GRACE As God’s Enabling Power To Build / FELLOWSHIP With Christ As The Wellspring of Present And Eternal Benefits

(1Cor 3:10 [AKJV/PCE]) According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 

Paul was given grace to lay the foundation. Jesus Christ is the foundation. All things pertaining to faith and godliness, forgiveness and redemption proceed forth from Christ. Not just from Christ to anyone but to the one who has “fellowship” with Him. These things are not merely “from” Christ but “In” Him and are attainable as a result of true fellowship with Him.

We are called to repent of our sins and to enter into fellowship with Jesus Christ through the gospel. The gospel which Paul was “graced” to preach. That post Mosaic dispensation of grace, by which we may be forgiven of sins and empowered by the very Spirit of God through the shed blood and resurrection of Jesus Christ and through fellowship with Him.

Today there is the notion that grace merely pardons us of sin and even rewards us in the face of continued sin; as though God winks at sin and says, “I got ya covered and by the way, here are some great gifts for you too”. This is mental assent to false doctrine and gross error. To the extent that someone’s notion of grace serves as an encouragement to sin, that notion is in error. While we do have an abiding propitiation for our sins which we “may” commit from time to time, grace is not a covering for continued intentional and habitual sin and it is not something that comes to us apart from fellowship with Jesus Christ.

(1John 2:1 [AKJV/PCE]) My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

(1John 2:2 [AKJV/PCE]) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world.

Let’s look at 1st Corinthians 1:3-9.

(1Cor 1:3 [AKJV/PCE]) Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and [from] the Lord Jesus Christ. 

(1Cor 1:4 [AKJV/PCE]) I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 

(1Cor 1:5 [AKJV/PCE]) That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and [in] all knowledge; 

No doubt, but that this enriching, utterance, knowledge etc…, came by that grace which was given to them. We need to see how that grace is effectual, not merely ethereal, not merely reckoned, but evidential in the life. Grace has an outworking which can be experienced by the recipient and observed by the onlooker. Paul goes on to list some of that evidence.

(1Cor 1:6 [AKJV/PCE] ) Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 

Here, in verse 6 we have two important words to understand, “Testimony” and “Confirmed“.

(In the following definitions, the bolds are mine.)

1) TESTIMONY G3142 μαρτύριον marturion (mar-too’-ree-on) n.

1. something evidential 

2. (genitive case) evidence given or (specially), the Decalogue (in the sacred tabernacle)

KJV renders it: to be testified, testimony, witness

2) CONFIRMED G950 βεβαιόω bebaioo (beb-ai-oh’-o) v.

1. to make firm, steadfast 

2. (figuratively) to confirm

KJV renders it: confirm, (e-)stablish

Paul is saying that the evidence of Christ has been established in these to whom he is writing. This evidence is a result of the grace of God at work in the saints.  Paul continues to mention more evidence.

(1Cor 1:7 [AKJV/PCE]) So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 

While we wait for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, we ought to be abiding in Him such that we “evidence” Him in our lives and character, even to the extent of operating in some gift of God which is peculiar to those endued by HIS Spirit.

(1Cor 1:8 [AKJV/PCE]) Who shall also confirm you unto the end, [that ye may be] blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ

Here is that word “confirm” again. It means to “solidly establish”. It speaks of an outward sanctification resulting from that sanctification concerning you and me which existed first in the heart of God and then became evidential in the heart and the life of the recipient of the grace of God.

Paul says Jesus Christ will establish you. Again here, as in so many other places, Paul properly puts the focus on faith in Jesus Christ. We must see this and allow it to grow our faith, seeing that it is the intention of Jesus Christ to establish us in Him such that when He comes back, He will find us “blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ”

(1Cor 1:9 [AKJV/PCE]) God [is] faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 

In verse 9 we have one more word to become familiar with, it is “Fellowship“.

1) FELLOWSHIP G2842 κοινωνία koinonia (koy-nown-ee’-ah) n.

1. partnership 

2. (literally) participation 

3. (social) intercourse 

4. (financial) benefaction

KJV renders it: (to) communicate(-ation), communion, (contri-)distribution, fellowship

This verse has depths of meaning. Paul continues to point us to faith in the faithfulness of God to establish us blameless at the coming of Jesus Christ. We are called to fellowship, (Koinonia) with His Son Jesus Christ, both now, practically, and ultimately in eternal glory in the New Creation to come.

This fellowship is a real, two way intercourse with Jesus Christ and a participation with Him. Like a marriage, it is a partnership. We both must do our part. We do what we can and must do; He does what only He can do. He will not force Himself on us. In this we see the importance and value of loving God out of a pure and sincere heart. Out of this fellowship flows unfathomable benefits. We do become benefactors of the necessary fruits of grace through sincere fellowship with Jesus Christ. Let us look at these.

(1Cor 1:30 [AKJV/PCE]) But of him, (God) are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 

Many today think they do not have to participate. But this chapter makes it clear that we are in a partnership and we must do our part. It is from this Koinonia with Christ that these benefits flow. It is not merely “from” Him but “in” Him that we have such benefaction given unto us. “But of him, (God) are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:“. Before we actually enter into relationship with Jesus Christ through repentance and acknowledgment of Him and His work on the cross and in the resurrection from the dead, such benefaction is merely offered to us. Once we enter into true fellowship with Him, then do these benefits become real and effectual to us. Only then does He become for us “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:”.

This Koinonia fellowship extends beyond merely the person and Jesus. It flows horizontally between us too. No doubt this was Paul’s grief in his hearing of the affairs of this Corinthian body of believers: the evidence of Christ was confirmed in them but they were not honoring Christ in one another. From this letter, among other things, we may see how that we are truly one body: and that body is the body of Jesus Christ. We may benefit from the following consideration: if we would not do this to Jesus Christ, we should not do it to one another. If we would not treat Jesus this way, we should not treat one another this way. Consider Paul’s rebuke of the Corinthians’ behavior toward one another in 1st Corinthians 11:17-34. Their taking of the communion in unworthy manner had everything to do with the way they treated one another. Paul addresses some other things in this light, such as divisions and fornication etc., which were going on in the Corinthian Christian community. Once we understand fellowship, (Koinonia), with Jesus Christ, we may then be able to love one another the way we should. Once we understand that it is not merely by quoting a verse like 1 Cor 1:30, “But of him, (God) are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:“, so that we may go around doing as we please because we are, so called, “covered“, but that it is through true, sincere fellowship with Him that we have these benefits; it is only then that we may be found blameless in actuality, in our character and in our walk here on earth at the appearing of Jesus Christ. Once again, it comes down to this; do you believe HE is able and do you want Him to do the work in you?

bible-quotes-on-strength-8

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