Thursday, February 15, 2018

To God be the Glory (1 Corinthians 3:21-23)

“So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.” (1 Corinthians 3:21–23, NASB95)

Whether its men in the church our outside the church, we are not to put our boasting in men. There are many wonderful people from whom I have learned and who I hold in high regard, but for the most part I think the real reason I do so is because of how they looked to Christ reflected His image, and then shared what they learned as His followers with me along the way. It is my hope that I would have a similar influence on others such that when they boast they boast in our Lord who has shown Himself in me.

Earlier in the letter Paul spoke to both the roles that he, Apollos, Cephas (Peter) and others had in the building of the church as well as how there were divisions in the church because people had been wrongly looking to them and not to them as laborers in the construction of God’s building—them as His church. These men evidenced a humility in their attitude of service, recognizing that they were Christ’s bond-servants first and foremost, and that the credit and the glory go to Him. Sure, they recognized to some degree the impact that was being made and had even shared in the fruit of their labor, but none of them were the one’s to be put on a pedestal and fawned over.

At this time, I am with a bunch of believers in a time of consideration and preparation to come to them as their pastor for a window of time prescribed by God. There were men who came before me and there will be men after me. We are all His laborers in this building of His construction, and the field in which we serve has been and will be served by others just as the vast farm and ranch land surrounding has been done for generations. It is my hope that I would serve them and our Lord well.

As believers in Christ the work belongs to no man. It is shared by all who are called by God and who enter into the life of the local church. And, the boasting by any individual because of the fruit of this goes against the grain of how our Lord intends that His church should be as we share in His gifts and glory. We exist in this long continuum of being His body from the foundation of the apostles until such time that Christ returns, and He has given it to us as faithful stewards who belong fully to Christ the Son as He submits fully to the will of the Father.

Sure, it may look at times that Satan is in charge. But we are never to be fooled by appearance. Satan is the father of lies and those who do not know Christ are indeed at his beck and call. But Satan exists even now because the Father has allowed him to do so until such time that He sends His Son to bring it all to an end and final judgment occurs. But, we are to realize this, Satan was defeated at the cross. It was at the cross and through His resurrection that Christ conquered sin and death and brought life to all who believe. When we trust Christ for our salvation Satan is no longer our master. We belong to Christ. We are made righteous with His righteousness, and we are given the Spirit of God to seal, indwell, and work in our hearts and minds.

We are secure in Christ, and Jesus Christ is the real deal. He is and always has been God, who at the will of the Father as the Son took on the form of man to die for our sins, and who now sits at right hand of the Father to intercede on our behalf. We are Christ’s and as we read in 1 Corinthians 11:3, “the head of Christ is God.” Jesus is fully God, and yet in the makeup of our God who is One manifest in three persons the Son submits to the Father. That is God’s order of things, and for us in the church the men who God places in leadership are there under the authority of Christ, and it is Christ who gets the glory as we all share together as His unified body, praising Him for what He has done in and through us.

To God be the glory, great things He hath done,
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the people rejoice!
Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done.
(To God Be the Glory, Frances J. Crosby, 1875)

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