The Pauline Authority Of The Local Church

“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:19).

By the time the Lord spoke these words to Peter, He knew from the reaction of the religious leaders in Israel that they were not going to accept Him as their Messiah, but were rather going to kill Him. Hence we see Him here preparing for His death by giving Peter the power and authority to act in an official capacity in His absence. This power was then expanded to include a quorum of two of the twelve apostles (Matt. 18:18,19). We see the apostles exercising this authority in the early chapters of the Book of Acts.

However, the authority the Lord gave the twelve apostles had to do with authority in the “kingdom” church (Matt. 16:19), and we know that God interrupted the kingdom program after the stoning of Stephen. The Apostle Paul was then given the “authority” to act in an official capacity in the Lord’s absence during the dispensation of grace (II Cor. 10:8). This authority was then passed on through Paul’s epistles to the local church. Note Paul’s words in I Corinthians 5:

“For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present…”

“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 5:3,4).

Here the Corinthians are assured that when they broke fellowship with the man living in open and unabashed sin (v. 1,2,13), they would be doing so in the “spirit” of the Apostle Paul. That is, they could be sure that the decision of their local church would carry with it his apostolic authority and “the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We see this principle again in II Corinthians 2:10:

“To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also; for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ.”

Here we find Paul claiming to be acting “in the person of Christ,” i.e., with His power and authority. And we also see him telling the Corinthians that when they acted, they acted in his authority, and in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

All of this is especially significant when we remember that Paul says these words to the Corinthians, the most carnal church to whom he wrote. Thus we know that the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ today resides in the humblest local church that recognizes the authority of the Apostle Paul in the present dispensation.

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

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Part 3: Newness of Life — Resurrection With Christ

(The following is the third in a series of excerpts from Pastor Stam’s classic work on true spirituality. Since this book never appeared as a series in the Searchlight, many of even our long-time readers may not be familiar with these selections.)

“Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).


While the Old Testament Scriptures do employ the figure of resurrection in connection with Israel’s conversion and future blessing in the land (e.g., Ezek. 37:1-14) this figure like that of the new birth, is used with fuller, deeper significance in the great Pauline revelation regarding Christ and the members of His Body.

Also, the doctrine of our resurrection with Christ to a new life is an advance on what even Paul, by the Spirit, has to say with reference to the new birth.

Birth speaks only of a beginning; it does not contemplate the past. When Nicodemus asked: “Can [a man] enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” our Lord was quick to explain that in using the phrase “born anew”1 He did not mean being born again in the same way, but being born again in a different way. God does not undertake to improve the old nature or to induce the “old man” to begin all over again for, as we have seen, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh” and “they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (John 3:6; Rom. 8:8). No matter how intellectual or cultured or religious, “the flesh” is still that which has been generated by a fallen begetter and therefore cannot please God. Hence, “that which is born of the flesh” needs, not merely to be born over again and given another start; a new and different nature must be imparted; an entirely new life, begotten of the Spirit of God. This new life is separate and distinct from that which was generated at natural birth; in fact, is “contrary” to it. The conflict resulting from this will be discussed in a later chapter. Here we emphasize simply that the new birth speaks only of a new beginning and does not contemplate the past.

The new birth is the spiritual counterpart of natural birth. We do not speak of a new-born infant’s “past.” As an individual it has no past. It has barely begun to open its eyes and look about, unable even to focus its vision upon any particular object. Thus the new birth speaks simply of the beginning of a new life.

But now we go a step further and find that we receive this new life by identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection, and the doctrine of our resurrection with Christ does contemplate the past. Resurrection presupposes a former life and death.2 The identity of the individual is preserved throughout. The individual who lived a certain kind of life, and died, is now raised to live a new life. Now, raised from the dead, he is the same person, yet not the same. Thus the Apostle Paul could say: “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me…” (Gal. 2:20).

It is true that Ephesians 2:1 teaches that we were already “dead in trespasses and sins” before ever having become identified with Christ in His death, but this does not change the picture, for even in that passage we go on to read that “in time past” we “walked according to the course of this world,” etc. Like the woman described in I Timothy 5:6, unbelievers are dead while they live, and can be quickened from their death in trespasses and sins only by identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, for the simple reason that He came to identify Himself with us in our death to bring us through with Him to resurrection life.


But how can one become thus identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection? How can one die to the old life and be raised to walk in newness of life?

The answer is: by grace through faith. What Christ has done for us by grace, we must accept and appropriate by faith. He, by an act of infinite grace, identified Himself with us, dying our death. We, by an act of simple faith, must identify ourselves with Him, confessing: “I am the sinner. It is my death He is dying. I will accept His grace and commit myself to Him for salvation.” The moment this is done we become one with the once-crucified, ever-living Christ.

Mark well, Calvary is the meeting place, the place where the identification is effected. No man was ever made one with Christ without being made one with Him in His death. “Know ye not,” asks the apostle, “that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?” (Rom. 6:3). And it is for this reason that we are buried with Christ, by that same baptism, and raised with Him to walk in newness of life (Ver. 4).

What a tragedy that the sublime truth of this passage has been obscured by the injection of a water baptism ceremony into it! As though water baptism could ever bring the believer today into any relationship to Christ! As though it could really bury the old man and help us to put on the new! Those who have fallen into this error have taken a ceremony which never did speak of burial but only of washing (Acts 22:16, etc.) and have confused it with our actual baptism by the Spirit into the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Little wonder the apostle cries, with reference to this very subject: “Beware lest any man spoil [rob] you….Ye are complete in Him…In whom also ye are circumcised…Buried with Him…risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead” (Col. 2:8-12).

How perfect and wonderful is the divine plan! In grace Christ died our death. In faith we acknowledge it was our death He died, and trust in that death to save us. And there at the Cross we become one. The response of faith to grace has united us inseparably and eternally together.


The judicial, or positional aspect of this truth is, of course, most important. We read that our Lord was “delivered for our offences, and was raised again for [on account of] our justification” (Rom. 4:25). In other words, His death paid the whole penalty for our sins and procured for us full justification. Therefore He was raised from the dead. And since His death was ours, the penalty for our sins, and we have appropriated this by faith, therefore the justification and resurrection life is ours also. As we recognize Christ’s death as ours, God reckons us one with Him, as having already died for and to sin, and having been raised to walk in newness of life.

Now this judicial, positional aspect of our identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection is far from mere theory. It is fact. It is vitally real. God’s just condemnation of us for sin was real. Christ’s suffering and death for us was real. And we had to exercise real faith in Christ’s finished work before God justified us and pronounced us righteous, counting us as having already died for and to sin.

It is on the basis of this judicial transaction that the apostle argues that we have no right to continue in sin. The sins we are so prone to commit after having been justified belong to the old life, not to the new which we have in Christ. Therefore we have no right to go on in sin. “How,” he asks, “shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Rom. 6:2). And pointing to the fact that Christ “died unto sin once,” but now “liveth unto God,” he goes on to say:

“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:11-14).

But the judicial or positional truths we have been considering are only part of the whole doctrine of our baptism into Christ, for while these positional realities affect our experience as we appropriate them by faith, our baptism into Christ is also in itself a practical and experiential matter.

When the sinner acknowledges Christ’s death as his own and trusts Christ for salvation, not only does he receive a standing before God as having been crucified, buried and raised with Christ, but the Spirit seals the transaction, uniting him in a vital, living relationship with Christ. Thus the believer actually becomes a partaker of Christ’s resurrection LIFE. There is more than justice in view here; there is the need and the impartation of life and this life, while spiritual in its nature, is none the less real.

Once more we ask: Was not Christ’s death real? Was not His death really our death? Then just so real is our resurrection life! In the first place, when we accept Christ’s death as our own and become identified with Him, we actually die to the old life in the sense that we can never again go back to our lost estate. That condition is past forever. Furthermore, we now become partakers of the resurrection life of Christ, which we can never lose (Rom. 6:9) since it is His life. As the Father has raised us from the dead judicially, so the Spirit has raised us spiritually, in the sense that He has actually imparted spiritual life. It is now ours to appropriate and enjoy the fullness of that life by faith.

In Romans 8:2 Paul speaks of this impartation of life by the Spirit as a law which operates in every believer:

“For the law of the Spirit, [that] of life in Christ Jesus, hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”

And then the apostle proceeds to show that what the law of Moses “could not do” because of the character of “the flesh,” God sent His own Son to accomplish:

“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:4).

