But I call God as witness to my soul, that to spare you I did not come again to Corinth.2 Corinthians 1:23(NASB)
The more we come to understand the interchange that took place the moment we trusted Christ for salvation, the more mindful are we of our privileges in Him. The more we are aware of God's work in our lives, the more we marvel at the innumerable gifts and immeasurable graces He showers on each of His blood-bought children.
The gospel is simple enough for a child to understand - that Christ died for our sins and paid a debt we could not pay. It is staggering to realise that by trusting in His sacrificial work on the cross, we are awarded so many additional benefits and blessings! We are redeemed from the slave-market of sin and have become God's purchased possession. We are forgiven of our sin; declared righteous before God and are given an eternal inheritance, that is kept for us in heaven - and these are just a few of many biblical blessings that are ours, by grace, through faith in Christ.
Our salvation is fully accomplished (John 19:30). Eternal life is our present possession (John 5:24; 6:47; 1 John 5:11-13) and we are justified by His grace (Tit. 3:7). We passed from death unto life (John 5:24; 1 John 3:14) and are made alive by God (Eph. 2:1,5; Col. 2:13). We have been forgiven of all our sins, past, present, and future (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14), which will be remembered no more (Heb. 8:12; 10:17) and we are being made fit for heaven (Col. 1:12).
We are healed by His stripes (1 Pet. 2:24), become part of the new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:10; 4:24; Col. 3:10) and are reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:18-19; Col. 1:20). We've been made nigh by the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:13) and redeemed through His precious blood (1 Pet. 1:18,19; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14) and have been rescued from all iniquity and lawlessness (Titus 2:14).
We are bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23). and delivered from this present, evil age (Gal. 1:4). We are set free from the power of darkness (Col. 1:13) and saved from the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10). We are not under condemnation or judgment (John 5:24; Rom. 8:1) but are adopted into God's family Gal. 4:5; Rom. 8:15,23) and we are heirs of God and joint-heir with Christ (Rom. 8:17; Tit. 3:7) - Praise His holy name.
There are some essential ministries the Holy Spirit carries out instantly, at salvation. God knows the heart, and the moment an individual places trust in Christ, they are born of the Spirit and regeneration takes place. Spiritual birth is as tangible as physical birth - and our acceptance into God's family as His blood-bought child, cannot be undone or reversed.
The moment we are baptised into the body of Christ we are positioned in Him, through time and into eternity. At the same time the Holy Spirit takes up permanent residence in a believer's body - as corporately and individually we become a Temple of the living God.
One mind-shattering privilege is that we are 'sealed' with God's seal of ownership and become His personal possession. The moment we were sealed, God gave us the Holy Spirit in our hearts, as a pledge and guarantee, and what He has promised He will perform. The seal that is set on the life of a believer, offers spiritual protection and perseveration from the attacks of the enemy. We may have to face certain difficulties and dangers because we live in a fallen world - but we are eternally secure in Him. Hallelujah!
Although most of us are unaware of the multiplicity of things that took place when we were saved,.. we must never forget that we are marked out as belonging to God. He not only made us but He also bought us with the precious blood of Christ.. and His seal of ownership guarantees our everlasting identity as family members.
Paul's message of hope is an encouragement to all believers, but it was part of his defence against the unfounded accusations of false teachers, who had set them up as superior saints, while denouncing Paul's teachings and accusing him of lacking integrity... because he altered his plans and failed to visit Corinth as expected!!!
Paul had not postponed his visit due to disinterest in the souls at Corinth or because of any inaccuracies in his teachings, as his critics implied. Paul changed his plans because he considered it would be better for the brethren at Corinth. The Church had been vigorously chastened by Paul, and he considered it wise to reschedule his visit - explaining that his change of plan was to spare their feelings, following his forceful criticism of their carnal behaviour. His critics, however, used this delay to set themselves up as super-apostles, while condemning Paul, the true apostle of Christ.
Paul made it clear that there are no superior saints, super-apostles or a special class of Christians, as his accusers claimed, and reinforced the gospel message he preached by saying "Now He Who establishes us with you in Christ and Who anointed us ALL is God. He also sealed us, and gave us the indwelling Spirit in our hearts as a pledge,"
Every believer is equally established and anointed by God. All Christians are positioned in Christ. All believers are baptised into the body of Christ by the Spirit, and all are sealed by the Holy Spirit, and... unique to the Church age, we all have Him indwelling our hearts as a pledge and guarantee... for we are one Body saved and sealed by the same Spirit. Paul then stamped his apostolic authority on his message and ministry by adding, as his defence, "but I call God as witness to my soul, that to spare you I did not come again to Corinth".
Paul's preaching schedule may have changed, but the gospel remained unchanged, as did his care and concern for the spiritual well-being of the Corinthian Christians, despite his accuser's false claims.
May we have that same attitude as Paul, who was prepared to address issues that challenged the truth of God's word, while retaining a godly concern for our Christian brethren, as we offer encouragement and edification to one another, whenever we are able.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the beautiful truth that we are we are saved and renewed by the Holy Spirit of God, Who has taken up permanent residence in our lowly bodies; has baptised us into the Body of Christ and sealed us, as a pledge and guarantee of Your faithfulness towards us. Thank You for the many privileges that are ours in Christ and for Your many precious promises, which are all 'yes' and 'amen' in Christ Jesus our Lord, in Whose name we pray, AMEN