In the third chapter of his first letter to the Christians at Corinth, Paul concludes the same way he began; we are not to identify ourselves as followers of a man, even a Christian teacher. The preachers and teachers who brought us the good news, and have instructed us in our new faith, are workers in God’s fruitful fields and builders of God’s buildings. But the growth of the crops is the work of God; the finished temple is all to the glory of God.

Image may contain: sky, tree, cloud, snow, outdoor and nature“So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you– whether Paul, or Apollos, or Peter… or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.”  1 Corinthians 3:21-23 NLT.

And so, the various teachers of the Gospel of Christ are for the benefit of all.  When we claim one of them as our leader, thereby trying to assert our superiority over others, we become, Paul says, like the world.

What rest there is to the soul in the simple phrase “I belong to Jesus!” I do not have to choose one Christian leader to follow, and defend my choice against my fellow Christians.  Indeed, God uses different teachers to reach different souls precisely because He knows how each different soul responds. He knows the perfect approach to each soul.

And because we belong to Jesus, we can look to Him for guidance; we can rejoice in the teachings He illuminates to our hearts, whether we are reading the letters of Paul, or Peter, or James. Because we belong to Him, we are secure, in both the present and the future, through both life and death.

 

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