Thus, besides the moral reason why we should not continue in sin, there is also a very practical reason: the new life which the Spirit has begotten within us. This the apostle emphasizes in Romans 8, as he goes on to say:

“But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [give life to] your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.

“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh” (Vers. 11,12).

This passage is sometimes supposed to refer to the future bodily resurrection of the dead, but note that the Spirit, who dwells in us, energizes our mortal (not dead) bodies. Thus we are debtors—not to sin, but to God. We cannot excuse ourselves by saying, “I am only human after all,” or “the flesh is weak,” for we have the Holy Spirit within to strengthen our mortal bodies and help us to walk in newness of life.

The judicial and practical aspects of our resurrection with Christ are, however, closely intertwined. Ephesians 2:4-6 seems to refer to both at the same time:

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us,

“Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

Thus the believer’s position is already in heaven, and by faith, through the power of the Spirit, he may occupy that position and enjoy its blessings experientially. This is why the apostle opens the Ephesian epistle with the doxology:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).

And this is why he challenges the Colossians:

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:1-3).


  1. Lit., “from above,” but used to express: from the top, from the start, from the very beginning.
  2. We are aware of the fact that the Greek word for actual resurrection (anastasis, lit., standing up) is used almost exclusively of bodily resurrection. The words, zoopoieo, to quicken or reanimate, and egeiro, to awaken or rouse up, are the ones mainly used in connection with our present subject. This does not mean, however, that resurrection is not here contemplated, any more than that quickening or awakening are not contemplated where bodily resurrection is concerned. It is simply a matter of emphasis, for in the doctrine we are here considering, the impartation of resurrection life is mainly in view. All three words: zoopoieo, egeiro, and anastasis are used in I Corinthians 15 with reference to the resurrection of Christ.

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Part 5: The Importance of the Local Church


“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11).

When man was created in the beginning God instilled in him the desire to worship. Man was designed to worship God. According to the Scriptures, God rested on the seventh day after He completed all of His creative acts. Although the Sabbath, as we have come to know it, was not introduced until Moses, the seventh day gave man his first opportunity to worship His Creator. Before the fall, Adam and Eve naturally sought out the presence of God when He entered the garden in the cool of the day (Gen. 3:8). Think of it, they communed daily with their Creator face to face in all His glory!

After Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, to their dismay their eyes were opened—they had sinned against their Creator with devastating consequences! As they fled from the presence of God they hid themselves among the trees of the garden, and ever since that day long ago the natural man has been running and hiding from God. It is telling that our first parents sought to conceal their nakedness by sewing fig leaves together to make themselves aprons (Gen. 3:7). By the works of their hands they were attempting to cover themselves in order to be acceptable before God. This is the first religious act recorded in the Scriptures, which was unacceptable to God because without faith it is impossible to please Him (Heb. 11:6). Thus, the fig tree is often a symbol in the Scriptures of meaningless religious acts.

The desire of man to willingly worship the Creator was corrupted by sin. Sadly, grave damage was done that can only be corrected through redemption. The natural man hates God and the things of God, but ironically he is inherently religious. Ancient history bears witness to man’s insatiable desire to worship the “gods of the universe.” The Egyptians, for example, worshipped a pantheon of gods—Re, the sun god; Osiris, the god of the Nile; Ptah, the god of Artificers; these are just a few of the hundreds of gods to whom they paid homage. The Canaanites worshipped the gods of fertility, and Baal, the god of thunder. In the days of the Judges the Philistines paid homage to Dagon, the god of the sea (fish) and Ashtaroth, the goddess of propagation. All these nations knew about the true and living God, but chose to defy Him and worship the creation rather than the Creator.

“Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female….And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven” (Deut. 4:16,19).

God, in His infinite foreknowledge, foreknew that fallen mankind would have a propensity to worship the heavens (Psa. 147:5 cf. I Pet. 1:18-20). This would be especially true of the sun seeing that it appears to sustain life upon the earth. Interestingly, God chose not to create the sun until the fourth day of creation, which more effectively accomplished His purpose. He demonstrated to the ages that He is greater than the sun and, therefore, able to sustain life upon the earth apart from this heavenly body. God transcends His creation!

The finished work of Christ at Calvary is the answer to the sin question. Those who place their faith in Him are transformed from being worshippers of self to true worshippers of God. Only the believer in Christ can worship God in spirit and in truth.


