To the church of God at Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy…
1 Corinthians 1:2
The Spirit inspired Paul to see the church in Corinth – one of the most troubled churches in the New Testament – in the best possible light, as those chosen by God and sanctified, called to be holy. They were far from this mark in their behavior, and this epistle testifies to many of their failings. But their failings did not deter God from His purpose nor change His opinion about them.
God sees us differently than we see ourselves. We have inflated views of our failures and of our successes, seeing them both out of perspective from their true reality. God sees us in light of these things, true, but especially in light of His purpose and His power. He knows what His dreams are for us and how His Spirit will accomplish these. He knows what we will become when we cross to the other side, when the deception and decay of this mortal life is swallowed up in the victory of the resurrection. He knows these things because they come from His heart, from His very nature.
We would be better off if we accepted His encouragement, if we let Him lift us up in our estimation of ourselves. This is not contrary to the spirit of repentance or of humility, for it stands not on our accomplishments but on His. This is receiving His grace, His forgiveness, the very thing Christ suffered and died for – that we might be saved!
Consider others in the family of God the same way. We should treat each other like we know a secret about our brothers and sisters in Christ that perhaps they have forgotten – that He who began a good work in them will carry it through to completion. We are loved by God, but we are also redeemed by God, and the day will come when we shall stand fully together in His forgiveness and in His grace, when we will gather as the redeemed children of the Father, full of grace and truth, when our hearts shall be His entirely.
As The Spirit inspired the apostle to encourage us with these words, so we should encourage one another as well. Hope is rare in this world, and hope of lives changed by the power of Christ is not vain hope. The One who has called us is faithful and He will do it.