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Read Introduction to 1 Corinthians

 

12 “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”
 
Having illustrated four situations from Israel, Paul goes back to the overarching principle –a warning against spiritual pride, which will lead to a spiritual fall.
12Therefore
Paul now sums up the point of the illustrations from Israel’s history. What are we to make of all this lust, idolatry, fornication, and testing God by complaint?
let him who thinks he stands
Paul now gives a warning to those who deem themselves as spiritually strong and having a grasp on their spiritual liberty. Self-confident, smug spirituality often leads to a spiritual fall. By going to the feasts in Corinth, some Corinthian Christians who deemed themselves mature might yield to temptations in the temple. The word “thinks” carries the idea of subjective judgment rather than objective facts.
take heed lest he fall.
The words “take heed” indicate our responsibility about self-confidence. God wants us to guard our areas of temptation so that we do not step into them without being alert about them. “Lest he fall” refers to the disqualification of 9:27.
PRINCIPLE:
Spiritual pride precedes a fall.
APPLICATION:
The child of God who thinks he has arrived is being set up by the Devil to be knocked down. Those on the mountain top are the most vulnerable to attack. The higher you are, the farther the fall. Elijah was on the mountain when he defied the prophets of Baal. The next day he ran across Israel as fast as he could, away from the painted face of Jezebel. He went from one magnificent, climatic victory to dismal defeat. There he sat under the Juniper tree defeated and discouraged. God came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He went from bravery to shrinking cowardice. Are all the breaks going for you? That is the time to walk circumspectly, for we will inevitably run into some unexpected spiritual hazard.
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