He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful (1 Cor. 1:8,9).
What words jump out at you as you read the verses above?
Wow. . . I love when that happens. (Smile.)
Anyway, at first glance when reading these verses, though Paul was telling the Corinthians that God will keep them (us) strong, there’s just something about “strong” that makes me feel like I have to do my part.
Strong is a big deal. Nobody wants to be weak. We are proud of strong but embarrassed by weak. Well, I am. Maybe you’re not. I hate when I’m weak physically, mentally, or spiritually.
The word “strong” indicates that something might happen if I’m not “strong”.
But a closer look into this word translated as “strong” in the NIV removes any demand of my own strength. The word is bebaioo.
Read the meanings:
fixed, sure, certain. To make firm or reliable so as to warrant security and inspire confidence; to strengthen, make true, fulfill. Used in the NT with the personal object to signify confirming a person’s salvation, preservation in a state of grace. (Key Word NIV)
Preservation in a state of grace.
He will keep us preserved in a state of grace. If we are preserved, we don’t have to strive to be strong. The rest of verse 8 reads:
. . . to the end, so that you will be blameless.
For some reason, the word “blameless” also feels like it comes with responsibility to be good. But the Greek word’s meaning clears that up too:
Anenkletos: un-accused, free from any legal charge at all . . . . (Key Word)
Let’s plug these definitions into the scripture:
He will keep you preserved in a state of grace to the end so that you will be unaccused, free from any legal charge at all on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Lee translation)
Can somebody say “Hallelujah!”? Do we feel the freedom this gives?
It’s been increasingly clear, the longer I live, how very much I need a Savior–how much I need grace. There was a time in my life when I thought I was pretty good. But now I know those were prideful, selfish thoughts. Though His Spirit changes us, as long as we walk in this skin, we will need His preservation in a state of grace. He promises this.
“God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.“
“Faithful” was translated from pistos. Look how beautiful this word is. It means: “Worthy of belief, trust, or confidence. True, just, trustworthy.”
“Faithful” is a good word, but there’s something about knowing beyond knowing that God won’t go back on His word. My confidence is not in my goodness but His trustworthiness. I can rest in His promises.
I think we can be striving for righteousness without realizing we’re doing it. Striving never produces life. It sucks the life out of us–and others. As people preserved by grace (of which we’re filled with gratitude) we become life givers as we share that grace with others. Grace changes us.
Let’s read about grace this week.
2 Corinthians 12: 8,9: Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Hebrews 4: 16: Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need..
John 1:14: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Acts 4: 33-34: With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales
John 1: 15-17: (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Romans 1: 1-5: Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life[a] was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power[b] by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from[c] faith for his name’s sake.
Ephesians 2: 4-9 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace,expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
Download a printable of these scriptures and extra questions/prompts to help you with your time with the Lord.
I will be broadcasting from Oklahoma Monday morning 8:20 ET! We are travelling across the country this week, so my broadcasts will be sporadic. I hope to come to you from the Grand Canyon and California! You can follow the journey on Instagram. :)
Let’s pray. (Hold my hand!)
“Dear God, we are blown away by the life and promise in your Word. Thank you for Jesus and what He did on the Cross as a sin offering for the world. We recognize our need for you. Thank you for your grace. And thank you for the promise that we are free from accusation when we stand before you one day. Don’t let us keep this a secret but share it with others who need your grace. We love you. Amen.”
Living Fully in grace,