“From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” (Galatians 6:17 NKJV)
The Greek word for “marks” in Galatians 6:17 is “stigma”. It describes a mark upon the body created with pricks in the skin or with a brand pressed into the flesh.
A stigma, in the first century meaning of the word, represented ownership. It was applied to soldiers and to slaves who would not be able to deny their identity. Some pagan worshipers would also apply it to themselves in order to display their allegiance.
But when it comes to Paul, the stigma upon his body was neither a tattoo nor a flesh-burning brand – his stigma was the marks created by his faith in Jesus (and he wasn’t talking about a mystical experience either!).
In contrast to the Judaizers of Galatians 6:12 who sought to compromise the gospel of Christ in order to avoid persecution, the marks upon Paul’s body was proof his faith believed that faith in Jesus could save one’s soul, and he would not change his story. He had the stripes to prove it! He had been beaten five times by the Jews with 40 stripes minus one, beaten three times by civil authorities with the rod, and was stoned one time with the purpose of killing him (2 Corinthians 11:24-25).
When an individual viewed the physical body of Paul there was no doubt as to who he belonged to … it just wasn’t spelled out with letters.
“So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.” (Mark 15:15 NKJV)
Though Bible critics allege that Paul and other Bible writers endorsed slavery, they rarely (if ever) investigate the matter fairly. The fact is, Paul’s instruction for Christian slaves to honor their masters is perfectly consistent with the rest of God’s Word regarding all Christians submitting to those in positions of authority. What’s more, far from endorsing sinful slavery, Paul’s teachings, taken to their logical conclusion, would eventually lead truth-seeking slave owners and government officials to bring an end to any kind of cruel, sinful captivity. Read >>
Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.
Here are the topics you will find:
- Fulfill Ye My Joy! (John W. Moore)
- The Example of Jesus (Cody Westbrook)
- The Example of Paul (Carl McCann)
- The Example of Timothy (Ross Hafner)
- The Example of Epaphroditus (Troy Spradlin)
Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.
You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions.
Copyright © 2017 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.
Human beings need goals. Without goals, people have no direction, no destination.
Of course, God is keenly aware of this and has included this necessity for us in the Bible. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 3:13-14 KJV).
The context of the passage tells us Paul was not a man who believed that once he was saved he would be ultimately saved, but instead continued working toward that goal.
Involved in that is forgetting the past. Many people like to dwell in the past. People agonized over their missteps. They think about “what might have been.”
But one cannot change the past. One, however, may chart a course ahead and work towards it. If one constantly lives in the past, they’ll never have a goal and nothing to look forward to achieving.
Paul said, “reaching forth unto those things which are before.” This is the way Christians should live. If there are past sins, ask forgiveness and then keep trying.
When Olympic runners near the finish line, they lunge forward to break the tape. The winner is the only one who can do this, but others who run can set goals for the day when they will break the tape themselves. That’s the way to run a Christian race!
Christians need to be the example, not the warning. A couple of prime warnings in the Bible are found in Phillipians 4.
Paul said, “I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.”
These were church-going Christian women who had been helping the Apostle Paul spread the Gospel. They did great things for the Lord but He didn’t want us to know them for the good they had done. He wanted us to know them for another reason.
They were hurting the church at Phillipi. We don’t know what they were doing but we do know what they weren’t doing. They weren’t getting along. They weren’t loving each other the way God intended. They weren’t being the godly women that they had been and could’ve been.
A friend recently sent me this quote, “I’d rather be the one who nailed the hands of Jesus to the cross than the one, who by pride or arrogance, hurt His church.”
May we never be so arrogant and prideful that we hurt or split the church of God and may we always be the example and never the warning.
I think mine is the one of Saul of Tarsus. I know if we were the ones deciding who would or could become a Christian and lived back in the First Century–I don’t think we would have him high or low on our list. You have to read Acts 9, 22 & 26 to get as Luke says, “The Whole Counsel of God.”
This shows the longsuffering and mercy of our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. Many times those who we think will be no use to the Lord and His Church can become fruitful disciples. Remember, as one song has as its title: “There’s Room in the Kingdom for All.”