*1 CORINTHIANS 1:4-9*
The connection between “hope” & “grace”
*In 1 Corinthians 1:4-9, Paul expresses the hope and thankfulness he has as he contemplates God’s grace*
· Corinth - an incredibly sinful church
· Yet we see in this prayer, Paul is giving thanks for some of the very things causing problems in the church
*/“I thank my God always”/*
Ø the verb in the present, along with this adverb, indicates habitual action
· This means that Paul regularly, habitually, prays for them
· It could also be said that he repeatedly prays for them
· or even that “he never forgets them.”
> The passives in this section show that it is a praise for what God accomplishes and not for what they have done.
· Thankfulness “concerning” them, but thankfulness “for” God and his grace
· The word “for” in Greek indicates the “cause” of Pauls thankfulness
- was the grace of God given to the Corinthian church, not necessarily their faithfulness
· Paul does not thank God for any qualities of theirs, but for what God’s grace has accomplished in them.
· He only thanks God for God’s grace, gift, confirmation, etc.
And in that, he is not snuffing the Corinthians, but rather he is modeling for them a true prayer of thankfulness that brings glory to God
· such prayers are based on “grace”
“GRACE” à unmerited favor from God
Ø Means = */God’s favor (blessing) w~/o merit/*
· and we keep it without any merit
Ø means = */All of the guilt from our actions is gone/*
· we may still feel the guilt, and we should
- we should feel remorse, for we have grieved our Lord
· But we should not assume that b~/c we *feel* guilty that we *are* guilty
- (if indeed, we have trusted Christ to forgive our sin)
- As mature believers we must learn to distinguish between our feelings and our “position” before God
Ø The fact that God pours out goodness on us despite our unworthiness gave Paul a sense of hope & thankfulness
We see that first of all in that Paul gives thanks for…
**Confirmation of Grace (v.
“the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus…even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you”
Ø Paul could not give up hope on the Corinthians b~/c he understood God’s grace at salvation
· this is really the foundation to any other special grace that God brings into our lives.
· Paul could be thankful because of the establishment of Christ in them.
He refers to their salvation as the time that…
*/“the testimony of Christ” /*was confirmed in them
· this is the witness born [by their preaching] to Christ
· the testimony “about” Christ
· this denotes the content of their preaching à CHRIST
Ø refers to something “firm, reliable, certain, beyond doubt.”
· It conveys the idea of something that will be fulfilled
· It is confirmed to them in their hearts
· The Holy Spirit convince them that the testimony was true and they came to firmly believe in it
· That is the testimony was confirmed */by God /*in their minds.
· 2 CORINTHIANS 1:21-22
– Paul makes clear that this confirmation comes from the Holy Spirit
· There is no other validation of preaching other than the work of the spirit (Barrett, 38).
· As Andrew Peters told me this week at his 81st birthday party at Dick and Liz Matthews’ home, the Holy Spirit is nothing but a doctrine in most churches
– Few understand what it is to depend on His working in people’s hearts.
· Martyn Lloyd Jones à preacher’s ½ hour wait
*God’s grace to confirm in them the gospel gave Paul hope for the Corinthians future sanctification*
It is not only God’s grace in the past in salvation that drives Paul to hope & thankfulness
but it is also God’s grace in the present through…
*2. **Gifts of Grace (v.
“that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge…”
Ø Paul took hope & encouragement that God had not held back in any gift necessary for their enrichment
· I thank my God for the grace given you, specifically that you were enriched in speech and knowledge
- not that all of them had gifts of speech and knowledge
- but their church had the benefits of all these gifts
- this is not that every gift was being performed by the church members at Corinth
· AND, it is obvious that by “all things” Paul does not have an absolute sense in mind
- for they were not rich materially
- nor by the testimony of their lives were they rich in faith.
Ø But Paul limits what “all things” in the words…
“all speech and all knowledge.
· “speech” is related to the presentation of “Christian truth.”
- a church who has been “given” teachers should count itself “rich.”
- but there should not be pride in the acquired knowledge
· this is a reference to the gifted men in teaching and speaking gifts
- the Corinthians church had experienced in abundance
- and the resultant doctrinal knowledge that had come from it.
- They had been gifted with men like Apollos, who was “mighty in the Scriptures”
- apparently they had experienced the ministry of Peter (v. 12)
- some of them had even been taught be Christ Himself
- and obviously some of them were very gifted in their speaking ability
~* for they struggled with boasting in their superiority of speech or of wisdom (1:31-2:1).
· This knowledge is the result of the “giftedness” of “speaking” that they had received
- as the speaking abounded, consequently, they abounded in their knowledge.
- doctrinal “knowledge” and thus superiority is such a big issue in the church
- As we will see a “richness in speech and knowledge” had a strong appeal to the Corinthians
- the word “knowledge” is used more in 1 Corinthians than any other book in the NT
- but also in 2 Corinthians 10 – attack on Paul
· The Corinthians had received ministry ‘from’ all the gifts, including the ministry from the apostles.
*/but/* Paul says that they were enriched…
Ø the source was not themselves, it was not even the apostles
Ø the Corinthians had forgotten that */what they had received were gifts/*
· thus – they had forgotten to be thankful.
· “they had not understood the terms under which Christians hold their riches
· this was a fundamental problem in the Corinthian church
* 1 Corinthians 1:12*
· they were boasting that *they *had the better teacher
· the implication is not that Paul & Peter, etc. were against each other