1Corinthians 10:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 

‘Ignorant’ – It seems that many Corinthians thought they were secure in their salvation because they had repented, were baptized and had partaken of Christian ordinances. According to them nothing they did could cut them off from Christ – they could partake of idolatrous feasts and still be saved (8:4-13; 10:16-33). This is why Paul made the plain statement of 1Corinthians 9:27. He now shows them that Israel also had sacramental ordinances in the wilderness similar to those of Christians; and that, regardless of their typical baptism (10:2), their typical eucharist (10:3), their eating of manna and drinking of that spiritual Rock – Christ (10:4), when they joined with idolaters and partook of idolatrous feasts, going into sin, that God cut them off and destroyed them (10:5-11). He then warns Christians that God will also cut them off from Christ if they sin (10:11-14; 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; Rom. 8:12-13; Heb. 3:6, 12-14; 6:4-11; 10:26-38).

‘Under’ [Greek: hupo] denotes the underside of anything and is in contrast with upper, above or over anything. Israelites were completely overwhelmed by the cloud and the Divine Presence. This is called a baptism in the cloud (10:2).

‘Passed through’ [Greek: dia] a passing through. Israel’s experience is called a baptism in the sea (10:2). The baptism was in the cloud and in the sea in the same sense of baptism in water and in the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11).

‘Spiritual’ [Greek: pneumatikos] non-carnal; religious; or spiritual. Twelve spiritual things are noted in the Word: Man who follows the things of the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 2:15; 3:1; 14:37; Gal. 6:1; Hos. 9:7); gifts of the Spirit (1:11; 1Cor. 1:7; 12:1; 14:1, 12); things (15:27; 1Cor. 2:13; 9:11); body (resurrected, 1Cor. 15:44-46); blessings of the Spirit (Eph. 1:3); songs (religious, Eph. 5:19); wisdom and knowledge (Col. 1:9); house (spiritual people, 1Pet. 2:5); sacrifices (1Pet. 2:5); law, because it typified the spiritual thing of the New Testament (7:14); meat and drink, typifying Christ the Spiritual Rock of 1Corinthians 10:3-4; wickednes because it is of evil spirit origin (Eph. 2:2; 6:12; John 8:44).

‘Meat’ – The food rained from heaven is called: Manna (Ps. 78:24); grain from heaven; angels’ food (Ps. 78:25); meat; bread (John 6:31-32).

‘For they drank of that spiritual Rock’ – this refers to the waters from the smitten rock (Ex. 17:6; Num. 20:11; Ps. 78:15). The rock was a type of Christ (10:4; cp. Deut. 32:4, 15, 18, 31, 37; 1Sam. 22:2,47; Ps. 18:2; 27:5; 62:6-7; Isa. 32:2).

‘Them’ – There is no word in the Greek for them here. The meaning is that the miracle of the smitten rock followed the miracle of manna from heaven (Ex. 16-17).

True Saving Faith

James 2:19-20, 24, 26  Thou believe that there is one God; thou does well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? You see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. 

Believing in God is no proof that you are justified by faith alone, for even devils believe without justification. Abraham is used as an example in verse 21 to 23 of someone justified by works when he had gone to offer Isaac his son upon the altar. See then how his faith shaped with his works and by works was faith made perfect. It was faith that led him to this act of obedience. Had he refused to obey, it would have demonstrated that he had no faith in God or His Word. Verse 25 speaks of Rahab the harlot who was also justified by works when she had received the messengers and had sent them out another way.

Are you willing to be instructed as to the nature of true saving faith?

The body without the spirit is dead: Only the body dies at the time of physical death. This is caused by the soul and spirit leaving the body. The body returns to dust and the soul and spirit of the righteous go to heaven to await the resurrection (2Cor. 5:8; Php. 1:21-24). The soul and spirit of the wicked go to hell to await the resurrection (Lk. 16:19-31; Isa.14:9; Rev. 20:11-15). The soul and spirit are spiritual and immortal. They cannot go back to dust. Just as surely as the inner man leaves the body at physical death and is no longer with the body, so faith without works is dead (separated) and is powerless.