To clarify, the “we” is Paul and Timothy and this is their letter to the Corinthian Church. We too, as co-workers with God, should not give occasion for offence. If we have, we need to do all in our power to make it right. And if we are offended, we need to seek reconciliation since we, as believers, are called to be in the ministry of reconciliation.
Obstacle/stumbling block… We are being told here to live in a manner that causes no one to trip or slip. That way no one can find fault with the ministry.
Church is where grace is needed and applied as we do our best as yoke-fellows with Christ, co-workers with God. If, as I said, we have caused offence, or someone to stumble. Then by God’s grace we better make it right. This is our responsibility as Brothers and Sisters in Christ, the one anothers of the New Testament command that we do. To do otherwise is sin and is receiving God’s grace in vain.
Paul is giving examples of God’s love in action; His grace working in their lives, just as it will in ours as we step out in faith…
Endurance takes commitment. Perseverance in the face of trial is God’s grace. We cannot let the enemy’s schemes against God’s Church prevail!
We must persevere in the face of change and disruption, stepping out in faith when we see no way. When we do, God’s grace is right there.
Look at the grace that was given as an example to us: Moses, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). God gave him grace to deliver His people.
God equipped them and He will equip us, “And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8 and see Ephesians 2:8-10).
God does not call you to be in ministry with Him, to be His co-worker, only to abandon you (see Hebrews 13:5). He is with you, He is for you, He provides, and He enables. The grace of God is yours in Christ Jesus, the very Spirit of God resides within His Church. He equips, “some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints (believers) for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness” (Ephesians 4:11-13).
Since God has clearly called His own to be disciples and messengers and disciple makers, to lead others to Him, then He will give you the grace needed to fulfill the ministry of reconciliation.
We must not receive the Grace of God in vain! Take your next step of faith! Grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, “Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into him who is the head — Christ. From him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building itself up in love by the proper working of each individual part” (Ephesians 4:14-16).
God equips us with all we need as we walk with Him and fulfill our mission as co-workers with Him in the ministry of reconciliation. It is very possible that awe will mess things up… But know this, if we do our part, He will do His: the outcome is between them and God.
We also should speak with open hearts to the people we are sharing the message with; they should know the love we have for them and that we are sincere. And we have got to make certain that we receive what is said with an open heart as well.
- Are you willing by God’s grace to do your part within the body of Christ?
- Are you, by God’s grace, carrying the message of reconciliation to your neighbor?
- Do you know the love and grace of God?