As we look at 1 Corinthians 1:2-3 we have several important parts for us as believers today. One thing about Paul's writings that is consistent with all most ever letter is his desire to connect and inspire the reader. He does this to draw them into his writings so that they understand that what he is about to say is not out of boastfulness or tyranny but out of the love and Grace he himself has received from God the Father through Paul's acceptance of Jesus as his Lord and Master. Often as Christians we forget that we have been shown mercy and grace and it comes out in how we interact with those who are still in the world. I want to focus on verses 2-3 of 1 Corinthians 1 and the NIV translates them this way:
"2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours: 3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
As we read this we must first think about the recipients in Corinth and understand who they were. They culture they lived in was really minus the technology not much different than what we have today. Immorality of all forms was prevalent and in the middle of this set a young church struggling to live differently than all those around it. Some within the church where being led astray and others were blatantly living in open sin against Christ. But Paul begins by reminding them and assuring them they are called first to be sanctified through their relationship with Christ and to remind them that they should be living a life devoted to the Holiness of God. For us today this statement is also trustworthy. We are to live holy lives through the sanctifying power of the Blood of Jesus. Just to make sure we understand how it applies to us Paul goes on to say, "together with" that means us today in our current time and for those who will follow on after us. You see we are able to stand on God's promises because those others who have walked this way before built bridges and paths for us to follow. I have to ask are you building bridges for those who will be following you; your children and grandchildren and others who do not yet know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Throughout human history Jesus has never changed His sacrifice was to make a way for you and me so that one day we could be restored to a place in which we could enjoy fellowship with God.
The last part of this that I want to share has to do with how we should interact one with another and Paul lays it out in simple form when he says,
"Grace and Peace to you" each of us must learn to live with these two traits of Godly character as Christians. To be honest it should be one of the easiest things we do; but like Paul writes in Romans 7:19, "I want to do what is good but I don't, I don't want to do what is wrong but I do it anyway." (NLT)
As a Christian living in right relationship with God doing the right thing in love becomes easier because we more readily understand the statement, "except for the grace of God go I!" we all fail from time to time. If we will remember we serve a loving god who desires to give us grace and Mercy we will be much more likely to share it with others. Walk today in the blessings of God's Word and show Grace and mercy to those you meet.
The Bridge Builder
The Bridge Builder
By Will Allen Dromgoole 1860–1934
An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”
Source: Father: An Anthology of Verse (EP Dutton & Company, 1931)