Bible Commentaries

Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible

1 Corinthians 1

Verse 9

1 Corinthians 1:9

"God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord."1 Corinthians 1:9

When God calls his people by his grace, it is to make them partakers of the highest bliss and the greatest glory that he could confer upon the sons of men. And this not only in eternity, but in time; not only beyond, but this side of the grave. He appeals, therefore, to them by his prophet. "Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness?" ( Jeremiah 2:31.) When the Lord calls his people out of earthly pleasures, is it for no other purpose than to lead them into paths of affliction and sorrow? Does he make them leave the flesh-pots of Egypt to starve them in a waste howling wilderness? This was the complaint of the ancient murmurers, that Moses had brought them up out of Egypt to kill them with thirst ( Exodus 17:3). Does he take them from earthly delights to abandon them to misery and despair? O no! He calls them even in this time state to the greatest privilege and highest favor that his everlasting love could confer upon them, which is no less than "the fellowship of his Song of Solomon, Jesus Christ our Lord," that they may have union and communion with the Son of God by grace here, and be partakers of his glory hereafter. God"s dear Son Isaiah, and always has been, the object of his eternal delight. To glorify him has been from all eternity his fixed, his settled purpose; and in pursuance of this settled purpose, he gave him a people whom he formed for himself, that they might show forth his praise. Thus, therefore, the Redeemer addressed his heavenly Father—"And all mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I am glorified in them."

"God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord." 1 Corinthians 1:9

Nothing distinguishes the divine religion of the saint of God, not only from the dead profanity of the openly ungodly, but from the formal lip-service of the lifeless professor, so much as communion with God.

How clearly do we see this exemplified in the saints of old. Abel sought after fellowship with God when "he brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof," for he looked to the atoning blood of the Lamb of God. God accepted the offering, and "testified of his gifts" by manifesting his divine approbation. Here was fellowship between Abel and God. Enoch "walked with God;" but how can two walk together except they be agreed? And if agreed, they are in fellowship and communion. Abraham was "the friend of God;" "The Lord spoke to Moses face to face;" David was "the man after God"s own heart;"—all which testimonies of the Holy Spirit concerning them implied that they were reconciled, brought near, and walked in holy communion with the Lord God Almighty. So all the saints of old, whose sufferings and exploits are recorded in Hebrews 11:1-40, lived a life of faith and prayer, a life of fellowship and communion with their Father and their Friend; and though "they were stoned, sawn asunder, and slain with the sword;" though "they wandered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented;" though "they wandered in deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth," yet they all were sustained in their sufferings and sorrows by the Spirit and grace, the presence and power of the living God, with whom they held sweet communion; and, though tortured, would "accept no deliverance," by denying their Lord, "that they might obtain a better resurrection," and see him as he is in glory, by whose grace they were brought into fellowship with him on earth.

This same communion with himself is that which God now calls his saints unto, as we read, "God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord," for to have fellowship with his Son is to have fellowship with him. As then he called Abraham out of the land of the Chaldees, so he calls elect souls out of the world, out of darkness, sin, and death, out of formality and self-righteousness, out of a deceptive profession, to have fellowship with himself, to be blessed with manifestations of his love and mercy. To this point all his dealings with their souls tend; to bring them near to himself, all their afflictions, trials, and sorrows are sent; and in giving them tastes of holy fellowship here, he grants them foretastes of that eternity of bliss which will be theirs when time shall be no more, in being forever swallowed up with his presence and love.

Verse 18

1 Corinthians 1:18

"For the preaching of the cross is to those who perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians 1:18

Has the gospel ever come to you in power? If it has, it has done something for you. Has it ever, then, dispelled your many doubts and fears? Has it ever made Jesus precious to your soul; ever brought with it light, life, liberty, and love; ever given you access to the bosom of God; ever communicated that spirit of holy boldness and filial confidence, whereby, as a successful wrestler, you were enabled to prevail with God, and get a blessing out of his hands and heart?

But it is useless to talk of power when nothing is done. A manufacturer says to an engineer, "I want you to construct an engine of a hundred horse power." But if the engineer makes the engine, and upon trial it be found only of ninety, and the work require a hundred horse power, the engine is so far useless. Now, what would his employer say to him but, "What a mistake you have made! I ordered an engine of a hundred horse power, and this is only ninety. It will not do the work I want. Take it away."

So in grace. We need a power that can move certain weights; the weight of sin, for instance, from off a guilty conscience; killing fears of death and hell; the burden of unbelief; the heavy load of carnality; many grievous temptations that make the soul cry, "Lord, I am oppressed, undertake for me."

What heavy weights are there to be lifted off; what huge stones to be rolled away from the sepulcher; the world to be overcome; lusts and passions to be crucified; the old man of sin mortified; Satan to be defeated and put to flight! But besides all these weights to be removed, and enemies to be overcome, there is the soul to be saved, heaven to be brought near, hell put out of sight, the law to be forever silenced, death to be robbed of its sting, and the grave of its victory, and an eternal course of glory to be won. Oh, what a mighty work has to be done in us and for us—a work which no man ever has done or can do for himself!

