Monday, September 19, 2011

SEPTEMBER 19 "DID PAUL SAY HE WISHES THEY WOULD ( Blank ) THEMSELVES?

     DID Paul really write/say that he wishes they would emasculate themselves? The Message translation writes, "Why don't these agitators, obsessive as they are about circumcision, go all the way and castrate themselves! "   What in the world.....is Paul saved? Is Paul losing the victory here? This is not very Christian conduct.....How would the religious world deal with this? This verse is not  often used as a memory verse and neither will you hear it as the quote of the day on your favorite Christian Radio Station! However, he said what he said and I don't believe he had any intentions on retracting that statement.  Today, you say what you feel needs to be said and the the media with their onslaught of attacks makes you retract your statements or threatens to ruin you. Had Paul said such a thing in our generation the media would have launched a serious attack against the brother and it would be interesting to see if even Paul would have caved in under the pressure and threats of today's media.  I don't think he would, just for the record.
     No man knows the intense labour a man or woman goes through to be fruitful in the Kingdom of God; except, of course those that do get involved (which is becoming fewer and fewer). Although we know only God gives spiritual life we also know that with that spiritual life that God has birthed there will be much human labour involved.  Paul constantly refers to "his labours". Paul understands more than anyone that only God can save a soul, but Paul, who was immensely fruitful also understands that there is much human labour that goes in with that and Paul considers the souls he has laboured for, "his fruit" , "his spiritual children" and he takes very personnel what happens to them because he has laboured so hard for them. We can "over spiritualize" the whole salvation process and become very Calvinistic in our views towards spiritual life. This works great for the lazy soul that does not want to be burdened with the messy and laborious work of working with young converts in Christ.  For those that don't get involved in the messy lives of young Christians it would be easy for them to judge Paul as being very carnal in his response and very "UN-Christlike". However, for those that have been involved in the lives of young Christians and labouring to see them make it, they would not judge Paul as carnal but say, "amen!" to his comment about them castrating themselves.  What side are you on?  In verse 7 is where we begin to read about Paul's frustration, "you were running such a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?"  Unfortunately, The Baptist or Calvinist cannot relate to this scripture and they certainly cannot relate to the heartache and frustration Paul is having to deal with.  The Calvinist or Baptist would say, "aghhh, don't worry about it, they were probably never saved anyway, because if they were really saved they would never have slipped away, don't you know that nothing can take us out of the Father's hand?".   Unfortunately, Paul (a theologian himself) does not have the luxury to indulge in this Christian Psycho Babble.  Paul clearly understands that someone can be touched by God, received full revelation and truth, be saved and then later on be lured away by wolves in sheep's clothing.  And quite frankly, Paul, who labours more than any other Apostle, is quite sick of it!  His sick of labouring for souls only to see them drawn away by wicked and evil men that of course think themselves agents of God, but they are wolves in sheep's clothing. They are agents of hell and half of them don't even realize it!  The supposed caring "believers" have enticed these poor gentile believers into yoking themselves back into the slavery and bondage of The Law after everything Christ Jesus has down to bring them out.  Verse 1, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery". Paul is not randomly telling them to castrate themselves, it is of course in jest, as the subject matter that is being discussed here is circumcision.
     There are two issues Paul is having to deal with and they happen to be two of the most vexing issues to have to deal with as a workman for Christ and when hit with both at the same time, it can be quite frustrating, to say the least.  The two issues that are most frustrating to deal with is #1. Labouring with people who then turn and walk away.  #2.  Fighting the religious community and mindset that prevails in every city that experiences a move of God.  And in this case Paul is dealing with both. If it were heathens he was having to deal with it would have been easier for him and perhaps he would have had more Grace, but Paul is not dealing with "supposed" heathens/pagans here is contending against people who claim to be religious and claim to only want the best but yet are doing almost irrevocable damage and resisting the very Grace of God.  These are the people that will push you to your edge and cause you to say and act in ways that will shock most bystanders. Jesus said some pretty outlandish things himself to folks that presented themselves as "religious" but were actually opposing the very work He was trying to do, Jesus said to them, "you are of your Father, the devil" and we could go on and on about harsh words Jesus spoke. 
     We must constantly examine ourselves and guard our hearts against this spirit. It is quite easy over the years to become staunchly religious and self righteous and begin to oppose the very Grace that Christ is trying to bring to the lost.  It is our responsibility to check our hearts daily and make sure that we never find ourselves resisting and opposing God's work of redemption, rather than helping and enhancing his work on the earth.  What side are you on?  What part are you playing? How do you fit into the scheme of all that God is doing in the earth, but more specifically your city and even more specific, your church!