1 Corinthians 1:4-9
4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,
5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge–
6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you–
7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
In an earlier post, I mentioned that I would look at verses that seem to support the eternal security teaching and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these passages.
Today’s passage is found in 1 Corinthians 1:8, but I would like to consider the passage from verses 4 through 9.
Is Paul seeking to instruct the believers in Corinth about eternal security? Or is he breaching upon their lack of stability?
Security and Confirmation
Verse 8 clearly states that Jesus Christ shall confirm them unto the end, which must surely mean that once a person becomes a true believer, Jesus Christ is responsible to independently supply the believers security and deliver that person to God at their death. At least that is how I read it in the past and suppose it is the common understanding among those who lean toward the eternal security teaching.
But I do have a few concerns.
I would like to start with Paul’s description of the Corinthians confirmation in verse 6. The passage is telling me that the testimony of Christ was confirmed in the Corinthians. This is the very same word that Paul uses two verses later in verse 8.
So lets consider what is going on in these verses.
In verse 7, Paul states the purpose of the confirmation described in verse 6. The testimony of Christ – that is the witness/proof of Christ, was confirmed in the Corinthians via the gifts they received, the knowledge and utterance they experienced. The confirmation had a purpose. The confirmation had two participants, that is, God supplied the gifts, but the Corinthians exercised these gifts of knowledge and utterance. This is important to consider.
In verse 8, Jesus Christ is confirming the believers for the purpose of presenting them as blameless in the day of Christ.
Lets think about this.
Is confirmation a synonym (a word that means the same) for security?
As I read this passage in my earlier belief of eternal security, I would have to say yes! But the question begs to be answered honestly. Please remember that security has synonyms such as safety, defended, protected, sheltered, unharmed and shielded. Confirmation does not relate to these concepts.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
Is this confirmation something that is performed only in heaven? Or is this confirmation something that is being accomplished within the believer’s life?
Of course, if it is some type of mystical confirmation in heaven that is a completely independent activity of Jesus Christ alone without the participation of the believer, then adherents to the eternal security may have a valid argument with this verse.
But if the believer participates in this confirmation by obeying the direction (however imperfectly ) of the Master, following His teaching and seeking His direction, then somehow verse 8 includes a human component, a willingness and desire to conform to a blameless life, under the power and enabling of the Lord.
The greek word used in both verse six and eight has the the root meaning of “to be firm”.
When used of persons, it signifies someone who is trustworthy, someone who inspires confidence. In verse eight, the verb is in the future tense and active voice. The active voice represents Jesus Christ (the subject) as the doer or performer of the action.
Let me ask this simple question. As Jesus is confirming these believers to be blameless, would it not be obvious to all? Remember that to confirm someone is to produce someone who is firm, trustworthy, and one in whom you can trust and depend on.
Would not this fruit be evident in the believer’s life? A life that is becoming more like Jesus. He is certainly firm, trustworthy and One in whom we can place our confidence!
This is most interesting since many in the eternal security camp may speak of those who have no outward witness of Christ living in them as still being believers that are eternally secure and guaranteed entry into heaven, simply due to some statement of belief in the past.
Of course this is a difficult statement to say in these days of sensitivity, where we must not offend any. But I wonder what engenders God’s trust in a believer who breaks covenant without concern and who claims a vital relationship with Him in the midst of obvious sin and rebellion.
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