Blogging With Saint Paul: The truth hurts.

Ephesians 3

Paul again breaks into a doxology to praise God for what He has done and how great He is. He has revealed a great mystery to the church through Paul. Through Jesus the Gentiles are now made full members of the Kingdom of God. This was a foreign concept to the Jews who went out of their way to exclude Gentiles. Even those legalistic Jewish converts who Paul addressed in the previous letters insisted that Gentiles had to become Jews first by rite of circumcision and keep the ceremonial laws in order to be true members of the Kingdom of God. Yet because Paul preached that this was unnecessary he brought down on himself the hatred and scorn of Jews and Jewish Christians. So great was their hatred of Gentiles, that the last time Paul had appeared at the Temple in Jerusalem his opponents had instigated a riot and falsely accused him as a troublemaker.

Perhaps many of us think the Christian life should be smooth sailing. Many feel that we should never have to suffer persecution, that when we preach the gospel everyone will accept it and everyone will love us. Perhaps for that reason, many in the contemporary church have softened the gospel so as to attract others. They say come to Jesus and experience self-esteem, self-fulfillment, health, riches and fame. Churches mimic the world by adopting worldly tactics and programs to draw people in. They ignore and redefine sin so as to appear tolerant and welcoming.

Paul was not accommodating. He preached the truth. He was only too happy to suffer for the cause of the Gospel as well as for the freedom of the Gentiles believers. He did not want anyone to come under the slavery of the Law. He therefore refused to change the gospel to appease his opponents or to make things easier for himself. The culture had to change to suit the gospel of God’s kingdom, not the other way around.

 

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