1 Corinthians 9

* The apostle shows his authority, and asserts his right to be

maintained. (1-14) He waved this part of his Christian liberty,

for the good of others. (15-23) He did all this, with care and

diligence, in view of an unfading crown. (24-27)

1-14 It is not new for a minister to meet with unkind returns

for good-will to a people, and diligent and successful services

among them. To the cavils of some, the apostle answers, so as to

set forth himself as an example of self-denial, for the good of

others. He had a right to marry as well as other apostles, and

to claim what was needful for his wife, and his children if he

had any, from the churches, without labouring with his own hands

to get it. Those who seek to do our souls good, should have food

provided for them. But he renounced his right, rather than

hinder his success by claiming it. It is the people's duty to

maintain their minister. He may wave his right, as Paul did; but

those transgress a precept of Christ, who deny or withhold due

15-23 It is the glory of a minister to deny himself, that he

may serve Christ and save souls. But when a minister gives up

his right for the sake of the gospel, he does more than his

charge and office demands. By preaching the gospel, freely, the

apostle showed that he acted from principles of zeal and love,

and thus enjoyed much comfort and hope in his soul. And though

he looked on the ceremonial law as a yoke taken off by Christ,

yet he submitted to it, that he might work upon the Jews, do

away their prejudices, prevail with them to hear the gospel, and

win them over to Christ. Though he would transgress no laws of

Christ, to please any man, yet he would accommodate himself to

all men, where he might do it lawfully, to gain some. Doing good

was the study and business of his life; and, that he might reach

this end, he did not stand on privileges. We must carefully

watch against extremes, and against relying on any thing but

trust in Christ alone. We must not allow errors or faults, so as

to hurt others, or disgrace the gospel.
24-27 The apostle compares himself to the racers and combatants

in the Isthmian games, well known by the Corinthians. But in the

Christian race all may run so as to obtain. There is the

greatest encouragement, therefore, to persevere with all our

strength, in this course. Those who ran in these games were kept

to a spare diet. They used themselves to hardships. They

practised the exercises. And those who pursue the interests of

their souls, must combat hard with fleshly lusts. The body must

not be suffered to rule. The apostle presses this advice on the

Corinthians. He sets before himself and them the danger of

yielding to fleshly desires, pampering the body, and its lusts

and appetites. Holy fear of himself was needed to keep an

apostle faithful: how much more is it needful for our

preservation! Let us learn from hence humility and caution, and

to watch against dangers which surround us while in the body.

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