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First Corinthians descends into the profoundest depths of primary truth and fundamental theology, simultaneously ascending to the loftiest conceivable altitudes of inspiration and immortality; at the same time broadening out into the most incomprehensible latitudes and bounding forward into the most inconceivable and illimitable longitudes, sweeping on throug the Millennial and post-Millennial ages to the ultimate finale , when the mediatorial kingdom shall have consummated its work in the restitution of humanity and the material world back to the Paradisian splendor of the Edenic age, when this world was a part of Heaven before Satan broke it loose in view of adding it to Hell. Not only do we see in this wonderful panorama man regenerated, sanctified, resurrected, translated, transfigured and glorified, and the earth cremated, sanctified, renovated, celestialized and reannexed back to the Heavenly empire, there to abide and shine and shout forever; but we see the triumphant Son of God surrender up the mediatorial kingdom to the Father, time, the measurement of that kingdom, having winged its flight away and been superseded by eternity, the Son returning back the glorified throne of the universe, which He encumbered millions of ages before time was launched from the bosom of eternity. Now perfect order and loyalty have been restored throughout the celestial universe, Satan and his myrmidons, both incarnate and excarnate, having been finally banished beyond the Ultima Thule of the inhabited universe, to abide in outer darkness forever, whence they can never again return to interrupt the perfect peace and harmony reigning throughout the multiplied millions of bright celestial worlds, the beautiful mansions which cur Lord is now preparing for the occupancy of saints redeemed and angels unfallen through all eternity. This epistle is also climacteric in its magnification and elucidation of the spiritual graces, focalizing in the perfect love so conspicuously culminating in the thirteenth chapter. In addition to the graces of the Spirit in their beauty. grandeur and perfection, and indispensable to our personal salvation, our author gives especial prominence to the nine extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, wisdom, knowledge, faith, bodily healing, spiritual miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, tongues, and interpretation constituting the invincible panoply of the Christian warrior, invested in which he is at all times more than a match for the combined powers of earth and Hell. While we are saved by the graces, we are instrumental in saving others by the gifts of the Spirit, which, unfortunately, went into eclipse with the great cardinal truths of experimental salvation in the awful darkness which supervened with the fatal Constantinian apostasy of the Church.
Hence, the last fourteen hundred years, while, in the condescending mercy of God, many have actually enjoyed these wonderful gifts, the pulpit has not given much light along the line of that glorious privilege of Godís saints, but simply relegated those gifts to the apostolic age, and passed them by forever. While the second epistle is clear and explicit along the line of spiritual salvation, from the first illuminations of conviction through regeneration, it, like all other books in the Bible, renders entire sanctification exceedingly conspicuous, as you will see in reading this commentary, corroborating this doctrine by the clear experience and testimony of Paul and his comrades. This letter also gives exceedingly clear and effulgent light on the inspiring doctrines of glorification, whether entered through translation or the resurrection. Paul contemplates humanity triumphant in final and eternal transfiguration. We also have the bridehood of Christ exceedingly clearly and prominently revealed and elucidated in this letter; meanwhile our apostle wings his flight away into some wonderful visions and revelations, transporting him away to the third Heaven. This epistle is also peculiar for giving the grandest prominence to the problem of Christian beneficence, not only setting forth the beauty and privilege of this philanthropy, but fortifying it impregnably against ten thousand abuses which churchisms have foisted on it, simultaneously exposing the infinitesimal usurpations developed on that line by unscriptural human institutions for the ingathering of paltry pelf. Finally, this volume is peculiar in the fact that each one of the three books which it expounds makes the problem of church discipline a specialty. The first Corinthian epistle was written from Asia, Paul firing on the heretics and apostates in Achaia over the Aegean Sea, thus preferring to correct their errors, reform their vices, refute the heresies and wheel irregularities into line while at a distance, lest his presence among them should superinduce the necessity of a large excommunication; meanwhile he sends Timothy, his favorite preacher, with other helpers, to preach, read and expound his letter, and do their best to bring about by the help of God a general reaction and acquiescence in the word of truth and righteousness. Then, coming over the sea, he writes the second epistle from Macedonia, like a wise general reducing the city by gradual approaches; at the same time sending Titus to Corinth to succeed Timothy, to run a long campaign, praying and trusting God to send a general revival, God signally blessing these wise maneuvers, so that on arrival he found them all right, reclaimed, happy, and glad to see him.
Therefore, instead of excommunication, he had nothing to do but enjoy a hallelujah time with them, preaching the precious Word. We have no information as to the results of his letter to the Galatian churches, which was on the same line, but I trow similar results followed, shaking those churches with a mighty reaction similar to the great revivals which followed his letters at Corinth. We have a most notable phenomenon in these three letters constituting this volume, i .e ., Paulís merciless exposition and furious assault on the devilís preachers. This statement is not exaggerated, because he says: ďSuch are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no wonder; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. For it is not astonishing indeed that his ministers transform themselves as ministers of righteousnessĒ ( 2 Corinthians 11:13,14).
You find Paul wages an exterminating war on these counterfeit preachers, exposing the heresy of their teaching, the obliquity of their characters and the perfidy of their motives. We should derive infinite profit from this summary Pauline treatment of the devilís preachers. If you think they are all dead you are awfully mistaken. Their name is legion, this day girdling the globe with Briarian arms of ecclesiastical autocracy, withering and blighting the cause of God and the hopes of humanity like the pestilential simoon that sweeps its burning breath over the caravan traversing the Sahara, burying them all in untimely graves of drifting sand. The prominent peculiarity of the devilís preachers in Paulís day was a constant, persistent and indefatigable effort to substitute the work of the Holy Ghost, to whom they were strangers, with carnal ordinances, human institutions, ritual ceremonies and an endless diversity of legal observances. The true religion of Paulís day and all ages teaches salvation by the work of God Himself, the Son redeeming all on the cross and the Holy Ghost administering and perfecting all in the heart and life, thus consummating the grand and stupendous enterprise of human restitution; while false religions invariably teach the people that the preacher or the priest has to do something and they have to go into a lot of legalisms in order to be saved. Here is where idolatry comes in. You intuitively worship everything that you believe saves you, whether it be a watergod or some other kind of god. The peculiarity of Satanís religion is its preposterosity, i .e ., putting the cart before the horse.
Good works can only be well-pleasing to God when they are the fruits of a true and saving faith. You can not work for God unless you are in His kingdom. You can only get there by the supernatural birth of the Holy Ghost. You can only stay there by the supernatural sanctification of the Holy Ghost. In the Divine economy the saving grace of God is the cause of good works. Satanís preachers, personally ignorant of Godís saving grace, are always preaching to the people that these good works are the condition of their salvation, thus running them into practical idolatry. Satanís policy is to take everybody to Hell. Of course, he must take the church-members through the churches to the bottomless pit. This he does very adroitly, just by getting them to depend on water baptism, sacraments, good deeds and church loyalty, without coming personally to God and getting intelligently saved from all their sins and filled with the Holy Ghost. The good Lord deliver you. Be sure you fly to Christ, get saved and sanctified, and so abide till Jesus rides down on a cloud and takes you to glory. Amen.