1 Corinthians 1:4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,
I ran across the following in Gordon Fee's commentary (see photo):
A couple things to think about:
(1) The Corinthian church was, to put it nicely, a church with a lot of problems and a lot of yet worldly attitudes. Yet, there had some albeit limited evidence of the fruit of the Spirit as the testimony of the gospel had been confirmed in them (v. 6).
(2) Paul, for all the rebuke he gives them, remains thankful for them and for the grace of God. They have been called holy by God (1:2) and have been sanctified from their sins (6:11), even though they have much progress that needs to yet be made in this sanctification.
(3) Pastorally, but even if you are a not a pastor, do we give thanks for God's grace in Christians's lives even when we see sins that need to be corrected and addressed? This is example of Paul's pastoral practice. Genuine thanksgiving for a genuine work of God even though we hope and pray that there is great future progress.
Imagine at this moment when Paul is writing, how far the Corinthians had come--they, like Paul, had moved from darkness into the light of the gospel--even though the church in Corinth had very far yet to go in their ethics and behavior.
The blog world is frequent with denunciations of bad practice from bad Christians--yes, yes things that are indeed sins and should be addressed. But far less is there the pastoral tact & tone of genuine thankfulness for the grace of God and the fruit of the grace even though it may yet need greater manifestation in some areas of a person's life.
*It should go without saying that Paul is not thankful for the actually sins of the Corinthians, nor does he introduce the book of Galatians with this kind of thankfulness as he is addressing those wondering from the gospel who are not or may not actually be Christians. These are things he is not thankful for and neither should we be thankful for false professors or blatant hypocrisy. But often we fail to see the grace of God in those who yes may still have far to go in their experience of that grace*