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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles

Chapter 62 - 1 Corinthians 1:1-7 - The Saint's True Posture Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles by Bonar, Horatius


At Corinth there was a large and noble church. It was not perfect; there were errors and divisions in it; there was gross sin in it. Yet it was not only a true church, but one of high attainment. The Corinthian saints were enriched in all utterance and all knowledge. They had gifts as well as graces; manifold gifts; all gifts; they came behind or were deficient in no gift; they abounded in them. They were an advancing church; a church of true "progress" in knowledge, gifts, and holiness.

Thus there may in a church be much evil in the midst of much good. Even when there are divisions and inconsistencies, there may be life and fruit.

It is progress at which we are to aim; each church, each Christian. We must first start,—start in the right direction,—for the walk or the race. We must begin with believing; we must be rooted and grounded in love. And then progress, true progress begins; not till then. Having begun, we go on unto perfection; we increase and abound in wisdom, truth, holiness, hatred of sin, love to the brethren, pity for the world. Onward, upward, is our motto.

But along with these gifts there was one thing specially noticeable in these Corinthians: they waited for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us mark here,—

I. The person. He is not here designated Son of man, or Son of God, King, or Master, or Bridegroom, but "Lord Jesus Christ"; His fullest, longest title, and one which the apostle delights to repeat at full length, as if never weary of it. He is (1.) Lord; nay, He is Lord of lords; He is Lord in the sense of God; He is Jehovah, for this is His Old Testament name. (2.) Jesus. Jah, the Saviour, He who saves us from our sins; a divine Saviour. (3.) Christ; Messiah, the anointed one; filled with the Spirit without measure; the vessel of infinite and divine fullness. These three names declare His glory, and also reveal His grace. In them we read, "God is love"; "God so loved the world"; "herein is love."

II. The event. "The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ." The word is properly "the apocalypse," or "revelation," or "manifestation." He is now hidden; unseen; within the veil. But this concealment is not always to last. God bath appointed a day for "revelation." Then He shall be visible; every eye shall see Him. His first coming is the greatest event in earth's past history; His second coming is the greatest in its future. He shall come! Behold the Lord cometh. He comes in glory, in majesty, with clouds, with all his saints, to destroy Antichrist; to deliver creation; to bind Satan; to convert Israel and the Gentiles; to execute vengeance; to raise His, saints; to judge and to reign. For these things He comes. He is only waiting for the time appointed by the Father. Then He shall appear in His glory, no longer the man of sorrows, but the Conqueror, the Bridegroom, the crowned King.

III. The posture. "Waiting" (see Roman 8:19, 23), as the servant for the master; the traveler or mariner for the morning; the bride for the bridegroom. In all these there is eager and earnest expectation. The event is infinitely desirable; the person is the object of our love. We have heard of Him; we long to see Him and to hear His voice. His absence is sadness and gloom; as Rutherford says, "It is like a mountain of iron on our heavy hearts." All seems to go wrong in that time of absence. In such a case, "waiting" is a necessity; we cannot but wait. (1) We wait in faith; (2) in hope; (3) in patience; (4) in desire; (5) in love; (6) in watchfulness. Such was the church's posture before Messiah's first coming; such is it before His second. It is the posture of the church and of each saint. They are waiters and watchers. There must be no forgetfulness, no indifference, no sloth, no sleep; all wakefulness, eagerness, and longing. Many things tend to hinder this, and to throw us off our guard. Let us beware, and hold fast. Let us not sleep as do others; but watch.

IV. The connection between this posture and the gift. It is close, vital, and mutual. The gifts cherish the waiting, and the waiting the gifts; the one helps the other. The more we wait, the more the gifts will grow; and the more they grow, the more will we wait. (1.) The gifts are all from Christ, out of His fullness; and the more we possess of the gifts, the more shall we desire to know the giver; the more copious and pleasant our draughts of the stream, the more shall we long for the fountainhead. (2.) The gifts are the gifts of the Spirit, and He is the witness of Christ; the more that we are filled with Him, the more shall we wait, and look, and long for Him to whom He testifies, and whom His office is to glorify. Thus they both are inseparably linked together. We cannot be growing Christians without waiting for Christ; and we cannot wait for Christ without growing.

(1.) Press on. Stationary saintship is as poor as it is perilous. Advance; advance! Make this your motto. Be progressive Christians; belong to the advanced school of theology and holiness in the true sense.

(2.) Beware of stumbling and backsliding. The tendencies both within and without are all against us. Snares and stumbling blocks are in our path. Be on your guard. Look to your feet. Dread one retrogressive step. Watch against coldness and formalism.

(3.) Wait for the revelation of Christ. Be this your posture constantly; not theoretical, but practical. Let nothing come between you and a crucified Christ; a risen Christ; a glorified Christ; a coming Christ.