Not a Performance System – I Corinthians 1:2

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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I once had the joy of sharing a clear gospel and leading a young couple to a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Immediately, they began attending our church, but after a few months they stopped coming and demonstrated no evidence of further interest in spiritual things. One well-intentioned lady referred to this absent couple and said: “Pastor John, they must have been your converts because they certainly weren’t the Lord’s converts.”

It is important for us to remember a lesson from the believers at Corinth. Acts 18 records the Apostle Paul preaching in this city with many trusting in Christ as their Savior. Then, for 18 months, he stayed and ministered the Word of God to them. After professing Christ, there was a time of spiritual growth, but they soon drifted into terrible carnality. They became very judgmental toward Paul (I Corinthians 4:3). Gross immorality became common with them (5:1). They reveled in the sin of others (5:2) and were puffed up in pride over their biblical knowledge (8:1). Paul called them “carnal” and “babes” “in Christ,” who had not grown into spiritual maturity (I Corinthians 3:1-3). But he never questioned their salvation! Notice he referred to them collectively as “the church of God” who were “…sanctified in Christ Jesus, [and] called to be saints…” (I Corinthians 1:2). He is even clearer when he lists a host of people identified by various sins, adding, “And such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus…” (I Corinthians 6:11). Even though these Christians were living a sinful lifestyle with little apparent spiritual interest, Paul still never questioned their salvation. This is because Christians today are “…not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14), and grace is not a performance system. Grace is the rich mercy of God. Some would object that the Savior said: ”…by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:16, 20). However, our Lord was talking about how to discern false teachers in the tribulation, not believers today. He was teaching the Jews still under the Law in a different program, with different requirements. It is a wonderful testimony when true godliness is exhibited in believers but today one can still be truly saved, yet not be living for the Lord.

Believer, don’t question your salvation or that of others, when a lack of spiritual interest, or sin, is present. Remember, grace covers this too.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."