“For all things are yours, 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.” (1 Cor. 3:21-23)
It’s quite curious to me that Paul wraps up his correction to the Corinthians about forming tribal factions against one another – “I follow Paul” and “I follow Peter” versus “I follow Apollos” – by reminding them that “all things are yours” and then he lists Paul, and Peter and Apollos, and then adds “the world….life…death…the present…the future” and then repeats “all are yours.”
How odd. I mean, as they are seeking to make themselves smaller, and more exclusive, Paul reminds them that they are actually members of one another, and that they are part of everything, and everyone. So, to limit yourself to Paul, or to Apollos, or to any other person, or leader, or group, or denomination, [insert every other possible tribal identifier here], is not only a denial of who you are, it’s in direct opposition to what Christ has redeemed you for.
See, Jesus has given to us the ministry of reconciliation. This started when he allowed us to experience reconciliation on a personal level. That feeling of being loved, and accepted, and welcome, and embraced and brought into the family of God was not merely for our benefit; it was also meant to be an experience that we help others to have, too.
So, whenever we divide from one another, and form factions, and start to create our own private club, we deny our identity as children of God. Rather, we deny that others are children of God the way we are.
That’s a big problem.
Which is why Paul kicks off his letter to them addressing this problem off the bat. That actually makes a lot of sense to me. But, adding this last bit about how “all things are ours” is pretty genius. I mean, imagine the audacity to suggest that we are also stewards of “the world, life, death, the present and the future.” Really? Wow. That’s…shocking.
He wants us to take a step back from our little narrow viewpoint and petty cliques and recognize just who we really are – partakers of the Divine nature, the incarnation of Christ in the World, members of the Body of Christ, the Living Temple of God, and the sons and daughters of God.
If we truly grasp that, and hold tight to that reality, then we can’t justify playing these little games of who is “in” and who is “out” because we start to realize that God’s heart is for everyone to be “in” and our calling is to declare that God has made a way for us all to be “in” and that being “in” has nothing to do with whether or not you follow this guy, or that one, or belong to this church or the other one. No. All that matters is that you recognize that Christ is our life, and we are His offspring, and He is the one in whom we all live, and move and have our being. All of us. Every single one of us.
Jesus is the leader of a tribe that isn’t tribal. He says to all who are thirsty, “Come to me and drink freely from the waters of life.” He goes out of his way to find the outcast so he can welcome them in and give them the seat of honor at the head of the table. The only ones who are “outside” are the ones who refuse to come inside and enjoy the feast because they don’t like the idea that certain people are welcome – people that they’d rather not associate with.
Still, the invitation is wide open. Come and join the tribe that loves all tribes and seeks to dissolve all tribes into one, single tribe.
It’s called “Us.”
Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community.
Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.
His new book “Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.
He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb” with a Foreword by Greg Boyd.
Keith also co-hosts the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean.
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