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Volume 33 - Page 150 of 253 Index | Zoom | |
While the Apostle manifested such disinterestedness when the matter concerned
himself, when the Lord's people were the subject of attack or deception, he could be
moved to great depths of feeling:
"Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly, and indeed bear with me.
For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one
husband, that I may present a chaste virgin to Christ" (II Cor. 11: 1, 2).
Throughout the O.T. the relationship of Israel with the Lord is as a wife to a husband.
Idolatry is regarded as adultery, and over and over again God speaks of His jealousy
because of Israel's unfaithfulness. Here, during the Acts period, the company which
bride is associated with the heavenly city, and those who followed in the steps of the faith
of Abraham, whether Jews or Gentiles, would share with Abraham that bridal city. It was
with a jealous eye that the Apostle looked upon the preachers of "another" gospel. Such
were doing the self-same work as the Serpent in Eden. These deceitful workers
transformed themselves in order to have the appearance of the apostles of Christ, while in
reality they were the agents of Satan who transformed himself into an angel of light.
Paul's godly jealousy, noting the fact that the deception was associated with false
apostleship, led him on to be "a fool in his boasting". He opens the chapter with a
reference to his folly (II Cor. 11: 1). He supposes that he was not a whit behind the
chiefest of the apostles (II Cor. 11: 5). Over and over again in this passage he calls
himself a fool and his boasting foolish (11: 16, 17, 21, 23; 12: 11). What the Apostle
would not have revealed, even under the severest pressure, he does reveal out of godly
jealousy for the name of the Lord. He will boast of his sufferings, of his shipwreck, of
his stripes, though repeatedly interjecting that in doing so he was acting as a fool, but the
spring of his action was jealousy for the Lord; mere personal jealousy was not found in
him. Not only is this manifest in Phil. 1:, but, in his association with such as Apollos, no
word gives the remotest suggestion that Paul was jealous of the eloquence or the
acceptance of Apollos at Corinth. Who then is Paul? said he, Who is Apollos? but
ministers by whom ye believed. The glory, even as the grace, was the Lord's.
Where the believer can say, "For me to live is Christ", there can be, and there will be,
a complete absence of personal jealousy, and, side by side with this absence, there will be
a real godly jealousy for the truth and the saints entrusted to one's care. Where selfish
jealousy rules, godly jealousy will wane; where love of pre-eminence is found, there also
will be a casting out of the saint, and slackness concerning the Lord's honour.
Once more, to borrow an expression, what "a myriad minded man" the apostle Paul
was, and what an honour it is to be associated in any way with the truth for which he
lived and died.