Yesterday we examined the difference between obeying a law and obedience to a command of Christ when indwelt by the Holy Spirit and empowered by Him. I want to pursue this, but from the perspective of Paul’s heart. From research, it seems that Matthew was written one year after Paul wrote First Corinthians, so he would not have read Matthew 28:19, “GO”! But notice Paul’s attitude toward spreading the gospel:
“For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16).
I will quote Roland Allen again on this subject because he expresses my thoughts on this. “Obedience to the commands of the Gospel is a spiritual act. The ‘Gospel law’ is a law of liberty, that is, a law of internal life, not of external compulsion” (ibid, page 21). Paul uses the word “necessity,” meaning, “a complete obligation of a compelling nature,” is “laid” or “to be forced on him so as to have power over” his decisions. This could be nothing else but the power of the Holy Spirit working in Paul to such a degree that it would be a “woe” or a disaster, a horror to“not preach the gospel!”
I wonder how much of our missions are driven by this compelling power and control of the Spirit? Do we really have a sense of “obligation,” not the demand of law? Do we feel the Spirit moving in us, whether in our Jerusalem or in some place at the ends of the earth? We each must answer these questions.
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