Sustained to the End
“…you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 1:7-8 (ESVUK)
When Paul co-wrote his first letter to the Corinthians with Sosthenes he wanted “those sanctified in Christ Jesus” (verse 2) to appreciate fully the faithfulness of God towards every believer.
The Corinthians had become distracted from the centrality of grace and from how it is through the faithfulness of God that their faith is upheld. Some of them thought that, if they followed their favorite teacher or minister, it would keep their faith in good standing. Others felt that, if they expressed their faith through spiritual gifts, it would secure them and keep them blameless until Christ returns. In other words, their faith was sustained by what they did, not by God’s grace.
This is why Paul uses the wording in verses 4-5: “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge”. He leads his readers to understand that the gift of grace through Christ is the beginning of and the continuation of their Christian growth.
Not only that but Paul re-assured them that the certainty of the Christian hope was not so much to do with their own faith but with the faithfulness of God. “God is faithful” he wrote, “by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (verse 9).
It is not our own faithful efforts that sustain us, but, as noted above, it is the Lord Jesus Christ who will keep us close to him until the end of our lives.
In Philippians 1:6 Paul rephrases God’s faithfulness to us through Jesus Christ in this way: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ”.
At times our own faith may seem weak and our commitment may waver, but let’s be encouraged because our Lord Jesus Christ will sustain us to the end.
Father, sometimes I try to rely on my own strength and not on your grace, and my own faith can seem weak, but thank you for your faithfulness to me and to all believers and that Jesus will sustain us to the end. In Jesus’ name.
Study by James Henderson
About the Author: James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.
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