Preacher religion is alive and well in the world. We could name names of those men and women who others follow and proclaim they are “the best;” Just like in Corinth they say with their best snooty voice: “I belong to Paul and you don’t. ” Snootiness was alive and well in Corinth and it is today. This is not sin but carnality or immaturity which is evidenced in attitudes and behavior.
Like the Corinthians we are called, chosen, sanctified and saints; therefore we should be humble. Instead we often are snooty acting like unbelievers—-not called, chosen saints of God. The proof is in the pudding; divisions, quarrels and strife as well as elevating men above Christ.
Paul sets out to challenge them to grow up and quit depending on others to feed them because they have the mind of Christ! Paul now asks them and us as well, why are you still acting like little children and like unregenerate people instead of born again saints of God! I want to feed you meat but your infantile behavior leaves me no choice but to continue to provide you only baby food. Paul pinpointed the problem which was snootiness! They were puffed up and forgetting their calling! They were not discerning with their renewed mind of Christ.
This is an ‘ouch’ to us as well. How often do we tilt our noses with an air of snootiness rather than a humility of spirit.
The angels of God were busy last night as they came to escort some of the chosen to their eternal bliss. We sorrow as Mary and Martha did. We cry tears as Jesus did for his beloved friend Lazarus. But, there is a marvelous promise awaiting the chosen as they leave this earthly abode and it is this: They were born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They had the promise of an imperishable, incorruptible inheritance which was waiting for them when they reached heaven’s gate. While here in their earthly body they were protected not by armies but by the power of God through faith. But now they have come face to face with the risen Lord and seen him sitting upon his throne at the right hand of the Father. They were given their robes of righteousness and joined the cloud of witnesses. What a joy awaits the saints of God!
BUT…Peter reminds us that until we too are ushered by the angels of heaven to our heavenly bliss, we rejoice for we are counted worthy to suffer for his name. We may face fiery trials but it will be that power of God that will carry us through. These will prove our faith which is more precious than gold. And even though we have not yet seen him, we love him and we believe in him, and that is why we can greatly rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and full of glory.
The Corinthian church needed an ‘overhaul’ of their priorities and who better than the father of this church, Paul the Apostle. He encourages the Corinthians to imitate him as he follows Christ, the ultimate example of servant-hood as he washed the feet of the disciples.
No man is an island but we journey towards the celestial city as a Body. it is when we have reached our destination that God will reveal what is hidden and as well as the motives of the heart which we are unable to do. Until then along the highway of life both in and outside the church we are to be servants and stewards of the doctrines that the church upholds.We must offer these gifts in humility not judgment.
Rather than spinning our wheels looking for whom we can judge or elevating one person above another–seek to imitate Christ. Instead of seeking to one-up-man-ship begin to ask how we might help others along Sanctification Highway. We journey not alone but as pilgrims traversing together. Our compatriots have been blessed with every perfect gift from above, for God is the Father of lights and with him there is no shadow of turning. Thus may we view the leadership over us and the members of our Body as gifts from God. Praise God for those in leadership and pray for them. Pray for those with whom you fellowship. Look and find the gifts they have to enrich your life. Look beyond yourself and follow the model of Jesus as you serve in the Body of Christ for it is God’s will that we be sanctified – set apart for His use.
“Indeed, the more sanctified the person is, the more conformed he is to the image of his Savior, the more he must recoil against every lack of conformity to the holiness of God.” [Jn Murry]. We can recoil but how do we stay on top of this desire for holiness and then live it out practically? Even though Paul received word that the new babes in Christ were standing firm he knew that the wiles of the devil would not fade away for he is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Therefore, we need some practical ammunition to withstand his work and Paul outlines it in three simple steps which if applied will help us to be “more persistent [in our] yearning for the attainment of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus…”
First step is to recognize that this step towards is holiness is attainable because we have been anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit. Secondly, we can live it as we minister to the brethren by living a quiet life, minding our own business because the unbelievers are watching and taking note of the change within us. Thirdly there is no reason to fret about the Lord’s return for even Jesus while in his humanity told the disciples it was not for them nor him to know but only the Father. When the catching away happens we will be suddenly without warning be caught up to be with Jesus and our loved ones in the clouds. From that point on we will assuredly be with the Lord forevermore.
Beloved, “Therefore stay alert, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come…” [Mt 24]