Courage to Live
But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou also very well knowest. If then I am a wrong-doer, and have committed anything worthy of death, I refuse not to die; but if none of those things is true whereof these accuse me, no man can give me up unto them. I appeal to Caesar.”
Paul’s enthusiastic fervor to live is characterized by several elements:
Conscious of Innocence. Taking a stand and being resistant is hard when it is much easier to submit. Where will the principle and duty of righteousness prevail if someone does not stand? One avenue to consider is take a stand for one’s innocence in spite of the major opposition to righteousness. To stand for one’s innocence is to stand up for all innocence.
Patience. Each Christian, as a soldier, workman, and runner, must endure to the end. No promise of heaven can be anticipated if we are going to go half-way or falter at the end. “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:36). A disciple of Christ needs to be aware that his resistance not be against fighting, and “not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9).
Duty. Many opportunities awaited Paul. From the churches he helped establish and the souls he taught, much work needed to be done. He was compelled to appeal to Caesar for that matter and for “the progress of the gospel” (Philippians 1:12). His appeal was an effort to teach souls in Caesar’s household and to stand as an example for “most of the brethren in the Lord” that they “are more abundantly bold to speak the word of God without fear” (v. 14).
God’s Presence. Paul was assured by the Lord in a vision that he would “bear witness also at Rome” (Acts 23:11). God never disappointed Paul. He knew he would be led through “dangerous waters” in his efforts to proclaim the gospel. Paul knew God’s attentive eyes were watching and aware of his circumstances. This is the same message the other apostles received in Matthew 28:19-20 as they began to teach “every creature.”
God’s children today need to keep these things in mind as they face the bold opposition to truth and righteousness. What causes so many to fail in their Christianity is their lack of purity, failure to endure, neglect of duty, and doubt of God’s care. Jesus needs the slat of the earth and the light of the world. That means you and I. Let us not conform but make efforts to transform ourselves and those around us with the gospel.