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Paul Warns against Presumption
1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. NKJV
Paul after documenting for the Corinthian believers and us all the evil desires that persisted in the hearts of the “major portion” of the people of Israel that God brought out of bondage and enslavement in Egypt, now immediately warns the Corinthian believers and us against the “sin of presumption” or “presuming on God’s Grace” to them and us. By presumption I mean to take God’s Grace for granted and assume that He is obligated to give grace to any person at any time for any reason. Paul declared to us in the letter to the Roman believers these words, “For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy” (Romans 9:15-16). In these words written by the Apostle Paul we see clearly that God is not obligated to dispense His Compassion and Mercy on any person, but because He is Infinite Love, He came down to earth (in the person of Jesus Christ) and is drawing sinful men and women to the Cross where His Compassion and Mercy can be received. King David was declared by God the Father as a man after His Own Heart, but David feared becoming presumptuous and presuming on God’s Grace to him and he declared it in this dramatic fashion with these words, “Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I will be blameless, And I shall be acquitted of great transgression” (Psalms 19:13).
King David speaks here of sinning proudly or arrogantly without regard to the people his sin may hurt nor with any concern that God’s Heart would be broken and His Name blasphemed or spoken evil of by unbelievers (Romans 2:24). Paul recounted for the Corinthian believers and us those four examples of the faithless attitudes and behaviors of the “major portion” of the people of Israel as they over and over and over “presumed” on God’s Grace, Mercy, and Compassion to them and so He was Gracious to them by allowing them to continue to live for so long despite their “presumptuous continual sinning” as declared by the words of Nehemiah as we documented a couple of studies ago (Nehemiah 9:19-21). Paul with all of these examples of God’s Judgments against the people of Israel fresh in their hearts and minds says to them and us, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). That English word thinks Paul uses here is translated by the Greek word dokeo which is a primary verb that means to seem like or to be of the opinion or to be accounted as, and what Paul is saying is that someone can seem to be a faithful follower of Christ or even be accounted as such in their own minds or by others but then not stand firm in the gospel of Christ and the truth of the Word of God. The English word stand Paul uses is translated by the Greek word histemi which means figuratively to continue in or to covenant with or to be established in or to hold up.
Paul declares that the true faithful follower of Christ will abide in or be established in the gospel of Christ so firmly that they will continually, constantly, and consistently hold up the truth of the gospel and the Word of God and will not fall. The English word fall Paul uses is translated by the Greek word pipto which means as it is used in this sense to figuratively fail or to descend from a higher place to a lower place or to fall (either from or upon) or to be thrust down and even in a stronger sense metaphorically it means to fall under judgment or come under condemnation or shall perish or to be lost eternally. Paul must mean this word to be used in its harshest form because it follows the examples of God’s Severe Judgment or Punishment rendered to those faithless, ungodly, complaining, griping, moaning, and rebellious people of Israel who came out of Egypt and slavery, as the writer of Hebrews warned also of the peril of “unbelief” with these words, “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, while it is said, ‘Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me.’ For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:12-19).
According to the writer of Hebrews all of the “major portion” of the people of Israel that came out of Egypt perished eternally due to their unbelief and he confirms this by his warning to the Hebrew Christians and us today with these next words he wrote, “Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, ‘As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest,’ although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all His works’; and again in this passage, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:1-6). The people of Israel who came out of Egypt did not all truly believe and all of the faithless were destroyed in the wilderness and so Paul warns the Corinthian believers and us today to beware lest it is detected, disclosed, or discovered that the “profession of faith” was just that a profession with no true substance behind it as declared by the Apostle Jude with these words, “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe” (Jude 1:4-5).
“Let him who most confidently standeth - him who has the fullest conviction in his own conscience that his heart is right with God, and that his mind is right in the truth, take heed lest he fall from his faith, and from the state of holiness in which the grace of God has placed him. I have already shown that the verb dokeo, which we render to seem, to think, to suppose, is used by the best Greek writers, not to lessen or weaken the sense, but to render it stronger and more emphatic. In a state of probation everything may change; while we are in this life we may stand or fall: our standing in the faith depends on our union with God; and that depends on our watching unto prayer, and continuing to possess that faith that worketh by love. The highest saint under heaven can stand no longer than he depends upon God and continues in the obedience of faith. He that ceases to do so will fall into sin, and get a darkened understanding and a hardened heart: and he may continue in this state till God come to take away his soul. Therefore, let him who most assuredly standeth, take heed lest he fall; not only partially, but finally.” Adam Clarke
“The man or woman who presumes on the Grace of God and plunges themselves into a committed lifestyle of sinning willfully and habitually and declaring to themselves and others that God’s Grace will cover such living, should read these warnings (1 Corinthians 10:5-11) from God the Father first through Moses and then referenced by Paul here and drop to their knees in repentance.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…
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