How often do you thank God for the salvation of others? If we often fail to express gratitude for our own salvation we are even more reticent to appreciate the redemption of others. Yet there is much we ought to celebrate. Because we love others, we ought to thank God that He has made them part of His family too.
As Paul begins his letter to the Corinthians this gratitude is exactly what he expresses. We read:
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. (1 Corinthians 1:4-9)
Paul’s affection for the Corinthians is evident in his rejoicing over their salvation. Paul had planted the Corinthian church in his second missionary journey (Acts 18), and had spent something like a year and a half without he Corinthians (v. 11). He had developed special relationship with a Jewish couple there, Priscilla and Aquilla, with whom he lived and alongside whom he ministered. Because of his ministry there the leader of the Jewish Synagogue, Crispus, was converted, along with his whole family (v. 5-8). The church, despite its evident immaturity (which prompted his letter to them), this was a church that Paul loved very much.
He states plainly that he thanks God “always,” for the Corinthians. Whenever he thinks about them he is grateful that God has called them to Himself. He can’t help but be glad whenever they come to mind. Paul says similar things about the Philippians (1:3). It’s easy to overlook this detail in the lives of those we love. Just as we get accustomed to the grace of God in our own lives, we can become accustomed to it in the lives of others. But Paul makes a point to intentionally reflect on the salvation of these dearly loved friends. Whenever he thinks about them he marvels as God’s saving grace in their lives.
Are there people in your life for whose salvation you have prayed? Have you witnessed God’s saving grace in their life, observed the changes wrought by the Spirit of God. Do you celebrate that change or has it become old news? Do you marvel at what God has done in the lives of those you love? We take grace for granted, in our own lives, and also in the lives of those we love. Paul thanked God “always” when he thought of others.
He thanks God particularly for the grace given them, which has called them into the fellowship of God’s Son. He is rejoicing in their inclusion into the family of God. In Christ we have brothers and sisters we would not otherwise have. We have a family greater than we could ever dream. We have a kinship stronger than any biology, social interests, hobby, or ethnic/national affiliation. Our bond with those who are part of God’s family is greater than we could imagine. Thank God for this family you have in Christ.
Whose salvation are you most thankful for today? Is there someone in your life who are especially grateful God has saved? Maybe you prayed for a family member to be saved and God has seen fit to answer that prayer (a husband, wife, child, parent, uncle, etc.). Maybe you’ve experienced a deepened friendship because of God’s grace. Maybe you felt alone in the world but because of Chris you’ve become part of a church family. Do you rejoice in God’s salvation of others?
Our salvation is a wonderful gift, and one that could never be overlooked or minimized. Yet Paul recognized the joy of seeing others brought into the family of God. He yearned to see his “kinsman” saved, pleading with God for the inclusion of his Jewish brothers (Rom. 9:2-3). Nothing can take away from our salvation, but consider how much our own joy in Christ is enriched because we are part of a spiritual family. Thank God for the salvation of others. Because you love them, thank God that they too are part of the family of God. Whose salvation can you thank God for today?