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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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Hidden Manna

Diamond in the rough

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Paul was a man, who before his conversion considered himself to be chief of sinners because he persecuted the early disciples of Jesus Christ. Paul said of himself he “was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”

 

In Luke chapter 7 we see one of the Pharisees asks Jesus to eat with him, and a woman who was a sinner found out and came with ointment to anoint Jesus. It was said of the woman who was a known sinner, “stood at Jesus feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.”

And the Pharisee after seeing this thought within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that touched him: for she is a sinner. Then Jesus perceiving this asked this question in a parable…..

40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?

43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.”

 

In this parable we not only see the mercy of the Lord, but also His wisdom. Do you suppose the Lord knew what manner of sinner Paul was before he chose him for the ministry? I would say He did. Paul would later go on to say in 1 Corinthians 15:9-10 “For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

 

I believe Paul’s ministry confirms the truth in Jesus’ parable above about those who would be forgiven the most, would also love the most. Just as I believe Paul could not have labored in the ministry with such a great passion without also having a great love for the Lord as well. In this we can see sometimes the chief of sinners can also become the chief of saints.

 

So judge not by appearances and judge nothing before it’s time; for you may just see an old dirty lump of coal, but the Lord may see another diamond in the rough. Peace and God bless, Mark.

 

 

 

 

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