About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Ephesians 3:1 reads:
"For this reason I,
Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles ..."
Ephesians 4:1 says this:
"As a prisoner for
the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have
Paul viewed himself as a
"prisoner of Christ."
With this in mind, look what he wrote in Ephesians 1:7 and 8.
"In him [Jesus] we
have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance
with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us ..."
Paul said that from the
wealth of God's grace, Jesus lavishes as much of it upon us as he can.
How can we reconcile the fact that God lavished grace upon Paul
with the fact that Paul was chained as a prisoner?
On the surface, there seems to be a disconnect here.
How could Paul tell his readers that God loves to lavish grace on
them when he was in prison? Besides,
it was Emperor Nero's regime that imprisoned Paul.
Why, then, would Paul consider himself to be a prisoner of Christ?
Is that another disconnect? Was
Paul out of his mind as governor Festus concluded (Acts 26:24)?
By all outward
appearances Paul was indeed a prisoner of Nero, but by all not so outward
appearances, he was a prisoner for Christ, and why?
Paul saw past his outward reality and into the spiritual reality in
which he, in spirit, existed. From
there, God accomplishes His will in the material world, as seen in
Ephesians 1:21 and 22.
"... he [God]
exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right
hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and
dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but
also in the one to come."
Paul was imprisoned by
Nero because of his association with Jesus.
That's why he considered himself a prisoner of Christ, who faced
brutal hardships as he manoeuvred his way through his material
environment. It was something
he expected. From day one of
his new life in Jesus he knew God would accomplish His will in his life
through much suffering. Acts
9:15 and 16 read:
"But the Lord said
to Ananias; “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to
the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of
Suffering did not slow
Paul down. He realized that
God involved Himself in all of his trials.
God's divine ability, that is grace, enabled him to endure all
things. 2 Corinthians 12:9
"But he [God] said
to me, 'My grace is sufficient
for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast
all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest
As born again of the
Spirit Christians we often find ourselves chained by circumstances, by
poor health, by poverty, by trials, by age, and more.
Despite all that binds us, God's grace-filled, Spirit empowered,
ability can cause us to rise above our circumstances and weaknesses so
God's will can be accomplished in our lives.