40443The Indescribable Honour of Being ••Ambassado rs for Christ", Part 3 of 6 ,~Grace Daily Inspirational ~ DECEMBER 29, 2013
- Dec 28, 2013
The Indescribable Honour of Being Ambassadors for Christ"
By K. R. Blade,
Part 3 of 6
As the opening verses to this passage (II Cor. 5) relate, Paul was being criticized, even slandered, by ones who not only disagreed with what he preached, but who also found fault with his enthusiasm for preaching it. They were saying that he must be "beside" himself, both mentally and emotionally, in view of the message that he preaches, and especially in view of the zeal and passion with which he preaches it.
Now Paul himself was not upset or unduly bothered by this criticism. He did not find it to be a cause for shame or disgrace. Nor did he respond to it as if it was a discrediting stigma. He, therefore, was not intimidated by it, as his detractors (and the policy of evil) hoped would be the case.
Yet it was a different story with many of the Corinthians, particularly when they found themselves being criticized as well. They felt ashamed to know that others thought that they were "beside" themselves. Because of this many of them 'pulled back,' so to speak, and were no longer preaching "the gospel of Christ." They were bullied by this kind of criticism, being intimidated by its innuendo. What enthusiasm they used to have was now dampened, being overpowered and displaced by the discomfort they felt in their minds from being criticized. Their minds were now gripped by the uneasiness of their own self-consciousness. And with this being so, their own preaching of the gospel had more or less ground to a halt.
Once again, however, this was not the case with Paul. Though he experienced the same intimidating criticism, (and actually did so far more frequently than the Corinthians), it did not dampen his enthusiasm and zeal at all. For Paul had something powerful and effectual working within him, which successfully withstood the zeal-robbing intimidation. Moreover it was something that God has specifically designed to enable every saint to 'despise the shame' that such criticisms are designed to produce, and thereby to be able to enthusiastically continue on in spite of it.
Now because of this, neither the Corinthians nor we ourselves need to lack enthusiasm, or be robbed of it, when it comes to telling others about "the gospel of Christ." All we need is to have the same thing operating within us as operated within Paul.
And what powerfully operated within Paul was the thrill of what it meant for him to be an ambassador for Christ. Compared to this, the 'slings and arrows' of criticisms, slander, reproach, ridicule, and the like, meant nothing to him. And this is the way it should be with us as well.
Sober, Not Beside Himself
As Paul begins dealing with this intimidating criticism, he opens with a declaration which makes it evident that he is by no means "beside" himself at all, neither mentally or emotionally. Instead he is perfectly "sober" on both counts. For both his mental judgment and his emotional judgment are sound, being logically based, just as he shows.
14For the love of Christ
constraineth us; because
we thus judge, that if one
died for all, then were all
dead: 15And that he died
for all, that they which live
should not henceforth live
unto themselves, but unto
him which died for them,
and rose again.
(II Corinthians 5:14-15)
Then after making this opening statement, Paul takes up these two components to the criticism and deals with them in detail. Whereupon in verses 14-17 he first pointedly shows and proves the perfect soberness and sound logic that there is to what he preaches. Even though his message says things that are radically different from what has been preached before, nevertheless it is sound and truthful in view of what God has now revealed that He has done through Christ.
16 Wherefore henceforth know
we no man after the flesh: yea,
though we have known Christ
after the flesh, yet now hence
forth know we him no more.
17 Therefore if any man be in
Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become
new. (II Corinthians 5:16-17)
Indeed what Paul, (and we), are given to preach is perfectly logical and sound. In fact in view of what God has done through, with, and in Christ, it is the only message that is perfectly logical and sound. Wherefore we need not be intimidated by any criticisms, reproaches, and/or slander to the contrary.
But then in verses 18-21 Paul goes on to show the perfect soberness and sound logic that there is in his irrepressible zeal to preach his gospel. And this now is where we need to focus our attention. For once again we too ought to have the same irrepressible zeal as Paul did.
All we need is to have the same thing operating
within us as operated within Paul.
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