4:8 “You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us – and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you!”
Paul now launches scathing sarcasm and satire against the stuffy pride of the Corinth church. He tries to shake them from their schism and divisions with withering and biting irony.
You are already full!
The word “already” is emphatic in this phrase and in the next. They have reached the goal of perfection in time on earth! They have arrived spiritually. The word “full” here means satisfy, or satiate. They supposedly reached a state of spiritual satiation! Paul viewed their state as imperturbable self-satisfaction. My, what at blow to their pride and ego!
You are already rich!
Paul continues to castigate their spiritual delusion. “Rich” may refer to their giftedness as a church. They were in want of nothing so they deemed themselves self-sufficient. They are under the illusion that they need nothing more spiritually. This is spiritual arrogance.
You have reigned as kings without us —
Tongue in cheek, Paul asserts that they have already reached the millennial state where they reign over others. They reached a place of residing in the kingdom even “without us” – the apostles. Paul and the other apostles were in a place of pain but the Corinthian church was in a place of triumph! With a special sting, Paul marvels at their so-called spirituality. They were so spiritual that they did not need the apostles.
and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you!
The Corinthian church was in a place of pitiful shame, an unrealized wish. This is the climax of Paul’s cutting sarcasm. Paul had such a small place beside the Corinthians. This is pure sarcasm. There is no way we can get to glory without going through the gory. It would have been nice for the apostle to circumvent the gory aspects of life.
We live in a day when we denounce sarcasm and irony. That is because we are overly sensitive and victim oriented in our thinking. Sometimes we need a jolt to change the direction of our lives. Paul tries to bring them back to reality through sarcasm.
Rebuke is necessary to correct spiritual pride.
Rebuke is bitter medicine but good for spiritual restoration. Spiritual pride takes a special form of rebuke because it is so difficult to break. It is crucial that, when God sends bitter medicine into our lives, we take the medicine so that He can heal the spiritual disease of pride. We cannot settle for the illusion that we are all that God wants us to be, else we will slide into spiritual complacency.
Re 3:17 Because you say, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing” – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked –