God Was Not Well Pleased – Part 3

1Corinthians 10:5-10 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be you idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur you, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 

‘And were destroyed of serpents’ – In Numbers 21:6-9 we see the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. They were called “fiery serpents” because of the violent inflammation and thirst caused by their bites, not because of their colour (Deut. 8:15). They caused many to die but produced repentance and confession of sin (Num. 21:6-7). The bronze serpent was a type of Christ bearing the sins and sicknesses of all men (Matt. 8:17; John 3:14; 10:10; 1Pet. 2:24; Isa. 53:1-12). A serpent of brass was made for their salvation as a type of Christ. Israel later made a god of this bronze serpent and it was finally destroyed in the days of Hezekiah (2Kin. 18:4). The nine-fold type of Christ: The serpent itself was a symbol of sin; Christ was made sin for us that we might be made free from sin (2Cor. 5:21).  The serpent was lifted up on a pole; Christ was lifted up on a cross (John 3:14-15). The sick of Israel received healing by looking on the brass serpent; others have received healing by looking to Christ (Matt. 8:17; John 3:14-15; 1Pet. 2:24; Isa. 53:1-12). As the Israelites who looked on the serpent continued to live, so those who truly look to Christ will live eternally (John 3:14-15). God provided no other remedy for the Israelites at this time; so Christ is the only remedy for those who wish salvation (John 3:14-16; Acts 3:16; 4:12; Rom. 10:9-10). As the Israelites had to have faith in the brass serpent as the remedy for their sin and sickness, so people today must have faith in Christ (John 3:14-16; Eph. 2:8-9). As God’s power was the invisible force in the remedy of the brass serpent, so it is with salvation through Christ (Matt. 1:21; Rom. 1:16; Col. 2:12-13). As the serpent on the pole brought peace and reconciliation with God, so Christ did on the cross (Col. 1:20-21). As a confession of sin and prayer were necessary for Israel to receive the benefits of the remedy of the brass serpent, so they are necessary to obtain the benefits of Christ and the cross (John 3:14-16; Rom. 10:9-10; 1Jn. 1:9).

‘Murmur you, as some of them also murmured’ It does not take much to cause the average person to complain. The slightest temporary lack of water, food, clothing, money, or convenience will test the mettle of every man. One is virtually a prisoner to his own desires, appetites, and passions if he is without God. The best will finally complain if the pressure increases beyond normal.

‘The destroyer’ – The plagues in the wilderness was no doubt caused by a destroying angel as in Exodus 12:1-51; 2Samuel 24:16 and Isaiah 37:36.

Called to be Saints

1Corinthians 1:1-3 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 

‘Apostle’ [Greek: apostolosa] delegate, one sent with the full power of attorney to act in the place of another, the sender remaining behind to back up the one sent. In the case of Christians, it means God sends them to do what He, Himself would do if He went. It is found 81 times and translated apostle 78 times; messenger twice (2Cor. 8:23; Php. 2:25); and once he that is sent (John 13:16). The last apostle [New Testament recorders] was John the apostle as John the Baptist was the last prophet [writers of the Old Testament]. Only twenty-four apostles are recorded: Simon Peter and his brother Andrew (Matt. 10:2); James, son of Zebedee and John his brother (Matt. 10:2); Philip and his brother Bartholomew (Matt. 10:3); James, son of Alphaeus and Judas his brother (Luke 6:16) and Matthew, son of Alphaeus, perhaps brother of James and Judas (Mark 2:14; Luke 6:15); Thomas (Matt. 10:3); Simon Zelotes, brother of James and Judas, according to tradition (Luke 6:15); Judas Iscariot (Matt. 10:4); Matthias (Acts 1:26); Barnabas (1Cor. 9:5-6; Acts 13:1-3; 14:4, 14; Gal. 2:9); Andronicus (Rom. 16:7); Junia (Rom. 16:7); Apollos (1Cor. 4:6-9); James, the Lord’s brother (Gal. 1:19; 2:6; Jas. 1:1); Silas (1Thess. 1:1; 2:6); Timothy (1Thess. 1:1; 2:6); Titus (2Cor. 8:23); Jude (Jud. 1:1); Paul (Gal_1:1; Gal. 2:8); Jesus Christ (Heb. 3:1). For lists of the twelve apostles see Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16 and Acts 1:13, 26.

‘Through the will of God’ – by God’s own appointment and will. ‘Sosthenes’ perhaps the same man as in Acts 18:17.

‘Corinth’ – the capital of Greece at this time and seat of the Roman proconsul (Acts 18:12), as Athens was its centre of learning. It was 74 kilometres west of Athens. The worship of Aphrodite [Latin: Venus] and the Ashtoreth of Judges 2:13 was carried on here, with all the Eastern immorality, probably introduced by Phoenicians (1Kin. 11:33). Paul started this congregation in about 52 A.D.

‘Sactified’ [Greek: hagiazo] set apart or consecrate Greek: hagiazo, to separate from a profane to a sacred use; to consecrate self wholly to God and His service. The primary meaning is separation, not making holy. It means to make holy only when the person or thing sanctified needs to be cleansed from sin or defilement in order to be fit to be separated unto God and His service.

‘Saints’ – the salutation is to: The congregation of God at Corinth; those who are sanctified in Christ and saints. All saved people are saints, so there are no grounds for making people saints after death (Acts 9:13, 32, 41; 26:10; Rom. 1:7; 1Cor. 6:1-2; 2Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Php. 1:1; Col. 1:2; 2Thess. 1:10; Jude 1:3; Rev. 5:8; 13:7, 10; 17:6).

‘With all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord’ – this proves that Paul intended that this epistle should be the general property of all congregations.

‘Both theirs and ours’ Jesus Christ is the common Saviour of all people. He is not the exclusive Lord of any one nation or denomination.

‘Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ’ – this part of the salutation is in every one of Paul’s epistles except those to Timothy and Titus.