1 Corinthians 9:27
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others…
These terrible words teach —
I. THAT DELIVERANCE FROM HELL DESERVES THE MOST EARNEST SELF-DISCIPLINE. "I keep under my body"
I. strike under the eye so as to make it black and blue, a boxing phrase, indicative of strenuous efforts at mortification, as who should say, "I subdue the flesh by violent and reiterated blows." "And bring it into subjection"; "I lead it along as a slave," having subjugated it, I treat it as a bondsman, as boxers in the Palaestra used to drag off their conquered opponents. And the reason for this mortification of the flesh is, "lest I should be a castaway." Self-discipline consists of two things.
1. The entire subjugation of the body to the mind. The body was intended to be the organ, servant, and instrument of the mind, but it has become the master. The supremacy of the body is the curse of the world and the ruin of man.
2. The subjugation of the mind to the spirit of Christ. Though the mind govern the body, if the mind is false, selfish, unloyal to Christ, there is no discipline. The mind must be the servant of Christ in order to be the legitimate sovereign of the body.
II. THAT THE NECESSITY OF THIS SELF-DISCIPLINE CANNOT RE SUPERSEDED BY THE MOST SUCCESSFUL PREACHING. Paul had preached as no one else had ever preached; yet his preaching, he felt, did not do the work of self-discipline. Indeed, there is much in the work of preaching that has a tendency to operate against personal spiritual culture.
1. Familiarity with sacred truths destroys for us their charm of freshness,
2. A professional handling of God's Word interferes with its personal application.
3. The opinions of audiences, favourable or otherwise, exert an influence unfavourable to the life of the soul.
4. Satan is especially active in opposing the growth of spiritual piety in the preacher's soul. So that there is a terrible danger that whilst the preacher is cultivating the vineyards of others he is neglecting his own.
III. THE MOST SUCCESSFUL PREACHING MAY BE FOLLOWED BY ULTIMATE RUIN. A "castaway"! Who shall fathom the meaning of this word? A successful preacher "a castaway"! The Tophet of him who has offered mercy to others which he has despised, urged truths on the credence of others that he has disbelieved, enforced laws on others which he has transgressed, will burn with severer fires and peal with more awful thunders.
(D. Thomas, D. D.).
Parallel VersesKJV: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
WEB: but I beat my body and bring it into submission, lest by any means, after I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.