Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Christ As God's Wisdom For Exercising Liberty: 1 Corinthians 9

Theme: Christ is God's wisdom...

2. For answering questions (7-16)
      B. About the exercise of liberty (8 - 11:1)
Having stated, in chapter 8, that strong believers should let love govern the exercise of their liberty, chapter 9 shows examples of this in the ministry of Paul.

Although, as an apostle, Paul had the authority to make a living off the gospel ministry (1-18), he supported himself, to remain credible to those he preached to in Corinth. Even though he was free, in Christ, to do those things the Bible does not forbid, he curbed the exercise of this liberty to avoid offending people he ministered to (19-23), adapting himself to them, yet remaining obedient to christ (21). Yielding one's rights in this manner requires personal discipline like that of an athlete (24-27).

The statement in verse 27, "...I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" does not mean someone can loose his salvation if he doesn't play by the rules. What it means is that a person can be disqualified for personal rewards. The picture is of the Greek games, where someone who steps out of bounds is disqualified from the event. This didn't result in the loss of their Greek citizenship, only their chance for reward. In the same way, being "unapproved", or "cast away" means a believer can loose rewards, not his heavenly citizenship or salvation.
Chapter 9 shows, from the ministry of Paul, how strong believers (when necessary to promote the gospel or avoid offending weaker christians) should yield their liberty.

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