1 Corinthians 3:23
And you are Christ's; and Christ is God's.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(23) And Christ is God’s.—Probably these words were added, not only as being the great climax of the gradual ascent up which the Apostle’s thoughts and language have gone in the whole passage, but as avoiding any danger of the party who called themselves by the name of Christ, arrogating anything to themselves from the previous words, “Ye are Christ’s,” if the passage had concluded with them. Christ is God’s as being Mediator (as John 14:28; John 17:3.) There was no danger, in that early age of the Church, of these words being misunderstood (as some have endeavoured to misunderstand them since) as in the least implying a want of absolute identity between the Son, in regard of His Divine Nature, and the Father.

1 Corinthians

SERVANTS AND LORDS

1 Corinthians 3:21 - 1 Corinthians 3:23
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The Corinthian Christians seem to have carried into the Church some of the worst vices of Greek-and English-political life. They were split up into wrangling factions, each swearing by the name of some person. Paul was the battle-cry of one set; Apollos of another. Paul and Apollos were very good friends, their admirers bitter foes-according to a very common experience. The springs lie close together up in the hills, the rivers may be parted by half a continent.

These feuds were all the more detestable to the Apostle because his name was dragged into them; and so he sets himself, in the first part of this letter, with all his might, to shame and to argue the Corinthian Christians out of their wrangling. This great text is one of the considerations which he adduces with that purpose. In effect he says, ‘To pin your faith to any one teacher is a wilful narrowing of the sources of your blessing and your wisdom. You say you are Paul’s men. Has Apollos got nothing that he could teach you? and may you not get any good out of brave brother Cephas? Take them all; they were all meant for your good. Let no man glory in individuals.’

That is all that his argument required him to say. But in his impetuous way he goes on into regions far beyond. His thought, like some swiftly revolving wheel, catches fire of its own rapid motion; and he blazes up into this triumphant enumeration of all the things that serve the soul which serves Jesus Christ. ‘You are lords of men, of the world of time, of death, of eternity; but you are not lords of yourselves. You belong to Jesus, and in the measure in which you belong to Him do all things belong to you.’

I. I think, then, that I shall best bring out the fulness of these words by simply following them as they lie before us, and asking you to consider, first, how Christ’s servants are men’s lords.

‘All things are yours, Paul, Apollos, Cephas.’ These three teachers were all lights kindled at the central Light, and therefore shining. They were fragments of His wisdom, of Him that spoke; varying, but yet harmonious, and mutually complementary aspects of the one infinite Truth had been committed to them. Each was but a part of the mighty whole, a little segment of the circle

‘They are but broken lights of Thee,

And Thou, O Lord! art more than they.’

And in the measure, therefore, in which men adhere to Christ, and have taken Him for theirs; in that measure are they delivered from all undue dependence on, still more from all slavish submission to, any single individual teacher or aspect of truth. To have Christ for ours, and to be His, which are only the opposite sides of the same thing, mean, in brief, to take Jesus Christ for the source of all knowledge of moral and religious truth. His Word is the Christian’s creed, His Person and the truths that lie in Him, are the fountains of all our knowledge of God and man. To be Christ’s is to take Him as the master who has absolute authority over conduct and practice. His commandment is the Christian’s duty; His pattern the Christian’s all-sufficient example; His smile the Christian’s reward. To be Christ’s is to take Him for the home of our hearts, in whose gracious and sweet love we find all sufficiency and a rest for our seeking affections. And so, if ye are His, Paul, Apollos, Cephas, all men are yours; in the sense that you are delivered from all undue dependence upon them; and in the sense that they subserve your highest good.

