1Cor 1:3 Grace, Mercy, and Peace 1/3/2010 ßà
#2. Grace (1Cor 1:2-3,30-2:2)
(1Cor 1:3, Rom 5:1, Gal 3:22, Phil
your Bibles to the First Epistle to the Corinthians, 1Cor 1:1 (2X). In
the sermons I preached in the last two weeks I tried to focus on the mercy of
God through Jesus Christ. I would like to continue this trend, and that is why
I chose to begin a new series today on the First Epistle of Paul to the church
1Cor 1:1-9 Paul, called (
to be) an apostle of Jesus Christ through
the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are
sanctified in Christ Jesus, called ( to be) saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of
Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from
the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my
God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus
Christ; That in every thing ye are
enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was
confirmed in you: So that ye come
behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the
end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were
called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
First of all, these
are the words of God, given to mankind through the pen of the Apostle Paul. God
gave it to mankind in Greek. The Greek text is the infallible word of God. The
KJ Bible is not infallible, for it is the work of man. For example, in verses 1
and 2 the KJ translators introduced the words “to be”, which conveys a
different doctrine than the true Gospel of the Bible. The Gospel declares that
those who are saved are called saints, whereas the Roman Catholic doctrine says
that you may become a saint after you have died. That is a lie. And Paul did
not become an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ by his own free will, or through
manipulating the church of those days, or by his intellectual abilities, or by
his abilities to evangelize the world, or by any other qualifications he might
have. Paul became an Apostle, together with the other twelve Apostles, through
the will of God. And God did not make up His mind at the time He discovered
that Saul of Tarsus lived in the nation of
Where do we read about mercy? We read in verse 3, “Grace be unto you, and peace”. In almost all the letters of the Apostle Paul to the churches he greets them with “Grace be unto you, and peace”. Where is the mercy? Let us review the definitions of mercy and grace according to what we find in Webster’s Dictionary. Mercy is when God is withholding what we do deserve. We do deserve to be cast into Hell for our sins. When God is withholding Hell from us, that is mercy. Grace is when God is giving us what we do not deserve. When God is giving us eternal life in heaven, that is grace. Both grace and mercy are given by God freely, No payment of anything is required. Therefore grace is unmerited favor, and mercy is unmerited pardon. Grace is the undeserved favor of God, and mercy is the undeserved pardon of God. And if we keep these definitions in mind we will understand the Gospel of the Bible.
The Gospel declares that all mankind comes into the world as an enemy of
God, and begins his life in trespasses and sins. Therefore all mankind is on a
slippery slope on the way to Hell. And so, when God saves us He first gives us
mercy, which means that He first pardon’s our sins. It means that we do not
have to go to Hell, and that is already a great blessing indeed. It means that
God takes us out of the pit of misery and out of the pit of debt of minus
infinity, and places us on neutral ground. What is neutral ground? Neutral
ground is when all our sins are erased, and the penalty for all our sins is
also erased. That takes us from minus infinity to zero, like the animals. For
the animals have no sin, but they also do not inherit the
Please drop down in this first chapter of 1Cor to verse 19, 1Cor 1:19. There we find that we all were wise in our own conceits. We all were fooling ourselves. God says in 1Cor 1:19, “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” Those among men who consider themselves wise, and who consider themselves prudent, are fools in the eyes of God. “God has made foolish the wisdom of this world”. God says in verse 21,
1Co 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
A wise God made the world as it is today. It is a world that by their own wisdom knew not God. It is a world that is wise in their own conceits. We all at one time were part of that world. We all came into this world as enemies of God, knowing better than God, being wiser than God, but knowing not God at all. This is how we came into this world. We refused to read or believe what God wrote in the Bible, because we rejected it out of hand. And is that not also what we are experiencing today? Try to tell someone on the street that God in flaming fire is going to take vengeance on them that know not God and that God will make an end of this world. They will ridicule you or they will send the men in white coats to you to take you to an insane asylum. Please drop down to 1Cor 2:14 (2X). God, in His wisdom, designed it so that all men come into this world as enemies of God, and haters of the God of the Bible. Only after we have become “Born Again” are we willing to believe what God has said in the Bible. Before the moment of our salvation we too considered preaching to be foolishness. But preaching the Gospel was pleasing to God. And so, God arranged it that through the foolishness of preaching people became saved. And when they were saved, they were no longer enemies of God, but became children of God and believers of His Word. All those who still remain in their natural state, remain in their darkened mind, rejecting the things God proclaimed in His Word. We read in 1Cor 2:14 (2X),
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
This is a very important verse. This verse tells us that we, who came into the world as natural men, could not receive the things of the Spirit of God. It was impossible for us to receive, or believe, the things of the Spirit of God, because these spiritual things were foolishness to us. How can you believe something of which you know for sure that it is nonsense? And then God says in the second half of 1Cor 2:14, “neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”, and that word translated “discerned” is actually “judged”. It means that the natural man has already passed judgment on the things that the Bible declares. Therefore the natural man cannot know those spiritual things, because he has already decided what he wants to believe, regardless what the Bible says. For example, will the natural man believe that he cannot do anything that is acceptable to God? No! The natural man refuses to believe that he is an abomination to God. The natural man refuses to believe that he is on the way to Hell. The natural man refuses to believe that the only way to salvation is through Jesus Christ. The natural man refuses to believe that salvation is not of works but only by the grace of God. The natural man refuses to believe that this world will come to an end. The natural man refuses to believe that there is a resurrection of all the bodies of all people who ever lived and then they will be judged according to their works. And since man sins voluntarily, God is justified to cast such persons into Hell. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 8:28 (2X). But then there were those who did hold fast the Word that the Apostle Paul preached unto them. And today there are those who are touched by God the Holy Spirit when they hear the preaching of the Gospel. And that is the mercy of God.
