Summary: I. Grace that exceeds II. Gifts that equip III. Guarantee that encourages
BENEFITS OF BEING A SAINT
I. Grace that exceeds
II. Gifts that equip
III. Guarantee that encourages
The troubles of the church at Corinth have been well-documented. They were divided over personalities, tolerated immorality, abused Christian liberty, suing one another in civil court, perverted the Lord's Table, and misunderstood the gifts of the Spirit.
Yet, despite their carnality Paul addressed them as "...sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints." Paul was not ignoring their spiritual condition but was speaking of their position in Christ.
We are saints not because of our work for God but because of God's work in us.
Though their lifestyle was not becoming of a saint, they were saints nonetheless.
Paul establishes their identity in Christ as the basis for his exhortation that is coming later in his letter.
He told them they needed to start acting like saints. Now that is not possible unless you already are a saint. So many people are trying to live the saintly life without having the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. They try to be what they are not, but the Corinthians were not being what they were.
Paul opens with a a few lines to emphasize the benefits of being a saint.
Just exactly what is involved in being a saint? Is it just a title or are there actual benefits of being a saint?
The benefits of being a saint cover all of the periods of a life: yesterday, today, and tomorrow. For the past there's grace, for the present there are gifts, and the future there are guarantees.
What it boils down to is your past is forgiven, your present is taken care of, and your future is guaranteed. You can't beat that. That's the greatest kind of policy there is. Takes care of all the past mistakes, gives you all you need to live in the present, and secures absolutely your future.
I. For the past there is grace that exceeds (4)
I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
There was once a notorious bar that had been turned into a church. Out front a sign was placed that read, "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”
A. Grace - Reason For Our Joy
I thank my God … for the grace
Grace literally means undeserved, unrecompensed kindness. Grace always in Scripture is a free gift, unearned.
Whatever is earned is not grace. Grace cannot be reckoned of debt.
Grace is always free. We cannot merit it because it is a total provision from God in Christ. There is no merit, no obligation, and no work necessary to appease
Human merit is an attempt to pay for sin by personal effort. God does not expect us to pay Him back because grace is permanent and irreversible from God’s standpoint. We will never have debt before God because Christ paid it all; all to him we owe.
If we were to earn forgiveness, it would be a human work. God’s view of human merit is the exact
opposite of grace (Roman 4:4 - Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt).
The reason the gospel is good news is that it rests wholly on grace. Grace is at the core of God’s glory. If we do the doing, we get the glory. If God does the doing, God gets all the glory.
B. Grace - Rendered By Jesus
given you by Jesus Christ
Grace is always “given.”
Christ Jesus is the sphere through which grace comes. Everything rests on the work of Christ.
We serve God out of gratitude and not out of obligation.
II. For the present there are gifts that enrich (5)
As believers we have not only been given grace but we also have been enriched by the gifts of grace.
When our children were small, it seemed as if every
toy we brought for Christmas or for birthday contained these discouraging words on the box: “Batteries not included.” That was always frustrating to me, and I always wanted to ask the manufacture of the tosys, “Why are you selling me this thing without giving me the power to make it work.” Well, when you got saved the batteries were included! GRACE IS A COMPLETE PACKAGE!
That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge
The word “enriched” comes from the Greek word plutocrat [ploo-tuh-krat]. A plutocrat is a very wealthy person.
Corinthian believers were not self-made; they were God-made. God enriched the Corinthians at the point of their salvation. They were in a state of poverty and utterly destitute until they came to Christ. Now they possess great spiritual wealth as plutocrats.