1 Corinthians 3:22–23 (ESV) … “whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”
The members of the Corinthian church were glorying in men, and this was wrong. They were comparing men (1 Cor. 4:6) and dividing the church by such carnal deeds. Had they been seeking to glorify God alone, there would have been harmony in the assembly.
Paul closed this appeal by pointing out that each believer possesses all things in Christ. Each one of God’s servants belongs to each believer. No member of the church should say, “I belong to Paul!” or “I like Peter!” because each servant belongs to each member equally. Perhaps we cannot help but have our personal preferences when it comes to the way different men minister the Word. But we must not permit our personal preferences to become divisive prejudices. In fact, the preacher I may enjoy the least may be the one I need the most!
“All are yours”—the world, life, death, things present, things to come! How rich we are in Christ! If all things belong to all believers, then why should there be competition and rivalry? “Get your eyes off of men!” Paul admonished. “Keep your eyes on Christ, and work with Him in building the church!”
“Ye are Christ’s”—this balances things. I have all things in Jesus Christ, but I must not become careless or use my freedom unwisely. “All things are yours”—that is Christian liberty. “And ye are Christ’s”—that is Christian responsibility. We need both if we are to build a church that will not turn to ashes when the fire falls.
How we need to pray for ministers of the Word! They must feed the family and bring the children to maturity. They must sow the seed in the field and pray for an increase. They must mine the treasures of the Word and build these treasures into the temple. No wonder Paul cried, “And who is sufficient for these things?” But he also gave the answer: “Our sufficiency is of God” (2 Cor. 2:16; 3:5).