Summary: 1) The Assets of Liberty (vv. 1–4), 2) The Abuse of Liberty (vv. 5–10), and 3) The Application of Liberty (vv. 11–13).
One amazing part of first person video is watching amazing daredevil accomplishments. Seeing a cyclist, climber or skier using a go-pro camera in first person detail is exhilarating. However, the blooper reels are full of daredevil's who pushed the envelope one step too far and tumbled. Often their confidence exceeded their observation.
One of the surest ways to fall into temptation and sin is to become overconfident. Many of the Corinthian believers thought, and perhaps had said in the letter to Paul (7:1), that they felt perfectly secure in their Christian lives, that they had arrived, They were saved, baptized, well taught, lacking in no gift, and presumably mature. They thought they were strong enough to freely associate with pagans in their ceremonies and social activities and not be affected morally or spiritually, as long as they did not participate in outright idolatry or immorality.
How do you approach the choices you have in life? Do you frequently find yourself putting your foot in your mouth and need to apologize or back peddle? Living life to the full pursuit of all out liberty no only will harm weaker believers but put our own lives in spiritual danger. We can't live long on the far edge of freedom without falling into temptation and then into sin. The mature, loving Christian does not try to stretch their liberty to the extreme, to see how close to evil we can come without being harmed.
When a Christian becomes so confident of their strength that they think they can handle any situation, they are overconfident and in great danger of falling. The danger is not of failing from salvation but of falling from holiness and from usefulness in service. Graciously, in times of trial and temptation God provides a way out of the situation so we don't need to fall into sin. We must however take that way out and not overconfidently believe we are beyond falling into sin.
Ancient Israel provided Paul with sobering illustrations of the pitfalls of overconfident living. Using incidents from their forty–year wandering between Egypt and Canaan, Paul discusses 1) The Assets of Liberty (vv. 1–4), 2) The Abuse of Liberty (vv. 5–10), and 3) The Application of Liberty (vv. 11–13).
1) The Assets of Liberty (1 Corinthians 10:1–4)
1 Corinthians 10:1-4 [10:1]For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. (ESV)
For refers back to the disqualification for service of which Paul had just spoken (9:27) and introduces the examples that follow. I want you to know/don't want you to be unaware, brothers/brethren, prepares his readers for new insights into old and familiar stories. It is an urgent statement, pleading with his readers to remember what happened to Israel in the wilderness. He is partly reminding and partly giving new teaching.
All Hebrews were the physical descendants of Abraham. But to truly be God’s children they also had to be his spiritual descendants. “For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel … That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants” (Rom. 9:6, 8). Abraham was father of all the faithful (Rom. 4:11; Gal. 3:29), and in this sense Paul’s reference to our fathers could be addressed to Gentile as well as Jewish Christians, for they were spiritual descendants of all who believed. Therefore, by calling Israel “our fathers,” he emphasizes at the outset the Corinthians’ continuity with what God had done in the past (Fee, G. D. (1987). The First Epistle to the Corinthians (p. 444). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.).
In verses 1–4 Paul emphasizes the oneness of Israel as a corporate community and the commonness of their experiences under Moses’ leadership. All is used five times in those four verses to indicate that oneness in experience and blessing.
Please turn to Exodus 15 (p.57)
After a few years of favored treatment because of Joseph, Israel spent 400 years as slaves in Egypt. They were under total subjection to a foreign and pagan people, who abused, maligned, and severely overworked them. After the ten plagues God sent against the Egyptians, He miraculously delivered Israel. He opened the Red Sea for them to pass through the sea on dry land and then closed the waters on their pursuers. He guided them by “a pillar of cloud by day” and “a pillar of fire by night” (Ex. 13:21). As the Lord’s supreme deliverance of His chosen people from bondage to freedom, the Exodus became the touchstone of Jewish religion and remains that today.