Saints and sinners

Our Testimony is Him

1st Corinthians 1:1-9

In our second reading today,  the apostle Paul addresses the members of the congregation in Corinth and what he says to them, also applies to us today as Christians sanctified in Christ Jesus called to be saints together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Saints in Christ, a title or position of the Corinthians in their day, and the title and position of us in our world that can be hard to comprehend when we look deep into ourselves and see what lurks within.

In Pauls letter to the Corinthians, we see these special people called saints don’t seem to different to anyone else as if the following chapter we hear that they were split up in factions setting themselves up to be better than the other. There was bickering and squabbling going on among them with their differences becoming so strong that they were ready to fight about them to the point of suing one another and taking their matters to court.

Lust and pride, envy and jealously reared their ugly heads in their midst and had led them off track to where Paul found it necessary to reprimand and correct them of their ways. Fast forward to the world of Christianity today we still see that just as then, we too of our time express and show the same side effects of sin in our lives.

And yet to us, like Paul to the Corinthians we are called to be saints. Sinners in ourselves yet saints in Christ.  Amazing yet true because of Christ sharing the glory of His holiness with us. Hard to comprehend yet not just wishful thinking as we come to hear and know that it is because who we are, sinners all, that the Father sent his only begotten Son into the world that he might take upon himself our very sinful nature and bear the burden and the penalty of our sin.

Our Saviour Jesus who lived a sinless life that no one could find fault in Him. Who in His suffering and death paid the penalty for sin that we ought to have paid so that we might be set free from the guilt of our sin and be counted worthy to stand in the presence of our holy and just Father in heaven.

Christ shares with us the glory of His righteousness that all who call on His name and accept Him in faith as their Saviour are called saints. Jesus Christ the Saviour who came upon this earth as God’s beloved Son shares His sonship with you by faith so that you too, are called the sons and daughters of God.

The beautiful truth of the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour that we must hear again and again so that we not fall to doubt of where we stand before our Father in heaven as we travel this side of heaven knowing the “inconvenient truth” of our sins.

Sinners and saints. Sinners in ourselves and yet most assuredly saints and renewed in Jesus Christ our Saviour. A contrast as far apart as East to West, or north to South yet met in the middle at the axis point of our Jesus Christ who does not deny to us our sin, but overturns it to bring His freedom and forgiveness. His freedom and forgiveness that erases the heavenly consequences of our past failures and sins that their load of self-doubt and conscience is turned inside out as we see His hand at work  bringing us forgiveness and safety amongst the Kaos. His forgiveness and safety among the Kaos not that we deny those moments, but that we not deny Him. His forgiveness and safety among our worst of times and sins that change the past that the failures are not condemning, but turned over, that in them we take His Gospel to those still chained and heavy laden.

Last week unable to sleep with things on my mind I turned on the T.V. to watch evangelist Joyce Meyer preaching in a stadium before a huge throng of people. Ten thousand people in America hearing her preach to them and one at 5.00 am in Murray Bridge who needed to hear the truth of the sin they knew of themselves, and the truth of the forgiveness and new life they have in Christ.

Set free in Christ we see that though we have suffered in the past from our own and others doings, we see that He was there carrying and moulding us that we come to know His Gospel for ourselves then, or at some point in the future.

Moulding and carrying us through the darkness that should we fall again, we not doubt His presence or the grace He brings that again we see His light of a new life burn bright in our lives and rise again, knowing the words of Paul in today’s reading, that:

“He will keep you strong to the end, so that you are blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Because) God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.”

For me, sometimes I don’t feel so strong and maybe you the same. But for me and for you I know our Lord and Saviour is, as too I know God the Father is faithful and that is our message to our Christian Brothers and sisters, to our friends, families, work colleagues and people we meet.

And just as importantly, maybe even more so some-times, that is the message to our selves.

Not a message of wishful thinking or denial of our actions past, but the message to you from Christ himself who through your failures and tribulations brought you His grace. The message to you from Christ himself, that having received His grace have been enriched in every way, that in all your speaking and in all your knowledge it can be a testimony of Christ the Saviour confirmed in you.

And though in our world others may doubt the truth of Christ, just as when we fall we may doubt our standing before God the Father, we testify to His truth that comes not from ourselves, but from Christ himself. That in trust in Him alone as your only Saviour and only hope, just as you are today, in Christ you stand before God the Father glowing spotless in the righteousness of Christ, saved and most assuredly given eternal life. And we thank God for every moment that has led us to know that truth, and thank God that we can most assuredly attest to both others and ourselves of His love, His life and His grace that is freely given to all in Christ.