Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Epistles of the Heart"

"Ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart." (II Corinthians 3:3).

The Apostle Paul wrote epistles of two varieties, the written letters with which we are most familiar, and the living letters penned in the hearts of people.

Whether Paul knew that his writings would become the literal Word of God preserved for the ages, we do not know. He was aware, however, that his ministry to the contemporaries of his day involved the spiritual forming of Christ in believers, both in doctrine and in living experience (Galatians 4:19). The Apostle was an "ambassador for Christ" sent by God and sent with God to ensure that the Lord Jesus was known in vibrant reality rather than in mere principle and ritual. Solomon wrote that the issues of life are matters of the heart, and Paul had no interest in anything other than trusting hearts being consciously aware that salvation involves the presence and dynamic working of the living Christ (Proverbs 4:23).

"To live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21). In the mind of Paul, the Lord Jesus was not merely someone in whom we believe. He is rather someone we know, and more importantly, someone who knows and regards us (Galatians 4:9). This was Paul's experience, and he would not be content with ministry that involved anything less than people saturated with the wonder of God. We must join our brother in the same passionate intent, both in ourselves and in our ministry to others. We do not believe "cunningly devised fables" as born again Christians. We believe the truth, and we are spiritually united to He who is the Truth (John 14:6). Paul wielded the pen of the Holy Spirit in his day to ensure that Christ was imprinted on hearts to the degree that He was known in every aspect of life and being. We must be content with no less. Let us encourage and challenge one another to "know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge," and thus to wholeheartedly love God and others as the natural (or supernatural) response to the living Word of God written in our hearts (Ephesians 3:19).

"My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,"
(Galatians 4:19)

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