So the true democracy of Christianity, which abjures swearing by the words of any teacher, is simply the result of loyal adherence to the teaching of Jesus Christ. And that proud independence which some of you seek to cultivate, and on the strength of which you declare that no man is your master upon earth, is an unwholesome and dangerous independence, unless it be conjoined with the bowing down of the whole nature, in loyal submission, to the absolute authority of the only lips that ever spoke truth, truth only, and truth always. If Christ be our Master, if we take our creed from Him, if we accept His words and His revelation of the Father as our faith and our objective religion, then all the slavery to favourite names, all the taking of truth second-hand from the lips that we honour, all the partisanship for one against another which has been the shame and the ruin of the Christian Church, and is working untold mischiefs in it to-day, are ended at once. ‘One is your Master, even Christ.’ ‘Call no man Rabbi! upon earth; but bow before Him, the Incarnate and the Personal Truth.’

And in like manner they who are Christ’s are delivered from all temptations to make men’s maxims and practices and approbation the law of their conduct. Society presses upon each of us; what we call public opinion, which is generally the clatter of the half-dozen people that happen to stand nearest us, rules us; and it needs to be said very emphatically to all Christian men and women-Take your law of conduct from His lips, and from nobody else’s.

‘They say. What say they? Let them say.’ If we take Christ’s commandment for our absolute law, and Christ’s approbation for our highest aim and all-sufficient reward, we shall then be able to brush aside other maxims and other people’s opinions of us, safely and humbly, and to say, ‘With me it is a very small matter to be judged of you, or of man’s judgment. He that judgeth me is the Lord.’

The envoy of some foreign power cares very little what the inhabitants of the land to which he is ambassador may think of him and his doings; it is his sovereign’s good opinion that he seeks to secure. The soldier’s reward is his commander’s praise, the slave’s joy is the master’s smile, and for us it ought to be the law of our lives, and in the measure in which we really belong to Christ it will be the law of our lives, that ‘we labour that, whether present or absent, we may be pleasing to Him.’

So, brethren, as teachers, as patterns, as objects of love which is only too apt to be exclusive and to master us, we can only take one another in subordination to our supreme submission to Christ, and if we are His, our duty, as our joy, is to count no man necessary to our wellbeing, but to hang only on the one Man, whom it is safe and blessed to believe utterly, to obey abjectly, and to love with all our strength, because He is more than man, even God manifest in the flesh.

II. And now let us pass to the next idea here, secondly, Christ’s servants are the lords of ‘the world.’

That phrase is used here, no doubt, as meaning the external material universe. These creatures around us, they belong to us, if we belong to Jesus Christ. That man owns the world who despises it. There are plenty of rich men in Manchester who say they possess so many thousand pounds. Turn the sentence about and it would be a great deal truer-the thousands of pounds possess them. They are the slaves of their own possessions, and every man who counts any material thing as indispensable to his wellbeing, and regards it as the chiefest good, is the slave-servant of that thing. He owns the world who turns it to the highest use of growing his soul by it. All material things are given, and, I was going to say, were created, for the growth of men, or at all events their highest purpose is that men should, by them, grow. And therefore, as the scaffolding is swept away when the building is finished, so God will sweep away this material universe with all its wonders of beauty and of contrivance, when men have been grown by means of it. The material is less than the soul, and he is master of the world, and owns it, who has got thoughts out of it, truth out of it, impulses out of it, visions of God out of it, who has by it been led nearer to his divine Master. If I look out upon a fair landscape, and the man who draws the rents of it is standing by my side, and I suck more sweetness, and deeper impulses, and larger and loftier thoughts out of it than he does, it belongs to me far more than it does to him. The world is his who from it has learned to despise it, to know himself and to know God. He owns the world who uses it as the arena, or wrestling ground, on which, by labour, he may gain strength, and in which he may do service. Antagonism helps to develop muscle, and the best use of the outward frame of things is that we shall take it as the field upon which we can serve God.

