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Goodness (15) Elijah’s Goodness (1)
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“As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.” (2 Kings 2:11) ...

Goodness (10) Apostle Paul’s Goodness (2)

Manmin News   No. 734
January 01, 2023

“I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” (Romans 9:1-3)

The Apostle Paul had tremendous self-righteousness and self-pride. He had a strong sense of superiority. He was an earnest seeker of truth and thoroughly-prepared in every situation. If he began to think through something in his mind, he persistently investigated and pondered upon it until he got his answer. This way he formed a strong ego. On one hand he was broad-minded; however, on the other he was always calculating with many kinds of thoughts.
But he cut himself off from things that belong to the flesh when he realized that what he had deemed right was not right after meeting the Lord. He was educated under Gamaliel who was one of a select group of masters of the Jewish Law but he counted what he learned but rubbish. Moreover, he unchangingly gave thanks for the grace of the Lord that he received from Him in all circumstances
The more severe the hardships and persecutions became that he suffered, the stronger the aroma of his thanks to the Lord became. He could lay down his own life for those who caused evils. He could also give glory to God by performing amazing power. He established many churches and laid a foundation for the world mission. He became the apostle to the Gentiles. Then, how was he able to achieve the highest level of goodness that pleases God and perform with the great power in the New Testament time?

1. He had love sufficient to give his life for those who persecuted him

One who really loves the Lord comes to love souls as the Lord loves souls. That’s because he realizes from the bottom of his heart that Jesus came down to the earth and was crucified to save sinners. So, if we truly love the Lord, we will take pity and mercy on the souls who are running toward death because of their sins.
The Apostle Paul’s love for the souls was so great that he confessed in Philippians 1:8, “For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.” Just as Jesus had mercy on sinners while he was suffering from severe pains on the cross, the Apostle Paul was not concerned about himself when he suffered from hardships and tough persecutions. Rather, Paul was concerned about the churches founded in the name of the Lord and their members, and he prayed for them always (2 Corinthians 11:28-29).
When church members acted against the will of God, he confessed in Philippians 3:18, “For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ.” He loved souls so much. That’s why he traveled around visiting every church and did not stop admonishing them day and night with tears for them to be able to live in the truth of the gospel. This fervent love of Paul was not just for those who accepted the gospel but also for people who denied the gospel and persecuted believers.
Romans 9:1-3 reads, “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” ‘My own kinsmen’ here do not simply indicate his relatives. They are Jews and Pharisees who persecuted and tried to thwart Paul’s work.
In Acts 23:12-13, more than forty Jews bound themselves with an oath to neither eat nor to drink until they had killed Paul. Paul wished he would be cursed and cut off from Christ as long as it meant that those wicked people were to be saved. This is because he accomplished the highest level of goodness that is to the point of laying down his own life for those who caused evils.
Apostle Paul said, “For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” ‘Being separated from Christ’ means falling into Hell. He did not confess it because he did not know the horror of Hell. The Apostle Paul understood Hell more than anybody else. This tells us how great his love for the souls was.

2. His desire was to glorify God in everything

With the power God gave Paul, a person who was born lame got up and walked, and Paul was not harmed when he was bitten by a viper. God performed extraordinary miracles through Paul such that people carried handkerchiefs and aprons from his body and when they touched the sick people with them, the sick people were healed and evil spirits were cast out. Although Paul could perform this amazing power, he never became arrogant nor showed off but gave all the gory to the Lord.
He made a humble remark in 1 Corinthians 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.”
Paul was so humble and accomplished a pure and clean heart by living a life of ‘dying daily.’ By doing so, he could have deep fellowship with God and experience many spiritual things. God let Paul see Heaven and know heavenly rewards.
The more he desired to understand the spiritual realm the more the Lord let Paul understand about the spiritual realm through personal revelations. Our Lord gave Paul revelations and let him know the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the kingdom of heaven. The Apostle Paul kept the spiritual words in his heart and told promising people these spiritual secrets to lead them to love the Lord more fervently.

3. He did not flaunt himself

When wicked people gained spiritual knowledge, saw visions and heard secrets of the spiritual realm, they take advantage of them to show themselves off. Goodhearted people, however, when they gained spiritual knowledge, try to keep it in their mind and cultivate their hearts with it. Whatever they see with their spiritual eyes, they will be thankful to God the Father. They do not flaunt themselves, but try to change into spirit. If they heard deep and mysterious spiritual messages, they try their best to change into spirit with the words.
The Apostle Paul did not say, “I am greatly favored by God and I receive deep revelations and have this deep fellowship with God.” That’s because he produced the fruits of goodness, patience and self-control based on the heart of goodness. He did not say a single word to those who could not understand it, and kept what he could say lest anybody should stumble down.
In 2 Corinthians 12:1-5, he said he had been in Heaven and confessed, “Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord…On behalf of such a man I will boast; but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses.” He wanted to plant the hope for Heaven into the hearts of church members by letting them know his testimony about Heaven, but he had no desire to boast of himself.
Because he knew he could understand many spiritual things through the work of the Holy Spirit, he had a special love for the Holy Spirit. He considered that he accomplished nothing by his own prayer but recognized everything is possible with the work of the Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Paul could perform great and extraordinary miracles after he had completely demolished self-righteousness. But at any time he confessed, “This is not what I did. I can do nothing, but everything was done by the power of the Father.” So, the greater power he performed the more he lowered himself and the greater glory God could receive.
Our Father God searches for this kind of person who has a good heart, and gives such a person His power and various gifts.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Apostle Paul proclaimed in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” I pray in the name of the Lord that you will achieve the highest level of goodness like Apostle Paul and be used as an instrument of glory at this end time.




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