Motivated by Love (1 Corinthians 4:14-21)
Paul has some hard truths that he is preparing to convey to the church at Corinth. In our text this week, he continues setting the tone for the 1st century audience to understand that his motives are guided by the love he has for them as a spiritual father.
I’ve been blessed with a daughter and son that I love dearly. I’ve known them since their infancy and bonded closely with each of them. Over the years, I’ve sought to train them up in the way that they should go. That process required me to admonish them at times when it was not easy for me to do or for them to receive. But my love for them required me to take action that would serve their growth. Sometimes, the correction I offered was unwanted and seemingly redundant, yet I gave it with the big picture of God’s kingdom in mind. I’ve taken my role as their father seriously because their very lives depend on it. By the grace of God, I’ve watched as they’ve matured into adulthood, and although I really doubt that my paternal instinct for them will ever subside, I am most comforted in knowing that their Heavenly Father is faithfully caring for their souls.
Paul loved the Christians at Corinth. He’d taught them the mysteries of God through the Gospel of Christ and Him crucified. Paul observed them when they responded as infants in their Christian faith. He felt deeply committed to their spiritual growth as he’d been a part of their spiritual birth through the Gospel. He writes this letter because he cares deeply about them as disciples of his Savior and Lord, Christ Jesus. He addresses them as “beloved children”. His tone is important to note because Paul is about to unleash a wide arch of correction on them. He loved them too much to leave them alone in their sinful patterns, and so he sent Timothy to remind them of the way in Christ. Paul often described Timothy as being like a dear son or child to him in the faith. It was a gracious act for Paul to share Timothy with the Christians at Corinth, and to offer his admonishment in this letter. He was acting on their behalf.
Today, we have a heavenly Father that loves us too much to leave us alone in our sin and so he graciously shared His dear Son, Jesus, with us to show us His way and will for our lives. John 3:17-18 tells us “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
The words of Paul’s letter and John’s Gospel are also for us today as a church family. Like then, we still need to remember the heart of God behind His inspired Word—God loves you and me too deeply to let us wallow in our sin. God’s love is not silent. He still speaks to us through His Word and Spirit. He has acted on our behalf through Jesus! And this is the power of God - to transform our life and actions to serve His kingdom for His glory. How will you receive His Word and correction in your life today? God invites us to turn from our sin and trust in Jesus. In Christ, there is no condemnation, but because of His love there will always be corrective admonishment. This is a reminder of God’s steadfast love and care for the souls of His children.
May we be a people that revere our Heavenly Father and live for His kingdom and His glory!
May we be a people that speak the truth in love in our God given relationships!
May we remember that God loves us too much to leave us alone in our sin and has made a better way through the power of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ!
Grateful and hopeful in Christ,