Chapter sixteen is the last chapter of 1 Corinthians, and Paul is giving his closing remarks and some last bits of encouragement. In the first four verses, Paul reminds them about helping the church in Jerusalem with a finical gift. This is an important part of being the universal church, that we help other churches and other Christians that are suffering. We should always look to help those in need and give “in keeping with how we prosper” (vs. 2) After telling of his travel plans and the faithfulness of Timothy, he gives them some encouragement for their daily lives.
“Be alert, stand firm in the faith, act like a man, be strong. Your every action must be done with love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 HCSB ( https://bible.com/bible/72/1co.16.13-14.HCSB )
Paul says to be alert! Why must we be alert? As Christians, there are many things that we have to be alert to. The first is that we must be alert to the workings of evil and sin in the world so that sin does not overtake us. Satan is always looking at ways to get God’s children to fall. We should also be alert to how we are living for God. Does our life reflect the attributes of God, or are we reflecting the evil of this world? We must also be alert to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Knowing which way the Holy Spirit guides our lives and be faithful to walk in the path of righteousness. The last thing that we must be alert to is the second coming of Jesus Christ. We don’t want to be unprepared when Jesus returns but should be actively ministering for the advancement of the kingdom of God.
Paul also says to “stand firm in the faith.” Our faith sound not be like the rudderless ship tossed back and forth by the storms of life. Instead, our hope in Christ should be the strong anchor that keeps us secure from those storms. When our faith is in Jesus Christ, then nothing should be able to shake us. We should be able to stand firm in the faith. As long as, we are not putting our hope in anything else except Jesus.
Then he says, “act like a man, be strong,” That statement would not fit in our politically correct world today, but I don’t think that Paul would care. What he is saying, is to stop acting like weak little children and start acting like strong mature adults. One of the biggest problems in society today is that many adults still behave like weak little children. They have failed to grow up mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Paul is saying be mature and be strong because the Christian life is not for the weak at heart.
The last thing that Paul says in verse fourteen is that “every action must be done with love.” Paul has pushed the idea of love in this letter. Perhaps the church in Corinth was unloving, or maybe he knew that this is the area that most people will struggle in. Every action that we do has to be motivated by love, but not just any love. Paul is referring to the love that he wrote about in chapter thirteen. The selfless love that we see displayed in the life of Jesus Christ; is the love that should permeate our every action.
The only way that we can abide by these instructions is to remain in Jesus Christ. We have to die to ourselves daily to live to God. We will not be able to do it by our strength, but we have to receive our strength from God. Then we will be able to live a life that is pleasing to God and one that does everything out of the love.
May we all stand firm in the faith being mature and strong, doing everything by genuine love.