1 Cor. 3
People not only boast in their wisdom, but also in the wisdom of their leaders. Some brag about following Paul or Apollos or Cephas. This is ridiculous! Did any of these men die for the Corinthians sin?
We act like elementary schoolchildren who cry out, “My daddy can beat up your daddy.” The question is: “Can you beat me up?” “Can you beat up sin?” We cannot boast in anyone – especially not ourselves, but only in Christ. We were hopeless. Dead. We had no place to turn because we couldn’t turn our heads. But God blew breath in our lungs, opened our eyes to the beauty of Jesus on the Cross. He filled our opened mouths with praise of our King. And we became his sons! Now we live in the power and joy of the Holy Spirit of Promise who has been richly poured out in our hearts.
When we come to this reality, we understand that all things – and all men – are ours! There is not a hierarchy among men. There is one king. One Mediator. One Saviour. 21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. All things belong to God. We are his possession.
A note about works:
Some might argue that we are saved by faith and by the works that we perform as being a part of God’s new covenant. They argue that the Spirit empowers us to obey and do good works. This may sound right – especially in light of the “need” for good works. But in light of v. 15 I don’t think this stands. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. This man will be saved, although his work will be burned up. He will be saved, even if he does not have works to show for his life on earth.
The initial problem I run into has to do with the fact that good works are a necessary evidence of our justification. This is not a theological treatise, but a metaphor Paul employs to reiterate the fact that salvation is by grace alone through faith, not by works. Why? So no one can boast!