“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28
Jesus tells us not to fear people who can only destroy us physically and cannot do anything to our soul. While on the one hand we realize the sovereign power of the Almighty who has authority over our physical body and soul, but on the other hand it ignites frequent doubts about martyrs among many of us and we respond exactly opposite to what Jesus calls us to do.
Many years ago, one of my acquaintances told me that Jesus is fond of hurting us. Stunned by his statement I asked him how could he say this. He said that Jesus asked us to bear the slaps on both the cheeks. Many Christians think in the same way, that a life of a Christian is full of trials. For this reason, many people do not want to indulge themselves to lead a Christ-like life. Unless and until we become happy in what Jesus is happy in, we cannot understand the joy in turning the other cheek. God is happy when a sinner turns from his sinful ways and accepts Jesus as his personal saviour. Jesus was happy in what His father’s will was and going through the cross did not matter Him.
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrew 12:2.
If God wants to hurt us then why should He send His son as an atonement for our sins. He would have seated quietly in heaven watching us getting punished for our sins. Bible tells us that God will not allow us to suffer beyond our ability and pave way for an escape. (1 Cor 10:13) Here Paul talks about the ability of an individual which may vary from person to person. Ability talks volumes about a person’s knowledge, skill, experience and focus. It lays out the parameter to fix the goal of one’s life. If a person acquires the knowledge about the love of God and starts practicing it in his life, by the virtue of his experience, his focus will obviously be higher than the one who does not know about the love of God.
God does not impose things that does not suit our profile. If we are not in a state of preparedness to accept a slap on the other cheek, definitely God will not place us in that situation till He prepares us. New wine can not be poured into an old skin.
“And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Romans 8:30
In another place, when Jesus talks about our body and soul, He mentions that losing a part of our body which tempts us to sin is better than ending up in hell with a unblemished body. “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” Matthew 5:29. Though it sounds too harsh, the deeper meaning of this verse is that God wants us with Him in heaven at any cost. According to our deeds we will be judged. Our deeds reflect our personality. Every now and then, God reminds us to leave our unholy ways. If we do not listen, God will leave us to live as we like. God has given us free will to choose what we want. Satan is powerless and can only mislead us to have filthy desires, knowing that our desires will be fulfilled. The fulfillment of our desire is from God, which we often think that fulfillment is from Devil. The following passage explains this to us very clearly. “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” Romans 1:24-25.
Jesus has bought us by His own blood and now, we are not of our own. Yet, God waits for our whole-hearted decision. The Creator does not want our limps! Does not want our death. Jesus prayed to His father that “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one“. John 17:15. He gives us life. Abraham, when asked to offer Isaac as a burnt offering, did not hesitate to do so. His act pleased God, and he became righteous because of his obedience. God did not want to take Isaac out of this world, but decided to keep Abraham from sparing his love for anything else than God.
Jesus died for our sins and transgressions and delivered us from the clutches of death. God’s love prompted Him to offer His life for us that we may live for ever with Him in His Father’s kingdom. If we really understand the love of God, then we can join Paul in saying,
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain“. Philippians 1:21
It is not about losing our life but gaining a life with Jesus Christ. Earlier we would have lost our lives in sin. Jesus redeemed us by shedding His precious blood.
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. ” Colossians 2:13-15
As we are alive in Jesus Christ, may God give us strength and wisdom to lead a life matching the standards of His kingdom.