Vol.VII No.V Pg.3
July 1970

Marks Of Jesus

Dan S. Shipley

Henceforth, let no man trouble me; for I bear branded on my body the marks of Jesus. (Gal. 6:17) With these words the apostle Paul concludes his remarks concerning the circumcision which Judaizing teachers were seeking to bind upon Christians. In contrast to this body-mark insisted upon by these Jews as proof of obedience, Paul offers his marks of Jesus as a truer trademark of allegiance. As with warriors of old, these scars were Pauls badges of honor. They were evidence of being on active duty for the King. They proved dedicated involvement for Jesus.

The conflict which scarred the body of Paul continues. Every faithful follower of Christ stands on the same battlefield — one that is stained with the blood of the Savior himself. Loyalty to Christ and His gospel makes opposition unavoidable. Standing for Gods truth means actively opposing error. The soldier of the cross not only abstains from sinful practices, he boldly reproves them as well. (Eph. 5:11) Following Christ means entering the arena of conflict, and to live godly in Him is to suffer persecution. (2 Tim. 3:12)

As the conflict continues, so do the casualties. Those who will stand where Paul stood need not expect to escape unscathed. They too will incur marks of Jesus just as real, if not so apparent, as Pauls. For some, allegiance to Christ has meant a divided family (Matt. 10:34—37). For others it has meant the deep wounds of a severed friendship. None can deny the hurt and injuries inflicted by hostile and vindictive brethren. Scourging or stoning would be easier to bear. Sincere hearts have been cut deeply by slanderous tongues. Such wounds leave invisible scars which abide for a lifetime.

But, not every man who suffers does so as a Christian and not all marks are of Jesus. Even false teachers encounter opposition and conflict which they construe as proof of their faithfulness. Suffering, in itself, is no more a sign of loyalty than circumcision. Error, no doubt, can boast as many martyrs as truth, but in no way does this enhance error or those who may die for it. Much suffering is the result of dissipation and reckless living. Its wounds could be more appropriately termed marks of Satan than of Jesus.

Marks of Jesus are incurred only as the result of faithfulness to Him and His word. Conflict and its fruits need not be sought by Christians for it will surely come in following Christ. The faithful must learn to EXPECT sufferings, persecutions, injustices, social pressures, railings and reprisals from within and without — and in fact should be more surprised when they DONT come than when they do! Christ said, Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. (Matt. 5: 10-11)

The marks we avoid by doing and/or saying nothing, may be marks we need to enter heaven.