And now all these three things-the contempt of earth, the use of earth for growing souls, and the use of earth as the field of service-all these things belong most truly to the man who belongs to Christ. The world is His, and if we live near Him and cultivate fellowship with Him, and see His face gleaming through all the Material, and are led up nearer to Him by everything around us, then we own the world and wring the sweetness to the last drop out of it, though we may have but little of that outward relation to its goods which short-sighted men call possessing them. We may solve the paradox of those who, ‘having nothing, yet have all,’ if we belong to Christ the Lord of all things, and so have co-possession with Him of all His riches.

III. Further, my text tells us, in the third place, that Christian men, who belong to Jesus Christ, are the lords and masters of ‘life and death.’

Both of these words are here used, as it seems to me, in their simple, physical sense, natural life and natural death. You may say, ‘Well, everybody is lord of life in that sense.’ Yes, of course, in a fashion we all possess it, seeing that we are all alive. But that mysterious gift of personality, that awful gift of conscious existence, only belongs, in the deepest sense, to the men who belong to Jesus Christ. I do not call that man the owner of his own life who is not the lord of his own spirit. I do not see in what, except in the mere animal sense in which a fly, or a spider, or a toad may be called the master of its life, that man owns himself who has not given up himself to Jesus Christ. The only way to get a real hold of yourselves is to yield yourselves to Him who gives you back Himself, and yourself along with Him. The true ownership of life depends upon self-control, and self-control depends upon letting Jesus Christ govern us wholly. So the measure in which it is true of me that ‘I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me,’ is the measure in which the lower life of sense really belongs to us, and ministers to our highest good.

And then turn to the other member of this wonderful antithesis, ‘whether life or death.’ Surely if there is anything over which no man can become lord, except by sinfully taking his fate into his own hands, it is death. And yet even death, in which we seem to be abjectly passive, and by which so many of us are dragged away reluctantly from everything that we care to possess, may become a matter of consent and therefore a moral act. Animals expire; a Christian man may yield his soul to his Saviour, who is the Lord both of the dead and of the living. If thus we feel our dependence upon Him, and yield up our lives to Him, and can say, ‘Living or dying we are the Lord’s,’ then we may be quite sure that death, too, will be our servant, and that our wills will be concerned even in passing out of life.

Still more, if you and I, dear brethren, belong to Jesus Christ, then death is our fellow-servant who comes to call us out of this ill-lighted workshop into the presence of the King. And at His magic cold touch, cares and toils and sorrows are stiffened into silence, like noisy streams bound in white frost; and we are lifted clean up out of all the hubbub and the toil into eternal calm. Death is ours because it fulfils our deepest desires, and comes as a messenger to paupers to tell them they have a great estate. Death is ours if we be Christ’s.

IV. And lastly, Christ’s servants are the lords of time and eternity, ‘things present or things to come.’

Our Apostle’s division, in this catalogue of his, is rhetorical rather than logical; and we need not seek to separate the first of this final pair from others which we have already encountered in our study of the words, but still we may draw a distinction. The whole mass of ‘things present,’ including not only that material universe which we call the world, but all the events and circumstances of our lives, over these we may exercise supreme control. If we are bowing in humble submission to Jesus Christ, they will all subserve our highest good. Every weather will be right; night and day equally desirable; the darkness will be good for eyes that have been tired of brightness and that need repose, the light will be good. The howling tempests of winter and its white snows, the sharp winds of spring and its bursting sunshine; the calm steady heat of June and the mellowing days of August, all serve to ripen the grain. And so all ‘things present,’ the light and the dark, the hopes fulfilled and the hopes disappointed, the gains and the losses, the prayers answered and the prayers unanswered, they will all be recognised, if we have the wisdom that comes from submission to Jesus Christ’s will, as being ours and ministering to our highest blessing.

We shall be their lords too inasmuch as we shall be able to control them. We need not be ‘anvils but hammers.’ We need not let outward circumstances dominate and tyrannise over us. We need not be like the mosses in the stream, that lie whichever way the current sets, nor like some poor little sailing boat that is at the mercy of the winds and the waves, but may carry an inward impulse like some great ocean-going steamer, the throb of whose power shall drive us straight forward on our course, whatever beats against us. That we may have this inward power and mastery over things present, and not be shaped and moulded and made by them, let us yield ourselves to Christ, and He will help us to rule them.

