4 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 spiritual 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 (ESV)
“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his son Jesus Christ our Lord.” Paul thanks God for the Corinthians because he knows that they are his work. He knows God will see the work to its end.
Today the focus is on the people, and Paul will turn to them shortly. He will admonish them, chastise them and rebuke them. But before he does this he is going to lead with gospel. He is going to talk about who God is, what God has done for them, what God will do for them. The one thing that strikes me about Paul’s letters is most people today think they can be divided up into law-gospel-law motifs. But I think if anything they tend to be gospel law gospel. He always starts with gospel. He wants to let people know the destination before he takes them on the trip. He’ll lose them if they don’t know where it is going. Then he drags them through the law, always making sure to temper it with enough gospel to keep the with him. But then if you read he ends with gospel again. Not what we should be doing, but what God has done for us, and what he is doing. In this way the gospel predominates.
Paul knows it is the gospel that does the heavy lifting, even when it is surprisingly short. A little gospel goes a long way.