The Apostle Paul’s Practical Advice

Saint Paul Writing His Epistles,
V. de Boulogne c. 1594-1632

As we have noted in recent posts, the Apostle Paul emphasizes the importance of the gospel as a message of reconciliation. He highlights the fact that God has given us the task of being his agents of reconciliation in the world and that’s part of our witness as followers of Jesus.

But then Paul offers some very practical advice on what this means in terms of our daily lives:

  • “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV).
  • “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (Romans 14: 19, NIV).
  • “Live in peace with each other. . . . Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances. . . . Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil” (I Thessalonians 5: 13-22, NIV).

Practical advice like this is hard to follow in our rough-and-tumble world. But Paul gives us an assurance that if we are ”in Christ,” we are a “new creation.” He goes on to write that God has committed to us the message of reconciliation and “we are therefore Christ’s ambassadors” (II Corinthians 5: 17-20, NIV).

So God is telling those whose sins have been “blotted out” (forgiven) by Jesus’ death that now they have the privilege of carrying that message to the rest of the world as royal appointees of the King!

So What?

  • An ambassadorial appointment – not bad for people like us! I remind myself periodically when I am meeting with government or business leaders in Russia that I am there on an “ambassadorial appointment” and therefore have no reason to be fearful. This gives me strength and courage, in times when I could be intimidated.
  • What a radical concept in our culture – make the interests of others, not just of yourself and your family, a priority! “Consider others better than yourselves” – what a testimony this would be in our world if we practiced this teaching!