Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Have you ever marveled at the devotion and self-sacrifice we see in the life of the apostle Paul? He said, "For me to live is Christ" (Phil. 1:21). He loved life as much as anybody, but still rejoiced that he was permitted to suffer for the sake of Christ who had suffered so much for him. On and on he went through life, scorning retirement, motivated by the love [agape] of Christ in his ministry, finally laying his head down on the block while the Roman soldier severed it.
Has Paul earned a first class ticket to heaven while the rest of us must be content with third class passage (if we get there!)? Will he enjoy a mansion in the earth made new while we will be content with a shack, if we can squeeze through the pearly gates, or maybe just sleep on the grass? Is the all-out devotion such as Paul's possible for us who live in comfort, and for many, luxury? It's not our fault we are heirs to the life-style we enjoy! In the final Judgment, will we step shamefully aside while Paul gets his very special reward? Or is his devotion possible for us?
In these last days it will be repeated in that mystic number of "144,000" of Revelation 14:1-5, who "follow the Lamb wherever He goes." It wasn't some special trait of character in Paul; he was a selfish sinner like we are, by nature. He simply saw something we have not as yet seen clearly: Jesus poured out His life (precious to Him as it can be to us!), "poured out His soul unto death" (Isa. 53:12)--the second death.
Paul was able to "comprehend" what we haven't yet clearly seen--"what is the width and length and depth and height" of this "love [agape] of Christ which passes knowledge" (Eph. 3:18, 19)? God will see to it that we "comprehend" it. Will you welcome the revelation?
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 19, 2005.
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