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Biblical Paradoxes, Part 2

by | Jan 6, 2017 | Biblical Paradoxes (A Mini-Series)

Now coming to the second part of our Series on Biblical paradoxes…


“…The believers learned how to walk in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 9:31)

Now this is a paradox that that has to be experienced to be believed, for “fear” and “comfort” are not in the worldly logical sense “bedfellows”. However, in a Christian’s life, the Comforter–the Holy Spirit (John 14:16 KJV)–which the Saviour, sends into believer’s heart at the point of the latter’s regeneration, instilling a healthy balance between “Reverential fear towards God” (Isaiah 11:2) and “Heavenly Comfort” (Gal 5:22-23). Yes, there is ever-abiding fear of stirring up divine wrath and facing the consequences thereof in a Christian’s heart, which acts as a deterrent to licentious living, but at the same time, there is Heavenly joy that at once makes walking in God-honoring ways “as burdensome as flying is to a bird or swimming is to a fish”. Oh, the Master’s yoke is light indeed (Matt 11:28)!

Where there is the Christ-sent Holy Spirit, there is neither legalism nor license (both extreme forms of behavior), but only liberty! Hallelujah!


“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”
(Matt 10:16)

Is a Holy Christian really a combination of a serpent and a dove? A spiritual “Jekyll and Hyde”!…the uninitiated on the subject are perfectly entitled to question…permit me to add here…even with a loud, protesting voice. Before we take even one proverbial step forward, I would like all the rationalists to focus on the Saviour’s word choice of “wise” in connection with the Serpent. Is there any mention of “poison” there? Not by a long shot. Let’s also understand that these words were spoken in the context of a Christian’s evangelistic ministry outside the Church, where he is bound to come across several dangers to his life and limb. What does an earless snake do on sensing the forest floor’s vibrations triggered by an approaching herd of wild buffalos or elephants? It instantly seek the refuge of the rocks or the safety of its pit. Likewise, Christian’s are supposed to have their “ear to the ground” on approaching dangers, and pro-actively “flee” danger (Matt 10:23).

Let the Scripture speak for itself in connection with wise Paul’s danger-evading tactics…

“When many days had passed, the Jews[ plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.” (Acts 9:23-25)

Was the Apostle “spitting venom” at the plotters of his life? No, he merely, like a “wise” serpent, evaded danger. Add to that his non-retaliatory, peaceful Dovelike posture towards his foes, and the picture of “being wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove” emerges with no shades of grey. Hey, a dove has no gall bladder, hence there would be no release of “bitter bile” into its circulatory system at any time. It is this “bitter bile” that causes irritation or anger in other avian species, or for that matter, in mammals,including humans.

Now let’s address two related “bigger” questions…

a) Why do dangers come visiting the Evangelists who are trying to rescue souls lost in the darkness?

b) Should a “bold” Christian flee danger in the manner of a serpent?

Firstly question one…at this stage, it would serve us well to recall the words of the Shepherd David, recorded in 1 Sam 17:34-35 (NIV) which goes thus:

“But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me…'”
Friend, when you are trying to deliver the souls from the “jaws” of the “roaring lion” Satan (I Peter 5:8), what else can be expected other than a fierce attack from your adversary? Cheer up, even while being like David in trusting God to protect you, be sure to use your God-given wisdom to ward off danger.

This begs the second question…as paradoxical as it can get, some may well say…Should a “bold-like Lion” Christian flee danger?

Yes, especially when his “time” on Earth is not “up” (even for Christ’s death on the cross was there not an appointed time? — John 7:30/8:20), and he is to yet yield fully “dividends” on his Master’s “heavy investments” on him. Let it be said that from the time of a Christian’s salvation brought about by priceless the sacrifice of the Saviour (1 Peter 1:18-19), the Redeemer starts “investing” in the saved one by constantly showering them with His inestimable love and patience, all with an aim of shaping him up into a Christ-like, supremely useful vessel (2 Tim 2:20-21)…to be used fruitfully for His glory. Should a child of God with a stupid, reckless “hara-kiri” mindset contemplate “exiting” this World just to have the “halo of a martyr” before he has accomplished all of the Divine purposes in his life? No way! It would be akin to burying one’s “talents” in arousing the Master’s anger (Matt 25:24-30). Make no mistake: if we are going to live on His terms, it follows that we have to die on His terms only (Romans 14:7-8).

Prayer: Father, enable us to yield abundant fruit in return to all the faithful and patient “gardening”, You have done on our souls. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
J and SM Ministries

(To access the entire “Biblical Paradoxes” mini-series, please click here.)