1 Corinthians 4
1 Corinthians 4

1 Corinthians 4

1 Corinthians 4:1-21
1  Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
2  Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
3  But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.
4  For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.
5  Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.
6  Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.
7  For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
8  You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us—and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you!
9  For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.
10  We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored!
11  To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless.
12  And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure;
13  being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.
14  I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you.
15  For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
16  Therefore I urge you, imitate me.
17  For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.
18  Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you.
19  But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power.
20  For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.
21  What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?

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4 months ago

There is this ongoing uncovering of meaningless outward perceptions compared to the inwardly eternal that can only be fully seen and judged by God. This condition of pitting one person’s giftings vs another’s as if they are something apart from the grace of God seems to be heavy on Paul’s heart. Comparing and determining different levels of significance based upon natural observations is being shown to be in such great opposition to the truth of who we are in Christ. He mocks any assumption of ascension by declaring how much better they must be than Paul and other ministers, given their outwardly observable better circumstances. Relationships and demonstrations of the power of God are shown to be the true validations and qualifications of kingdom effectiveness. Instead of just falling into vain accolades that would only feed the church’s destructive tendencies, Paul gets right in their grill, letting them know that the very things they could feel puffed up about are really reprehensible and punishable.

We have grown up, and continue to exist, in a physical realm that is always vying for preference over the things of the spirit. There is a powerful enticement and tendency to fall into the assumption of worth and importance based upon outward appearance and performance. What we have in Christ, however, disallows this completely where there is to be any triumph of grace, God’s provision quite apart from any merit whatsoever. While the outward status-judgment can only produce strife and division, the production of love’s judgment binds hearts together in loyalty and honor. It elevates the work of the cross and liberates completely from the pressures and discouragements of natural performance limitation. To draw near in relationship to the Master is to completely depart from the narrow judgments of human perception.

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