“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)
The Basket Case Chronicles #122
“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you” (1 Cor. 11:1-2).
Paul mentions a common biblical theme here, which is that we learn by imitation. The things we really know how to do are those things that we picked up by copying others. Paul was imitating Christ, and he wanted the Corinthians to imitate him as he was doing this. There is a false piety that strives for originality, and lands in mind-numbing conformity. There is an obedience that seeks to imitate, and the results are strikingly original. A moon facing the sun can shine its own distinct glory. A moon that wants to be a sun is going to do a very poor job of it.
But notice also that Paul moves effortlessly from “remember me in all things” to “keep the ordinances” as they had been delivered or entrusted to the Corinthians. As the subsequent discussion in this chapter shows, those ordinances had to do with things like a right relationship between the sexes in public worship, and proper comportment in the Lord’s Supper. Note that Paul does not assume any tension between the personal activity of remembering and imitating a person, and what some might call the impersonal activity of keeping the ordinances delivered by that person.
Paul has said that we are to imitate him as he imitates the Lord. Well, the Lord said that if we loved Him, we would keep His commandments (John 14:15). Paul looks at Jesus, and imitates Him—and tells the Corinthians the very same thing. He says remember me, and keep the ordinances.
And this is why we must understand the widespread disregard for the Pauline ordinances in our day as nothing less than personal contempt for the apostle. Sometimes attempts are made to disguise that contempt, and sometimes not.