All For Christ (Main Course-XLM)
In verses 9-13, Paul gave weight to the sacrifices of an apostle…It’s no joke. Though we can’t really sacrifice enough to give back to our unconditionally loving Savior, we share with his suffering and endure every pain in life, ALL FOR HIM.
9 For it seems to me that God has given the very last place to us apostles, like people condemned to die in public as a spectacle for the whole world of angels and of human beings.10 For Christ’s sake we are fools; but you are wise in union with Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! We are despised, but you are honored!11 To this very moment we go hungry and thirsty; we are clothed in rags; we are beaten; we wander from place to place;12 we wear ourselves out with hard work. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure;13 when we are insulted, we answer back with kind words. We are no more than this world’s garbage; we are the scum of the earth to this very moment! - 1 Cor.4:9-13
What a sacrifice! But while I was reading this passage, I discerned that it is a divine and noble living for Christ. After all, we are truly called to share in His suffering. It is all from Christ’s mouth:
18 If the world hates you, just remember that it has hated me first.19 If you belonged to the world, then the world would love you as its own. But I chose you from this world, and you do not belong to it; that is why the world hates you.20 Remember what I told you:
Slaves are not greater than their master. If people persecuted me, they will persecute you too; if they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours too. - John 15:18-20
It is our living. And we should not be fearful about it because we know God is with us through all our endurance in this world. He also gave us implied way of doing it (and it also boils down to following Christ’s example):
19 God will bless you for this, if you endure the pain of undeserved suffering because you are conscious of his will.20 For what credit is there if you endure the beatings you deserve for having done wrong? But if you endure suffering even when you have done right, God will bless you for it.21 It was to this that God called you, for Christ himself suffered for you and left you an example, so that you would follow in his steps.22 He committed no sin, and no one ever heard a lie come from his lips.23 When he was insulted, he did not answer back with an insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but placed his hopes in God, the righteous Judge.24 Christ himself carried our sins in his body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. It is by his wounds that you have been healed. - 1 Peter 2:19-24
This is GRACE. It’s by God’s grace that He chose to sacrifice His Son for us, and it’s also by grace that we can endure the sufferings we share in Christ till the end, because it is to this that God called us. We can’t imagine the great suffering of Christ (every whip, every wound, every stripe…) “for every sin, on him was laid”…It should have been us. But he took and embraced the cross. What an indescribable GRACE!
In this world, we know we would be wounded. It may be a wound of loss, of denial, or persecution, of false accusation, among others. But we should not lose heart.
A great encouragement from apostle Peter (1 Peter 4:13)
13 Rather be glad that you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may be full of joy when his glory is revealed.
Soli Deo Gloria!
- our lives will be pleasing to God by sharing in Christ’s suffering in this world
- that God would continue to strengthen us to endure every pain this world may bring
Related source: http://www.edwardfudge.com/written/ulcers57.html
MAIN COURSE(XLM 8/24/11): God’s Wisdom vs. the World’s and His purpose
Since we are called to preach the Good News (as discussed in the ‘side dish’), then we are to preach it. But many of the Christians today have doubts and hesitations on doing so. Why? Because they think that preaching the Good News means foolishness, perhaps to their friends, classmates, workmates. The world will laugh at them and because of this, they may lose friends. Well, I’m not writing this to say that that’s not true—-because it is true and it is biblical. But hang on! I’m sure that this passage will encourage you (as it has encouraged me also) to preach Christ all the more despite the side comments of the world; because their words, their wisdom are no match to God’s. God has intended it! for His glory! Let us discuss it now.
Please read the following verses. Paul said it all, and I have only few to add.
- v.18 For the message about Christ’s death on the cross is nonsense to those who are being lost; but for us who are being saved, it is God’s power.
- v. 21 For God in His wisdom made it impossible for people to know Him by means of their own wisdom. Instead, by means of the so-called “foolish” message we preach, God decided to save those who believe.
- v. 23-24 As for us, we proclaim the crucified Christ, a message that is offensive to the Jews and nonsense to the Gentiles; but for those whom God has called, both Jews and gentiles, this message is Christ, who is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
- v. 25 For what seems to be God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and what seems to be God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
See! Got it? It is biblical that the world will think of the Word/Gospel as “foolish”. Those whom God has called understand it but those who are not do not. We understand Christ’s death as the saving power of God and those whom God has called to believe will also understand. No matter how hard we try to convince a fellow to chew the gospel, if He’s really not called by God, he won’t accept it. But why did God make it that way? He has a purpose. Please read the following verses:
- v.27 God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise, and he chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful.
- v.28 He chose what the world looks down and despises and thinks is nothing, in order to destroy what the world thinks is important.
- v.29 This means that no one can boast in God’s presence.
This is simply amazing. God intended all these things all for His glory. To humble people and make them realize that HE IS GOD…and that this world is not all there is! (as always told us by our Pastor Mel Cartera). In the end, all glory belongs to Him alone (Soli Deo Gloria!).
God is with those whom He has called to preach the Good News. It is said in Romans 8:31 “…If God is for us, who can be against us?”. God’s wisdom and power is the greatest and is unparalleled. We have nothing to be afraid of.
Further discussions are posted in our ‘dessert’ (Boast of What the Lord has Done!) but for now, let us drink some refreshment (Who were we then and who are we now?). Something to reflect on and something to be, again, thankful for.
Soli Deo Gloria!
But because of what You’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of You are."
-Who Am I (Casting Crowns)
where GRACE and JUSTICE meet.