NLT Study Bible Blog.
1 Corinthians 1:4-9 (Mosaic, Advent 1)
As we wait for the Lord's return, God himself provides us with all that we need to endure difficulties and hardships in this life.

Paul is thanking God for the Christians in Corinth (giving thanks is a standard section in the introductions to his letters). He moves quickly from thanking God for the Christians in Corinth, to thanking God "for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus." The rest of the paragraph is an exuberant explanation of what these gifts are. Verse 7 captures the essence of it: "Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ." Now that we "belong to Christ Jesus" (v. 4), we do not wait for him alone. Instead, we have his presence with us, represented by his Spirit, whose gifts fill the body of Christ. "To prepare our hearts to welcome the Lord, ... we must learn to recognize his presence in the events of daily life" (Pope John Paul II; Devotions for Advent, p. 8). He has given us his Spirit, individually and as communities of believers, so that we will learn to recognize his presence, listen to it, and be filled with his presence as we wait for his return. We can learn to hear his voice in the events of daily life. More particularly, we can learn to hear his voice and experience his presence through the other members of the Christian community as we come together for worship (v. 5 mentions this process, which Paul describes in greater detail in ch 14).

We need "every spiritual gift" that God gives us, as we wait for the return of Christ. To say this is merely to make an application of the fact that we need Christ's presence with us by his Spirit. According to Paul, we have all that we need, thanks to God. We have his presence, we have his Spirit, and we have his gifts. And so we can be confident that he "will keep you strong to the end to that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Cor 1:8-9).

Let us, then, cultivate a purposeful awareness of Christ's presence and his Spirit as we wait for him. "Our spirit should be quick to reach out toward God, not only when it is engaged in meditation; at other times also, when it is carrying out its duties, caring for the needy, performing works of charity, giving generously in the service of others, our spirit should long for God, and call him to mind" (John Chrysostom; Devotions for Advent, p. 9). "Let us then be imitators of His patience" (Polycarp; Devotions for Advent, p. 8).

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posted by Sean Harrison at 7:00 AM
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