“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”
1 Corinthians 10:12
The inspired apostle gave Christians a very serious warning when he wrote to Corinth centuries ago. Oh, how relevant that warning continually proves to be when we are honest with ourselves! Oh, but how easy it is to forget this warning or unconsciously allow ourselves to downplay it!
There are a lot of positive blessings associated with being a Christian. Christians know they have access to “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” because they are “in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). They know they are part of the body of Christ which is His church and of which He is Savior (Ephesians 5:23), and are not deceived by the false doctrines and traditions of men associated with salvation and worship found in denominationalism which have drawn away so many (cf. 1 Timothy 4:1ff; 2 Timothy 4:3-4). When compared to those out in the world, Christians may stand head and shoulders above them when it comes to morality and ethics. Those saints who are active workers in the church can also take pride and comfort in the fact that “(their) labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58) and they make a difference in the lives and souls of others. All of this and more is good and Christians should gather great comfort from it (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
Yet, followers of the blessed Savior must never forget that even the best of us has sin and continues to sin (1 John 1:8, 10). Every Christian faces temptations every single day, and one of Satan’s greatest tools to deceive disciples of God into giving into those temptations is to get them to not judge themselves with the same righteous judgment God gives to them (1 Corinthians 4:4a; 11:31; cf. John 7:24b). God shows no partiality (Romans 2:11), but Christians tend to show partiality to themselves! All of humanity tends to do this. Like the Pharisee of the parable, we tend to focus on the good we are doing and the shortcomings of those around us while choosing to ignore or downplay our own sins (Luke 18:9-14).
As a result, disciples of Christ may look at the good they do for the kingdom of God as a crutch instead of the acts of selfless service God wants them to be. “Yeah, yeah, I know I shouldn’t do _____________, but it’s gonna be okay because after all, look at all the good I do for the church!” Christians may compare themselves to the sinners out in the world or to their weaker brethren and use that as a crutch. “Hey, why are you telling me to repent of ___________? After all, it’s not like I murdered anyone/committed adultery/skip church all the time because I’d rather sleep in!” Instead of gratefully finding comfort in their obedience to biblical doctrine concerning the oneness of the church and being motivated to obey further by repenting of their sins, saints may use the fact that they obeyed the gospel and are part of the Lord’s church as a crutch. “If there’s anyone who needs to get right with God, it’s those churches who add to God’s Word and are not the true church! Focus on them instead of telling me I need to change ___________!”
I am so thankful Paul then gave us all that wonderful way out in the next verse (1 Corinthians 10:13)! I am so thankful God’s grace exists (Titus 2:11) and offers continual, immediate forgiveness…but only should we sorrowfully and penitently confess our sins (1 John 1:7, 9; 2 Corinthians 7:9-11) and follow grace’s instructions (Titus 2:12-13)! May we always examine ourselves honestly (2 Corinthians 13:5) and never insult God’s grace by choosing to rebelliously, unrepentantly, and willfully sin and thus bring upon ourselves his wrath (Hebrews 10:26-31)!
In order to access God’s grace, one must first become a Christian. This is not done by asking Jesus into your heart. (Did you know that’s not in the Bible?) Instead, one must believe in Christ whole-heartedly, repent of their sins, and be baptized into His body, His church (John 3:16; Acts 8:35-38; 2:36-41; Mark 16:15-16; Ephesians 1:22-23; 1 Corinthians 12:13). If you are willing to study more about that, I’d love to talk to you.