THE KING’? BUSINESS
Wednesday, October 10 . l Corinthians 4 : 15 - 21 .
It is true that the believer in Christ has a right to do as he pleases providing that his will is absolutely surrendered to God and thus governed by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:18). In that case he will only please to do the things which the Holy Spirit approves and leads him to do, the things which are according to God’s law as revealed in His Word. 1/ we are thus led by the Spirit we are not under the law; indeed, we do not then need the constraint of the law outside of us, because the living Spirit has written the law within us, in our hearts. We will thus keep from all sin not by the harsh construing of the law without us, but by the sweet control of the Spirit within. If we are thus controlled by the Holy Spirit, we will hate sin and love righteousness. We will hate every thing that God hates and love and choose everything that God loves and chooses. In that case we can do as we please because we will always please to do right. The worst feature of the case in Corinth was that not only one man and woman had gone into such unspeakable vileness, but that the rest instead of mourning over their depravity and fall, were puffed up. Some thing must be done at once. The offender must be dealt with. He must be cut off from the fellowship and protecting care of the church. To thus cut him off from the protecting care of the fellowship and prayers of the church was to put him out in the place where Satan could get at his body with physical afflictions and perhaps death (v. 5 cf. 1 Tim. 1:20; Job 1:9-12; 2:5, 6; Ps. 109:6; Heb. 2:14). The pur pose of this physical infirmity or even death to which he would be given over was in order that his spirit might “be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus,” that is, in the day in which Jesus should manifest himself in judgment. Physical destruction has often resulted in spiritual salvation (cf. 1 Cor. 11:30-32). AH this was to be done in the name of the Lord Jesus. If Paul was absent from them in the body, he was right in their midst in spirit and had already, as though he were actually pres-
As their father Paul tenderly beseeches them. What he beseeches them to be is “imitators” of himself. How many of us could safely urge those who are converted through our ministry to be imitators of ourselves? Paul in his tender solicitude for them had sent Timothy to instruct them. No one else seems to have had quite so warm a place in Paul’s great heart as this young man Timothy. Here he speaks of him as “my beloved and faithful son in the Lord” (cf. Phil. 2:20 R. V.; 2 Tim. 1 :2, 4). What Timothy was to do in Cor inth was to put them in remembrance of Paul’s ways. These ways of Paul in which they were to be put in remembrance were “in Christ.” That is the right place to have our ways, “In Christ.” There was opposi tion to Paul in Corinth, even in the church. Some were speaking boastingly against him; some were thinking that he would not come to them again. He warns them that he will come shortly and discover not only all those who were puffed up, but the real “power,” if they have any. The kingdom of God is not a matter of mere words, no mat ter how pretentious those words may seem or how eloquent they may be. It is a matter of “power.” But Paul longed to go to them, not with words of chastisement but, “in love and a spirit of meekness.” Thursday, October 11 . 1 Corinthians 5 : 1 - 5 . It is but a step from the glorious liberty of the Gospel “wherewith Christ hath made us free” (Gal. 5:1) to the debasing licen tiousness and immorality that acknowledges no restraint over our appetites and desires. It is evident from the first verse that some in the church in Corinth had taken that frightful step. They had gone into a kind of iniquity that even Gentiles keep from (v. 1 R. V.) : A man had taken his father’s wife. Over and over again in the history of the church has freedom from the law been interpreted to mean that the believer in Christ has a right to do as he pleases.
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