BRAND MARKS – PART 2

Most of us bear scars of one type or another!  Sometimes we have opportunity to share the story of how those were acquired, and we go on a tirade to endeavor to surpass anyone who has just shared theirs.  I certainly cannot boast about some that I developed along the way, they are from ignorance.  They are not for boasting, just plain blubbering.

In the church of Galatia a problem had developed, one had to feel as though it became a “show and tell”!  Not quite, but in a verbal display of who had been circumcised.  It became a monstrous problem in that it became a judging point over whether you had, or not had, a “genuine faith” (Galatians 6:13). It also became a boasting point as to who had led who to Christ as Savior.

That annoyed Paul to the point that he said to them: “But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world; For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.   And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.  From now on let no one trouble me for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus!”

From the moment the apostle had become a Christian, he had been a “fire-brand for Jesus”.  As a result, he had received persecution upon persecution, which left many scars. 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 “…in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death.  Five times I received from the Jews thirty nine lashes.  Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.  I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city dangers in the wilderness. Dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.”

Much like the churches in those early days, we can expect persecution of one type or another as we move assuredly toward the Rapture of the church and the tribulation to follow.  The Apostle made these things clear throughout the Epistles.   Let us not feel sorry for such expectations.  As indicated in Scripture, “the COMING of our Lord draweth nigh.” (James 5:8)  The best is yet to come!

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