The Berean Expositor
Volume 45 - Page 92 of 251
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became idolaters and fell into vice (verses 6-8). They tempted the Lord and perished
through the snake bites (9). They tried to see how far they could go into sin without the
Lord intervening. They continually grumbled about the Lord's leading and dealings with
them. We may think that grumbling is not nearly so bad as idolatry, but the Lord took a
different and solemn view of this. They wearied Him with their constant complaints and
dissatisfaction. It is no wonder that we, as members of the Body of Christ are warned
against this sin, and we should note that it is in the epistle concerning the prize, namely
Phil. 2: 14, that we are told: "Do all things without murmurings and disputings".
The Apostle sums up by saying:
"Now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for
our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come" (10: 11 R.V.).
Some of the Corinthians apparently thought that, because they were saved, they could
get away with idolatry and sin, so that this was of little account in their estimation. Paul
is at pains to show the falsity and danger of such a conception.
pp. 204 - 208
In 10: 11 Paul uses the striking expression, "the end of the ages". The whole verse
translated literally would read, "Now these things happened to them by way of example;
and they were written for our warning, upon whom the ends of the ages have arrived".
Such a drastic expression can only be understood in the light of the early Second Coming
of the Lord as a possibility during the Acts period (Acts 3: 19-26). Nothing less than
this would warrant such an expression, which would otherwise be a gross exaggeration.
The Apostle had already stated that the "time was short" (7: 29), and he instructed
believers to wait daily for the return of the Saviour. We have seen that this was the
united testimony of all the early epistles and it is difficult to understand how this has been
ignored by expositors and believers generally over the centuries.
It is true to say that the early epistles cannot be understood properly without a
recognition of this tremendous fact and its implications at the time of writing. The
Apostle has been stressing the responsibility to the Lord that Truth brings, and the need
for its practical outworking, in terms of a heavenly race. This was to counter the
complacency of some of the Corinthian believers. However, to balance things up, lest
this responsibility should appear too great, he now brings forward a Divine promise of
great encouragement:
"No testing has fallen upon you but what is the common lot of men: But God can be
trusted not to allow you to be tested beyond your power; on the contrary, along with the trial
He will provide also the way out, so that you may be able to endure" (10: 13 100: K. Barrett).
God knows even better than the believer just how much testing he can endure, and
never will He allow the burden to become too great. Sometimes we may feel that we