Theme: WORKING OUT OUR SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING
Text: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things…I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway”. – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.
Comment: To enable us work out our salvation ‘with fear and trembling’, discipline in word, thought and action must be cultivated. This is the hallmark or characteristic of every practising Christian. By their high standard of discipline many have attained fame and bountiful blessings from God, while others have tarnished their long period of faithful service to God and plunged themselves into immense difficulties through indiscipline. In today’s text, St. Paul, an ardent preacher of the gospel of Christ glaringly expressed the need for and the value of discipline or self-control, even in his preaching work.
Writing in similar vein but directed at those who have the call for the work of dispensing the truth, St. Peter stated: “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed. Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraints, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being example to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:1-3) Yes, leaders in God’s Organisation must have to carry out their duties with fear and trembling because “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty” (James 2:12; See also Hebrews 13:17)
In an earlier epistle to the Christians at Corinth, St. Paul wrote: ”And I was with you in my weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power…” (1 Corinthians 2:3-5) It is instructive that he declared at the end of his ministry, to wit: “…I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” – 2 Timothy 4:6-8.