In chapter 4, Paul begins to change the game a bit. He turns down the heat on the Corinthians just a little because he had been speaking to them sharply in the past chapters. He says, “Think of us as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.”
What is your identity? People mostly answer that question with a title. I’m a mom. I’m a dad. A doctor. A husband or wife. But that’s not necessarily your identity. It’s regarding the world but what about your identity in Christ? Well, you’re an adopted son. A forever daughter; fully known, loved and welcomed into God’s family. That’s your identity. You don’t have to perform to stay with God. He has declared you righteous. It’s God’s gift of grace because of what Jesus did, which was the most expensive gift ever purchased, and that’s what you’re worth.
Paul wants us to think of him as a servant of Christ. Think about that for a second. Who determines the specifics of servitude when you’re a servant? Do you? Of course not, your master does. When you are a steward, one who has been entrusted, who declares whether you’re good at that job? The one who has entrusted things to you. Paul is saying that Christ is the Lord of their service and God is the stand of their stewardship.
The Corinthians had judgmental attitudes and Paul wanted them to know that he doesn’t care who is judging him, he doesn’t even judge himself because God is the one who examines us. I wish I had Paul’s heart because judgment bothers me. Judgment is hard. However, his point is he can’t judge himself as the servant. The Master, our Lord is the one who judges. If God is the one who judges us why are we judging each other? It is not our place to do so.
How many relational problems find their root in judgment and pride? I think a lot. Paul asks, “What is so special about you? … And why do you brag?” Pride, judging, bragging is what causes our relational problems. Many times, we act like the Corinthians thinking we are better than others. The question (again) is what would your life be without Jesus? The answer is: we were all in the same place, at the bottom of a deep dark hole. God’s grace found us when we were helpless and sinners.
God’s grace is the only reason why we are out of the hole. When you grab on to that thought, it can become a radical new way of seeing the relationships we are in. It defuses judgment, superiority, and classism of every kind. It’s the gift of humility inside of grace.