Ro 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Who are those that love God? Only those who are “the called” will love God. No one else will. Please turn again to 1Cor chapter 1, 1Cor 1:9 (2X). Who are those who were called? We read in 1Cor 1:9
1Co 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
This is Good News. But to whom does this verse refer? This verse
refers to the same group of people mentioned in verse 4. There God says,
“I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace
of God which is given you by
Jesus Christ”. This refers to the saints in the church at
1Co 1:24-29 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.
The actions God takes in saving people are all designed to bring glory to God alone. That is why not many wise men after the flesh, and not many mighty, and not many noble are called unto salvation. That is why God has chosen foolish things in the world, and God has chosen weak things in the world, and God has chosen base things in the world, and God has chosen things that are despised by the world. God has done this because He must receive all the honor and all the glory. His triumph over Sin and Satan may not be ascribed in part to human wisdom, or human power, or human righteousness. God will not share His glory with another. This is why God exercises His mercy on His elect only. Let us now look at the other side of God’s sovereignty.
#2. Grace (1Cor 1:2-3,30-2:2)
We read in 1Cor 1:2, “To them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus”. Then we read in 1Cor 1:30 (2X)
1Co 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
1Co 1:31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
This passage again is addressing only the saints. Only the saints are in Christ (Eph 1:4). It is a fundamental principle of the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ that we are in Christ Jesus. We have been chosen from before the foundation of the world to be in Christ (Eph 1:4), which means that He is our representative in the Spirit. We were in Christ when He was crucified, we were in Christ when He died we were in Christ when He was buried, and we were in Christ when He rose from the grave. And thus, when Christ endured the equivalent of an eternity in Hell we were in Christ, going through the Hell experience with Him. Therefore God will never send us to Hell because we have been there already, in Christ, and we were there when Christ emerged from this Hell experience when He cried out victoriously, “It is finished”! Therefore God says that we are in Christ Jesus, who is made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption. Here is the principle of grace and here is the principle of substitution. We must be wise in the sight of God. Christ substitutes His wisdom in our place. It does not mean that we become instantly wiser. We could remain just as dumb as before our salvation, but in the sight of God Christ places His wisdom upon us so that God sees us as having the wisdom of Christ. Likewise we must be righteous in God’s sight. Christ covers us with His righteousness so that we are righteous in God’s sight. We must be sanctified in God’s sight. The words sanctified and holy are the same word. Christ places His holiness upon us so that we are as holy as Christ in the sight of God. We must be redeemed before God. Our sins must have been washed away. Christ took the guilt of our sins and paid for those sins the penalty equivalent to that which had to be paid if we would have to pay it. That penalty is an eternity in Hell. Christ paid the equivalent of that penalty, and paid for it in full. And thus, when God looks at us He sees no sin, because Christ paid for every sin that we ever would commit. And so, when we see the principle of substitution applied to every fiber of our being, we stand amazed at the wisdom of God for arranging it this way from before the foundation of the world. Therefore, we agree with the Apostle, “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord”. When we think of the principle of substitution we stand totally amazed at the wisdom of God. This is what the atonement of Christ stands for. This is what we understand His substitution stands for. And so, when we think of the cross of Christ we think of the following 2 verses in the second chapter. There the apostle Paul says in 1Cor 2:1,
1Co 2:1 ¶ And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
1Co 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
All he wanted to talk about was Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ was the highlight in God’s plan for the history of this world. It is the hinge on which the door swings from the OT to the NT period of time. On that day the Ceremonial Law was abolished, and the bloody signs of the covenant were replaced by the non-bloody signs, such as water baptism, and the Lord’s supper, and a new era of Sunday Sabbaths. But when we read that all the elect of God were placed in Christ from before the foundation of the world, then it is utterly amazing that there are people who believe that Christ suffered and died for the sins of everyone in the whole world. This is called ”Universal atonement”, and it is utter nonsense. What nonsense is this when we demand that Christ must have suffered for millions of people who lived and died before the Lord Jesus was born and who lived in a Christless universe? They could not be saved, because they died as natural men, and 1Cor 2:14 says that the natural man is an unsaved human being who cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God. Certainly, Christ did not suffer and die for Judas Iscariot, the son of Hell, of whom the Lord Jesus said that it were better for that man if he had not been born. No! Christ suffered and died only for His elect, who were placed in Christ. This is the only way we can harmonize all the Scriptures. This is the only way we can make sense out of God’s use of the word “Grace”. He died for our sins. He did not die for the sins of every human being in the world. That would not harmonize with “our sins”. He died only:
Please turn again to 1Cor 1:2. And there we read,
1Co 1:2 Unto the
Those that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, those that are saved, are called saints. Saints, according to the Bible are those who have been saved. Let us see how God blesses His children, who are called saints. We read in 1Cor 1:3,
