6 Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. 7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?—1 Cor. 4:6-7 NASB
”Do not go beyond what is written” is an excellent admonition for us today as well. God is omnipotent and doesn’t need anyone to add anything to His written word. In fact, He warns us against doing just that.
18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;–Rev. 22:18 NASB
God also warns us against adding any other requirement for receiving salvation.
10 Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.”—Acts 15:10-11 NASB
These instructions are so all of us will be preaching and teaching the same message. The message is that when Jesus died for our sins and said “it is finished”, there wasn’t and still isn’t anything else needed. We are all the same in that we were all born in sin and need a Savior. We received salvation by grace through faith, not by anything we did or could do. Since all we did was receive a gift, what reason could we possibly have for boasting?
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
21 So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, 23 and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God—1 Cor. 3:21-23 NASB
All things in heaven and earth belong to God the Father. Jesus Christ the Son belongs to the Father. Since Christ gave His life on the cross to purchase us, we who have accepted Him as our Savior belong to Him and therefore we belong to the Father. God sees eternity without beginning and without end. With Him, there is no past or future and it all belongs to Him. He is gracious enough to let us be stewards of the earth and everything in it, but it all still belongs to Him. We have nothing in and of ourselves, what wisdom we have is as foolishness to God. What righteousness we may think we have is like dirty rags to God. So, what does man have that he could possibly boast about? Absolutely nothing!
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.—Col. 1:15-17 NASB
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
The law(s) were given to the children of Israel to show them that sin was in the world. Without the law there would have been no disobedience of the law and therefore they would not have understood sin. With the law, they understood sin and also understood that no human being could live up to the perfect standard required by the law. The law was their/our teacher to show them/us that we all need a Savior. This was no surprise to God. Before the foundations of the earth were laid, He had prepared a perfect Lamb to be our Savior. Because God is merciful, He sent His only Son into the world as the only perfect human. Jesus came to us knowing that He would be sacrificed for our sins, although He was sinless. Now we live under grace, the unmerited favor of God. We did nothing and can do nothing to earn grace and salvation. It is a free gift from God.
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.–Ephesians 2:8,9 (NLT)
We should sing praises to God daily. He is a marvelous, amazing God. “What a wonderful Savior is Jesus our Lord”!!!!!!!
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
24 But those who wish to boastshould boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord, have spoken! — Jeremiah 9:24 NLT
We may be well-educated and very intelligent but education and intelligence does not necessarily produce wisdom. God grants us wisdom when we ask humbly without wavering in our request. We may be in a position of authority, but if we are, God has elevated us to that position and can take us down quicker than He raised us up. We should humble ourselves under His mighty hand and He will lift us up in due time. God may have allowed you to amass great wealth, but that wealth can disappear like coins from a pocket with a hole in it or take flight like a bird and be gone before the day is over. There is only one thing that we can be sure of and that is God’s unchanging love. It can’t be earned or bought and once you have accepted Him as your Savior and Lord, you can not be separated from Him. So, if you must boast, boast in the fact that the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Creator of the universe has chosen you to be His heir. That is a boast that you can take with you throughout eternity. You are safe and secure in His unchanging hands.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. — James 1:19-21 NIV
Do works save us? Certainly not!
8 For it is by grace you have been saved,through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. — Eph. 2:8, 9
Then why are works important? If we look back at the Great Commission that Jesus gave us in Matt. 28:18-20, we find that He tells us to do more than just get people to confess their sins. Jesus commands us to “go and make disciples.” What is a disciple? Webster defines “disciple” in this way:
someone who accepts and helps to spread the teachings of a famous person
One can be a Christian without actually being a disciple. You can accept Jesus as your Savior and go on with your lifestyle pretty much unchanged (I don’t know how that is possible, but some claim to be able to do so). But a true disciple follows after his chosen leader, uses His life as an example to follow, spreads His doctrines and teachings and encourages others to do the same. Those who are disciples of sect leaders and worldly religions take the idea of being a disciple much more serious than a lot of us Christians. Some of them take it so far as to be considered “militant” in their actions. Their actions are governed by anger and hate and wrong teachings. Our actions are governed by love, but that just means that we have to be kinder in spreading the Gospel of Jesus, not less active or effective. We have a message of perfect love and freedom, which is what the world really desires. We have the Holy Spirit inside us and working with us using the same resurrection power that raised Jesus from the dead. If we are obedient to Jesus’s words that we should “make disciples” then we will “be about our Father’s business”. That requires us to do the same works that Jesus did when He was here on earth. As Christians, we are not called to be spectators but, rather to be participators, in the work. Why did God give us the gift of being saved by grace through faith?
