“Delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake” (II Cor. 4:11).
There is much that we all do for our own sake, for the sake of our children, our loved ones or others, but the real test of the believer’s love for the Lord is what he does “for Jesus’ sake.”
Under the dispensation of Law our Lord told His disciples that to be forgiven they must forgive: “Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven” (Luke 6:37), “but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:15).
But now, under the dispensation of grace, He exhorts us to forgive one another “even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32). The difference is striking. Before the cross: If you would be forgiven, forgive. Now, in the light of the cross: You have been graciously forgiven for Christ’s sake. In the light of this be tenderhearted and forgiving toward others.
And we are to go farther than this: Not only are we to forgive our brethren in Christ, but we are to be prepared to show this attitude toward the world as well. St. Paul said: “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all” (I Cor. 9:19), and referring to his persecutions by unbelievers, he said: “We… are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake” (II Cor. 4:11). How many unbelievers would be won to Christ; how many of our Christian friends would be strengthened and helped, if we adopted this attitude toward others!
As to suffering itself, the Apostle also gladly bore this “for Jesus’ sake.” In writing to the Corinthians, he said: “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong” (II Cor. 12:10). He had learned that in weakness he leaned the harder, prayed more, and was brought closer to His Lord, and herein lay his spiritual strength.
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."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.