Reading through the Bible together

Sunday, May 17, 2015

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This is the Apostle Paul’s final epistle written while in the notorious Mamertine Prison of Rome—awaiting his execution. How would you respond in such a situation?  Paul responds in verse 3 by saying, “I thank God whom I serve with a pure conscience….”


I pause and wonder—if I were in Paul’s situation could I say the same thing?  Can I praise God in all situations today—through all trials? Well, I don’t really know because I haven’t gone through all the trials that might come my way—nor have you. Trials will come until the day we sleep in the dust or we see Jesus coming in the clouds.  What I do know it that for today’s trials God has already assured you and me that, “My grace is sufficient for you….” (2 Cor. 12:9).


God’s grace is the key to help us in the present and what is to come in the future—regardless of our circumstances. Languishing at our lowest point, His power will do its perfect work, transforming us into His image. Hence, Paul could say, “Therefore I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).


The gospel does not produce spiritual weaklings, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (verse 7).  ”King David understood the “no fear” concept when he wrote Psalms 27:1, “Jehovah is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? Jehovah is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”  The answer, of course, is no one!


God has called us to be holy, to stand strong in Him. He has provided us every tool and resource to enable us to do so: power, love, and a sound mind. To describe this power Paul uses the Greek word Dunamis—from which comes our English word dynamite. This explosive power must be coupled with love—God’s love. The combination of Godly power and love are to be guided by a sound mind—the mind of Christ as described in Philippians 2.


Set in motion from “eternal times” this transformational grace trio of Godly power, love, and the mind of Christ, is applied through the Holy Spirit. It is this “grace-package” that was responsible for the transformation of Paul.  You see, “There is no limit to the usefulness and influence of anyone who consecrates his will to the purpose of God (BC Vol. 7 p. 331).” Paul discovered this exciting truth; Timothy did as well—have we?


Jim Ayer
Vice President
Adventist World Radio
General Conference