Thursday, December 02, 2004

Delivered Unto Death For Jesus' Sake

"FOR JESUS’ SAKE" Some thoughts from Cornelius Stam, passed on with some thoughts from Art Licursi

"Delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake" (II Cor. 4:11).There is much that we all do for our own sake, for the sake of our children, our loved ones or others, but the real test of the believer’s love for the Lord is what he does "for Jesus’ sake." One such thing the grace Apostle, Paul, calls us to undertake "for Jesus sake" is the matter of forgiveness of others. Now considering the contrast between dispensations of ... law and ... grace, concerning forgiveness. - LAW: Our Lord, born under the dispensation of the law (Gal 4:4), told His disciples that to be forgiven they must forgive: "Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven" (Luke 6:37), "but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matt. 6:15). This is law, NOT grace. Anytime we see an "if ye" we now we are seeing law, since grace is unconditional. - GRACE: But now, under the Pauline dispensation of grace of the grace of God (Eph 3:2), Paul exhorts us to forgive one another "even as God for Christ’s sake HATH forgiven you" (Eph. 4:32). Consider the striking difference. - Before the cross: If you want to be forgiven, you MUST forgive. - Now, in the light of the cross: You have been graciously forgiven "for Christ’s sake." Paul says, In the light of this "be tenderhearted and forgiving toward others." Thankfully, we as the regenerated children of God are "no longer under the law, but under grace" (Rom 6:14b, 7:4, 10:4, Col 1:26). And we are to go yet farther than this: Not only are we to forgive our brethren in Christ, but we are to be prepared to have this attitude toward the world as well. Paul said: "For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all" (I Cor. 9:19), and referring to his persecutions by unbelievers, he said: "We... are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake" (II Cor. 4:11). How many unbelievers would be won to Christ; how many of our Christian friends would be strengthened and helped, if we adopted this attitude toward others? As to suffering itself, the Apostle also gladly bore this "for Jesus’ sake." In writing to the Corinthians, he said: "I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong" (II Cor. 12:10). He had learned that in weakness he leaned all the harder, and was brought closer to His Lord, and herein lay his spiritual strength of life.

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