Joshua and Judges: The allotment of the land, part 43 - Predestination - Liberty of God's glory.

Title: Joshua and Judges: The allotment of the land, part 43 - Predestination - Liberty of God's glory.  


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1Co 9:12 If others share the right over you, do we not more? [We ministered to your conversion and established your church] Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure [protect or preserve by covering] all things, that we may cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ.


1Co 9:13 Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share with the altar?


1Co 9:14 So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.


1Co 9:15 But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things that it may be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one.


1Co 9:16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.


1Co 4:1-2

Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.


1Co 9:17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.


"if I do this voluntarily" - if I chose to enter into this calling.

"I have a reward" - I would always receive my earthly due.


This difficult verse is cleared up by the context and it gets to the heart of the matter of Christian liberty. Remember that Paul is writing about his right to be supported which he is not going to claim or require so that the gospel will not be hindered. This is the context of the word reward, which is shown by the next verse. In the prior verse he made it clear that he was under compulsion to preach the gospel. If he was under compulsion then he did not enter into this voluntarily. However, in the ministry he does willingly preach and in fact loves to preach. But when he speaks of being voluntary he is speaking of entering into the ministry. His calling is not his own but God's. This is not a job that Paul applied for.  


Paul chose Christ but he did not choose his calling as a minister and apostle. He was given a stewardship, a charge as a slave, by Christ.


None of us choose our calling though all of us choose Christ. We cannot walk in the calling but voluntarily, but the calling itself was not our call. The call is described perfectly as a stewardship. A stewardship was entrusted to a leading slave. He may have been in charge of the children, or the grounds, or the kitchen, and it was up to him to make it work well and efficiently. The slave didn't apply for this job. It was given to him.


One may ask, "How is it liberty if you don’t get to choose it?" This is unthinking or not thinking it through. Would we choose correctly so that the entire body can function effectively? Given the freedom to choose our calling there would be a disproportionate distribution of gifts. There might be many preachers and few who minister to them and to the rest of the body in the many other ways that are necessary. Plus, most would often want to change their ministry. They would try one and either not like it or think there was a better fit for them making the church full of gift hoppers. This wouldn't be freedom but slavery. Liberty for the believer comes with the comfort that such choices are not up to him and he can rest in the decisions of a perfect and wise God. Liberty for man does not come without rules or borders and only God is wise enough and uncorrupted to make such decisions. We find liberty in following Him, which is where the Spirit of the Lord is.


Each of us is given the perfect calling. We did not choose it voluntarily.


1Co 12:4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.


1Co 12:5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.


1Co 12:6 And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.


1Co 12:7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.


Paul was told what he must do soon after his conversion. He was not given a choice and neither are any of us.


The first command that Paul receives is to simply told to go to a certain place where he would receive instruction on the stewardship that God had chosen for him.


Act 9:1 Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest,


Act 9:2 and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus [letters of introduction], so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.


Act 9:3 And it came about that as he journeyed, he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him;


Act 9:4 and he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"


Act 9:5 And he said, "Who art Thou, Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,


Act 9:6 but rise, and enter the city, and it shall be told you what you must do."


Act 9:7 And the men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice, but seeing no one.


Act 9:8 And Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus.


Act 9:9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.


Act 9:10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Behold, here am I, Lord."


Act 9:11 And the Lord said to him, "Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying,


Act 9:12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight." 


Act 9:13 But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Thy saints at Jerusalem;


Act 9:14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon Thy name."


Act 9:15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;


Act 9:16 for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake." 


Act 9:17 And Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit."


Act 9:18 And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he arose and was baptized;


Act 9:19 and he took food and was strengthened. Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus,


Act 9:20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God."


1Co 9:16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.


1Co 9:17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.


The reward for realizing the fulfillment of God's calling upon you is never found in anything earthly. Our rewards are heavenly and the heavenly reward is simply to accomplish the work. Christ did not come to earth seeking crowns, even heavenly ones. He came seeking to deliver souls from sin and death and the curse of the Law.


Even if we were to receive some accolades and riches, none of it belongs to us anyway. All belongs to Christ. If there are no thank you-s, no gifts, no applause, no acknowledgment, it is of no concern for our reward is found in the very real and unchangeable fact that we can preach the gospel and reveal Christ without cost and no amount of persecution will stop it. THIS is our right and no one can take it from us.


"if against my will" - given to me by the Sovereignty of God.

"I have a stewardship" - a slave of Christ and placed by Him in the body with a certain ministry.


1Co 9:18 What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.


Paul's reward is to offer the gospel without charge. His motivation is the love of God for mankind and his love of the gospel itself since it is Christ saving mankind through His unfathomable sacrifice. He is also rewarded by the fact that he is not one bit conflicted in his own heart. He hasn’t the slightest question as to why he is performing his ministry. He is not after anything other than to offer the gospel and due to this no one can accuse him of any other motive.

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