Foundation of the Christian life
Chaplain Bertram Bobb
It is always a blessing to share God’s plan and purpose for us from His Word for our spiritual growth. God has given to us many promises to claim by faith. I appreciate your encouraging letters and personal words on the Chaplain’s Corner. May God continue to bless you.
In Paul’s letter to the Church at Corinth he writes about three different kinds of men. In chapters one and two of First Corinthians we read about the Spiritual man. In the latter part of the second chapter we learn some things about the unsaved man whom he calls the Natural man.
Chapter three tells us about the Carnal man – the person who is born again but who lets his life be controlled by the desires of the flesh and by the reasoning of men rather than by the Spirit of God.
In the first four verses of chapter three we learn that Paul could not teach the deep things of God to these people because of their carnality. He had to feed them spiritual milk (Hebrews 5:12-14) instead of spiritual meat. Paul said the marks of carnality are: envy, strife, divisions – factions, jealousies, and quarreling.
Having accused them of carnality because of their divisions, Paul presented another question. He asked, in verse 5: “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man.”
It seems as though Paul was saying, “God has used us as ministers, but who are we? We are mere servants to whom the Lord has given a ministry.”
Then he added in verse 6: “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” Paul planted the seed and Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. Paul and Apollos were merely instruments in God’s hands.
Paul had planted the seed of spiritual truth in the hearts of these Corinthians.
Apollos had watered that truth, but God caused the spiritual growth in the heart of each willing Christian. Weeds and thorns represent sin. (Matthew 13:24-30) When weeds get into a field, the plants cannot grow properly. When sin gets into the life of a Christian, spiritual growth is hindered. God wants to use us, but He cannot do so until we allow Him to cultivate our lives and take away the sin.
When the weeds, thorns, and thistles of sin in our lives are removed, God can give growth to our spiritual lives. (Read I John 1:9)
In verse 8, the Apostle Paul said: “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one…” This means that they have a unity of purpose. There should be no rivalry among Christians. They should have one purpose in heart and mind. God has called some to be evangelists, some to be missionaries, some to be pastors, some to be teachers. God calls different ones to different fields, and they should not be rivals. Each person has a particular calling to do; each one has his own place.
Some plant the seed of God’s Word, and others water it. Perhaps you have watered the seed that another has sown, or perhaps you have sown the seed, while others watered it and reaped the fruit. Whether or not God will allow us to reap the fruit is not important. The important thing is that God gave the increase. Even though there are different types of ministries, we have one purpose and one goal.
Paul first wrote of sowing the seed. He then introduced the subject of rewards for our labor in verse 8b: “… and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.”
Paul later stated this truth a little more clearly in II Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
We are going to receive rewards for the things we have done while we were in the flesh. This truth is the key to a wider understanding of His Grace. In verse 9, Paul writes: “For we are laborers together with God…”
We are working together with Him. It is very important that we understand this truth. When we do, life will take on a new meaning. What a privilege to be laborers together with God! He has given us His work and the power and strength with which to do it. He gives us His Word, His love, His grace, and even Himself – all that we need to do His work. He is everything; we are merely instruments. Being a CO-laborer with God is more than a privilege; it is a responsibility. As CO-laborers, we are going to have to give an account of our work to God.
Paul wrote in verse 10: “… I have laid the foundation…” Paul was not the foundation; Jesus Christ was. Paul wrote in verse 11: “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid which is Jesus Christ.”
Paul laid the foundation. He presented Christ to them and evangelized them. Evangelism is the laying of the foundation for men. Salvation is the foundation of the Christian life.
Salvation is based upon the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross, because it was complete; nothing can be added to it. We cannot add or subtract from this foundation of salvation. But when the foundation – Jesus Christ – is laid, we can build on that foundation. That is our labor for God.
There are some who try to live a Christian life without first laying the proper foundation. Perhaps you are one of them. Perhaps you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior – you have not been born again. Perhaps you are trying to live a Christian life in your own strength. You cannot do it, for you must have Jesus Christ in your heart, in your life – He is the foundation of the Christian life.
If you have never trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, will you make that decision, by faith, today?
Remember to pray for America and for our leaders Pray for our brave men and women in service.