Paul was often in chains, a minister in manacles, a prophet in prison. The only stocks and bonds he knew were stocks for his feet and bonds for his wrists. But…Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage…Though often chained in prisons dark, he was in heart and conscience free. He was an ambassador in bonds not of his own making. Alas! we languish today in fetters of our own forging.
THE CONSTRAINT OF CHRIST
We love him, because he first loved us.
I John 4:19
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. II Corinthians 8:9.
Christ is the true motivation of Christian conduct. We do not love Him because we ought but because love begets love. He loved us and our hearts respond. We love others because His love constrains us, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.
Likewise, we give, not because we ought and not because of the need primarily, but because He gave. “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe.” Freely we have received, freely we give. Not grudgingly or of necessity, but cheerfully. Witness a drive for church funds, a pitiful plea on Sunday to wangle a few dollars of “church dues” and you will perceive how far we have left the New Testament way. The stunts, picnics, bazaars, the moth-eaten jokes, the high-pressure – “Who’ll give ten dollars?” God forgive us! God will never accept such money wrung from church misers. It is the gift without the giver, a vain oblation.