The Worldly Wise Man and Wisdom: Part 4 of 5 (series: Lessons on 1 Cor)
by John Lowe
2. The structure of the universe is sustained and upheld for their sake. The universe is maintained by God; and one aim of God in keeping it is to protect, preserve, and redeem his church and people. To this end he defends it by day and night; he controls all things; he keeps it from flood and fire, and from annihilation. The sun, and moon, and stars, the times and seasons, are all prearranged for the purpose of guarding His church and bringing it to heaven. And we can be sure that He never slumbers or sleeps as he stands guard over us and the world.
3. The course of providential events is prearranged for their welfare: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28; KJV). This verse introduces another source of consolation and support, drawn from the fact that all things are under the direction of an infinitely wise Being, who has designed the salvation of the Christian, and who has prearranged all things so that they contribute to it. The revolutions of kingdoms, the various persecutions and trials, even the rage and fury of wicked men, are all overruled, to the advancement of the cause of truth, and the welfare of the church.
4. Christians have the promise of as much of this world as they need; and in this sense "the world" is theirs—“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt 6:33; KJV); And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30; KJV); “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Tim 4:8; KJV). David knew as well as anyone that godliness is profitable for all men, and he said as much: “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” (Psalm 37.25; KJV).
The life meant here is not the individual’s life, but the life of Christ; which he lived here on earth, in obedience to his Father's will, and which he now lives in heaven, where he ever lives to make intercession for his people; that fullness of life that is in him, and that eternal life which is through him, are all theirs. The lives of the ministers of the Gospel are for their benefit and advantage; and their own lives are theirs, although they are not to live it for themselves, but they are to desire to live by faith in Christ, and for the glory of God.
We are given life, in order to do God's work and to insure that we have the time and opportunity to prepare for eternal life.
Our life, with all its trials and advantages, every hour of It, every tribulation in it, the whole course of it, is like a wonderful state of probation: it is a general blessing for us; and we have life, and that life is preserved in order to prepare us for an eternity of blessedness. Life is ours, because:
1. we enjoy life. It is real life, and not a vain show. We live for a real personal Savior, and not for vanity. Others live for profit and ambition—Christians live for the great purposes of life; and life to them has reality, as if they are living in a state of preparation prior to going to a higher world. Their life is not an endless circle of meaningless events—of false and hollow pretensions to friendship—of a vain pursuit of happiness, which is never found; but is passed in a manner that is rational, and sober, and that truly deserves to be called life.
2. The various events and occurrences of life tend to promote our welfare, and advance our salvation.
Or life, or death, the former denoting things present, the latter (see below), things to come.
The death of Christ was for them, since He died in their place and for their sake, for their sins, and to satisfy divine justice for them. The death of good men, ministers, martyrs, and believers, is theirs. The deaths of God’s children serves to confirm their faith, animate their zeal, and encourage them to hold fast the profession of their faith without wavering. Their own death is a blessing to them; the sting is taken away by Christ; the curse is removed; it is not an evil meant to punish them; but for them it is a deliverance from all the sorrows and troubles of this life, and it is their safe passage into endless glory
and happiness. To the saint "death is gain." It is the kind messenger that will fetch you to your Father’s house.
Death arrives at that solemn hour, which is so dreadful to the wicked; and so hated by those who live without God. Death is yours and it is your servant; he comes for you like a special messenger from God; he comes to untie a knot that now connects body and soul, which is unlawful for you to untie; he comes to take your souls to glory; and he cannot come before the time appointed to those who are waiting for the salvation of God. A saint wishes to live only to glorify God; and he who wishes to live longer than he can get and do good, is not worthy to live at all.
Death is usually regarded as a calamity and a curse; but it is a blessing for the Christian:
1. Because they will have peace and comfort in the hour of their death.
2. Because it has no terrors for them. It will take away nothing which they are not willing to give away.
3. Because it is the avenue which leads to their eternal rest; and it is theirs in the same sense in which we say that "this is our road" when we have been gone for a long time and suddenly recognize the road that leads home.
4. Because they will triumph over it. It is subdued by their Holy Captain, and the grave has already been the scene of a triumph by Him rising from its chills and darkness.
5. Because death is the means—the instrument of introducing them to their home in heaven. It is the beneficial event in their history, by which they are removed from a world of troubles, and translated to a world of glory. It is a source of inexpressible advantage for them, since it translates them to a world of light and eternal bliss; and it may truly be called theirs.
Or things present,
Every occurrence in providence in the present life, because God rules in providence as well as in grace. Events which are happening now: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present …shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38, 39; KJV). All the calamities, trials, persecutions—all the prosperity, advantages, privileges of the present time, will tend to promote our welfare, and our salvation: whatever they are, "shall work together for good to them that love God."
Or things to come,
Future troubles, which may include pain and suffering; as well as future good things, either in this world, or in the world to come—the invisible glories of a future existence; are yours, to enrich and delight you forever at your journey’s end.’’ It is all for you, and even now it is all working together for your good. The best things to come to the Christian are the presence of Christ, and the joys of the New Jerusalem.
all are yours;
The Holy Spirit thinks it is so important for us to know these things (everything above) that he repeats what he said at the end of the previous verse; all is yours! Or perhaps, Paul thought he may have omitted something, therefore he says again, all are yours—“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28; KJV)—and belong to you, as they belong to Christ your Head; “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Heb 1:2; KJV). Note, If we belong to Christ, and are true to him, everything that is good belongs to us. Time and eternity, earth and heaven, life and death; it is all ours. We shall want for no good thing, Ps. 84:11 .
Here the Christian is viewed as the possessor of everything, because he is in Christ. This means that Christians are not to do certain things, such as worldly men do; for all things are theirs. A Christian is in fact a member of no sect or party, because he has entered into the possession of a fellowship and love which are as wide as the universe. All are yours. All will tend to promote your comfort and salvation. All are yours: This is Christian liberty. And you are Christ's: This is Christian responsibility.
Ministers of all ranks, ordinary and extraordinary, are yours. And the world itself is yours; it is not that saints are proprietors of the world, but it exists for their sake, and they have as much of it as Infinite Wisdom will permit them to have, and they have it all with the divine blessing. Therefore, we are not to compete for the little things; but instead, we must be as united in love, as we are in blessings. The believer in Christ “shall want no good thing” (Ps 84:11). WHAT A CLIMAX!