The church in Corinth is filled with sinful saints.
Throughout Paul’s letter to these brothers and sisters, he exposes and addresses their total depravity. Fallen are their affections, and faithless are their actions. Both their hearts and their habits fall far short of the glory of God. It is sad but true — the world, the flesh, and the devil are still having their way with the old wretched natures of Paul’s Christian friends.
However, despite their incessant debauchery, the recipients of Paul’s letter are considered holy, blameless, and radiant saints. This is the declaration of the Apostle Paul and the Holy Spirit who inspired him. Their perfectly reconciled relationship, it is the work of God. Their perfect holiness, it is the gift of God. Great is God’s love. Great is God’s mercy. Great is God’s grace, and for this Paul leads them in joyous thanksgiving.
1 Corinthians 1:4-9 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— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— so that you are not lacking in any gift, as 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. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Perhaps you should take a moment and consider how graced you are.
Are you a believer? Are you one who understands the sovereignty of God, the depravity of man, and the gift of Jesus Christ? Has the Holy Spirit opened your eyes, unplugged your ears, enlightened your mind, and softened your heart. Oh friend, you who possess good theology, this is a gift from God. Not all have this. Today, rejoice in the one who enriches you in knowledge. Give thanks!
As a result of Christ’s substitution, you are without guilt. This again is the declaration of the inspired Apostle Paul. Sure, some would call him antinomian for granting such an honor to such wretched worshipers. Some might even conjur up phrases like “cheap grace.” But Paul knows it is not cheap, and he knows it is all of grace. Sinful saint, today, you are clothed in Christ’s righteousness, and as such, you are perfectly guiltless. Let no one take this privilege from you. Instead, give praise and glory to your Savior. Give him great thanks!
Because of God’s affection, renewed community you have. Great is the affection of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for one another, and this is the relationship into which you have been called. Because of union with Christ, you and God are family; you and God are tight. Every single day, regardless of your performance, God likes you a lot. You are his bride. You are the apple of his eye. You are his beloved, and great is the fellowship you have with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Enjoy you gracious situation and give him praise!
Have you now a boldness to express the blessings of the Lord Jesus Christ? Is your language being slowly brought into conformity with Jesus’ will and model. Friends, this too is the gift of God, and it is an expected result of his progressive sanctification. Today, as you find yourself enriched in speech, give him thanks.
Great are the gifts of the Lord. It is he who grants you atonement, union, faith, repentance, justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification. It is he who provides food, clothing, shelter, and friends. In addition, he gives you spiritual gifts to use in service for him and your church family. Use them humbly. Use them boldly. And give him thanks!
Today, give thanks for God’s sovereign protection. You will sin. You will not keep God’s law with all your heart, mind, and strength. You will surely stumble and fall. However, you will never fall away. The Lord Jesus Christ promises to be faithful even when you are unfaithful. Therefore, see your sin, hate your sin, and confess it to the Lord. Then, enjoy a fresh washing in his Gospel-truth and start running again. And as you do, persevere knowing you will be preserved. No one can steal even one of the Lord’s little sheep. No one can pluck one of his children from his hand. Not one of his elect will fail to reach the finish line in glory. Struggling brother or sister, God’s got you! He is faithful, and you will be sustained to the end. For this give thanks!
Finally, you are presently enjoying the Christmas season and celebrating the first-coming of Jesus. However, as grand as was his first-coming, it will pale in significance to his second-coming. Christ is looking this way. Soon he will be see breaking open the skies and coming over the horizon. On that day, all the curse and pain of existence on Planet Earth will come to an end. Oh struggling Christian, the Lord Jesus Christ will be revealed. Rejoice and give thanks as you wait for that glorious day!
Friends, all of this is grace. God does not treat you as you deserve. He does not give you the merit you earn, for you have earned no merit. He does not give you the wrath and condemnation you deserve, for this would be incessant and unbearable. Instead, God has determined to give you a host of blessings you could never earn, and he blesses you for work you never do. Friends, this is not pay for performance contract; this is grace and it is fantastic.
Therefore, on this Black Friday, it is a fantastic day to remember the gift given to you on Good Friday. And today, though Thanksgiving be behind us, it is still a great day to give thanks!