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David's Commentaries

1 Corinthians 1:31 ‘as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.’

This Week’s Focus Passage: 1 Corinthians 1:31

‘as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.’

 

    Paul, in his first epistle to the ‘Church of God which is at Corinth,’ makes plentiful use of citations from both Isaiah and Jeremiah. The statement above which has been selected for this week’s focus passage, is to be found in the writings of the prophet Jeremiah. Let us read ‘the original’ from Jeremiah 9:23-24, as follows:

Thus saith Jehovah, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he hath understanding, and knoweth me, that I am Jehovah who exerciseth lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith Jehovah. 

It appears, does it not, as though we are hearing a sermon by the apostle, Paul, on the passage from Jeremiah 9:23-24. Indeed, the pericope formed by these verses parallels closely the pericope formed by the verses closing Paul’s first chapter of his first epistle to the church at Corinth. That pericope is constituted by verses 26-31, where we read:

For behold your calling, brethren, that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put to shame them that are wise; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong; and the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, did God choose, yea and the things that are not, that he might bring to nought the things that are: that no flesh should glory before God. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

It is not possible to escape the reminder from this very same inspired writer, Paul, in his epistle to the church at Ephesus, where, in the well-known second chapter, which speaks volumes about the way provided to return to God through the blood of the cross of Jesus Christ. Give special attention to his teaching—the teaching of God the Holy Spirit, of course—in those unforgettable and striking words of Paul, in the first nine verses of that precious chapter that basically speaks of the true way of anyone coming to Christ. This ‘coming’ begins with a dead person being enabled to come by first being ‘made alive,’ verse one, reminding the reader that prior to that being ‘made alive,’ through regeneration by God the Holy Spirit, the subject of discourse was ‘dead through his trespasses and sins.’ ‘But God,’ those most blessed and striking words; ‘but God made us alive together with Christ.’ We were dead; He made us alive with Christ.  He raised us up ‘with Him,’ made us to sit ‘with Him,’ for by grace have ye been saved. This, the apostle continues to affirm, is by grace alone; it is not of any of our works; it is in Christ, through faith (which is a gift from God), and not of any works of our own. 

    Why? Why is our salvation entirely of God? Why is it not of any works of our own? Why has Jehovah God planned and designed our entire salvation in such a way, as we are absolutely excluded from the “works” which enable us to come to Him in repentance and faith? Does He not inform us, in no uncertain terms, when He has clearly declared, for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory.  Paul here has enjoined his readers that no man should glory, because, as he remarked, it is the gift of God, not of works. But is not Paul teaching here, and many other places, including our focus passage, that we are to glory in the Lord. And if we are speaking of salvation, we must glory in Him who procured our salvation, through His infinite merit demonstrated in His life and in His death. Paul was reminding the Corinthians that Christ was made unto us wisdom, as well as, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. In other words, He is our wisdom, He is our righteousness, He is our sanctification, yea, He is our redemption. Why should this surprise us? He is, we are told elsewhere in the Word of God, our covenant (Isaiah 42:6), He is the Light given us by His Father (Isaiah 49:6), yes, He is the Salvation of God given us according to promise. Are we not informed, ultimately, that He is our All in All? 

    Have we not a foretaste of such wonderful and blessed characteristics given in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ? Is He not Jehovah; the Light of the World? Is He not Jehovah-Jesus; the Great I AM Himself? The aforementioned foretaste may be recognized even in the prophecy of Ezekiel. There are to be found at least 160 instances of the utterance of the Almighty, saying, I am Jehovah, and in the book of Ezekiel, alone, we may read 61 of those instances. One will suffice for our purpose today; in Ezekiel 37, where we are blessed with the relating of that marvelous vision of the dry bones brought to life. But what is this lesson, given in vision, to teach us?

The end of the matter, as they say, may be in order to demonstrate just Who it is that is the Source of activity in this 37th chapter; we read of Him in verses 12 and 13:

Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, O my people; And ye shall know that I am Jehovah, when I have opened your graves, and caused you to come up out of your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live.

Is it not Jehovah-Jesus who was given to His people for a Covenant (Isaiah 42:6)? Yea, is it not He that, through His atoning blood, has opened our graves and caused us to come up out of them; He that put His Spirit in us, that we might live?

The thanksgiving that ought to be constantly, and repeatedly, given unto our Father for His discriminating, sovereign and saving grace, in giving to us His only-begotten Son, and thanks given to the Son, for coming to redeem us through His precious blood, the blood of the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world, should follow the pattern found, again in 1 Corinthians 1:30; He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord, and also at verse 4:7; where the apostle has written; For who maketh thee to differ? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? but if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it? We have nothing to glory of in ourselves; but let us glory much in the Lord Jesus, who has made us to differ through His satisfaction for us at Golgotha. Paul borrowed once again from Isaiah, in his second epistle to the church at Corinth, at 10:17-18, in calling us not to glory in ourselves, when he wrote: But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth. Amen, and Amen.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church

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