Guest Contributor
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Monday, March 8

Contributed by Daniel A. Surya

1 Corinthians 3:10-23

“By the grace God has given me . . .”

I like the way Paul — the greatest yet the humblest apostle of Jesus Christ —
lays his reasoning in regard to the church division that happened in Corinth.
While the church members cared so much more on who was the greatest
between him and Apollos and Cephas (v.22), and how they took pride on their
leader, Paul chose not to “fan the flame” on his followers to continue to
“despise” Apollos’ teachings and Cephas’ teachings. Instead, Paul humbly
chose to establish a beautiful theological reason, so that his church members
(as well as Apollos’ and Cephas’) would be able to see the real issue in God’s
big picture.
In response to the praises, he received mainly from his followers — as if it
was because of his own merit or skillfulness — he clarified that it was not his,
but “by the grace God has given me . . .” that he did what he did and that he
taught what he taught. And not only that, God’s grace is the dynamo of his
ministry, God’s grace is also the very foundation on which he builds his
teachings and ministry towards the church in Corinth. With that in mind, Paul
clearly ends his letter by saying, “no more boasting about human leaders!”
As theological students we all have our own favorite theologians in some
degree, whether that be Calvin, Luther, Knox, or Barth. Though there is
nothing wrong with that in regard to our academic preference, yet today’s
devotion reminds us of the danger that could lead to division among the body
of Christ. And I believe if our favorite theologians are still alive today, they
would also express the same sentiment as what Paul expressed: “By the
grace God has given me . . . all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is
of God.” (v.1, 22, 23)
Dear Lord, thank you for our mentors in the faith that have helped us to take
the next, most faithful step in following you. Thank you also that we do not
mistake the inspiration of those mature Christians who encourage us, with our
devotion that belongs to you alone. Amen.

Daniel A. Surya is a MATS program student at VST, and he and his family have been
residents of SAH since August 2019