Look to Jesus

   Things change so much in our lives. Whether it be CDC guidelines, shifting powers in foreign nations, or something far less significant like our feelings. Change can surround us every day. But in these shifting storms, the Lord is our Rock. His faithfulness is ground we can take a firm stand upon.

   And in the New Testament, there are several places where we find the phrase “God is faithful” accompanied by a promise. Sometimes the wording will be slightly different, but that truth of the faithfulness of God is the foundation for our belief in the connected promise. These are precious lines of Scripture, so we will take the next several blog posts to dig into these promises.

  I have been spending a lot of time in 1 Corinthians recently, and the first promise we’ll look at is right there in Chapter 1. The church in Corinth was a struggling congregation. The biggest root issue Paul deals with in this letter was pride, and the main demonstration of that attitude was disunity in the church. They had begun to divide into factions, each group thinking they were the most important because they followed such-and-such teacher, or because they accepted all in the name of grace, or they held to the old ways and tradition. Instead of growing in the Lord, they were becoming stagnant and were tearing each other down.

   And so, Paul starts right off the bat with reminding them that they were all called by God to salvation. He says, “Look, remember that it is because of the greatness of God that you have been saved. This wasn’t anything about your own wisdom, ability, or view of your own worth. It is all by God’s grace.” He is taking their eyes from themselves to the Lord Jesus. This is how he deals with every issue in the church.

   But the verse we want to look at is verse 9. To get the full context, we’ll look at a few surrounding verses, but listen to what the Scriptures say:

“I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:4-9)

   A beautiful set of verses, and man—there is so much we could delve into. Yet the final verse there is where we will focus. The “God is faithful” phrase introduces the assurance we draw from this passage. However, the promise is not spelled out directly like we might expect. Rather, it comes from looking at the thrust of what Paul is saying.

   If you look at verse 4, Paul gives thanks in a very particular way, a very significant way. He says that he gives thanks to “God always concerning you” (v. 4). He says similar things in other letters, but notice what he gives thanks for. He says, “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus” (v. 4). Not that they had a strong faith, not that they had chosen Jesus, not anything directly that the Corinthians had done. Instead, he is thanking the Father for saving the Corinthians. The emphasis is upon the work that God has done in them, not what they had done in response.

   Now, this is not to say that we have no part in salvation. We do have to make the choice to accept Christ. But the glory, the praise—that all goes to the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. None of it comes to us, which is exactly Paul’s point.

   But back to the text. He begins by showing how God has saved the Corinthians, then he spends several verses describing God’s work in them at the current time. Then he closes with verses 7 and 8 by pointing ahead to “the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He said that Jesus would “confirm you to the end” (v. 8) Again, the emphasis is upon what God would do. Not that the Corinthians would make it if they endured, but Jesus Himself would preserve them until He came.

  But we may be wondering—how can we be sure? How do we know that God is going to work in believers now and carry us all the way to the end? The answer is verse 9: “God is faithful.” Bottom line. No fine print. “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (v. 9).

   That phrase, “into fellowship with His Son,” describes salvation in a very personal way. We entered into relationship with Jesus when God called us and we answered that call. We have fellowship with Jesus now as we grow in Him and be conformed into His image. And one day, He will return and take us home to physically dwell in perfect fellowship with Him forever.  This is what God has called us to, and He is faithful to carry out what He began (see Philippians 1:6).

   And this ties directly back into what we were saying earlier about Paul taking the Corinthians’ eyes to Jesus. Rather than bickering about who follows a “better” teacher, he is calling them to look to Jesus and to get to know Him. He is not far off and removed from us. We have “fellowship with” Him (1 Corinthians 1:9). As we look to Jesus, consider the cross, and grow to know Him more, that personal relationship with Him will automatically begin to effect everything about our lives.

Which is exactly what Paul leads into next. He exhorts them “by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you” (v. 10). Looking to Jesus, resting in God’s faithfulness, and seeking to know Him more will cause us to choose unity with other Christians, especially with those in our local congregation. That’s a whole other topic, but it is the natural progression of this truth.

   So let’s bring this back to the promise. “God is faithful” to carry out what He started (v. 9). He saved us, He is working in us now, and He will bring us home. We must consider this, meditate on this truth. We should look to Jesus and praise Him for the glory of the gospel. This is all by His grace, and all the glory goes to Him. As we do so, we will find a peace and assurance that will carry us through troubled times. Our hearts will be knit to other believers around us. We will grow in our love for the Lord and seek to share Him with others. And all of this comes from beholding our faithful God.

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