Greeting and Gratitude

by David & Stephen Olford

David and Stephen Olford Text: "Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of Godunto the church of GodGrace be unto you, and peace" (1 Cor. 1:1-3).

Thought: Paul introduces himself in a twofold expression of greeting and gratitude before he goes on to deal firmly and severely with the divisions, disorders, and difficulties that prevailed in the Corinthian church.

A Personal Word of Greeting: (vv.1-3). Paul clearly and confidently asserts his authority in answer to those who had called his apostleship into question. He describes himself as a saved, sent, and sanctified man who was "called to be an apostle"(v. 1). In referring to the believers at Corinth, Paul saw them as being in Christ and thus he used language of descriptive significance. He spoke of their official distinction in Christ. In a city known for its wickedness and immorality, they were known as "the church of God"(v. 2). They had been "sanctified" and "called to be saints"(v. 2), and as a result it was their determined intention to live in daily dependence upon the Lord; in other words, to live out in everyday behavior what they were positionally in Christ. In the substance of his greeting, Paul used the words "grace" and "peace." Although he used these terms in most of his epistles, there is a sense in which he means it specifically for the divided church at Corinth. They needed grace in order to get right with God and with one another. They needed peace so as to live in the unity of the Spirit, which is the bond of peace.

A Personal Word of Gratitude: "I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ"(v. 4). The apostle's gratitude to God was for three commendable things, which he observed in the Corinthian church. First, their experience in Christ. In spite of the problems that had followed Paul's preaching in this city, there was every evidence that God had done a real work of grace in their hearts. Paul also rejoiced in their enrichment in Christ, namely, in their particular gifts of utterance and knowledge. It is truly a wonderful thing when a church is blessed with all the gifts necessary for its healthy and harmonious function. Are we sufficiently thankful for them? Another cause for the apostle's thanksgiving was their expectation in Christ. Notwithstanding the many difficulties, they were waiting and watching for the coming of the Lord. In summing up this introduction, Paul reminded them that "God is faithful"(v. 9), and that He who had called them into the fellowship of sharing the very life of Christ would maintain and sustain them to the end of the journey. Thus we see the church not only in its positional acceptability before God, but its practical responsibility before God. 

Thrust: Fellowship in Christ should be expressed in our greeting one another and in gratitude for one another.

David Olford operates the Olford Center in Memphis, Tennessee,
founded by his late father, Dr. Stephen Olford.

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
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