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Take Heed


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For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.

Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.” Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.

—1 Corinthians 10:1–12

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Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth. The Apostle concludes from what goes before, that we must not glory in our beginnings or progress, so as to resign ourselves to carelessness and inactivity. For the Corinthians gloried in their condition in such a way, that, forgetting their weakness, they fell into many crimes. This was a false confidence of such a kind as the Prophets frequently reprove in the Israelitish people. As, however, Papists wrest this passage for the purpose of maintaining their impious doctrine respecting faith, as having constantly doubt connected with it, let us observe that there are two kinds of assurance.

The one is that which rests on the promises of God, because a pious conscience feels assured that God will never be wanting to it; and, relying on this unconquerable persuasion, triumphs boldly and intrepidly over Satan and sin, and yet, nevertheless, keeping in mind its own infirmity, casts itself upon God, and with carefulness and anxiety commits itself to him. This kind of assurance is sacred, and is inseparable from faith, as appears from many passages of Scripture, and especially Romans viii. 33.

The other arises from negligence, when men, puffed up with the gifts that they have, give themselves no concern, as if they were beyond the reach of danger, but rest satisfied with their condition. Hence it is that they are exposed to all the assaults of Satan. This is the kind of assurance which Paul would have the Corinthians to abandon, because he saw that they were satisfied with themselves under the influence of a silly conceit. He does not, however, exhort them to be always anxiously in doubt as to the will of God, or to tremble from uncertainty as to their salvation, as Papists dream. In short, let us bear in mind, that Paul is here addressing persons who were puffed up with a base confidence in the flesh, and represses that assurance which is grounded upon men—not upon God. For after commending the Colossians for the solidity or steadfastness of their faith (Col. ii. 5), he exhorts them to be rooted in Christ, to remain firm, and to be built up and confirmed in the faith (Col. ii. 7).

Calvin’s Commentaries Volume XX, Commentary on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Baker Books, 2009), 1:329–331.



Posted 2019·09·12 by David Kjos
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Posted in: 1 Corinthians · Assurance · Calvin’s Commentaries: 1 Corinthians · John Calvin · Papism · Pride

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