The Pen is mightier than the sword, but the Pen must sometimes move the sword against corruption if the corrupt are not moved by the pen.. An idea without an implementer is useless. "The Rulers do not carry the sword in vain"Rom 13:4

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Can the Christian Gospel be chained up and defeated?

"And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains." (Col 4:3)

It never ceases to amaze me how this great tower of faith, Paul, the man who had been a manufacturer of mayhem against Christians, a man who thought nothing of dragging off men and women to prison and execution for the crime of 'being Christian'....and who had been dramatically converted on his way to Damascus....... does not call out to his Savior to liberate him from the seeming defeat of languishing in a cold dirty Roman prison cell?

How about if it was you?  "Lord!!!... look at me.. don't you remember what you did for me that day? Was it all for this? all for nothing?  just so I can end my days in this rotten cell? You called me to proclaim you, to spread the message of salvation, liberation and forgiveness, but.... I'm not  feeling it right now? I'm chained up....how can I proclaim in the market places when I'm held here?...You dramatically saved me, you intervened miraculously...or was it all just a delusion on my part?"

Yep...you 'could' take that view if you were Paul (or re your own current circumstances)... but he doesn't.   We can detect an insight into his thinking in another letter he wrote to the Philippian Christians:

12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.(Phil 1)

There's more. If perchance Paul doubted his Damascus road experience, he has plenty more arrows in the spiritual quiver to draw on....  I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. (Gal 1)

The risen Lord did inform Paul that he was going to suffer in Jerusalem, it was not as if he had no inkling that his present circumstances were bound to happen.

So, for us, the first thing of highest importance is to know where you stand. "In Christ"....or outside. If you have turned from the ways of this world, and embraced Christ and the forgiveness in Him, and been filled with His Spirit in the new birth....then we might be more inclined to identify with Paul's positive attitude when difficulties occur. But let's be clear, Pauls difficulties were a direct result of his proclamation of the Gospel.When a business deal turns sour, it's hardly a moment to moan about "why me?"  There's also no real point in trying to over spiritualize such things and see them in terms of 'suffering for Jesus' so to speak. 

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