In 1715, Louis XIV of France died. Louis, who called himself “the Great,” was the monarch who made the infamous statement: “I am the State!” His court was the most magnificent in Europe, and his funeral was spectacular. His body lay in a golden coffin. To dramatize the deceased king’s greatness, orders had been given that the cathedral should be very dimly lighted, with only one special candle set above his coffin. Thousands waited in hushed silence. Then Bishop Massilon began to speak. Slowly reaching down, he snuffed out the candle, saying, “Only God is great!” (1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching, Edited by Michael P. Green, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, pg. 168.)

Amen!! Only God is great and greatly to be praised for the things He has done! Sadly, Christendom has moved far away from a proper view of the majesty of God. The attempt of some to water down the attributes of God has robbed believers of an accurate understanding of His true essence. The Church at large has sought to humanize God, to conform Him to their way of thinking. But the Lord has this to say about this type of reasoning:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8,9).

The magnificence of God goes far beyond our human comprehension; therefore, we bow before Him in humble adoration. He is God! He deserves all the glory and honor that is rightfully due Him! Consider for a moment, God simply spoke and worlds supernaturally came into being! He is the Creator and Sustainer of heaven and earth and all things visible and invisible.

Astronomers who turn their telescopes to the heavens readily admit they cannot number the stars of heaven. It has been said: “The total number of stars in the observable universe is estimated to be 1025 (1 followed by 25 zeros). Nobody knows the actual number.” But God has not only numbered them, He has also named each and every one of them (Psa. 147:4). We marvel, as did David, that “such knowledge is high.” Infinite!!

He parted the waters of the Red Sea with the breath of His nostrils so that they stood upright as a heap, which provided safe passage for His own, but death for the Egyptians. Outside of creation itself, perhaps the greatest demonstration of His power was when He raised His only begotten Son from the dead. Such power is infinite (Psa. 147:5; Eph. 1:19,20).

When the false prophets sought to deceive Israel, supposing that God was inattentive and really didn’t care, He inquired of them: “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD” (Jer. 23:24). Amazing! As the old saying goes, “You can run, but you can’t hide.”

If you read the history of the Church it is evident that reverence for God and the things of God are at a low tide today. We are living in a day when our worship services are more like social gatherings. While there are exceptions, many church services begin with the chatter of brethren trying to work out a business deal or someone catching up on the news in the community. Usually the volume is such that the one leading the service has to make two or three attempts to get everyone’s attention. The song selections are oftentimes unknown by those present and could probably be sung at a worldly concert with little or no objection. If there is time to open the Scriptures, the best you can hope for is a devotional message. Now we are not advocating that the worship service should be like a funeral dirge. What we are saying is that when we gather to worship there should be a reverence for the things of the Lord.

The English word “worship” means to attribute worth to someone or something. In the biblical sense, God is worthy of our adoration, reverence, praise, and thanksgiving because of who He is and what He has accomplished. We are to acknowledge the supremacy of God who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. The heart of our worship is the living Word of God. As we gather together on the first day of the week it is to be challenged by a capable teacher of the Scriptures that we might grow in grace and praise Him for all of His benefits. This is why regular attendance at your assembly is so important. It is essential for your spiritual growth.

Our worship of God, however, is not to be limited to a Sunday morning worship service. This is a good beginning, but it is not meant to be an end in itself. We should be in a continual attitude of worship every day of the week. This means studying the Scriptures daily that we might know the Lord in a fuller and deeper sense (Phil. 3:10). I was doing this very thing one evening when I came across a passage in the Book of Psalms that caused me to pause, and say, “Wow, how true!”

“The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts” (Psa. 10:4).

Although God doesn’t reside in the thoughts of the unbeliever, the Psalmist strongly implies that He does or should fill all the thoughts of the believer. I rarely, if ever, thought of God when I was in unbelief. If I did, I turned my attention to other things so I didn’t have to ponder my lost condition. I was blinded by the things of the world.

Since my conversion to Christ, my how things have changed! He now fills my thoughts throughout the day. Every time I see a sunrise or sunset that graces the horizon I marvel at the beauty of His creation. I was sitting in the doctor’s office recently for my yearly physical; on the wall was a picture of the human anatomy, which reminded me of the handiwork of God. Like David, I was led to praise Him that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

The other day my wife and I had the privilege of watching the grandkids. These opportunities have given me a much greater appreciation for those people they call referees! About midday little Katie informed Nana that Pap-pap was taking a nap in his chair (I wasn’t on duty). By the end of the day as we collapsed into bed, the last thing I remember was offering thanks to God for each of the grandkids and the little addition on the way. He fills the thoughts of those who love Him!

