Boasting in Leaders

1 Cor. 3
        People not only boast in their wisdom, but also in the wisdom of their leaders. Some brag about following Paul or Apollos or Cephas. This is ridiculous! Did any of these men die for the Corinthians sin?
        We act like elementary schoolchildren who cry out, “My daddy can beat up your daddy.” The question is: “Can you beat me up?” “Can you beat up sin?” We cannot boast in anyone – especially not ourselves, but only in Christ. We were hopeless. Dead. We had no place to turn because we couldn’t turn our heads. But God blew breath in our lungs, opened our eyes to the beauty of Jesus on the Cross. He filled our opened mouths with praise of our King. And we became his sons! Now we live in the power and joy of the Holy Spirit of Promise who has been richly poured out in our hearts.
        When we come to this reality, we understand that all things – and all men – are ours! There is not a hierarchy among men. There is one king. One Mediator. One Saviour. 21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. All things belong to God. We are his possession.

A note about works:
        Some might argue that we are saved by faith and by the works that we perform as being a part of God’s new covenant. They argue that the Spirit empowers us to obey and do good works. This may sound right – especially in light of the “need” for good works. But in light of v. 15 I don’t think this stands. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. This man will be saved, although his work will be burned up. He will be saved, even if he does not have works to show for his life on earth.
        The initial problem I run into has to do with the fact that good works are a necessary evidence of our justification. This is not a theological treatise, but a metaphor Paul employs to reiterate the fact that salvation is by grace alone through faith, not by works. Why? So no one can boast!

5 Comments

Filed under Bible, Christian Living, Interpretation

5 responses to “Boasting in Leaders

  1. “But Phinehas stood up and intervened and the plague was checked. This was credited to him as righteousness” (Ps 106 30-31).

    God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger (Rom 2:6-8).

  2. josh

    heyirishman,
    I assume you posted the verses in response to Matt’s “notes about works.” First, I would like to say I appreciate your desire to discuss this issue using scripture. However, I found it easy when discussing a text in which someone else has a different interpretation than I, to run and grab some verses that will help defend my position. I believe it is more helpful to actually to discuss the verse that have been interpreted inside the context of the chapter and book. Then go to other verses else where in scripture and examine these passages in context.

  3. Yes I guess I could have placed a note with those verses.

    Verse 17 says: “17 But if any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy.” Perhaps this very man had faith in God. What then? Will he be saved?

    How do you deal with the above verses?

    I’m no apologist, but I do enjoy bounding ideas back and forth.

    Peace

  4. josh

    Verse 17 is saying that someone who misleads or causes a Christian to sin will have the wrath of God on them, thus being destroyed. Much like what Jesus said in Matthew 18:6, “but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.” However, if someone who has caused a Christian to stumble (which most people probably have at some point), they will not have to bear His wrath, if they are in Christ becuase Christ has already bore the wrath of God for them.

    As far as Psalm 106:30-31,”Then Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was stayed. And that was counted to him as righteousness from generation to generation forever.” First, it is helpful to understand what Pinehas did. I have attached the story from Number 25 – “Numbers 25:1-8 While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. 2 For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. 3 So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the LORD was angry against Israel. 4 And the LORD said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and execute them in broad daylight before the LORD, so that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel.” 5 So Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you slay his men who have joined themselves to Baal of Peor.” 6 Then behold, one of the sons of Israel came and brought to his relatives a Midianite woman, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, while they were weeping at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 7 When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he arose from the midst of the congregation, and took a spear in his hand; 8 and he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and pierced both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman, through the body. So the plague on the sons of Israel was checked.” So as you can see Pinehas was a hero for Israel. Next, it helps to understand the word righteousness. The word righteousness, like any other word, gets it meaning from the context around it. Sometimes it means “right legal standing” (as Paul uses quite frequently) and other times “it means that something in a more general sense is “good”. In quoting verse 31 you left off the last phrase which is helpful in interpreting the passage – “from generation to generation forever.” Therefore, it seems like the text is saying that all generations will remember Phinehas as good or “righteous” because of his “good and righteous act.” However, this verse says nothing of how Phinehas was justified before God.

