Castaway: This is the word used by Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthian church. Below is the verse where he stated it.
“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.”
1 Corinthians 9:27
The presentation I’ve heard over the years while growing up in the church is that a believer can ‘be a castaway.‘ I mean a believer can be a castaway from heaven or from entering heaven. And the verse above is the riveting verse to seal their assertion. Well, thank God for knowledge and thank God that I have the willpower to open my heart to knowledge. Firstly, let’s try to analyze this verse and draw out the right doctrine it depicts. The Greek word translated castaway is the word adokimos. It means unapproved, rejected, worthless or disqualified. So we can interpolate these words in the verse this way
“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 unapproved, rejected, worthless or disqualified.”
The word castaway is the appropriate word to use based on content and context of the write-up.
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Castaway Contextual Understanding of It:
This is very factual because verse 24-26 of the same chapter establishes the reason why the writer used this word castaway in verse 27.
“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air”
1 Corinthians 9:24-26.
It is emphatic to say that verse 27 of this chapter is not a standalone. But a buildup established from the flow of thought of the writer as regards to the subject matter. And the subject matter here is a race or better still a competition. And in this race or competition there’s going to be a reward.
Before I go forward, I want us to differentiate these words reward and gift. Now, a reward is given to someone who has done something noble. So he or she receives something tangible because of what he or she has done. But a gift is what someone receives not necessarily because he or she has done something. It is important to also state that for someone to enter into any competition or race; he must have gotten the preliminary qualification from the organizers of the race or competition. And this involves his agreement to run or compete according to the rule(s) of the game.
The Required Qualification:
The preliminary qualification to be in this kind of race the writer is talking about is that one must firstly be a believer in order to participate in the race. So the race therefore, is the believer’s race and an unbeliever cannot be part of it. This implies the race is not for unbelievers but for believers. And is interesting to point out that the race cannot disqualify one from been a believer. This is because becoming a believer is not predicated on the race but one can be disqualified from receiving the reward from the race because he didn’t run according to the rule(s) of the race.
The question therefore is, how can someone become a believer? Well, you become a when you have believed in Christ. And as a result you receive the gift of eternal life.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
This gift of eternal life is not predicated on someone’s performance but on his or her ability to believe in Christ.
Castaway In Conclusion:
In conclusion, a believer cannot be a castaway from heaven or eternal life. This is because eternal life the believer has received from Christ is a gift and such cannot be withdrawn. But a believer can be disqualified from receiving reward(s) because he or she didn’t do well in his or her responsibilities in Christ.
“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
1 Corinthians 3:13-15.
Therefore, let every believer keep his or her body under subjection while carrying out his or her duty in Christ. This is because for each job well-done there is a reward attached to it. Run and participate with the right zeal and focus so that you don’t miss your rewards! The term be a castaway cannot be attributed to any believer in Christ.
Jesus Is Lord!
Pastor Chukwuemeka Asiegbu is the pastor of Saved In The Lord Evangelical Ministry Inter’l. He has authored many books and he’s behind several online Christian articles.
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