“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.” (1 Corinthians 1:4-9)
Here we are in the first week of Advent, the first week of a New Church Year. We experienced much chaos and violence during our past church year. Many of our brothers and sisters in the faith across the globe were martyred and are now experiencing the eternal joys of heaven, the same joy that awaits us. This year promises to be more of the same as we see the rise of anti-Semitism as well as the demands of a self-centered society which cares nothing for God’s law as revealed in His Word. Perhaps, if you are like me, you have grown weary of it and in your weariness, you have called out: “How long Oh Lord?” We earnestly desire He lift this tribulation from us, for it is alarming and painful to see.
We long to return to normal, but if we think about it, we should not, necessarily, want to go back to the way things were. After all, the trials of life have drawn us closer to the Lord and strengthened our relationship with Jesus and with our local church body. Church is where we worship, but where we also enjoy fellowship, and find comfort and encouragement.
And so we can take comfort from the words of the apostle Paul who tells us that God will sustain us. Paul wrote this epistle to correct errors and problems which had arisen among the Christians in Corinth. Because these brethren were primarily Greeks converted from paganism their cultural background and upbringing still had a perverse influence on them. Nevertheless Paul opened his epistle not with words of reproof but with words of praise and encouragement.
Paul’s words of encouragement give us great comfort. They tell us that we who have faith in Christ are equipped to endure the challenges of life as well as the political and moral chaos which engulfs us, Those who trust in science and government will find themselves sadly disappointed, not only now, but also on the Day of Judgment. Those who reject Jesus cannot avail themselves of His comfort and assurance now or then. But we who are convinced of the truth of the gospel are thankful for the grace of God in our lives. We also passionately love the Lord Jesus who died for us, and so we eagerly await His return. And as we wait we zealously exercise our spiritual gifts and talents to reach out to those in the world. It is the Lord who works in and through us to tell them of the mercy and love of God in Christ Jesus.