Christian – a Paradox
Have you ever thought of this before?
The Christian is a paradox. What is a paradox? Its essence is to have
two apparently contradictory statements about the same person
yet both of which are absolutely true! And this is precisely the case
with the Christian.
The Puritan minister, Richard Sibbes,
wrote: ‘A Christian is a strange person. He is both dead and
alive, he is miserable and glorious… He grows downwards and
upwards at the same time; for as he dies in sin and misery, and natural
death approaching, so he lives the life of grace, and grows more and
more till he end in glory’. That’s exactly what we
when we say that the Christian is a paradox. Moreover, this is true
Christian experience – not abnormal, not unusual, not the
only with some Christians but not others – no! –
the true Christian experience for every true Christian.
The apostle Paul testifies to
with the utmost clarity in 2 Corinthians 6:8ff. Indeed, he employs a
whole succession of paradoxes each of which serve to enforce the point:
‘as deceivers, and yet
true; as unknown and yet well
known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as
sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as
having nothing, and yet
possessing all things’.
Notice the final phrase in that
sequence: ‘as having nothing, and yet
everything’. There are so many things ‘of the
which Christians may not possess, whether of material riches, great
reputations, high advancements and such like. Furthermore, we live out
our Christian lives surrounded by the godlessness of the nation, the
turmoil of the markets, the perversion of society, the worldliness of
the church, the array of human fears and the emptiness of so many
people’s lives and longings.
If we are not to be overwhelmed by all
of this, what do we need to grasp more and more as we press on into
this new year? This above all else: that although in so many ways we
‘have nothing’, yet in that which matters most we
‘possess everything’. We are rich in God and all
blessings of his salvation. We are rich in his divine promises, all of
which have their ‘Yea’ and
‘Amen’ in Christ. We
are rich in daily fellowship with the Father, the Son and the Holy
Spirit. We are rich in a heavenly inheritance which never fades away.
So lay hold upon this afresh.
Remember that ‘Solid joys and lasting treasure, None but
Zion’s children know’. And seek, by grace, to stand
the prophet Habakkuk, who, after speaking in terms of a
case scenario’ where the bottom seemed to be falling out of
everything, affirmed, ‘Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will
in the God of my salvation’ (Habakkuk 3:18).