And then, all ‘things to come,’ the dim, vague future, shall be for each of us like some sunlit ocean stretching shoreless to the horizon; every little ripple flashing with its own bright sunshine, and all bearing us onwards to the great Throne that stands on the sea of glass mingled with fire.

Then, my brother, ask yourselves what your future is if you have not Christ for your Friend.

‘I backward cast mine eye

On prospects drear;

And forward though I cannot see,

I guess and fear.’

So I beseech you, yield yourselves to Jesus Christ, He died to win us. He bears our sins that they may be all forgiven. If we give ourselves to Him who has given Himself to us, then we shall be lords of men, of the world, of life and death, of time and eternity.

In the old days conquerors used to bestow upon their followers lands and broad dominions on condition of their doing suit and service, and bringing homage to them. Christ, the King of the universe, makes His subjects kings, and will give us to share in His dominion, so that to each of us may be fulfilled that boundless and almost unbelievable promise: ‘He that overcometh shall inherit all things.’ ‘All are yours if ye are Christ’s.’3:18-23 To have a high opinion of our own wisdom, is but to flatter ourselves; and self-flattery is the next step to self-deceit. The wisdom that wordly men esteem, is foolishness with God. How justly does he despise, and how easily can he baffle and confound it! The thoughts of the wisest men in the world, have vanity, weakness, and folly in them. All this should teach us to be humble, and make us willing to be taught of God, so as not to be led away, by pretences to human wisdom and skill, from the simple truths revealed by Christ. Mankind are very apt to oppose the design of the mercies of God. Observe the spiritual riches of a true believer; All are yours, even ministers and ordinances. Nay, the world itself is yours. Saints have as much of it as Infinite Wisdom sees fit for them, and they have it with the Divine blessing. Life is yours, that you may have a season and opportunity to prepare for the life of heaven; and death is yours, that you may go to the possession of it. It is the kind messenger to take you from sin and sorrow, and to guide you to your Father's house. Things present are yours, for your support on the road; things to come are yours, to delight you for ever at your journey's end. If we belong to Christ, and are true to him, all good belongs to us, and is sure to us. Believers are the subjects of his kingdom. He is Lord over us, we must own his dominion, and cheerfully submit to his command. God in Christ, reconciling a sinful world to himself, and pouring the riches of his grace on a reconciled world, is the sum and substance of the gospel.And ye are Christ's - You belong to him; and should not, therefore, feel that you are devoted to any earthly leader, whether Paul, Apollos, or Peter. As you belong to Christ by redemption, and by solemn dedication to his service, so you should feel that you are his alone. You are his property - his people - his friends. You should regard yourselves as such, and feel that you all belong to the same family, and should not, therefore, be split up into contending factions and parties.

Christ is God's - Christ is the Mediator between God and man. He came to do the will of God. He was and is still devoted to the service of his Father. God has a proprietorship in all that he does, since Christ lived, and acted, and reigns to promote the glory of his Father. The argument here seems to be this, "You belong to Christ; and he to God. You are bound therefore, not to devote yourselves to a man, whoever he may be, but to Christ, and to the service of that one true God, in whose service even Christ was employed. And as Christ sought to promote the glory of his Father, so should you in all things." This implies no inferiority of nature of Christ to God. It means only that he was employed in the service of his Father, and sought his glory - a doctrine everywhere taught in the New Testament. But this does not imply that he was inferior in his nature. A son may be employed in the service of his father, and may seek to advance his father's interests. But this does not prove that the son is inferior in nature to his father. It proves only that he is inferior in some respects - in office. So the Son of God consented to take an inferior office or rank; to become a mediator, to assume the form of a servant, and to be a man of sorrows; but this proves nothing in regard to his original rank or dignity. That is to be learned from the numerous passages which affirm that in nature he was equal with God. See the note at John 1:1.

