1 Corinthians 3:21-23
Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
Since the wisdom of men is foolishness, and even the ministers of Divine wisdom are but servants, all glorying in men is to be avoided. Boast not in this one or that, however eminent; for all such boasting is a degradation to one who is possessed of so rich an inheritance.
I. IT IS UNIVERSAL. "All things are yours." Man's original lordship over creation (Psalm 8:6) has been lost by sin, but is now restored in Christ. All things exist for the Christian; all things cooperate for his good (Romans 8:28).
"For us the winds do blow;
The earth doth rest, heaven move, and fountains flow.
No thing we see but means our good,
As our delight, or as our treasure:
The whole is, either our cupboard of food,
Or cabinet of pleasure.
"Oh, mighty love! Man is one world, and hath
Another to attend him."
1. All teachers belong to the Christian. The Church was not made for Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas; but these have been given to the Church for its planting and watering and culture. The ministers of Christ are workmen employed in erecting God's temple. One lays the foundation, another hews the stones, another carves the ornaments, another does the carpenter work, etc. All are working for the same end, each in his own department. Why should we set the one against the other, as if the mason were everything and the carpenter nothing? You have your favourite apostle: do not neglect the practical James, because you delight in the fervid, argumentative Paul; or the dogmatic Peter, because you love the calm, intuitive John. Learn from Christian men of various schools and denominations, whom God sends with a message to their generation. All are yours.
2. The world. This denotes the material universe and all its providential arrangements. However evil men may usurp possession meanwhile, it is the saints that inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). It is maintained for their use, ordered with a view to their welfare, and in the end they shall be its sole possessors. The world, with all its forces and all its treasures, lies at their feet. All has been given to make life happier and better, and to help us to glorify our Father in heaven.
3. Life and death. The term of our sojourn on the earth, with all that it brings, is ours. Life is a mighty gift - a great field in which to sow eternal seed. It is ours for two great purposes - for being and doing. The culture of the new life within us, and the promotion of our neighbour's well being, - in these two directions life is our opportunity. "To me to live is Christ." There are ways of promoting God's glory which are peculiar to this life, and which can never come to us again. Death also is ours as well as life. That grim, horrid thing, whose face strikes terror to the stoutest heart, and whose icy grasp freezes the fountains of life, - that, too, becomes our servant. As the sailor conquers the winds by making them propel his vessel, so death ministers to our advancement. "To die is gain." It releases from the pains, and toils, and conflicts, and limitations of this mortal state, and ushers us into the enjoyment of our inheritance.
4. Things present and things to come. The present and the future in the most comprehensive sense. Our actual lot is ours, whether it be easy or hard, pleasant or distressing. It is ours to serve us, if we will only let it do its work and turn it to the best account. The future is still hid from us, but it can bring us nothing which shall not work for our good. Whatever form the things to come may take, we are assured that they are ours.
II. THE TITLE IS GOOD. "Ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's." All things are ours only because we belong to Christ. He has recovered for man his lost sovereignty, and in him we receive what he has won for us. The crown is again placed on our heads; we become joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), who is Heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2). Apart from him we have no title. And belonging to Christ, we belong to God; for "Christ is God's." As the Son of God manifest in flesh for the redemption of his people, he is the Father's Servant, delighting to do his will; whilst at the same time he is the Father's equal (1 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Corinthians 15:28).:Mark the successive steps of this great ladder of being. All things are subject to the saints; the saints are subject to Christ their Head; Christ as Mediator is subject to the Father,
LESSONS. Be not subject to men; Christ is your Head.
2. How valid is the believer's title to his glorious heritage!
3. Reckon up your possessions in Christ; claim them as your own; and all earthly wealth and dignity will fail to dazzle you. - B.
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;