A Visceral Response
Readers of this blog probably are not expecting to see a review or even a reference to a 1974 movie starring Charles Bronson.
The plot involved a visceral response to a horrific crime. Though the book on which it was based was a statement against vigilante justice, the movie glorified it.
The main character takes random vengeance on muggers in the hope of exacting justice on the at-large perps who murdered his wife and sexually assaulted his daughter in their home leaving her in a coma.
The visceral response is, ‘who could blame him?’ There is a cathartic identification with him as we imagine what we would do if we were in his shoes.
Of course vigilante killings are absolutely not what the Scriptures teach as a Christian response, but that’s not the point that I want to make here.
When a loving husband and father sees his bride and daughters dignity and purity violated how could he not be enraged?
Now, imagine God’s righteous response when He sees His Son’s virgin bride violated?
Whoa!…didn’t see that coming!
Unlike, the vigilante justice of Charles Bronson’s character in Death Wish, God has no desire that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Yet at the same time, those who assault the Bride of Christ, His Church, are messing with fire.
The Apostle Paul recognized the church as something very precious to God. He identified her as the Bride of Christ. (Eph. 5:23-32) so her purity and perfection was his top priority.
2 Corinthians 12:20,21
For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish; that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced….
2 Corinthians 13:9,10
For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for. For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.
A Selfless Passion
Going through Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, I’ve learned some things about the apostle that give me a deeper and more profound respect for him. To me, perhaps the most impressive thing about him was his selfless passion for the church. It didn’t matter to him if the world thought of him as weak (2 Cor 13:3) or disapproved and a failure (13:6,7) as long as the church lived consistent to the truth of Christ in their midst. (13:5)
The Son of God gave His love gift to the Father by a life of obedience even to the death of the cross. (Eph 5:2) The Lord Jesus paid a terrible price to redeem creation back to the Father. Is it any wonder then that God guards the church jealously?
Much of the Apostle Paul’s motivation was his great desire for the church that she should be pure – a chaste virgin – in anticipation of her presentation to Christ.
“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ”
2 Corinthians 11:2,3