1 Corinthians 1:4-9. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, 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.
Wow, what a glorious thanksgiving and prayer for the church! Paul is acknowledging the great grace that the Corinthians have received. A grace that has resulted in speech and knowledge. Grace that has resulted in every type of gift being present in this church. Grace that will sustain them until the return of Christ. Grace that makes them guiltless. Grace that has brought them into fellowship (koinonia) with Jesus Christ.
“To live is Christ” is this koinonia with Christ. The English word fellowship probably doesn’t do koinonia justice. When we Christians think of fellowship we think of a potluck after church or a cook-out at the Sunday School teacher’s house on the weekend. But koinonia is a much richer word. It is a participation. It is two parties in business together. It is two people on the same journey with the same goals. We participate in the sonship of Christ. We are shareholders in all that is Christ’s. “Our sonship is defined as Christ’s sonship” (Anthony Thiselton, 1 Corinthians).
All the blessings listed in 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 are ours because of our koinonia with Christ. His grace is ours. His words are ours. His knowledge is ours. His gifts are ours. His revealing is ours. His sustenance is ours. His innocence is ours. How? Because we are in fellowship with Christ. Fellowship with Christ is something you can never lose. You are never out of fellowship with Christ, Christian. Because koinonia is much deeper than what you feel on any given day.
This is all by God’s grace (charis). Not in any way our self achievement. Paul gives thanks [charis] to God for his grace [charis]. He speaks of them being enriched in Christ. And he tells them that they have every type of (spiritual) gift [charismata]. It is this grace that ensures that we will make it guiltless until the end- the revealing of Christ.
This is all God’s grace through CHRIST. The word Christ appears ten times in the first ten verses of 1 Corinthians. Our faith is not in concepts, ideas, principles, or systems. It is in Christ. Now the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you (v.6). That is, the truth about Christ is lived out in us. We are transformed into Christ by living out the cruciform life of Christ. This too, is part of our koinonia with Christ. This is something the Corinthians will need to learn. Most likely it is something we need to learn as well. Hopefully we can learn it together as we journey through 1 Corinthians in our search for the meaning of our union with Christ.
Are you living in the flood of God’s grace through union with Christ? Are you thankful for grace (that’s a good first step)? Is your faith focused on Christ, or on some sort of religious system or knowledge? Do you feel enriched in Christ? Why or why not?
Did you know there was a band called “Koinonia?” Me either, but this is pretty amazing!