Scripture Reading: 1 Cor. 9:1-15

The philosophical Greek believers at Corinth made everything complicated. In answering their questions, Paul simplified matters. He encouraged the Corinthians to take the Lord, His ordination, and His sovereign arrangement. Paul also realized that if we live Christ by being one spirit with the Lord and if we are submissive to the Lord and committed to Him, many complicated situations will be simplified. Complications in human life come from the philosophizing mind. For example, philosophizing about marriage can produce complications in married life. In today’s society there are many complications regarding marriage. In the church life in the Lord’s recovery, we need to follow the New Testament principles to simplify situations and eliminate complications. When we analyze our married life and family life, we become complicated. But when we turn to the spirit, everything is simplified.

I appreciate 1 Corinthians 7 because this chapter shows us a person, Paul, who was saturated with God, one with Him, and fully submissive to Him. There was no argument between Paul and God, and no discrepancy between him and God. He was happy with whatever circumstances God arranged for him. We know this not because he says so explicitly; we know it by the instructions he gives the Corinthians concerning married life. These instructions reveal the kind of person Paul was. Paul’s writing in this chapter shows that he was a genuine God-man.

In chapter eight Paul deals with the problem of eating idol sacrifices. This problem seems to have a yes or no answer. However, in chapter eight Paul does not answer yes or no. The way he deals with this question shows that he is not a person who lives according to the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but one who lives according to the tree of life. With the tree of life it is not a matter of yes or no; it is solely a matter of life, God’s life, the divine, eternal life expressed through love which builds up. This life always commends us to God.

In 8:8 Paul introduces the thought of being commended to God. This is an excellent expression, even an extraordinary one. I doubt that such an expression can be found elsewhere in the Bible. Paul’s answer in chapter eight certainly is not a matter of yes or no. On the contrary, it is related to doing things which commend us to God. According to Paul’s realization, if a certain thing does not commend us to God, there is no need for us to engage in it.

Paul was so one with God and saturated with Him that his entire being was in God. Therefore, he answers the questions raised by the Corinthians not with a yes or a no, but according to what he is and according to his own practice. His practice was to have a life that was absolutely one with God. We all need to see this vision and practice it, even as Paul did.

In chapter eight Paul speaks of loving God (v. 3), of being commended to God (v. 8), of “the brother because of whom Christ died” (v. 11), and of sinning against Christ (v. 12). Eventually, he concludes this chapter by saying, “Wherefore if food stumbles my brother, I will by no means eat meat forever, that I may not stumble my brother” (v. 13). The expression “my brother” indicates that every brother was dear to Paul. He loved all the brothers. Paul was one with God and one with the Body of Christ. For this reason, he did not answer questions according to yes or no, according to the tree of knowledge. If everyone in a local church had a life and practice to match that of Paul, there would be no questions, problems, or complications. Questions come from the philosophizing mind. But when we turn to the Christ who dwells in our spirit, the situation becomes simple.