Remarks On 1 Corinthians 3

1. Christians when first converted may be well compared to infants, 1 Corinthians 3:1. They are in a new world. They just open their eyes on truth. They see new objects; and have new objects of attachment. They are feeble, weak, helpless. And though they often have high joy, and even great self-confidence, yet they are in themselves ignorant and weak, and in need of constant teaching. Christians should not only possess the spirit, but they should feel that they are like children. They are like them not only in their temper, but in their ignorance, and weakness, and helplessness.

2. The instructions which are imparted to Christians should be adapted to their capacity, 1 Corinthians 3:2. Skill and care should be exercised to adapt that instruction to the needs of tender consciences, and to those who are feeble in the faith. It would be no more absurd to furnish strong food to the new born babe than it is to present some of the higher doctrines of religion to the tender minds of converts. The elements of knowledge must be first learned; the tenderest and most delicate food must first nourish the body - And perhaps in nothing is there more frequent error than in presenting the higher, and more difficult doctrines of Christianity to young converts, and because they have a difficulty in regard to them, or because they even reject them, pronouncing them destitute of piety. Is the infant destitute of life because it cannot digest the solid food which nourishes the man of fifty years? Paul adapted his instructions to the delicacy and feebleness of infant piety; and those who are like Paul will feed with great care the lambs of the flock. All young converts should be placed under a course of instruction adapted to their condition, and should secure the careful attention of the ministers of the churches.

3. Strife and contention in the church is proof that people are under the influence of carnal feelings. No matter what is the cause of the contention, the very fact of the existence of such strife is a proof of the existence of such feelings somewhere, 1 Corinthians 3:3-4. On what side soever the original fault of the contention may be, yet its existence in the church is always proof that some - if not all - of those who are engaged in it are under the influence of carnal feelings. Christ's kingdom is designed to be a kingdom of peace and love; and divisions and contentions are always attended with evils, and with injury to the spirit of true religion.

4. We have here a rebuke to that spirit which has produced the existence of sects and parties, 1 Corinthians 3:4. The practice of naming sects after certain people, we see, began early, and was as early rebuked by apostolic authority. Would not the same apostolic authority rebuke the spirit which now calls one division of the church after the name of Calvin, another after the name of Luther, another after the name of Arminius! Should not, and will not all these divisions yet be merged in the high and holy name of Christian? Our Saviour evidently supposed it possible that his church should be one John 17:21-23; and Paul certainly supposed that the church at Corinth might be so united. So the early churches were; and is it too much to hope that some way may yet be discovered which shall break down the divisions into sects, and unite Christians both in feeling and in name in spreading the gospel of the Redeemer everywhere? Does not every Christian sincerely desire it? And may there not yet await the church such a union as shall concentrate all its energies in saving the world? How much effort, how much talent, how much wealth and learning are now wasted in contending with other denominations of the great Christian family! How much would this wasted - and worse than wasted wealth, and learning, and talent, and zeal do in diffusing the gospel around the world! Whose heart is not sickened at these contentions and strifes; and whose soul will not breathe forth a pure desire to Heaven that the time may soon come when all these contentions shall die away, and when the voice of strife shall be hushed; and when the united host of God's elect shall go forth to subdue the world to the gospel of the Saviour?

5. The proper honor should be paid to the ministers of the gospel 1 Corinthians 3:5-7. They should not be put in the place of God; nor should their services, however important, prevent the supreme recognition of God in the conversion of souls. God is to be all and in all - It is proper that the ministers of religion should be treated with respect 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; and ministers have a right to expect and to desire the affectionate regards of those who are blessed by their instrumentality. But Paul - eminent and successful as he was - would do nothing that would diminish or obscure the singleness of view with which the agency of God should be regarded in the work of salvation. He regarded himself as nothing compared with God; and his highest desire was that God in all things might be honored.

