The Promises of God for Personal Relationships.

As we continue to study 2 Corinthians 1, we will see what Paul's ministry meant to interdependent relationships within the church. All the promises of God for personal relationships in the church are presented, received, and fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Christian relationships can and should thrive in Him. This does not mean there will be no struggle; but healing and progress can always be found in the Gospel. The unwavering nature of the Gospel message helps us regain spiritual confidence after conflict.

Acts 18:1-10 tells of Paul's introduction to the Corinthians. God used several individuals and the confluence of multiple events to start the church in that city. Never underestimate the power of one. God's servants are never left without encouragement to persevere.

The promises of God fulfilled in Jesus never change, and they lead to maturing relationships.

Proclamation (2 Corinthians 1:18)

The word "But" at the start of this verse shifts the focus away from the Corinthians' offense. Instead, Paul proclaims God's faithful character. In Christ, God guarantees that we are loved eternally. It is inevitable that offenses will come (Luke 17:1), but God is faithful in His commitment to grow us through all circumstances (Philippians 1:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:23).

This truth develops anticipation in believers. Knowing that God is always growing His children prevents typecasting of other believers. Assuming someone will never change unnecessarily divides the body of Christ. God's grace will never fail to make progress in your life or someone else's.

Explanation (2 Corinthians 1:19-20)

Ministry has a 3-step process: theology, philosophy, and practice. Paul's theology is his message: he preached God's Son. (See 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, 2 Timothy 2:22, 1:5, and 3:15.) We must remember the message of the Gospel and the sin we were saved from. All other issues are lesser. In Christ, all interpersonal issues are solvable.

Paul's method reflected his philosophy. He modeled accountability in his partnership with Silvanus and Timothy. People around us should be able to vouch for our salvation, character, and walk. Instead of getting anxious and emotional and blaming others, Paul took himself out of the center of conflict resolution. The Corinthians could be confident in Paul's ministry because of their own experience and his testimony with others.

Paul's practice revealed his doxological motives. The goal of his relationships was to bring glory to God. He shows a humble and necessary deference. All promises are embodied in Jesus. We embody His life as we practice the fruit of the Spirit, imitating God's goodness (Galatians 5). There is no limit to our living this out together!

Next week, we will study Paul's affirmation and the Holy Spirit's role in our living.

Application Points

  • Are you spiritually accountable in your church relationships? Can others verify your character in Christ?
  • Are you letting God prepare you as a gift to others in ministry? Are you demonstrating God's grace by bearing relational fruit? You are living Christ's life, not your own.
  • Are you following someone? Are you leading someone? Will you leave someone who is living Christ's life because they saw you do so?
  • Don't allow tertiary issues to distract you from healthy ministry relationships.
  • Have you assumed someone will never change? You need to repent of that sin. You cannot worship God with integrity when there is an issue between you and your Savior or another believer. God promises that all Christians will grow. Recognize, rejoice, and embrace the working of grace in every believer's soul!