Today in the chrono read we got to one of my all time favorite chapters of the Bible which has become one of my central life themes:
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day, in accordance with the Scriptures…
I love this. So does Paul – he says it should be of “first importance” = the number one thing in your life and ministry at all times. The person and work of Jesus Christ – his perfect life of obedience, the cross, his resurrection – all the gospel – should be of primary importance in our lives. It is so easy to get distracted into other secondary issues. Isn’t it?
There is determination that Paul demonstrates too.
v10 – “but by the grace of God I am what I am…I worked harder than any of them…though it was not I but the grace of God within me”
This is the concept of “grace driven effort” that I’ve talked about before, DA Carson, and Matt Chandler have too. We are responsible to work as hard as we possibly can in our pursuit of Godliness, but all the while realizing it’s only by the grace of God that we can work, and he produces fruit in us.
v58 closes the chapter with some great challenges:
- Therefore (because of the Gospel which is of first importance and everything that is promised as a result)
- be steadfast (see Col 1:21-23: stable and steadfast)
- immovable (the orig word here can also be defined as f ‘firmly persistent’)
- always abounding (not ‘sometimes doing some things’ but ALWAYS ABOUNDING)
- in the work of the Lord
- knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (he will reward us for our work done here in Heaven with him, our sins are judged on the cross and paid for if we are in him, but our works will be judged by him. So, are we ‘always abounding?’)