6. God is the source of all good influence, and of all that is holy in the church. Its only gives the increase. Whatever of humility, faith, love, joy, peace, or purity we may have, is all to be traced to him. No matter who plants, or who waters, God gives life to the seed; God rears the stalk; God expands the leaf; God opens the flower and gives it its fragrance; and God forms, preserves, and ripens the fruit. So in religion. No matter who the minister may be; no matter how faithful, learned, pious, or devoted, yet if any success attends his labors, it is all to be traced to God. This truth is never to be forgotten; nor should any talents, or zeal, however great, ever be allowed to dim or obscure its lustre in the minds of those who are converted.

7. Ministers are on a level, 1 Corinthians 3:8-9. Whatever may be their qualifications or their success, yet they can claim no pre-eminence over one another. They are fellow laborers - engaged in one work, accomplishing the same object, though they may be in different parts of the same field. The man who plants is as necessary as he that waters; and both are inferior to God, and neither could do anything without him.

8. Christians should regard themselves as a holy people, 1 Corinthians 3:9. They are the cultivation of God. All that they have is from him. His own agency has been employed in their conversion; his own Spirit operates to sanctify and save them. Whatever they have is to be traced to God; and they should remember that they are, therefore, consecrated to him.

9. No other foundation can be laid in the church except that of Christ, 1 Corinthians 3:10-11. Unless a church is founded on the true doctrine respecting the Messiah, it is a false church, and should not be recognized as belonging to him. There can be no other foundation, either for an individual sinner, or for a church. How important then to inquire whether we are building our hopes for eternity on this tried foundation! How faithfully should we examine this subject lest our hopes should all be swept away in the storms of divine wrath! Matthew 7:27-28. How deep and awful will be the disappointment of those who suppose they have been building on the true foundation, and who find in the great Day of Judgment that all has been delusion!

10. We are to be tried at the Day of Judgment, 1 Corinthians 3:13-14. All are to be arraigned, not only in regard to the foundation of our hopes for eternal life, but in regard to the superstructure, the nature of our opinions and practices in religion. Everything shall come into judgment.

11. The trial will be such as to test our character. All the trials through which we are to pass are designed to do this. Affliction, temptation, sickness, death, are all intended to produce this result, and all have a tendency to this end. But, pre-eminently is this the case with regard to the trial at the great Day of Judgment. Amidst the light of the burning world, and the terrors of the Judgment; under the blazing throne, and the eye of God, every man's character shall be seen, and a just judgment shall be pronounced.

continued...

23. ye are Christ's—not Paul's, or Apollos,' or Cephas' (1Co 11:3; Mt 23:8-10). "Neither be ye called masters; for one is your Master, even Christ" (Ro 14:8). Not merely a particular section of you, but ye all are Christ's (1Co 1:12).

Christ is God's—(1Co 11:3). God is the ultimate end of all, even of Christ, His co-equal Son (1Co 15:28; Php 2:6-11).

See Poole on "1 Corinthians 3:22" And ye are Christ's,.... This is the ground and foundation of all things being theirs, and shows in what way they come by them, and what gives them their claim and property: they are Christ's, he has an interest in them, and they in him; they are his, not only by creation, as all men are, but by the Father's special gift of them to him, as his spouse and bride, his children, his sheep, his portion, and his jewels; they are his through the purchase of his own blood, and by a voluntary surrender of themselves unto him, under the influence of his Spirit and grace; they are his by their profession of him; they avouch themselves to be the Lord's and call themselves by his name; and they are his by his possession of them, and dwelling in their hearts by faith; and all they have are his. Their worst things are his; their sins are accounted to him, and laid on him by imputation, and have been bore and done away by him: their griefs and sorrows are his, their reproaches his, and their afflictions and sufferings his. Their best things are his; their temporal mercies come from him, and through him; and all their spiritual blessings, they are blessed with in him; and all the good things done by them are done in his strength, by the assistance of his Spirit, and in virtue of his grace.

