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The Scriptorium

Thinking with the Mind of Christ

What this actually looks like. 1 Corinthians 4.1-5

1 Corinthians 4 (1)

Pray Psalm 119.20-22.
My soul breaks with longing
For Your judgments at all times.
You rebuke the proud—the cursed,
Who stray from Your commandments.
Remove from me reproach and contempt,
For I have kept Your testimonies.

Sing Psalm 119.20-22.
(Open My Eyes: Open My Eyes That I May See)
My soul with longing breaks for You;
all of Your judgments I would do.
For You rebuke the proud and the cursed,
who from Your Law have strayed, and worse.
Take from me all contempt, O LORD,
for I have kept Your holy Word.
Lift all reproach from me, O LORD —
my soul renew!

Read and meditate on 1 Corinthians 4.1-5.

1. How did Paul want the Corinthians to regard him?

2. To whom must we look for all judgments?

In chapter 4 Paul continued to correct the thinking of the Corinthians, showing them how they ought to use the mind of Christ, and not their own best ideas, to practice belonging to the Lord.

Rather than put him or Apollos or anyone else on a pedestal, they must think of them as stewards who have been invested with a trust from God (vv. 1, 2). That trust was the ministry of the Word, and their duty as stewards was to be faithful to God and His Word.

Some, however, had judged Paul as not faithful, at least, not as faithful as Peter or Apollos. That didn’t bother Paul, that is, not for his own sake. He knew his heart before the Lord. He kept a constant watch over his soul, so that he could hear when the Lord brought something to mind which was not according to His Word (v. 3). Thus, he knew that he walked the Lord’s path and that he was not compromised in his stewardship (v. 4).

God alone is judge. We need to make decisions about things and, yes, about people. But we must only do so with the mind of Christ, which is His Word. Otherwise, we must reserve all judgment—and here Paul intended final judgment, judgment which condemns—to the Lord. He will bring all hidden sins to light and reveal the depths of each person’s heart (v. 5). Then each will receive the praise they are due—from Him Who judges righteously.

Since we’re not able to judge like that, we must think with the mind of Christ about others—charitably, positively, humbly, generously, and according to God’s Word.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
“Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it;
unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Ps. 127.1). Warned.

Paul wasn’t looking for approval from people; he was only focused on God’s opinion. So, he was able to say wholeheartedly to the folks, Consider us: faithful servants of Christ and faithful stewards of the mysteries of God (1 Cor. 4.1, 2). And he was so sure of his own sincerity that he turned the whole situation over to God, knowing full well that He would judge everybody’s thoughts, hearts, and behaviors in the end (1 Cor. 4.5). Warned and comforted.

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there” (Jms. 3.13-16). Warned and encouraged.

God, in His majestic mercy and grace, has been speaking to humanity, generation after generation, about His plan for His people. And day after day, time after time, we ignore His love, spurn His plan, and think we know better than He how to live our “Christian” life. But from the start, God has been telling us that we need a mind and heart reset based on the foundation of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Yes, He has warned us that we will not be able to manage this life in any other way.

Make no mistake, we will all be judged one day. When Jesus returns, He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness; and He will reveal the counsels of the hearts (1 Cor. 4.5). Warned.

But again, God’s mercy and grace: “each one’s praise will come from God” (1 Cor. 4.5). Loved.

Rewarded for thinking with the mind of Christ.

For reflection
1. In what ways had the Corinthians not been thinking with the mind of Christ?

2. What can we do to make sure that we are more consistent in thinking with the mind of Christ?

3. What would suggest to you that you were thinking more with the mind of a natural person that with the mind of Christ?

Paul did not mean to reprove every kind of judgment without exception, but only what is hasty and rash, without examination of the case. For the Corinthians did not mark with unjaundiced eye the character of each individual, but, blinded by ambition, groundlessly extolled one and depreciated another, and took upon themselves to mark out the dignity of each individual beyond what is lawful for men.
John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4.5

Pray Psalm 119.17-19, 23, 24.
Pray that God will give clearer and deeper insight to His Word, to understand all His ways, and to counsel you by His Word and Spirit throughout the day.

Sing Psalm 119.17-19, 23, 24.
(Open My Eyes: Open My Eyes That I May See)
Open my eyes, LORD, let me see
wonderful truths to transform me.
I am a stranger here in the earth;
hide not from me Your glorious worth.
Deal with Your servant graciously
that I may live obediently.
Open my eyes, LORD, let me see
glory divine!

Princes oppose me day by day,
for I continue in Your way.
I will Your statutes hold in my mind.
What great delight in them I find!
LORD, let Your testimonies be
light on my path to counsel me.
LORD, what delight You bring to me
out of Your Word!

T. M. and Susie Moore

The Church in Corinth was in need of revival. But there was much to be done before that would happen. The Church today is in need of revival, and the same is true for us. Our book, Revived!, can help us to discern our need for revival and lead us in getting there. Order your copy by clicking here.

Support for Scriptorium comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter, available free by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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