“For the love of Christ constraineth us” (2 Corinthians 5:14).
Paul suffered a lot as a preacher and missionary: “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” (2 Corinthians 11:24-27).
At times Paul may have been tempted to quit, but he never did—no matter how tough things got. Our opening verse tells how he was able to stay with it: “For the love of Christ constraineth [compels] us.”
Jesus’ love for sinners compelled Paul to keep on. Nobody loves sinners as much as Jesus. When He hung on the cross in agony with people making fun of Him, He said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). There’s no greater love than that! He could have come down from the cross: “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53). But if He’d done that, we’d have no payment for our sins and no hope for eternity. So He “endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2).
Jesus worked in Paul’s heart to see people as Jesus saw them: as souls who needed to hear the gospel and receive Christ. No matter who they were, they needed to hear that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again so they could be forgiven their sins and be with Him in heaven for eternity. Jesus’ love sustained Paul for this work, no matter how tough things got.
Paul wrote these words: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20). If you’ve received Jesus as Saviour, you can apply this verse to yourself because Jesus lives in you, too. And because Christ lives in you, He can work in your heart as He did with Paul. He can also give you grace to get past the bad things that happen on the job and care about people’s souls.
It’s very easy not to care about people when you’re a cop. Cops are criticized by athletes, politicians, journalists, and others who have never done police work. Even people you meet on duty can be difficult. Yet these are all souls whom the Lord loves and who need the gospel, because one day they will go into eternity. Despite how difficult they can be, the Lord can give you grace to care about their souls.
This working in your heart happens as you spend more time with Jesus. Proverbs 13:20 says, “He that walketh with wise man shall be wise.” You become like the people you spend time with. As you spend time with Jesus, you become more like Him. You spend time with Jesus by reading and thinking on His Word, praying, and serving Him in a church where the Bible is honored and people are told how to be saved. As you do, the love of Christ “constrains” you not to quit and to keep on serving Him and to love people’s souls as Jesus loves them.
If you’ve never seen in the Bible how to have eternal life by receiving Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, please click “Helpful Links” on the main menu and then “How Do I Go to Heaven?” on the dropdown.
Brian Miller 9/9/2017
Cleveland Baptist Church | 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 | 216.671.2822