And Christ is God's; he is his Son, his own, his only begotten and well beloved Son, as he is a divine person; and as man he is his creature, made by him, and inferior to him; he is the head of him, as the man is of the woman; and as Mediator, he is his righteous servant, whom he has chosen, called, brought forth, upheld, and in whom he is glorified: so that, upon the whole, the saints should not glory in men, though ever so great and good, but in God, and in Christ, as of God, made unto them wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.

And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 3:23. In 1 Corinthians 3:22 Paul had stated the active relation of the Christians as regards ownership, all being made to serve them—a relation which, by its universality, must preclude all boasting of human authorities. He now adds to this their passive relation as regards ownership also, which is equally adverse to the same hurtful tendency, namely: but ye belong to Christ,—so that in this respect, too, the καυχᾶσθαι ἐν ἀνθρώποις of 1 Corinthians 3:21 cannot but be unseemly. Rückert would make πάντα γὰρ ὑμῶν ἐστι κ.τ.λ[580] in 1 Corinthians 3:22 the protasis and said by way of concession, so that the leading thought would lie in 1 Corinthians 3:23 : “All indeed is yours; but ye belong to Christ.” We are, he holds, to supply μέν after πάντα. But, even apart from this erroneous addition, there may be urged against his view, partly the fact that an independent emphasis is laid upon the thought πάντα ὑμῶν, as is clear at a glance both from its explication in detail and from the repetition of the phrase; and partly the internal state of the case, that what Rückert takes as a concession really contains a very pertinent and solid argument against the καυχ. ἐν ἀνθρώποις.

Χριστὸς δὲ Θεοῦ] and Christ, again, belongs to God, is subordinated to God, stands in His service. For κεφαλὴ Χριστοῦ ὁ Θεός, 1 Corinthians 11:3. Comp Luke 9:20. The strict monotheism of the N. T. (see on Romans 9:5), and the relation of Christ as the Son to the Father, necessarily give the idea of the subordination of Christ under God.[582] As His equality with God and His divine glory before the incarnation (Php 2:6), although essential, were still derived (εἰκὼν τ. Θεοῦ, πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως, Colossians 1:15), so also the divine glory, which He has obtained by His exaltation after His obedience rendered to God even unto the death of the cross, is again a glory bestowed upon Him (Php 2:9), and His dominion is destined to be given back to God (1 Corinthians 15:28). Since, however, this relation of dependence, affirmed by Χριστὸς δὲ Θεοῦ (comp on Ephesians 1:17), by no means expresses the conception of Arianism, but leaves untouched the essential equality of Christ with God (Theodoret aptly remarks: Χριστὸς γὰρ Θεοῦ οὐχ ὡς κτίσμα Θεοῦ, ἀλλʼ ὡς υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ), it was all the more a mistake to assume (so Calvin, Estius, Calovius, and many others, including Flatt and Olshausen) that the statement here refers only to the human nature. It is precisely on the divine side of His being that Christ is, according to Paul (Romans 1:4), the Son of God, and therefore as γέννημα γνήσιονὡς αὐτὸν αἴτιον ἔχων κατὰ τὸ πατέρα εἶναι (Chrysostom), not subordinate to Him simply in respect of His manhood. But for what reason does Paul add here at all this Χριστὸς δὲ Θεοῦ, seeing it was not needed for the establishment of the prohibition of the καυχᾶσθαι ἐν ἀνθρώποις? We answer: Had he ended with ὑμεῖς δὲ Χριστοῦ, he would then, in appearance, have conceded the claim of the Christ-party, who did not boast themselves ἐν ἀνθρώποις (and hence were not touched by 1 Corinthians 3:22), but held to Christ; and this, in point of fact, is what Pott and Schott make out that the apostle here does. But this was not his intention; for the confession of the Christ-party was not, indeed, Ebionitic,—as if the Χ. δὲ Θεοῦ were aimed against this (Osiander),—but, although right enough in idea, yet practically objectionable on the ground of the schismatic misuse made of it. He rises, therefore, to the highest absolute jurisdiction, that to which even Christ is subject, in order in this passage, where he rejects the three parties who supported themselves on human authorities, to make the Christ-party, too, feel their error: Christ, again, is—not the head of a party, as many among you would make Him, but—belonging to God, and consequently exalted in the highest possible degree above all drawing in of His name into party-contentions. In this way, with no little delicacy, Paul sets the relation of the fourth Corinthian party also—of which 1 Corinthians 3:22 did not allow the mention—in the light of the true Christian perspective; to do which by no means lay too far from the path of his exhortation (Hofmann), but was very naturally suggested by the concrete circumstances which he could not but have in his eye.

