| || |The Berean Expositor
Volume 7 - Page 113 of 133 Index | Zoom | |
Before we go further we must make it clear that we are not dealing with the hope of
our calling, but the prize of our calling. We mention this because some have apparently
failed to distinguish between the blessed hope which is unconditional and certain, and the
prize which none can say they have secured until they have finished their course.
The apostle continues in verses 12 and 13 to emphasize the uncertainty which he was
in, "not as though I had already obtained (the prize), either were already perfect.
Brethren, I count not myself to have laid hold"; every word is suggestive of the eager
runner nearing the goal, but not having reached it, and therefore not yet certain of the
prize. The same element of uncertainty arising from the same conditions is found in
connection with another phase of this wide subject of reward.
"Know ye not that those running in a race, all indeed run, but one obtains (same word
as `attain' in Phil. 3: 12) the prize (same word as in Phil. 3: 14). So run, that you may
lay hold (same word as `apprehend' in Phil. 3: 12); now every one that contends (for a
prize) is temperate in all things, they indeed to obtain a perishable crown, but we an
imperishable. I therefore so run as not uncertainly, so I combat as not beating the air; but
I buffet (`weary', Luke 18: 5) my body and lead it captive, lest after preaching to
others, I myself should become disapproved" (I Cor. 9: 24-27).
No explanation is needed, for the passage speaks plainly for itself. Paul, saved by
grace and absolutely certain of his position in Christ, when speaking of running for the
prize, or wrestling for the crown (II Tim. 2:), not only refrains from saying he is certain
of attaining, but goes so far as to admit of the possibility of becoming disqualified.
It is to our loss just here that the chapter division occurs. The questions that arise in
the mind upon closing I Cor. 9: are anticipated and answered in chapter 10: The word
"moreover" in 10: 1 is misleading, it is apt to make the reader think that a new subject is
to be opened; the word is gar, and should be rendered "for", thereby linking chapter 10:
with 9:, "for I wish you not to be ignorant brethren". Of what is the apostle speaking?
Of a case illustrating the very point at issue. The lesson hinges upon the words "all" and
"many"; five things are said of all Israel that passed out of Egypt under the protection of
the sprinkled blood, viz.:--
They were ALL under the cloud.
They ALL passed through the sea.
They were ALL baptized unto Moses.
They did ALL eat the same spiritual meat.
They did ALL drink the same spiritual drink.
But they did not ALL reach, "attain" the promised land, for the passage continues, "but
with MANY of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the
wilderness". If any one had said to Paul, But surely, you, with all that you have endured,
with all your gifts and evident grace, surely you are certain of the prize?, Paul would have
only to ask, Did Moses enter the promised land, or did he, after having preached to
others, become disapproved? The passage continues with reference to the wilderness
experience of Israel, concluding with the pertinent words, "Wherefore, let him that
thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall". Then for their encouragement the apostle
adds the gracious words:--