“Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.
For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God,
you may receive the promise.”
Hebrews 10: 35,36
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
FAITH IN CHRIST depends on the confidence of all Christ has promised. God warned that “In the world you will have tribulation”.1 But Christ annuls the tribulation and the world with the words: “but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”2
For whom did Christ overcome the world? Is it for Himself, the only beloved Son? We must know without doubt or scorn and be sure of Christ’s words that Christ overcame the world for us. Why? For us to live afterwards and not be overcome by the world, or befriend the world in dissolute living, oblivious to the extent of the horrendous loss awaiting those who have lived for the world after that world had crucified Christ having paid the price of His victory with His blood on the cross.
The cross stands witness against those who scorned Him and derided Him who was crucified. The bible therefore mentions not to reject confidence in the cross and Him who was crucified because mere confidence in the cross and holding on to Christ has great reward, and what a reward!
We must know for sure that the reward of those who trust in the Cross and in Him who was crucified is itself to overcome the world. Nay, it is the testimony of capturing the devil and his aides that Christ conquered on the cross3 for the believers in Christ not to err any more. What does Christ expect of you after having shed His blood on the cross for your sake? Nay, what is your excuse for submitting to the enemy’s ploys after Christ having put an end to his power for no one to be indebted to him for anything?
Why, dear brother, do you submit to the devil’s ploys and games after Christ has conquered him on the cross and invalidated his ploys and counsel to man?
Christ now demands of you to trust in Him, in His cross and suffering for your sake. Know for sure that your trust in Christ and in His cross will not be wasted but has a great reward with God in Heaven. Trust is as a registration of the promise of salvation and the writing of your name among the chosen of “the members of the household of God.”4
What recompense in this world reaches such a level? It is a divine transport from the age of slavery to the age of grace and joining God, not for a day nor year but till the end of time and eternity. For God is truthful in His calling and truly rewards every one who joins Him and lives for Him.
Grace does not leave us as orphans in this world without relatives in heaven. Grace follows the believer who is sure of God’s calling, supporting him with patience in tribulation, easing the word’s trivial losses which loss is counted an immediate gain to God and heaven. The Apostle Paul having savored the calling and entered the assembly of saints, following his blaspheme and derision of the name of God and killing His children saw, testified and confessed that he had lost great losses and was happy and ready to lose all to gain the love of Christ and God.5
Paul was thus an example of those who suffer for faith and Christ. He paid the price of his faith and steadfastness the devil’s revenge inciting the Jews against him to be beaten till death, but God raised him so as to continue his testimony till the end of his life6. Paul the Apostle consequently earned God’s great promises due to his trust in Christ and steadfastness in that trust till the end.
The Apostle Paul thus became an example to be followed. Thousands of missionaries and preachers over the whole world and of every generation up till today followed his way. It is therefore Paul’s right to be proud of his sufferings and tribulation considering that the extent of the enemy’s revenge and harsh treatment of the Jews, and his unlimited suffering being a living part of Christ’s afflictions. Nay, his pride in his suffering is greater considering it a supplement to the shortcomings in the afflictions of the body of Christ, i.e. the Church.7 Thus Paul the Apostle became a living example to the missionary who has lost the world and everything in it for the sake of the grace of knowing Christ and remaining steadfast in Him.
Christ revealed to us the value of remaining steadfast in Him and its extent as He said: “Abide in Me, and I in you.”8 It is truly a reciprocal abidance as it is impossible for us to abide in Christ and Christ not abide in us.
29 June, 2005
1 John 16:33.
3 See Col 2:15.
4 Eph 2:19.
5 See Phil 3:7, 8.
6 See 2 Cor 11:32-26.
7 See Col 1:24.
8 John 15:4.
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