1 Corinthians 10

* The great privileges, and yet terrible overthrow of the

Israelites in the wilderness. (1-5) Cautions against all

idolatrous, and other sinful practices. (6-14) The partaking in

idolatry cannot exist with having communion with Christ. (15-22)

All we do to be to the glory of God, and without offence to the

consciences of others. (23-33)

1-5 To dissuade the Corinthians from communion with idolaters,

and security in any sinful course, the apostle sets before them

the example of the Jewish nation of old. They were, by a

miracle, led through the Red Sea, where the pursuing Egyptians

were drowned. It was to them a typical baptism. The manna on

which they fed was a type of Christ crucified, the Bread which

came down from heaven, which whoso eateth shall live for ever.

Christ is the Rock on which the Christian church is built; and

of the streams that issue therefrom, all believers drink, and

are refreshed. It typified the sacred influences of the Holy

Spirit, as given to believers through Christ. But let none

presume upon their great privileges, or profession of the truth;

these will not secure heavenly happiness.
6-14 Carnal desires gain strength by indulgence, therefore

should be checked in their first rise. Let us fear the sins of

Israel, if we would shun their plagues. And it is but just to

fear, that such as tempt Christ, will be left by him in the

power of the old serpent. Murmuring against God's disposals and

commands, greatly provokes him. Nothing in Scripture is written

in vain; and it is our wisdom and duty to learn from it. Others

have fallen, and so may we. The Christian's security against sin

is distrust of himself. God has not promised to keep us from

falling, if we do not look to ourselves. To this word of

caution, a word of comfort is added. Others have the like

burdens, and the like temptations: what they bear up under, and

break through, we may also. God is wise as well as faithful, and

will make our burdens according to our strength. He knows what

we can bear. He will make a way to escape; he will deliver

either from the trial itself, or at least the mischief of it. We

have full encouragement to flee from sin, and to be faithful to

God. We cannot fall by temptation, if we cleave fast to him.

Whether the world smiles or frowns, it is an enemy; but

believers shall be strengthened to overcome it, with all its

terrors and enticements. The fear of the Lord, put into their

hearts, will be the great means of safety.
15-22 Did not the joining in the Lord's supper show a

profession of faith in Christ crucified, and of adoring

gratitude to him for his salvation ? Christians, by this

ordinance, and the faith therein professed, were united as the

grains of wheat in one loaf of bread, or as the members in the

human body, seeing they were all united to Christ, and had

fellowship with him and one another. This is confirmed from the

Jewish worship and customs in sacrifice. The apostle applies

this to feasting with idolaters. Eating food as part of a

heathen sacrifice, was worshipping the idol to whom it was made,

and having fellowship or communion with it; just as he who eats

the Lord's supper, is accounted to partake in the Christian

sacrifice, or as they who ate the Jewish sacrifices partook of

what was offered on their altar. It was denying Christianity;

for communion with Christ, and communion with devils, could

never be had at once. If Christians venture into places, and

join in sacrifices to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the

eye, and the pride of life, they will provoke God.
23-33 There were cases wherein Christians might eat what had

been offered to idols, without sin. Such as when the flesh was

sold in the market as common food, for the priest to whom it had

been given. But a Christian must not merely consider what is

lawful, but what is expedient, and to edify others. Christianity

by no means forbids the common offices of kindness, or allows

uncourteous behaviour to any, however they may differ from us in

religious sentiments or practices. But this is not to be

understood of religious festivals, partaking in idolatrous

worship. According to this advice of the apostle, Christians

should take care not to use their liberty to the hurt of others,

or to their own reproach. In eating and drinking, and in all we

do, we should aim at the glory of God, at pleasing and honouring

him. This is the great end of all religion, and directs us where

express rules are wanting. A holy, peaceable, and benevolent

spirit, will disarm the greatest enemies.

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