From now on, don’t let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the marks that show I belong to Jesus.Gal 6:17
We are investigating Galatians 6:17 above and I am responding to the question: What does it mean in Gal 6:17 “The Marks of Jesus”? What are the marks of Jesus?
In the previous Nugget we looked at the mark of “Servanthood” What did you conclude? Could Paul have been referring to the mark of Servanthood?
- Was this a Mark of Jesus?
- Was this a Mark that Paul bore on or in his body?
- Could this be what Paul is referring to?
- What’s your conclusion?
- Is this a Mark which characterises you?
So could Servanthood have been what Paul was referring to?
- Yes, it was a Mark of God and Jesus in that we are called to serve and Paul frequently called himself a servant of a bond slave of God and Christ.
- Yes, it was certainly a mark which Paul had on his life although there was no specific mark on his body which was the direct result of his servanthood. (Phil 3:5)
- Yes, it could be.
- It was highly likely Paul included Servanthood in his thinking; all Christians ought to be characterised or marked with an attitude of serving as Christ evidenced. If we want to be Christlike we need to realise we didn’t enter the Kingdom of God to be served but to serve. (Luke 22:24-27) However there is no verse in Scripture anywhere that I am aware of which refers to Paul have the mark referred to in Exodus 21:5-6. While the life of Christ was characterised by serving all of mankind, likewise there is no specific reference to an Exodic mark of the nature found in the reference mentioned which related to Jesus.
- I will leave the last question for you to comment on.
The Marks of Discipline
This week we are looking at the marks of Discipline.
Back in Paul’s day many believed the stigmata to be marks left by the Divine Rod of discipline. It was more a mystic kind of thing than reality, akin to the stigmata which supernaturally appeared to earmark you as a saint. It is highly likely that Paul is alluding to this notion too, but in a much more concrete way.
Allow me to remind you of the classic verses on this topic found in the book of Hebrews.
For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child. As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.Hebrews 12:6-8
God disciplines those He loves. Like any good parent He will not allow you to run wild. He will use your conscience to speak to you, Bible verses or the words of others, circumstances or difficulties to challenge you on the things you are doing wrong. In the words of the passage in Hebrews, if you have not known God’s rebuke then there are two possibilities. You may either be perfect (not likely) or an illegitimate child. Those who are God’s, He corrects and rebukes in order to make you into the image of His son. If you have never been rebuked then it may either be that you only think you are a child of God but in reality you are too intent on controlling your own life and doing your own thing with no regard for what God thinks about it. Or alternatively you once received God’s rebukes and correction but you chose to harden your heart to them or turn your back on His input and since then you haven’t heard His rebuke or discipline anymore. It is clear where things are at, isn’t it?
In my own life there have been many times when God has used a verse of Scripture to get me back on track with Him again. He has sometimes shown me clearly that I have erred by using the combination of circumstances with a clarification from Scripture that I am not in a place that pleases Him.
One of my classic rebukes and maybe the most hurtful (I can talk about it now) was when He called me Maher Shalal Hash Baz. I had shared a message at a church, which challenged the people, especially the young people. I was then asked by the Baptist Union of NZ to share that message at their youth conference and they would video it for wider distribution. When I did that I felt the message was flat and the Holy Spirit was not with me as He had been before. I couldn’t work out why it went so wrong.
Lying in bed that night I had the words Maher Shalal Hash Baz going around and around in my mind. I asked God, “Why am I thinking this?” I knew what the words meant, it is name of Isaiah’s second son (Isa 8:1). God told me to get up and go into the lounge. He wanted to talk to me. When I asked again in the lounge why I was thinking of that Hebrew name, He told me, “That is your new name. That is what I am calling you.” Instantly I knew what God was meaning. Maher Shalal Hash Baz means “swift to booty, quick to plunder”. Quick to take advantage of something for yourself. I knew too why God was saying that. While I had no specific motive of benefiting from a national video of the message I shared, there was an underlying sense of “wow, a video to be shared around the country – cool.” God rebuked me for that thought and was showing me again He is jealous for HIS GLORY. I am not to focus on me but to focus on Him. I have shared a more complete account of this experience in the Nugget Hearing God’s Voice 17.
Does God work in you in various ways to correct your wrong thinking and develop the image of Christ in you? Do you have the Mark of Discipline on your life? It might even be a physical scar reminding you that when you ignore His rebuke or correction you step out from under His protection.
Do you experience God’s correction or are you an illegitimate son or daughter?
Do you have the Mark of Discipline on your life?
Talk to God about it.
Apply the standard Questions to this Mark of Jesus.
Before the next Nugget spend some time thinking about this connection to the Mark of Discipline and work your way through the above FIVE QUESTIONS for this option to Paul’s use of stigmata.