1:4 "I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."
I know it's early for a review but I feel I must. Before we head into the quarrel tomorrow and are tempted to slip back into our natural self-obsession I believe it is imperative to grasp as much as our brokenness will allow. Paul opens his letter not with condemnation but affirmation. He could have easily jumped straight to the trouble spots but instead clarifies their standing in Christ.
Note the language. He speaks of the testimony concerning Christ being confirmed in them. Well what was the testimony concerning Christ? "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."
This testimony about Jesus now applies to them. They are His beloved children in whom He is well pleased. Not only that, but in verse 8 Paul says this testimony about Jesus will apply to them right to the end. They will be seen by God as blameless. No wonder they could eagerly await His return!
Jesus told a parable that is repeated in three of the four gospels. A man goes away leaving talents (money) with his servants. He returns later to find two of them used the money to make more money but one buried his money to ensure he still had it when the master returned. To the first two the master says "Well done good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over s few things. I will give you charge over many things. Come enter the joy of the Lord."
Many read this parable as a commentary on our duties and performance. Really it's a parable about our view of our master. The one who buried his money did it out of fear. When the master returned he said "I knew you were a hard man..." Fear is paralyzing. It causes us to act as though we have no abilities for fear of making a mistake. We don't sing because it might be the wrong kind of music. We don't dance because it might be inappropriate. We don't ________ because maybe __________. We pile on the rules to ensure we don't upset the Master. Those who see God as a hard Master sit in frozen ineffectiveness fearful any movement might be the wrong one.
"Perfect love casts out fear."
Paul opens his letter reaffirming their position in Christ. They are God’s beloved children in whom He is well pleased and they will remain so as long as they remain in Him.
When we were in Berlin several years ago I marveled at a construction site. I had neve seen anything like it. There was a huge building downtown that was being completely redone on the outside. It had to have been at least 10 stories high. Scaffolding was stacked the full height and crews were working away on it like a colony of ants. However from the street none of that was seen. A canvas type picture of the building in completed form was hung covering the entire thing. The building was both complete and being completed.
It's not that we are saints in the same way Jesus is. God just chooses to see us that way simply because we love His Son and embrace all that He has done for us. We trust His fear melting love. We dare to sing and dance and even though it may be off key and awkward to a watching critic, it is poetry in motion to Him.
Check this out: "Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness." Psalm 37:3
It may be a mess behind the curtain but He declares now and to the end "Well done good and faithful servant..."