the church of God that is in Corinth…called to be saints”; He calls us to be saints. If we’ve believed in our hearts that Jesus Christ is Lord, that He died for our sins, and that He rose from the grave so that we may rise with Him into a new life, then we are all called to be saints. Sainthood doesn’t require that we be perfect and it’s not for the choice few that some deem as worthy, but rather being sanctified in Christ, we are all called to aim for perfection and holiness.
“So that you are not lacking in any gift”; every good and perfect gift comes from our Heavenly Father. We’ve done nothing to deserve it, that’s why Paul first says, “—because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus.” God gives us talents, but when we submit and sacrifice that talent to Him as an act of worship and submission, He does wonders with it and accomplishes things for His name’s sake that we could never do ourselves. The people of Corinth were a mixed group; the city was a pit-stop for sea traffic, but it also had a rich history first in Greek culture and then infused with Roman ideals. As a result, many of the Corinthians already had abilities in speech and were very knowledgeable, but they were “enriched in him” and those talents became supernatural gifts. They didn’t have every gift, but they weren’t lacking in any either, because they were given exactly what they needed for that time and place. When He gives to us, His children, He wants us to bless others with that gift, and in doing so, we bless Him.
Paul invites the Corinthians to wait for Christ’s “revealing”, probably referring to Jesus’ 2nd coming.. The “testimony about Christ was confirmed” among the Corinthians, and similarly God invites us to be His witnesses to this world! He invites us into “the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” This fellowship means that we walk with Him daily, worship Him daily, and make Him known daily. God invites us to be stewards of our gifts; Paul was so meticulous in how he constructed these 9 verses because God was fanning into flame one of the gifts that Paul had which was in writing and exhortation. Just these verses alone set the stage perfectly for the biggest problems that were hindering the church at Corinth: disunity, holiness, knowledge, and calling. Paul accepted God’s invitation to be the best apostle, writer, tent-maker, and everything else that he was called and equipped to be. God invites us to do the same.
Prayer: Lord, help us to always acknowledge and give you thanks for the fact that by grace you’ve called us, equipped up with the right gifts, and above all else, invited us into fellowship. Give us more wisdom, and give us the gifts we need, only for the purpose of bringing you glory.
Thought for the day: He calls, He gives, and He invites; Are we ready?
Prijo Thomas, St Andrews MTC, NY