    As far a the passage from Romans, I would just say look at the passge in light of the Paul’s whole arguement in his letter to the Romans. Clearly, good works are nessesary for those who will recieve the kingdom, but not because they earn God’s favor, but rather because they are a necessary fruit of justification by faith.

    God Bless

  5. Josh, thanks for the questions:

    You said: “Verse 17 is saying that someone who misleads or causes a Christian to sin will have the wrath of God on them, thus being destroyed. Much like what Jesus said in Matthew 18:6, “but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

    I agree. But you limit that “someone” to a non-Christian. Paul is speaking to Christians; that is, the people of the Church at Corinth. He is not speaking to non-Christians. Besides, what is the point in Paul telling non-Christians that they will receive God’s wrath for making a Christian to stumble, when the non-Christian is already a child of wrath anyway? The simple fact is that Paul is talking about Christians who cause other Christians to stumble.

    Paul ends the chapter (I know he didn’t write in chapters) by saying: 21 “Let no man therefore glory in men.” It would seem in all probability that the “stumbling” Paul is talking about is the stumbling caused by the glorification of men. And in this case, Apollos and Paul were being glorified by CHRISTIANS, not by non-Christians. So the admonition is towards Christians, and it is clear from the passage that these Christians, though they have faith, can stumble and lose their salvation. Same goes for Mt. 18.

    You said: “However, if someone who has caused a Christian to stumble (which most people probably have at some point), they will not have to bear His wrath, if they are in Christ becuase Christ has already bore the wrath of God for them.”

    If Jesus suffered an ETERNAL death, then how come He is not still suffering now? I do not believe in penal substitution. I believe that the Sacrifice was propitiatory. I don’t believe that God took it out on Jesus, as if God turned his back on Jesus. Jesus was a Spotless Lamb, remember? Only spotless lambs can qualify for sacrifice, not sinful lambs.

    You said: ”First, it is helpful to understand what Pinehas did… “7 When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he arose from the midst of the congregation, and took a spear in his hand; 8 and he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and pierced both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman, through the body.” So as you can see Pinehas was a hero for Israel…In quoting verse 31 you left off the last phrase which is helpful in interpreting the passage – “from generation to generation forever.” Therefore, it seems like the text is saying that all generations will remember Phinehas as good or “righteous” because of his “good and righteous act.”

    Sorry to be so curt, but, of course it seems that way to you….did it ever occur to you that you may be searching the psalm high and low looking for something to (pardon the pun) justify your position with. Anyway, the last verse is miles away from the verse about Phinehas. And it simply means that God is to be blessed in all generations for what HE has done, not for what Phinehas has done.

    You said: “However, this verse says nothing of how Phinehas was justified before God.”

    Again, let me quote the passage: “But Phinehas stood up and intervened and the plague was checked. This was credited to him as righteousness.” Talk about the perspicuity of the Scriptures! By the way, this is the only other place in all the Bible where the phrase “credited to him as righteousness” is used. The other place is you know where! Again, the bible is not as clear cut as you say. It is not either or. It is both and. Faith and works. But works done within a system of grace…done to please God, not to corner God into owing us salvation.

    You said: ”As far a the passage from Romans, I would just say look at the passge in light of the Paul’s whole arguement in his letter to the Romans. Clearly, good works are nessesary for those who will recieve the kingdom, but not because they earn God’s favor, but rather because they are a necessary fruit of justification by faith.”

    Sorry but this is a concocted hermeneutic. The Catholic idea of justification is simple.
    1. We are justified by God’s grace through faith in baptism, not by our own human powers in any way
    2. our justification then needs to be preserved/increased—and we do this by our co-operation with God’s grace. This co-operation takes the form of good works. These good works are not performed by our own human powers alone. These good words are not performed with the help of God’s grace, not with the view to putting God in debt, but with the view to pleasing Him.

    Therefore, Justification is not a single event. It’s not that simple.

    Anyway, thanks for the banter,
    God bless,
    heyirishman

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