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because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather
take wrong 2 why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded ?
8. Way, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.
Rather than draw down reproach upon the christian cause, why do ye not rather submit to suffer wrong? Was there no meaning in those words of their heavenly Lord, “If any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also? And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” There is a time, when a christian spirit will yield a just claim rather than pursue it: when a man will refuse to “seek his own,” lest he should, in seeking it, injure that which is dearer to him than his own.
But even this is not the worst. Where there is an injury, there must be an author of the injury. Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. It was needful to remind them of what they seemed to have forgotten: that they were called to holiness and righteousness: “cleansed from their old sins,” that they might walk in newness
of life, as “a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
9. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10. Mor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor re-. wilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
* Matt. v. 30. * Ch. xiii. 5.
11. And such were some of you : but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Thus he reminds them, how they had been delivered from a state which God looks upon with abhorrence, and placed in a state acceptable to him. At their baptism, they had been washed in the blood of Christ, which cleanseth from all sin: they had been freed from condemnation, and accounted of God amongst his people: they had received the gift of the Holy Ghost, to renew them in the spirit of their minds, and make them “meet to be partakers” of the heavenly inheritance." But of this they could not partake, without such meetness, such sanctification, such new heart and right spirit: for the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. If they did wrong, and defrauded, it was proof that they had not continued stedfast in the faith; for they “ lacked those things” which must never be lacking in God's children," and without which “an entrance could not be ministered to them into the kingdom of their Lord and Saviour.” Let them not be deceived in this, by the suggestion of their own corrupt hearts, or the false teaching of treacherous brethren.
If, however, we learn here the danger of being thus deceived, and so falling back into sins from which the grace of God is intended to deliver us: we also learn the power and efficacy of that grace. Such were some of you. So the apostle says to these Corinthians: ye had followed the devices of the flesh and of the mind, and in your former ignorance had been given up to all the evil practices into which a corrupt nature would lead you. But ye are such no longer. Ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. That has come to pass in your case, which the prophet seemed to speak of as impossible; when he says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then shall that man do good, who has been accustomed to do evil.” But “what is impossible with man, is possible with God:” and in his Gospel he has made provision for putting off the old nature, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and for putting on the new nature, “which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” And this is no vain boast, no matter of mere words. The apostle points to this picture, and to that. Such were some of you: but such ye are no longer. Ye have shown by your example, that as a man MUST be “born of water and of the Spirit,” that he may enter into the kingdom of God: so he MAY be thus new born, and therefore fitted for that kingdom.
* Col. i. 12. * 2 Pet. i. 9–11.
These things are written alike for our warning and encouragement. The warning is clear. Know ye not, that the unrighteous, the unholy, the sensual, shall not inherit the kingdom of God? But so likewise the encouragement is plain. For one who by God's grace is alarmed by the warning, may reflect within himself after this manner: such am I. I have offended in those very things of which the apostle speaks. But so had some of those to whom he was writing. They had been pardoned: their sins washed out. Itoo may receive pardon. They had been justified. I too may be justified. They had been sanctified. I too may become “a new creature.” The habit of wickedness was not less strong in these Corinthians, than in any sinner now. At all times, the breaking off an old habit, the contending against an indulged sin, may be justly compared to the plucking out of a right eye, or the cutting off a right arm.” But scripture, which tells us that it must be done, tells us also that it can be done; and that they who have committed those things which exclude a man from God's favour, may yet be sanctified, may yet be justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
* Jer. xiii. 23. 9 Matt. xix. 26. 1 Eph. iv. 24. * John iii. 2–5.
THE NECESSITY OF SELF DENIAL AND SANCTIFICATION.
1 CoR. vi. 12—20.
12. All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient : all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
13. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
* Matt. v. 20, 30.
14. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.
In what he had been before writing, St. Paul had been insisting upon a degree of sanctity to which the heart is not naturally disposed. Therefore he proceeds to show that the Christian in all respects must “keep under his body, and bring it into subjection.” With regard, for instance, to a matter which was much disputed between the Jewish and the heathen Christians; with regard to the use of certain meats; he takes the line of self-denial, and will not go even to the full length of lawfulness. All things are lawful for me: i. e. I know that “every creature of God is good” for the use of man,' and that the distinction exists no longer between things clean and unclean, meats lawful and meats forbidden. But though in this sense, all things are lawful, all things are not expedient: and I must not so indulge my appetite even in things allowable, as to make them necessary to me. I must not be brought under the power of any. I must so use my liberty, as to preserve it. Meats are to supply the wants of the body, and the body is prepared to receive them : but according to the ordinance of God, death shall soon destroy both it and them : both shall perish: and that which is beyond must be looked to, when God who hath raised up the Lord, will also raise up us by his own power, and “our vile body shall be made a glorious body,” if it has been exercised in serving him, and restrained from offending him. For the body is for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. How dread
* 1 Tim. iv. 4. Rom. xiv. 14. ? Phil. iii. 21.