“Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”
ONE OF THE PRINCIPLE reasons the Lord’s people are constantly in danger of becoming weary and faint in their minds and hearts is that they are neither understood nor appreciated by the world. In fact, they may oft times be misrepresented. The great realities of Jesus’ life and ministry were continually contradicted by his enemies, yet he bore up patiently until the end, and died to redeem even those who put him to death. To be looked upon and represented as wrong when the Lord judges us as being right is a severe test. Only through faith in the glorious outcome of our life of sacrifice are we able to continue on without becoming weary.
So far as the flesh is concerned, the Lord’s people are faulty and may, frequently perhaps, give just cause for opposition from others. By nature, we have no special reputation or meritorious traits of character above many in the world around us by which to commend ourselves to those with whom we come in contact. With Jesus, however, it was different. He was perfect: “Holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” (Heb. 7:26) Yet his nobility and perfection were denied by those who contradicted him, and he was put to death as a malefactor. All of this he endured without weariness and without fainting. What an example!
Therefore, we are to “consider him,” to look upon the Master as a pattern and guide in our lives. We are to realize that as he was, so are we in this world—strangers and aliens. (Eph. 2:12) Jesus himself said, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” (John 15:18) The world hated Jesus without a just cause. Let us also strive to live so that any hatred of the world toward us will be, so far as possible, similarly without cause.
If we give others just cause to despise and contradict us it is because we are not following Jesus. For example, we may be guilty of meddling in things that are not, or should not, be our concern. If, on the other hand, we suffer as Jesus suffered—without a cause—then we have whereof to be thankful. In this event we can look to the Heavenly Father, the great source of comfort and strength, in confidence that he will help us to bear the contradictions which his love and wisdom permit to come upon us. We can then say, “He knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”—Job 23:10
Paul admonished, “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Gal. 6:9) If we are utilizing all of our energies in well doing, both in the development of the Christian graces in our own hearts and also in our endeavors to bless others, we can depend upon divine succor in proportion to our needs. This will enable us to go forward courageously without fainting and without becoming weary, no matter how formidable may be the foes that heap “contradictions” upon us in an effort to beat our courage down.
RENDER GOOD FOR EVIL
Regardless of opposition which may come against us, we must, as followers of the Master, continue in the narrow way. As such, never should we render anything but good in return for evil. (Rom. 12:21) We should “do good unto all men” as we have opportunity, and “especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” (Gal. 6:10) Our doing good must be kept up consistently unto the very end of the way if we hope to be among those who “in due season … shall reap,” if they “faint not.”
To render good for evil is one of the vital tests of true discipleship. The doing of this, in the name of the Master, will be one of the factors in winning the divine approval and a place with Jesus in the glorious kingdom of blessing soon to be established. To render good for evil is to be like God. His plan of salvation is a revelation of the extent to which this quality of love is displayed by him toward rebellious man. How important, then, that those whom he purposes to use in the blessed work of reconciling the world to himself should prove that at heart, and at the cost of their very lives, they are irrevocably committed to the task of exemplifying this principle because they have learned that it is the divine will for them and because they know that it is right.
Of the Master it is said that he endured the cross and despised the shame “for the joy that was set before him.” (Heb. 12:2) We also have a joy set before us—the joy of reaping, in due time, if we faint not. We hope to reap a place with Jesus in the kingdom, and with him to share the work of further demonstrating the love of the Father by dispensing to the dying world those lifegiving blessings arranged for them in the divine plan, and provided for them by the death of Jesus.
In the contradiction of sinners against Jesus they cried, “He hath saved others; let him save himself.” (Luke 23:35) How little did they know that through his death he was purchasing the opportunity of salvation for them and for all mankind. Thus his enduring of the contradiction results in the greatest possible blessing to those who did the contradicting. It will also be so in our experience if we follow the Master all the way into death—going down in apparent defeat, but actually in glorious victory.