Three things stand out in Paul's introductory passage of thanksgiving: 1. There is the promise which is fulfilled. When Paul preached Christ to the Corinthians he told them that Christ could do certain things for them and now he has the pleasure of affirming that what he said was right! I think it is reasonable to accept that the search for God is at the very foundation of our being and the 'God-shaped hole' causes all sorts of issues in lives until the living God is discovered and embraced. 2. There is the gift which has been given. The word 'charisma' means a gift which is freely given to a man and which he didn't deserve. Salvation is the 'charisma' of God in the sense that it can only come as a gift from the Divine and cannot be earned. This gift enables a person to possess all that they need for the life with God and to help grow the fellowship they are in. When we come together as church, we can enjoy the exercise of these gifts as we hear beautiful music played and singing, preaching and the gifts of public praying and Bible reading. Elsewhere other gifts are being exercised, such as teaching children or teenagers; the gift of welcome; pastoral care and coming alongside others. Recently, we have been able to begin exercising the gift of hospitality in our gardens and soon we will be able to do that at church. Alongside these more obvious gifts, there are a multitude of other more hidden gifts being used for God's glory. 3. There is the ultimate end. 'The day of the Lord' as a phrase is repeatedly used in the Old Testament, a day when the Jews looked forward to God breaking into history, when the new world is born and the old world is no more. There will be judgement, but the person who is clothed in Christ can meet even that unafraid, because his or her righteousness does not depend on a life full of good deeds, but on the purity and efficacy of the risen Christ. God has given us the ultimate compliment, which is to partner with His Son!
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