1 Corinthians 9* The apostle shows his authority, and asserts his right to bemaintained. (1-14) He waved this part of his Christian liberty,for the good of others. (15-23) He did all this, with care anddiligence, in view of an unfading crown. (24-27)1-14 It is not new for a minister to meet with unkind returnsfor good-will to a people, and diligent and successful servicesamong them. To the cavils of some, the apostle answers, so as toset forth himself as an example of self-denial, for the good ofothers. He had a right to marry as well as other apostles, andto claim what was needful for his wife, and his children if hehad any, from the churches, without labouring with his own handsto get it. Those who seek to do our souls good, should have foodprovided for them. But he renounced his right, rather thanhinder his success by claiming it. It is the people's duty tomaintain their minister. He may wave his right, as Paul did; butthose transgress a precept of Christ, who deny or withhold duesupport. 15-23 It is the glory of a minister to deny himself, that hemay serve Christ and save souls. But when a minister gives uphis right for the sake of the gospel, he does more than hischarge and office demands. By preaching the gospel, freely, theapostle showed that he acted from principles of zeal and love,and thus enjoyed much comfort and hope in his soul. And thoughhe looked on the ceremonial law as a yoke taken off by Christ,yet he submitted to it, that he might work upon the Jews, doaway their prejudices, prevail with them to hear the gospel, andwin them over to Christ. Though he would transgress no laws ofChrist, to please any man, yet he would accommodate himself toall men, where he might do it lawfully, to gain some. Doing goodwas the study and business of his life; and, that he might reachthis end, he did not stand on privileges. We must carefullywatch against extremes, and against relying on any thing buttrust in Christ alone. We must not allow errors or faults, so asto hurt others, or disgrace the gospel. 24-27 The apostle compares himself to the racers and combatantsin the Isthmian games, well known by the Corinthians. But in theChristian race all may run so as to obtain. There is thegreatest encouragement, therefore, to persevere with all ourstrength, in this course. Those who ran in these games were keptto a spare diet. They used themselves to hardships. Theypractised the exercises. And those who pursue the interests oftheir souls, must combat hard with fleshly lusts. The body mustnot be suffered to rule. The apostle presses this advice on theCorinthians. He sets before himself and them the danger ofyielding to fleshly desires, pampering the body, and its lustsand appetites. Holy fear of himself was needed to keep anapostle faithful: how much more is it needful for ourpreservation! Let us learn from hence humility and caution, andto watch against dangers which surround us while in the body.
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