In 1:6 Paul says, “Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you.” The testimony of Christ here is different from the testimony of Jesus in Revelation 1. Here Paul means the preaching of Christ. Paul’s preaching of Christ was a testimony of Christ. Some may wonder why Paul did not use the word preaching, but instead spoke of a testimony. Preaching may be regarded simply as a matter of words conveying thoughts. A testimony is quite different from this. A testimony must be a living, not merely a preaching.
Many of today’s Christian ministers only preach; they do not testify. In their preaching they express certain thoughts in words. However, they do not have a life to testify what they preach.
In order to help the Corinthians not only to understand his expression but also to have the reality, Paul told them that the testimony of Christ was confirmed in them. Here Paul seems to be saying, “I did much more than merely preach Christ to you. What I preached was my living. This is my testimony concerning Christ. You have been enriched in all expression and all knowledge. You have been enriched in the understanding of what I preached to you.” Paul’s preaching to the Corinthians was his testifying to them.
Paul’s testimony of Christ was confirmed in, or among, the believers in Corinth. Paul was very careful in composing his Epistle. By saying that the testimony of Christ was confirmed in the Corinthians, Paul meant something like this: “When I preached Christ to you, I testified to you of Christ. When you believed in Him and received Him, something happened in you. Eternal life was given to you, and the Holy Spirit came into you. These are the initial gifts which are in you. These initial gifts confirm what I testified to you.”
All the matters that Paul covers here are related to being saints. A saint is a person who has been called by God and who is now calling on the name of the Lord Jesus. A saint is also a person who has the confirmation within him. Do you not have within you the confirmation Paul speaks of in verse 6? As believers in Christ, you surely have the divine life and the Holy Spirit in you. Therefore, you are confirmed with respect to your salvation. If a person does not have this confirmation within him, I would have doubts about his salvation. A saint not only has been called by God and calls on the name of the Lord, but he also has a certain inner confirmation. Something within him confirms that he belongs to the Lord and that he has the divine life and the Holy Spirit.
Early in their Christian life, some saints may lose the feeling that they are saved. They may not feel that they have the divine life or the Holy Spirit. When I was young, I also sometimes lost this feeling. Not long after I was saved, I read John Bunyan’s book Pilgrim’s Progress. At one point, the pilgrim in that book loses his certificate. When I read this, I asked myself where my certificate was. It seemed that I was not able to find it. For several days I was troubled about this, and I was unable to eat well or sleep well. Then I read a book published by Brother Nee, The Assurance of Salvation. In this book Brother Nee says that in the Bible God clearly tells us that as long as we believe in Christ, we are saved. When I read this, I opened my Bible to John 3:16, knelt down, and said, “I want to testify to the heavens and the earth that I believe this verse. According to this verse in the Bible, I know that I have eternal life.” Although I still had some doubts after that, eventually the strong feeling returned in me that I was in fact a child of God. This is what I mean by inward confirmation.
As believers in Christ, we all have this confirmation. We are confirmed that we are children of God with the divine life and the Holy Spirit. As Paul says, we are not lacking in any gifts. We have seen that this means we possess the initial gifts—the divine life and the Holy Spirit.
Having considered the various matters related to being a saint, we all should be clear that we are truly saints. Can you deny the fact that you are a saint? You have been called by God, you are calling on the name of the Lord Jesus, and you have the inner confirmation that you possess the divine life and the Holy Spirit.
© Living Stream Ministry All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.