Paul says in Romans that we should present our bodies a living sacrifice “holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” This, too, should be done daily. The Old Testament saints worshipped God by offering burnt offerings. As the aroma of the sacrifice rose heavenward it was well-pleasing to the Lord. Under grace we worship Him by offering ourselves a living sacrifice on the altar of service. This is what is acceptable to God today. But sometimes the fire on the altar needs to be stirred up to remind us that the “things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (II Cor. 4:18). More on this next month!

As you can see our worship of God should not be limited to Sunday morning, as the above demonstrates. Our lives should be filled with these types of acts of worship everyday as we humble ourselves before Him who is worthy of our praise and adoration.


Seeing that worshipping God is a spiritual experience, our worship of Him is not confined to a “church” building. But it is pleasing to God when we join with others of like-precious faith to worship together as a group. In fact, we are instructed not to forsake the assembling of ourselves, which some are inclined to do. When we gather with other believers in worship it gives us an opportunity to fellowship together around the Word, rightly divided, and encourage one another in the faith. The Lord has given each of us different gifts and abilities that when brought together result in a symphony of praise to the One whom we’ve gathered to worship. In addition, interaction with other believers will help you have more of a balance in your Christian life.

As we stated in a previous article, it is important to attend a Grace assembly where you know the truth of Paul’s gospel will be proclaimed. This will ensure that your relationship with Christ is resting upon the right message. But what if there isn’t a local Grace assembly in your area? The concept of the church today is large buildings, with stained glass windows, and grand pianos. While there is nothing innately wrong with large facilities, the church is not brick and mortar; it is the Lord’s people. Wherever believers in Christ choose to meet together, we have a local assembly of the true Church, which is His Body.

“And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue. And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house” (Acts 18:7,8).

After the unbelieving Jews failed to heed Paul’s warning at Corinth, he walked out of the synagogue, leaving Judaism behind, and went next door to the house of Justus and established a Grace church. Initially the assembly at Corinth was few in number, but God honored it. The church that meets in someone’s house is on equal footing with the assembly which has two hundred in attendance.

I’ve led worship services in the home where I ministered the Word, we sang, gave testimonies, and had a wonderful time of fellowship. Since it was an informal setting everyone took advantage of the opportunity to ask questions, and we even addressed a few thorny issues. But what if there isn’t someone to teach the Word? Beloved ones, we have enough taped messages and literature from our Grace organizations and churches to keep you under the sound of the Word until the Rapture. You may be surprised to learn that many of our Grace assemblies originally started in someone’s home.

Whether your local assembly meets in a “church” building or in a house, those who come among us to worship are usually searching for the truth. They are dissatisfied with what they perceive to be the failure of denominationalism to meet their spiritual needs. They have been ministered to, to a point, but they desire to have a fuller understanding of His will. The Lord’s people want to hear the Word of God. We have something to offer them that the denominations have no desire to offer—the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the Mystery. Paul’s apostleship and message freed me from the legalistic ways of men and it will free you too!

It is one thing, however, to know the grace of God, but it is an entirely different matter to make an application of it in our lives. One of the perils of having an understanding of the Word, rightly divided, is that it can become an academic exercise, leaving assemblies cold and indifferent. And many times they are totally unaware of the problem. We talk about grace, but do we practice it? At Thessalonica Paul not only preached grace, he demonstrated it!

“But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us….Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children” (I Thes. 2:7-11).

Although Paul was already a spiritual giant by this time he was not condescending with these dear saints. Instead he nurtured them in the faith like a loving mother who nurses her children. Grace is patient! He received each of them, without prejudice, celebrating the fact that they were fellow members of Christ’s Body. They were all dear to him. Grace is thoughtful! Like a father, Paul took a personal interest in them. He knew who needed a word of encouragement and who was brokenhearted and needed to be consoled. Grace is understanding! These characteristics of grace should exemplify every Grace assembly. As the hymn writer so eloquently said, “Grace `tis a charming sound, harmonious to the ear.”

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Berean Searchlight – April 2005

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