Thank God for His Gifts
God always does everything excellently! Even though Paul needed to rebuke the Corinthian church, he gave praise to God for everything He had done for them and in them. It was through God's grace that they had been saved when they put their trust in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8). They heard the gospel, and responded in repentance and by receiving new life in Christ. How gracious God had been to them!
Not only were they saved and given eternal life, but God had enriched every part of their lives – their relationships, their business, their families and their church. His presence had transformed their lives; they had learned to communicate in a godly way. They found that they had God's wisdom to respond to challenges in a way which pleased Him, at home, at work and in the church. God had equipped His people to be beacons of light within the corrupt society of a cosmopolitan seaport city.
God's gifts to the people in the church proved that the gospel Paul had preached was authentic: through it, God had changed them. He had given to them all that they would need to serve Him and be a mission centre. They knew that the clock was ticking and that there was an urgency to proclaim the gospel before the return of Jesus. And they were looking forward to seeing Him. It was all because God had poured His grace on them.
There may be times when you have to rebuke and correct people for whom you are responsible; in the family, at work and in the church. But first take your eyes off what they are doing wrong to see all the good that God has already done for them. Treat them preciously because they are God's workmanship. Let them know that you see whatever good is in them and give God the credit for that. Remember that you are not God and so be gentle and never think that you have independent power over them (Galatians 6:1-5) – you are just one of God's helpers! Thank God for all that He has already done in their lives: and remember that they will only be able to change with His help too.
© Dr Paul Adams