Friday – October 18, 2019 – Giving Up Your Rights
Acts 16:1-3 (NIV) Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. 2 The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3 Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
The final challenge in considering the gap between generations is being willing to give up your rights. In modern society where the zeitgeist is individual rights, it is hard to get people to listen to that message, no less embrace it. They’ll never listen to the directive that you must give up to go up.
Paul’s example in this area greatly advantaged Timothy. Paul is known as the Apostle of grace. He emphasized being saved by grace and not by works. He considered it witchcraft when judaizers tried to introduce circumcision into the fledgling church as a requirement for salvation. In other words, believers were being intimidated into earning their salvation. They were told they had to do prescribed things in prescribed ways. It didn’t work for the Jews and it won’t work for Christians. He warned them that if they submitted to this part of the law, they would be obligated to obey the whole law. He insisted that the Galatian believers not give into this demand. Salvation is only available to those who freely receive it. It can never be paid for.
When you read Galatians, you see how vehemently Paul opposed the judaizers because they were ruining the gospel message. However, circumcision was not the real issue. It was the need for circumcision or anything else being a prerequisite for salvation.
Timothy certainly had the right to refuse Paul’s request that he be circumcised, nevertheless, he was willing to give up that right so that others would listen to him and his message. As part of a team, the potential also existed that they would resist the message of the gospel from anyone in the group, including Paul. Timothy was not only willing to give up this right, he was willing to give up his life. Church history tells us that Timothy was martyred in the reign of Emperor Nerva in AD 97.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that Paul and Timothy show us the way to go up when we are willing to give up; that once having been given salvation, we will pay any price to advance it.