BLOG: More Grace We Don’t Deserve

Written by Melissa H. Stautman, LMT

Last week this blog opened up on 1 Corinthians 1:4, and we learned that grace is a gift that we obviously don’t deserve, and that it is not free. We looked at A Grace That Saves, and different types of righteousness, so that we will be able to understand Paul’s instruction as we traverse through the entire book of 1 Corinthians.

Today we are going to take the rest of Pastor Wilson’s sermon[1], “I Give Thanks”, and look at…

  • A grace that equips today
  • A grace that ensures tomorrow
  • A grace that comes from a faithful God

A Grace That Equips

1 Corinthians 1:5-7
5that in every way, you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 1:5-7, we see that a church body is never lacking in any spiritual gift and that we (the body) continue to receive grace (undeserved blessing and gifts) that equips us still today. No individual has every single spiritual gift, but every gift necessary to accomplish its purpose is present within a church.[2]

“The doctrine of the church takes front and center here because God never intended individual Christians to run around and try to accomplish kingdom work. Jesus didn’t just die for you. He died for His church; to establish His church, to gift His church, to accomplish the call that He has given the church.”

Pastor Steve Wilson

1 Corinthians 12:7
7But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

This individual gifting was not, is not, for the individual’s good. It was individual gifting for the corporate good.

1 Corinthians 12:12
12For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

“You cannot fully represent Christ by yourself. This can only happen as you identify with, and affirm with a local expression, a gifted expression, of Jesus Christ in your community.” 

Pastor Steve Wilson

1 Corinthians 12:18-20
18But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

You are not a part of a local church by accident. God places people in local churches as He sees fit to distribute His gifts. The idea here is that Christians are necessarily MEMBERS of local churches. It is His design. It’s how He equips the church. Are you living out God’s purpose for your church by being an active, kingdom-working member?

How is every church gifted with what they need?

How is every church gifted with what they need? It is a grace gifted to the church from Jesus and confirmed in each individual by the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. Jesus and His Holy Spirit are never lacking, therefore you can never be lacking, because He is in you. We have to be a member of the visible, local church. Our gifts cannot be utilized for the common good if we are only thinking of the church universal or invisible. 1 Corinthians 1:5-7 is referring specifically to a local body and the fact that they have everything they need to accomplish God’s work.

God requires that we use our gifts for the common good of the body, and within the body. This is how the body is built up. The Corinthian church had resorted to individual boasting[3]. This was dividing the Corinthian church.

Our local churches suffer any time an individual does not utilize their God-given gifts for the building up of the body.  To believe that “someone else will handle the problem” or “I’m too insignificant to be of any good use” is to deny the very words of God.  No church ever has a resource problem because God said so.[4] The local church has everything it needs at all times.

It is generally true, in the churches I’ve attended, that 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. It could also be that the leaders/shepherds of the flock aren’t expending time and energy meeting with their members to help them uncover their gifts. The questions for a member are simple and straightforward enough…

  1. Out of all the jobs in our church, which areas do you feel are particularly exciting or captures your thoughts?
  2. What do you love about our church – the thing you tell others about?
  3. What are your strengths in everyday life, job or home?
  4. Is there any area of our church that you feel needs attention or help?

I was active in my church, doing cleaning, kitchen and nursery jobs on Sunday for several years when my pastor sat down with me and asked these fundamental questions.  Now I spend the most glorious 10-12 hours per week gathering resources and putting this blog together because I want more people to hear (read) all of the fantastic Biblical truth that is taught in my church on Sunday.

I was definitely passionate about the Truth being spread, but I’d never really written anything other than a technical blog for my business. I don’t have a bachelor’s degree in writing, and I’m sure I vex my editor to death with grammatical errors. Who was I to take the word of God to the masses (I don’t actually know how many people read this blog and I like it that way)? I could have been a total flop at this job, and I trust that my pastor would have met with me again and we’d have gone right back to the ole’ drawing board. Remember, it’s not the job of the pastors and elders to do the work; it’s their job to equip us to do the work.

If you are not actively doing a job that helps your local church, meet with your pastor and find that something that reflects your God-given gifts. Your square-peg-self will find that square-hole, because God said so. We are His human resource for building His eternal kingdom.

A Grace That Ensures Tomorrow[5]

At the end of verse seven in 1 Corinthians 1:4-7, we read…“awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

This is a positive kind of anxiety.  The word revelation, refers to the second coming of Christ. He’s coming to judge all the living and the dead.  All of those not in Him will be destroyed. Christians have nothing to fear when He draws the sword and fire spews from His eyes.  Everything for believers will be right and new. He will repay those who have suffered in His name. We surely don’t deserve this grace, but we are so pleased to know it is our future.

A Grace That Comes From a Faithful God

1 Corinthians 1:8-9
“…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.”

“I understand well the doubt that can invade any believer. I deal with it nearly every week. Christians of all kinds, in all sorts of situations, facing difficulties and the reality of their own sins, come in and say, “Are you sure? Am I going to make it? I failed. I’m miserable and disappointed?” Doubts are real, and there is a peculiar kind of doubt that can only happen to a Christian. An unbeliever doesn’t doubt whether or not Christ is satisfied. He couldn’t care less. But a believer doubts that. A believer thinks that way. A believer faces unimaginable loss in their life, and they question God and their own faith in God.”

Pastor Steve Wilson

Pastor Steve gets asked on a regular basis, by believers, if they have done enough to make it to heaven. His answer is a straightforward, “NO, you will not make it! You will fail, and you will never do enough; ever! But God is faithful! That’s the Christian’s reality and the Christians greatest hope: knowing that our future fellowship with God, forever, DOES NOT DEPEND ON US! It depends on Him.” It is God who will confirm us to the end, not ourselves. We will stand innocent before God on the day of judgment because of God’s work of imputed righteousness. Praise God. This is grace that comes from a faithful God.[6]

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[1] 1 Corinthians 1:12

[2] 1 Corinthians 1:7

[3] audio mark 39:45

[4] John 1:12-13

[5] Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10

[6] audio mark 27:30