by Richard Mansel, assistant editor
The Apostle Paul, scarred from the daily spiritual wars, sought release through the rest Christ promised (Hebrews 4:8-11). Paul’s fervor, fellowship and faith gave him the impetus to be confident in his eternal destiny. It explains his self-motivation as he endured his life of sacrifice.
A MAN OF FELLOWSHIP
Paul’s deep and abiding love for his brethren led him to long for the grand renewal in heaven. It helped empower his confidence in death.
When his brethren were confused about the end of time, he told them to see heaven as a “gathering together” of the saints and a reason for comfort and hope (2 Thessalonians 2:1,17; Philippians 1:3-6).
He loved Timothy like a child (1 Timothy 1:2; Philippians 2:19-20). He included greetings to a variety of people in his epistles (Romans 16). They were his spiritual family.
Paul wrote the consummate chapter on the beauty of Christian love (1 Corinthians 13). His love for the church and for souls met in the unity of the brethren. Paul’s desire was to see everyone find salvation.
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1). He loved the Jews and desperately wanted them to be saved (Romans 9:2-3).
Romans is a book where he largely writes to the Jewish and Gentile Christians to stop fighting one another and become one flesh. When accomplished, they would find transformation through the gospel (Romans 12:1-5).
Heaven will therefore be the ultimate fulfillment of unity. We will all be one as we enjoy eternity in the arms of our Lord. Unity on earth leads to an eternity together in the perfection of heaven (Ephesians 4).
Paul’s fervor also fuels his faith. His faith is a powerful force that leads him to survive an extraordinary amount of hardship (2 Corinthians 11:23-27).
Paul had been a persecutor but discovered he was in error. When Paul realized what he had done and been forgiven of, he became a fierce defender of the faith. God had said, “For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:16).
Paul knew exactly what he was getting into. He “was under no misapprehension of what was before him. He knew what he was to receive in lieu of what he had given up.”/1
When he writes about faith, it is far more than a mental acknowledgment. It is the core of a life committed to a cause.
Faith justifies us and leads us to live actively for the Lord (Romans 5:1-2; Ephesians 2:8-10). Faith transforms our lives as we walk in Christ (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:1). We are also protected from the schemes of the devil by the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:10-16).
Faith in Christ was enough of a motivation to Paul to do anything Christ asked. His love for God was so palpable that he never hesitated to be active in the fields of the Lord.
1/ A.T. Robertson, Epochs in the Life of Paul (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1976), 57.