1Co 1:3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
More grace is heaped unto the saints even after they have been saved. They receive grace in every corner of their life. God’s irresistible grace is guiding them every step of the way. God’s irresistible grace accompanies them in their Bible studies, in their prayers, in their workplace, in their car when they are driving home after an exhausting day at work, in their interpersonal relationships at home, and in so many other instances where the grace of God is needed to help us get through life in a God glorifying way. We receive grace in sickness and in health, when we are awake, and when we sleep. We even receive grace in restless leg syndrome. We receive grace to mold our thought processes so that we will have peace with God. As you know, the peace that the Bible writes about is not a peace between men, or a peace between nations. The peace that the Bible writes about is a peace with God. Before our salvation we were at war with God. After our salvation we are at peace with God through the faith that the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross purchased our peace with God. During our wilderness wanderings through this sin cursed world we may begin to doubt our peace with God. Then God gives us more grace to assure us that our peace with God is not based on our performance, and it is not based on our ability to live a sinless life. But God, through Christ on the cross, arranged our peace with God. We cannot undo what God has done in our hearts. And so, we can thank God for His faithfulness in supporting us through this life with His grace. We read in 1Cor 1:4, “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ”. We thank God for giving us peace in our church. This is not automatic. There are many churches that are in turmoil. We find in 1Cor 1:10,
1Co 1:10 ¶ Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
God will give us what we need in this church. To achieve peace in the church does not mean that we all must be duplicates of one another. But it does mean that we all speak the same thing, and that we do not create divisions in the church. Please turn again to chapter 15, to 1Cor 15:57 (2X),
1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
In all these things where God blesses us with His grace, His unmerited favor, not only at the time of our salvation, but also in all the struggles we have in this life, God promises us that we shall have victory. How can it be otherwise? We, who are the Body of Christ, and whom the Lord Jesus bought at the cross, and for whom He intercedes presently, and all the time, how shall He not give us all things? For this we must give God thanks, all day, and every day. All this is the great wonder of our salvation, and the great wonder of our sanctification, through God’s irresistible grace in our life. God does not do this for everybody in the world. God does this only for His children, His elect. And God gives us also:
(1Cor 1:3, Rom 5:1, Gal 3:22, Phil
W read in 1Co 1:3, Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
When we try to understand this peace we must make a distinction between the peace with God and the peace of God. Please turn to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 5:1 (2X). Both the peace with God and the peace of God are gifts from God that are given to every saint as a result of our salvation. Before our salvation we were at war with God, but after we were saved we are at peace with God.
Rom 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
This verse tells us that we have peace with God because we have been justified by faith. This was not our faith by which we have been justified, but it was Christ’s faith that has been given to us, for we read in Gal 3:22, “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” It is the faith of Jesus Christ which is given to the saints. This again is one of those magnificent gifts of God which is difficult to understand, but which is true.
But the peace of God is of a different nature
altogether. Please turn to the Epistle to the Philippians, Phil 4:7
(2X). This is a dear letter from Paul to the church at
Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
“The peace of God which passeth all
understanding” shall be our possession. We may have been very ill treated at
our place of employment, but the peace of God which passeth all understanding
shall keep us calm. We may be going through a divorce, which is very grievous
and painful, but the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep us
away from self-pity and insanity. We may be going through the death process of
a spouse with whom we have been married for 57 years, but the peace of God
which passeth all understanding shall keep us safe from collapsing under the
spiritual load. And so, whether the church is in decline, or the country is
going to the dogs, we rest assured that God certainly knows what He is doing,
and Christ is with us all the way. Please turn in your Bibles to the
Epistle to the Colossians,
The peace of God shall rule in our hearts, so that we are not bitter in this vale of tears, but we are thankful for God’s providence and for His sovereign grace. We are thankful for what He daily gives us, for we live unto His glory. Are we content with the life He has reserved for us? If so, let us remember,
1Cor 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
How can it be otherwise? If God did such a marvelous work of grace in us, how can there be any circumstance or power that will undo the work of God? That is not possible. No one can undo the work of God, because there is only one God, and there exists no power outside Him. He was from the beginning the only One who is omnipotent, and this situation has not changed after He began to call this creation out of nothing. And therefore, God will see to it that we shall persevere until our last breath in this life. That is God’s promise here in 1Cor 1:8. It does not mean that we shall live a sinless life. But we shall persevere as His servants unto the end. We shall persevere loving the Lord Jesus Christ unto the end. We shall persevere to pray to the Father, and tell Him of our struggles and of our pains. We shall persevere reading and studying the Bible and continue to grow spiritually unto the end. That is what the unmerited favor of God does within us.
AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.