Verse 22

1 Corinthians 1:22

"For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom—but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness." 1 Corinthians 1:22-23

The mystery of the cross can be received only by faith. To the Jews it was a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, it is the power of God and the wisdom of God. When, then, we can believe that the Son of God took part of our flesh and blood out of love and compassion for our souls; that there being no other way which even heaven itself could devise, no other means that the wisdom of God could contrive whereby sinners could be saved, but by the death of the cross, then the mystery shines forth with unspeakable luster and glory. The shame, the ignominy, what the Apostle calls the "weakness" and "foolishness" of the cross disappear, swallowed up in a flood of surpassing grace; and faith views it as a glorious scheme of God"s own devising, and of the Son of God"s approving and accomplishing.

Viewed in this light how glorious it appears, that by suffering in our nature all the penalties of our sin, Jesus should redeem us from the lowest hell and raise us up to the highest heaven. How full of unspeakable wisdom was that plan whereby he united God and man by himself becoming God-man; empowering poor worms of earth to soar above the skies and live forever in the presence of him who is a consuming fire. How glorious is that scheme whereby reconciling aliens and enemies unto his heavenly Father, he summons them, when death cuts their mortal thread, to mount up into an eternity of bliss, there to view face to face the great and glorious I AM to be forever enwrapped in the blaze of Deity, and ever folded in the arms of a Triune God.

It is this blessed end, this reward of the Redeemer"s sufferings, blood shedding and death, which lifts our view beyond the depths of the fall and the misery of sin, as we see and feel it in this miserable world. It is this view by faith of the glory which shall be revealed which enables us to see what wisdom and mercy were in the heart of God when he permitted the Adam fall to take place. It is as if we could see the glory of God breaking forth through it in all the splendor of atoning blood and dying love, securing to guilty man the joys of salvation, and bringing to God an eternal revenue of praise.

Verse 30

1 Corinthians 1:30

"But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us Wisdom of Solomon, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption—that, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 1:30-31

Wisdom of Solomon, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. God has made Christ all these to his people. He has set him up as their eternal Head, made him the Bridegroom of their souls, that out of his fullness they may all receive. Then, just in proportion as they learn these two lessons—what they are, and what he is—they receive him into their hearts actually what he is to them in the purpose of God.

Am I a fool? Do I feel it and know it? Have I had painful experience of it, so that all my creature wisdom is turned into one mass of foolishness? Do I catch by the eye of faith a view of the risen Mediator, "Immanuel, God with us," and see what he is made of God to us? The moment my eye sees him as " Wisdom of Solomon," that moment a measure of divine wisdom flows into my conscience.

Am I polluted and defiled throughout? Have I no righteousness of my own? Is all my obedience imperfect? Am I unable to fulfill the requirements of God"s holy law? If once I catch by the eye of faith this glorious truth, through him who is the truth, that Jesus Christ is of God made unto me "RIGHTEOUSNESS"—the moment I see that by the eye of faith, that moment a measure of imparted righteousness flows into my heart.

Am I an unholy, depraved, filthy wretch? Does corruption work in my heart? The moment I catch by the eye of faith Jesus made unto me of God "SANCTIFICATION," that moment a measure of sanctification comes into my heart, drawing up holy affections, casting out the love of the world, curbing my reigning lusts, and bringing my soul into submission at his footstool.

Am I a poor captive, entangled by Satan, by the world, and my own evil heart? The moment that I catch this glorious view, that Jesus Christ at the right hand of the Father is made unto me "REDEMPTION"—if I can believe that he is made such for me, that I have a standing in him, and a union with him, so that he is my redemption—that moment a measure of deliverance comes into my soul, and redemption imputed becomes redemption imparted; the soul receives then internally what Christ has done externally.

In a word, when Christ is received as " Wisdom of Solomon, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption," he becomes all these in vital manifestation.

"But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us Wisdom of Solomon, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."1 Corinthians 1:30

Consider what heavenly blessings there are for those who have a living union with the Son of God. Everything is provided for them, that shall be for their salvation and their sanctification—not a single blessing has God withheld that shall be for their eternal good.

View them as foolish, ignorant, unable to see the way, puzzled and perplexed by a thousand difficulties, harassed by sin, tempted by Satan, far off upon the sea. How shall they reach the heavenly shore? God, by an infinite act of sovereign love, has made his dear Son to be their " Wisdom of Solomon," so that none shall err so as to err fatally; none shall miss the road for lack of heavenly direction to find it or walk in it. Their glorious Head, who is in heaven, is made of God unto them wisdom on earth, to bring them to their heavenly inheritance. He opens up his word to their heart; he sends down a ray of light into their bosom, illuminating the sacred page and guiding their feet into the way of truth and peace. If they wander, he brings them back; if they stumble, he raises them up; and whatever be the difficulties that beset their path, sooner or later some kind direction or heavenly admonition comes from his gracious Majesty. Thus the wayfaring Prayer of Manasseh, though a fool, does not err in the way of life, for his gracious Lord being his "wisdom" leads him safely along through every difficulty until he sets him before his face in glory.

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Bibliographical Information
Philpot, Joseph Charles. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1". Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible. https://pro.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jcp/1-corinthians-1.html.