1 Corinthians 1:5
That in every thing you are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
Paul's view of the dignity of the Christian calling, of the privileges and honours of the Christian life, was both just and instructive, and may well assist us in our endeavour to live clear of and above the false and worldly standard with which we often meet. How could the grandeur and sacredness of our religious position be more effectively set before us than by this inspiriting language addressed by the apostle to the members of the Christian community at Corinth: "In everything ye were enriched in Christ"?
I. A PARADOX, WHEN WE REGARD THOSE WHO WERE THUS ADDRESSED. In the house of one Justus, a proselyte to Judaism, who had become a Christian - a house close by the Hebrew synagogue, in the wealthy, commercial, pleasure seeking city of Corinth, there assembled in a large apartment a company of disciples of the Nazarene. Some were of Jewish, some of Gentile race. Most, though not all, of the brotherhood were poor, and few were learned or of high station. Perhaps the families of Crispus the president, of Justus himself, and of Chloe from Cenchrea, were the persons in the assembly of most consideration; for Aquila, Apollos, and Sosthenes were absent. Some of those assembled to hear the letter of the apostle, who was the founder of the Church at Corinth, were Bondsmen, and few were persons of any note. When Titus and Trophimus, bearers of Paul's Epistle, accompanied by the Corinthians - Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, who had also just come from the apostle then labouring at Ephesus - when these looked round upon the gathering of Corinthian Christians, they may well have started with astonishment as the language of the Epistle was read out, which described the abundant enrichment of these lowly, poor, unlettered disciples. Here was a company, including "not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble," but composed of the ignorant, the weak, the base, the despised of the world. A few Jewish merchants, a few handicraftsmen, a few slaves, a few industrious women, and perhaps a scholar or two, were declared to be "enriched in all things." It was a paradox; and it was a paradox which has been repeated again and again during the past nineteen centuries.
II. A POSSIBILITY, WHEN WE THINK IN WHOM THIS ENRICHMENT TOOK PLACE. Nothing but the consciousness of a new life breathed into humanity, a new hope dawning upon the world, could account for these Corinthians being thus addressed by a teacher like Paul. The language is so sweeping and unqualified, and the statement is made with so much confidence, that we feel that something very remarkable must have occurred to account for Paul addressing such persons in such language. The explanation is to be found here - "In him" ye were enriched. It is in Christ that the wealth of God is placed at the disposal of the destitute children of men.
1. His Divine nature is a storehouse, a treasury of true wealth; in him all fulness dwells.
2. His ministry was an earnest of the greater blessings which should follow; for he was ever freely giving.
3. His death and sacrifice were the means of securing to us the fulness of God; he unlocked the treasury: "Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we, through his poverty, might be rich."
4. His ascension, so far from impoverishing the race he came to save, was the occasion of its enrichment. "He received gifts for men;" he poured out spiritual blessings from on high.
III. A FACT, WHEN WE CONSIDER THE ACTUAL SPIRITUAL POSSESSIONS ENJOYED BY MANKIND THROUGH JESUS CHRIST. As the sun enriches the earth with luxuriant fruitfulness, as great men enrich a nation by their heroic deeds and saintly self sacrifice, so does Christ actually bestow untold blessings upon this race. Referring to the Epistle, we observe that wisdom and knowledge, faith and healing, miracles and prophecy, tongues and interpretation, were among the special instances of wealth with which the early Church was dowered. Yet the same Epistle assures us that love is a greater gift than all these. "See that ye abound in this grace also." The fruits of the Spirit are the riches of the Church. The unsearchable riches of Christ are made over to his redeemed and renewed people. To them it was said, "All things are yours."
APPLICATION. There is nothing in the resources or the purposes of God, nothing in the heart of Christ, to limit the extent to which this spiritual wealth may be diffused. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;