[580] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[582] See also Hahn, Theol. d. N. T. I. p. 120 ff. Gess, v. d. Person Chr. p. 157 ff. Ernesti, Ursprung der Sünde, I. p. 194 ff. Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 306.

REMARK.

The reference in 1 Corinthians 3:22 f. to the party of Peter and on Christ is to be regarded as simply by the way. The whole section from 1 Corinthians 1:13 to 1 Corinthians 4:21 is directed against the antagonism between the Pauline and the Apollonian parties (comp on 1 Corinthians 3:4); but the idea πάντα ὑμῶν ἐστιν, which Paul holds up to these two, very naturally leads him to make all the parties sensible of their fault as well, although to enter further upon the Petrine and the Christ-party did not lie in the line of his purpose. The theory, so much in favour of late, which refers the polemic, beginning with 1 Corinthians 1:17, to the Christ-party (Jaeger, Schenkel, Goldhorn, Kniewel, etc.), has led to acts of great arbitrariness, as is most conspicuous in the case of Kniewel, who divides chap. 3 among all the four parties, giving 1 Corinthians 3:3-10 to that of Paul and that of Apollos, 1 Corinthians 3:12-17 to that of Peter, and 1 Corinthians 3:18 f. to that of Christ; while in the contrasts of 1 Corinthians 3:22 (εἴτε κόσμοςμέλλοντα) he finds the Christ-party’s doctrine of the harmony of all contrasts accomplished in Christ as the world-soul.23. Christ is God’s] Even He is not existing apart and for Himself (cf. St John 5:19-30), but is for ever united and conjoined with His faithful ones in the God and Father of all. ‘I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one.’ St John 17:23.1 Corinthians 3:23. Ὑμεῖς δὲ Χριστοῦ, and ye are Christ’s) Immediately; not by the intervention of Peter.—ΧριστοῦΘεοῦ, of Christ—of God) To this 1 Corinthians 4:1 has respect.—Χριστὸς δὲ, Θεοῦ, and Christ is God’s) 1 Corinthians 15:28; Luke 9:20.Verse 23. - And ye are Christ's (see 1 Corinthians 6:19; 1 Corinthians 15:23; Romans 14:8; Galatians 3:29). Christians possess because they are possessed by Christ (Meyer). Christ is our Master, and God our Father (Matthew 23:10). And Christ is God's; because "Christ is equal to the Father as touching his Godhead, but inferior to the Father as touching his manhood." Hence in 1 Corinthians 11:3 he says, "The head of Christ is God;" and in 1 Corinthians 15:28, we read of Christ resigning his mediatorial kingdom, that God may be all in all. Perhaps St. Paul implies the thought that Christ belongs, not to a party, but to God, the Father of us all. But the ultimate climax from Christ to God is found also in 1 Corinthians 4:1: Romans 15:5, etc.



Ye are Christ's

A summary of the title following the inventory. Compare Romans 8:17.

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