Verse 23. "And ye are Christ's" - You are called by his name; you have embraced his doctrine; you depend on him for your salvation; he is your foundation stone; he has gathered you out of the world, and acknowledges you as his people and followers. Ĉumeiv de cristou, ye are of Christ; all the light and life which ye enjoy ye have received through and from him, and he has bought you with his blood.
"And Christ is God's." - cristov de qeou, And Christ is of God. Christ, the Messiah, is the gift of God's eternal love and mercy to mankind; for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that they who believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Christ in his human nature is as much the property of God as any other human being.
And as mediator between God and man, he must be considered, in a certain way, inferior to God, but in his own essential, eternal nature, there is no inequality-he is God over all. Ye, therefore, do not belong to men. Why then take Paul, Apollos, Kephas, or any other man for your head? All these are your servants; ye are not their property, ye are Christ's property: and as he has taken the human nature into heaven, so will he take yours; because he that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified are all of one: ye are his brethren; and as his human nature is eternally safe at the throne of God, so shall your bodies and souls be, if ye cleave to him and be faithful unto death.
1. A FINER and more conclusive argument, to correct what was wrong among this people, could not have been used than that with which the apostle closes this chapter. It appears to stand thus: "If you continue in these divisions, and arrange yourselves under different teachers, you will meet with nothing but disappointment, and lose much good. If ye will have Paul, Apollos, &c., on your present plan, you will have them and nothing else; nor can they do you any good, for they are only instruments in God's hand, at best, to communicate good, and he will not use them to help you while you act in this unchristian way. On the contrary, if you take GOD as your portion, you shall get these and every good besides. Act as you now do, and you get nothing and lose all! Act as I advise you to do, and you shall not only lose nothing of the good which you now possess, but shall have every possible advantage: the men whom you now wish to make your heads, and who, in that capacity, cannot profit you, shall become God's instruments of doing you endless good. Leave your dissensions, by which you offend God, and grieve his Christ; and then God, and Christ, and all will be yours." How agitated, convinced, and humbled must they have been when they read the masterly conclusion of this chapter!
2. A want of spirituality seems to have been the grand fault of the Corinthians. They regarded outward things chiefly, and were carried away with sound and show. They lost the TREASURE while they eagerly held fast the earthen vessel that contained it. It is a true saying, that he who lends only the ear of his body to the word of God, will follow that man most who pleases the ear; and these are the persons who generally profit the soul least.
3. All the ministers of God should consider themselves as jointly employed by Christ for the salvation of mankind. It is their interest to serve God and be faithful to his calling; but shall they dare to make his Church their interest. This is generally the origin of religious disputes and schisms. Men will have the Church of Christ for their own property, and Jesus Christ will not trust it with any man.
4. Every man employed in the work of God should take that part only upon himself that God has assigned him. The Church and the soul, says pious Quesnel, are a building, of which GOD is the master and chief architect; JESUS CHRIST the main foundation; the APOSTLES the subordinate architects; the BISHOPS the workmen; the PRIESTS their helpers; GOOD WORKS the main body of the building; FAITH a sort of second foundation; and CHARITY the top and perfection. Happy is that man who is a living stone in this building.
5. He who expects any good out of God is confounded and disappointed in all things. God alone can content, as he alone can satisfy the soul. All our restlessness and uneasiness are only proofs that we are endeavouring to live without God in the world. A contented mind is a continual feast; but none can have such a mind who has not taken God for his portion. How is it that Christians are continually forgetting this most plain and obvious truth, and yet wonder how it is that they cannot attain true peace of mind?