“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:” 2 Corinthians 5:14
I remember reading the story of Thomas Cranmer, the first Archbishop of Canterbury. Following the orders of Queen Mary of England at this time, who was an opponent of the preaching of the gospel, there was a vicious massacre of several church fathers.
In incarceration, under intense pressure and persecution, Cranmer was forced to sign a recantation. Cranmer later realized what he had done. He publicly denounced his recantation. As expected Mary immediately seized him, had him tied to stake and burned alive at Oxford.
What’s most amazing was what Cranmer did on that stake as the flames went up to heaven. He reached forth his right hand and said ‘May this hand burn first that signed the recantation’. He then thrust his right hand into the fire and burned it till he himself was burnt to death!
This is the commitment to the gospel of our fore fathers had! Not a wishy washy, as comfortable commitment.
We have the exact same commitment in the Apostles of Christ. All died as Martyrs, save John, who was banished to the Isle of Patmos since he couldn’t be killed.
What made them this committed to the Lord. What was their motivation?
The unfortunate thing is that what motivates most believers today doesn’t produce this kind of deadly commitment. Once the going gets tough, many cower. Some are motivated by the promise of blessings and rewards, others a desire for fame and wealth, guilt and condemnation etc
I believe our text today shows us the secret of the commitment to the Lord and the Gospel the apostles had. That commitment that only got stronger in the face of persecution and pressure!
Paul says that the Love of Christ constrains him. How blind that is to us in the king James. Let’s see the same verse in some recent translations;
“For the love of Christ controls and urges and impels us…”
“We are ruled by the love of Christ…”
“Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do…”
I love the Message Translation so much. It says the Love of Christ has moved him to such extremes! We are controlled, urged, propelled and ruled by this Love!
A personal revelation of the immensity and radicalism of Christ’s love made living martyrs out of these men. Note that it’s not the love we have for Him but the love he has for us.
Have you come to be so overwhelmed and ruled by this Love that nothing else matters?
Christ’s Love when received by revelation is the greatest motivation ever!
Dear Father, I thank you for your word that has come to me today. I declare that I walk in love and I esteem the love of Christ higher than any challenge or persecution I may face. Christ’s love rules supreme in my heart by the Holy Spirit. Nothing shall separate me from the love of Christ. Neither death, nor peril, nor distress, nor life, nor angels, shall separate me from the love of Christ. In Jesus Name, Amen.
1 YEAR BIBLE READING
1 Kings 9:1-10:29