Wednesday, 14 May 2014
Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 1 Corinthians 4:1
Paul has penned many words concerning divisions in the church, especially those based on following particular individuals. However, he understood the human proclivity toward this kind of action. And so, having shown that Christ is the foundation and every other person is merely building upon that foundation, he now goes to the task of defining exactly how individual ministers should be perceived. Though they are not to be exalted, they have a particular distinction which is of note.
And so he begins chapter 4 with “Let a man so consider us…” He is referring to Cephas, Apollos, and himself, along with any others who come to add upon the foundation. These are to be considered “as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” Paul elsewhere calls himself a “bondservant of Christ.” In Romans 6, he shows that we are all slaves to something. We are either slaves to sin (as Jesus Himself noted in John 8:34) or we are slaves to God and to righteousness. Therefore, his terminology that they are “servants of Christ” is inclusive of all believers.
In this state, they are to be regarded as equals by the Corinthians. All are under one Master and therefore all owe their allegiance to Him alone. But he continues by stating that despite their common status, they are also “stewards of the mysteries of God.” They, as apostles and teachers, carry the details of the faith for instruction and building up of the body. In this capacity, they are to be noted for their efforts. However, this type of note is to be shared among all who are in such a position. There shouldn’t be unhealthy divisions within the category.
And there are many categories within the faith. Paul gives several lists throughout his writings, such as one which is coming up in 1 Corinthians 12:27, 28 –
“Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.”
Life application: The Bible asks us to give honor where it is due. In 1 Timothy 5:17, for example, elders are to be given “double honor” for their service. However, this is a form of respect, not a point of exaltation and division within the body. Be careful to keep the integrity of the body through the exaltation of Christ alone.
There is a place where I can go
At any time of day or night
When my soul feels worn down
And I need the Lord to make things right
Heavenly Father, because of Jesus, I know that I have continuous access to Your throne of grace. Help me to use this glorious blessing always, never forgetting that You are with me in the trials as well as in the times of joy. Thank You for the bubbling-over fountain of life and love that I have available to me. Thank You for Jesus. Amen.