Ellen White writing


The Ellen White Research Project: Exposing the Subtle Attack on the Bible's Authority
Home | Life Sketch | Beliefs | Insights | Predictions | Criticisms | Visions | Books

Sketches From The Life of Paul

by Ellen G. White

Chapter 15: Paul to the Corinthians.

< Prev  Contents  ...  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  ...  Next >

Part:  A  B  C  D  E  F

When he had given many discourses upon these subjects, he testified that the Messiah had indeed come, and then preached the simple gospel of Jesus Christ. This was the craft which Paul mentions, saying that he caught them with guile. He thus tried to allay prejudice, and win souls to the truth. He refrained from urging upon the Jews the fact that the ceremonial laws were no longer of any force. He cautioned Timothy to remove any occasion for them to reject his labors. He complied with their rules and ordinances as far as was consistent with his mission to the Gentiles. He would not mislead the Jews nor practice deception upon them; but he waived his personal feelings, for the truth's sake.

With the Gentiles his manner of labor was different. He plainly informed them that the sacrificial offerings and ceremonies of the Jews were no longer to be observed, and preached to them Christ and him crucified.

The apostle in his labors encountered a class who claimed that the moral law had been made void, with the precepts of the ceremonial system. He vindicated the law of ten commandments, and held it up before the people as a rule of life. He showed that all men are under the most solemn obligation to obey that law, which Christ [p. 162] came to make honorable. He taught that Christ is the only one who can release men from the consequences of breaking the divine law; and that it is only by repentance for their past transgressions, faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and a life of obedience, that men can hope to receive the favor of God.

Paul did not make light of the conscientious scruples of those who were weak in faith or dull of comprehension. He did not display his superior knowledge, and show contempt for their ignorance; but he placed himself as nearly as possible on a level with them, manifesting for them true sympathy and love, and leading them to nobler and more elevated views. He says, "I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." By cheerful, patient kindness and Christian courtesy, he won the hearts of the people, quieted their prejudices, and endeavored to teach them the truth without exciting their combativeness. All this he did because he loved the souls of men, and desired to bring them to Christ that they might be saved.

Paul endeavored to impress upon the minds of his Corinthian brethren the importance of firm self-control, strict temperance, and unflagging zeal in the service of Christ. To illustrate the Christian warfare, he compared it with the games celebrated near Corinth, and always attended by vast multitudes of spectators. This illustration was calculated to make a vivid impression upon the minds of those whom he addressed, as it referred to that with which they were intimately acquainted. Various games were instituted among the Greeks and Romans for the purpose of amusement, and also with the design of [p. 163] training young men to personal vigor and activity, and thus qualifying them for warfare. The foot-races were the most ancient and the most highly esteemed of these games. They were held at stated times and places with great pomp, and were patronized by kings, nobles, and statesmen. Persons of rank and wealth engaged in these exercises, and shrank from no effort or discipline necessary to obtain the honor won by the victors.

The contest was governed by strict regulations, from which there was no appeal. Before the names of candidates could be entered upon the list as competitors for the prize, they were required to undergo a severe preparatory training. Every indulgence of appetite, or other gratification which could in the least affect their mental or physical vigor, was strictly forbidden. The muscles were kept strong and supple. Every nerve must be under control, every movement certain, every step swift and unswerving, and all the powers kept up to the highest mark, to give any hope of success in the grand trial of strength and speed.

As the contestants in the race made their appearance before the eager and waiting crowd, their names were heralded, and the rules of the race expressly stated. The prize was placed in full view before the competitors, and they all started together, the fixed attention of the spectators inspiring them with zeal and determination to win. The judges were seated near the goal, that they might watch the race from its beginning to its close, and award the prize to the victor. If a man came off victorious through taking any unlawful advantage, the prize was not awarded to him. [p. 164]

Great risks were run in these contests; it was not unusual for one of the contestants to drop dead as he was about to seize the prize in triumph. But this was not considered too great a risk to run for the sake of the honor awarded to the conqueror. As he reached the goal, shout after shout of applause from the vast multitude rent the air and wakened the echoes of the surrounding hills and mountains. The judge, in full view of the spectators, presented him with the emblems of victory, the perishable laurel crown, and a palm branch to carry in his right hand. This crown was worn by the victor with great pride. His praise was extravagantly heralded, and sung throughout the land. His parents received their share of honor, and even the city where he lived was held in high esteem for having produced so great an athlete.

Paul presents these races as a striking figure of the Christian warfare: "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible."

To run the Christian course in triumph, it is as necessary for us to exercise fortitude, patience, and self-denial, as it was for the contestants in the games and races of the Greeks and Romans. Like them the Christian must not allow his attention to be attracted by the spectators, nor diverted by amusements, luxuries, or love of ease. All his habits and passions must be brought under the strictest discipline. Reason, enlightened by the teachings of God's word, and guided by his Spirit, must hold the reins of control. Every hindrance [p. 165] must be laid aside; no weight must impede his course. And after this has been done, the utmost exertion is required in order to gain the victory.

Part:  A  B  C  D  E  F

< Prev  Contents  ...  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  ...  Next >

Home | Life Sketch | Beliefs | Insights | Predictions | Criticisms | Visions | Books

Send in comments and questions to:

© 2005