Words mean something, and “therefore” is certainly no exception. As the old saying goes, when you come across the word “therefore” in the Bible, take a moment to look back at what preceded it so you’ll know what the next verses are all about.
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12
This is a commonly quoted verse, and there’s a reason for that: We need to be reminded of its meaning often. The fact that it begins with the word “therefore” is significant. This verse is a caution to us, a guideline to keep us from falling. It is a warning to believers, not unbelievers, though it can be applied in either case. The difference is that unbelievers have no choice but to try to stand on their own; hence, a fall is inevitable. Believers, on the other hand, have been called to stand in God’s strength, not their own. It is only when we move from that sure foundation and begin thinking that we can handle something on our own that we quickly find ourselves with our face in the mud.
Looking back at the verses preceding 1 Corinthians 10:12, we see God reminding us of His great deliverance of the Jewish nation from bondage in Egypt—from slavery to freedom. Sound familiar? It does if you’ve received Jesus as your personal Savior and been delivered from the slavery of sin to the freedom of serving Christ. But then the verses just prior to 1 Corinthians 10:12 remind us of how the newly delivered Jewish people quickly forgot their Deliverer and began to try to do things on their own. The results were disastrous.
Verse 11 then explains why the previous ten verses were written: “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come.” Those ten verses are a warning to us of what happens to believers who forget their Deliverer and try to stand in their own strength. According to verse 12—“therefore”—a fall is inevitable.
It all ties together in verse 13: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” This verse is often used incorrectly to imply that God will not allow anything to come into our lives that we aren’t strong enough to resist. The truth is just the opposite. If we are genuine believers, we can expect persecution and trials and tribulations on a regular basis, none of which we can stand up against on our own. But “God is faithful,” and He alone can and will provide the way of escape so that we can bear our temptation and not fall—IF we depend on Him.
It’s all about Him, folks — His strength, His purpose, His glory. Apart from Him, the Bible tells us, we can do nothing. But through Him we can do ALL things! THEREFORE, may we stand strong in His power today… and always.