My grace is sufficient for you
Dr Andrew C S Koh
How To, Education, Nonfiction
August 30, 2021
Paul's final letter to the Corinthian Christians is much milder than his earlier letter. Though the problems of the church did continue to exist, there were changes seen with improvement, especially in the generosity of giving and livelihood. In the midst of Christian problems within the church, there was apparent pressure and persecution from without. By emphasising the importance of faithfulness and continual trust in Jesus, Paul shared his own experiences of sufferings and persecutions. He concluded with his famous quotation "my grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness". This remarkable phrase has, over the centuries, helped many disciples of Christ to fulfill God's Will in their lives. The author has carefully reiterated repeatedly that righteous living and faithfulness in Christ, not wealth, position or spiritual gifts, will bring us to the God's throne of Grace. It is the resurrection of the body, soul and spirit that will present us before God's presence. The emphasis of giving of self in love, through gift of money or good works or good behaviour or good living, earmarked the Mark of a true Christian. The lyrics of the hymn 'Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saves a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found. T'was grace I first believe.' depicted the faith that Paul has shared with the Corinthian Christians, so as with us today. To God be the glory for the Corinthian Christians who had Paul as their teach, guide and mentor. Today we truly need to look for such giants like Paul, Titus, Timothy, Silvanus and many more. How about you?
Archbishop Ng Moon Hing, Anglican Archbishop of Southeast Asia
Many people, including Christians, are looking for a perfect church. Someone once said this aptly: 'If you find a perfect church, please do not join it; because once you join it, it will become imperfect.' Christians today are always very critical of their own church and leadership. They seem to think that the grass is greener next door. They are unconsciously hoping for a 'Garden of Eden' within their church. Unfortunately, some Christians resolve to leave their church, which is imperfect, and journey to the next church, which they think is better.
Apostle Paul has dealt with an imperfect church such as the Church in Corinth. There were full of problems and sins. Some of them "are not even named among the Gentiles". He did not mince his words when he reprimanded the Corinthian Christians, and even calling them carnal or immature. It was a church full of spiritual gifts but lack of 'agape' love. Never at any moment, Paul has hinted to the Corinthian Christians to leave and form another church, rather he urged them to trust God to overcome the difficulties and to bring about change - "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ". The secret of this imitation is anchored in the embrace of the concept of the LOVE of Christ in all things, including the mind, heart, emotion, action, relationship, obedience, learning, personal living and ministry.
The author has rightly reminded his readers that Paul's firm affirmation and strong advocacy on 'living righteously and avoid reckless living' is the main pursuit for the Corinthian Christians. This is also true to us today, failing which our churches will only be left with the empty structure of yesteryears. The answer is not in the 'once for all' solution in getting rid of all problems, rather in the life-long process of sanctification i.e. becoming like Christ, until His coming again.