Agonizomai: 1 Cor 1:8-9 - Finders' Keepers

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

1 Cor 1:8-9 - Finders' Keepers

{7b)... as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ,} 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

How are we kept? Is it we who keep ourselves? Is it a combination of God doing it with our help? Or is it a case of we doing it with His aid? What does this verse say about that? And are there other verses that say the same thing in similar ways?

For the grammatically challenged it is difficult - but for those who can read plain English it is clear enough - God saves and God keeps. But He does it through the means of faith. Faith is believing what God has said. God has said that He will keep His saints to the end. His saints all believe this, and so they are kept through that faith which simply believes that God will do it. Their faith is not in their faith, but in God. And their faith is the means that God is using to preserve them.

Any professing saint who really thinks that he can and must keep himself has missed the mark. We can guard our hearts. We can strive to enter through the narrow gate and to stay in the narrow way. These things we can and must do. But we must do so believing it is God who is moving, enlivening, motivating, drawing and sanctifying by revealing and forming His Son in us - as He purposed to do from the very beginning of time.

God will keep every one of His true saints, keep them from falling away and preserve them all to the very end. That is why He came. He didn’t come just to make salvation (justification, sanctification and glorification) possible , but to make it actual. Salvation is not made conditional upon what we do and what we maintain. The reverse is actually true. What we do and maintain is ultimately conditional upon our salvation.

Note the word "guiltless." What a glorious word! For there is now no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus {Ro 8:1}. This is true even though we serve the law of sin with our flesh and the law of God with our minds. In Jesus Christ we have been justified, given power over the flesh and ultimate victory in Him. As we grow in grace we through faith and in the power of the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body. When we fail (and we all fail) we may feel guilty, but we have but to confess and repent and we know the forgiveness of God is ours. It is because we are free from guilt that we do not do what all natural men would do with this truth. We do not sin the more that grace may abound. God’s forgiveness in Christ has quite the opposite effect on the true child of God - it makes him want to sin less.

We have peace with God. We are no longer His enemies - unlike the rest of the world upon whom the wrath of God abides. God has spoken peace to our hearts and this peace is received again through faith. Sometimes we may not feel at peace with God - especially when we have sinned - but true faith trusts in what God has said, and not in our feelings. And because of the God in Whom our faith rests we count on His peace declared to all who receive His Son, and in this reliance we find the obedience of confession and repentance, and the grace of restoration to fellowship. (but not restoration to salvation, because we have this eternally)

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!


And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.


Horatio G. Spafford, 1873

It is into this relationship that we have been called - we and the Corinthian believers in the church to whom this letter is addressed. And this is the point of exhortation and encouragement from which Paul begins his corrective to the scandalously confused church at Corinth.

My moniker - that's John Hancock to Americans


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having subscribed later on, I have missed many posts, and randomly picked this to read this morning. This is such good news when we can sing "It is well with my soul, not based upon our ever changing feelings, but ot who He is. I'm going to read this every time I start to feel self pity or disappointment. It instantly brings me back to rejoicing- praising God for his steadfast mercy and love.

9:12 am  
Blogger agonizomai said...


Yeah, and I think I'm going to have to go back and read the stuff I wrote in the past, too.

At least, I would if I ever felt self-pity and disappointment. [/skulk]



10:05 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I need to read good words like these every single day, as to not fall into the mire.

10:10 am  

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