8 For it is by grace you have been saved,through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Eph. 2:10 (emphasis mine)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails — 1 Cor. 13:4-8a NIV
What if our every thought had to pass a test before it could be converted to spoken words or to actions?
Does this thought show others that I have patience?
Does it show kindness?
Is it truthful?
Does it show concern?
Does it reflect my trust in God?
Does it show the hope I have in Jesus?
Will it help me or those around me to endure trials and persevere?
Does it make me appear to be envious?
All the above should be answered with a “Yes”
All the below should be answered with a “No”
Is it boastful?
Does it disrespect or harm others?
Is it just for my benefit?
Is it a knee jerk response to something that has angered me? Is it a resentment caused by past actions?
If it fails in any area, we need to reconsider before we speak or act.
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” –- Matt. 19:26 NIV
21 So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, 23 and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.—1 Cor. 3:21-23 NASB
All things in heaven and earth belong to God the Father. Jesus Christ the Son belongs to the Father. Since Christ gave His life on the cross to purchase us, we who have accepted Him as our Savior belong to Him and therefore we belong to the Father. God sees eternity without beginning and without end. With Him, there is no past or future and it all belongs to Him. He is gracious enough to let us be stewards of the earth and everything in it, but it all still belongs to Him. We have nothing in and of ourselves, what wisdom we have is as foolishness to God. What righteousness we may think we have is as dirty rags to God. So, what does man have that he could possibly boast about? Absolutely nothing! 15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.—Col. 1:15-17 NASB
26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”—1 Cor. 1:26-31 (NIV)
What do we have to offer Jesus to purchase our salvation? Wisdom? Our wisdom is foolishness to him. Power? He has power to move heaven and earth. Position? He is the King of Kings and the ruler of the universe. Beauty? He is the bright and morning star. Righteousness? Our righteousness is as filthy rags. The only thing we have to offer is our will and our life. All of it. He deserves more and will accept nothing less. He, alone, is our wisdom, righteousness, holiness, redemption and our Lord. As Paul said, our only boast is in Jesus Christ. His blood was the price agreed upon to cover the sin of the whole world, Nothing less would be sufficient and nothing more is needed. Our only boast is to look upon Jesus, agree with Him, and proclaim “It is finished”! 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God..—Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)
***Borrowed from Walter Brennan in “Guns of Will Sonnett” I know, that was way before your time.
11 See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!
12 Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh. 14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. 16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God. 17 From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.—Gal. 6:11-18 (NIV)
Paul is still troubled by the religious leaders trying to get the new converts circumcised. They are only trying to impress others by an outward physical manifestation of their obedience to the law. If the people know they have been circumcised then they will assume that they still adhere to the tenets of the Old Testament law. This will keep the leaders and other non-believers from persecuting them. Since they didn’t keep the other points of the law, it really wasn’t about keeping the law at all. It was just something for the flesh to boast about.
Under the new covenant of grace, circumcision has no meaning. The only thing that matters is that now we are new creations. We must die daily and be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Our outward appearance is temporary and decaying daily. Once we shed this old tent, we will be like Jesus! 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.—1 John 3:2,3 (NIV)
13 Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” 14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. 15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” 16 Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil. 17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.–James 4:13-17 (NLT)
Although, none of us are promised tomorrow, it is still a good idea to have a plan. God has set that example for us. He had a plan for all His children collectively, before He laid the foundations of the earth. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.–Matt. 25:34 (NLT)
He also has plans for each of His children individually. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.–Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
So, it is not wrong to have plans. They are only a problem and a boast when we plan without asking God about it. Or if we think that we can accomplish anything good without God. We are only here on this earth for a very small portion of time and then we are gone. So, we need to spend our lives “redeeming the time”, in other words, making good use of it to further the work of the Kingdom of God. This was His plan when He created the world and us. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.–Eph. 2:10 (NLT)
So, we see that God planned us, formed us, and then created us anew to do His good works for His glory. If we plan anything less, it does not honor our Creator and if we plan anything greater, it is presumptuous and sinful. When we know to do good and refuse to do it, it is a sin against God and our fellowman.