Sunday, June 24, 2007

Monday Morning Devotions

I Cor. 1:8- "...who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." (NKJV)

A quick reading of this passage and its context to surrounding verses brings to mind two thoughts. One is comforting. One is disturbing.

Lets look at the later thought first. Those who know their New Testament are aware of the problems that plagued the Corinthian Church, immorality and sectarianism among them. Yet Paul testifies that he thanks God for the grace given the Corinthians (v.4) that enriched them in all utterance and knowledge (v.5) and so that the Church as a whole lacked no spiritual gift. (v. 7) Despite all their iniquities, they possessed all these gifts! Are you in the same boat as the Corinthians? Are you rich in gifts yet poor in holiness? In 1991, I heard an evangelist make a statement that I have never forgotten: "Just because God is using you does not mean that God approves of you." I can testify that there have been times when I was not walking with God yet He used me in some fashion. You may be used of God to heal the sick or cast out demons. Maybe you are known for the gift of prophecy. Yet if you refuse to walk in holiness, the Lord will say to you one day "I never knew you. Depart from me!" (Matt 7:21-23) This is a lesson not even that evangelist heeded. Within a few months he himself fell through compromise with sin. Despite the gifts the Corinthians were operating in, Paul found it necessary to confront them with their sins. He wanted to disturb their complacent minds so that they could experience the restoration that repentance brings. Is that what you require? I require it from time to time. And yet the Church in my experience is reluctant to engage in this role as Paul did. I pray that both you and I have someone in our lives that the Holy Spirit can use to bring this "holy disturbance" to us. I also pray that we can also be used in such a way in other's lives to bring them to repentance.

Now lets move on to my first thought. The same Jesus, who gives us these gifts and who expects us to walk in holiness, He will confirm us to the very end (v.8), so that we may be presented blameless to the Father. Verse nine reminds us that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are faithful and can be trusted to empower us to live holy lives that we may indeed be presented to the Father. Even if Jesus finds it necessary to confront us, it is so we may achieve the destiny the Father has had in mind for us since before the beginning of time: To walk in holiness here on earth and then enjoy being in the presence of the Triune God forever!

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