A Short Study of 1st Corinthians 3:21-23
1 Corinthians 3:21
Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
1 Corinthians 3:22
Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;
1 Corinthians 3:23
And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.
And “the world,” is that ours too?
What! the world?
May a child of God stand upon London Bridge and say, “All the ships in the
river are mine”?
May he go to the Bank of England and say, “All the bullion in the cellars is mine”?
Not in a worldly sense. But if he feels that his soul is worth a thousand worlds, and that it is saved in Christ with an everlasting salvation, then he may stand upon London Bridge and say, “O ye mighty ships that crowd the stream laden with all the world’s wealth, what are ye compared to my soul? O ye cellars, full to overflowing with millions of yellow gold, what is the value of all compared with that eternity to which I am fast hastening? O Stamford, with all the houses and all the property and all the people in it, could you purchase a drop of water to cool the tongue of a miserable soul in hell? And is not my soul to me worth you all?”
So though he cannot lay a temporal claim to all the world, yet when he feels that his soul in his bosom is worth a thousand worlds, that that soul has been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, and will live in a happy and glorious eternity when earth and all its works under his feet will lie buried in the ashes of the general conflagration, the world is his because he is the master of it.
He can put his foot upon it and say, “O earth, I only want enough of thee to take me safely and honourably through life; enough of thy bread to feed me; enough of thy wool and flax to clothe me; enough of thy stones to shelter me; enough of thy timber to make my coffin; enough of thy ground to give me a grave. I would not have thee for my portion, my master, or my idol.”
When in faith and feeling he can thus speak, is not the world his?
For faith makes him master of that which is master of all. It is true he is not here often in feeling, but fact remains when feeling fails. Nay, more, the Lord makes “the world” to serve him, and thus makes it his.
Nobody can harm him but by God’s permission, and this very permitted harm works for his good. God can make the world lie at his very feet so that not a dog shall move his tongue against him (Exodus 11:7); the ravens shall feed him and he shall eat the riches of the Gentiles. For the gold and the silver are the Lord’s, and the cattle upon a thousand hills; and He can give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert to His people, His chosen (Isaiah 43:20).
When, too, you can look around you upon the fields and meadows, trees and rivers, and meekly say, “My Father made them all,” they are all yours because they are your heavenly Father’s. I often walk in the beautiful park, and I have sometimes thought I enjoy it more than its noble owner, for I have had many a secret prayer and sweet meditation there, and I have the additional pleasure of admiring its beauties without the anxiety of proprietorship.
Is not the park, then, mine – the trees, the avenues, the lake and the walks, all my own?
By J.C. Philpot