The apostle Paul had a pastor’s heart. Because his heart burned with love toward God by the power of resurrecting grace, Paul’s heart also burned with love toward his fellow saints. He knew of their afflictions. He understood the depth of their misery. He empathized with their sorrows, fears, tears, doubts and hardships.
He had an overwhelming compassion for the body of the Lord, for he also was of that same body. Both his intentions and actions were unto them filled with care, concern and Godly counsel. As a nursemaid who nourisheth the sick and feeble, and as a shepherd who would tend and protect the flock, he would have them learn Christ. yet Paul’s desire was not only that they would learn Christ in doctrine alone. Certainly this would be a striving which would be most UNLAWFUL. Knowledge, privileges and performances were but utter vanity without the Divine dew of love and grace poured upon the soul from God.
He rather desired of them that they learn Christ in spirit, and in truth by the resurrecting power of atoning and effectual grace. For the apostle, a drop of grace was infinitely more important than a sea of gifts.
Profession alone would not suffice for evidence of regeneration. Neither would the keeping of outward ordinances and actions. Paul desired of the saints and inward devotion.
He desired of each of them to exhibit a pastoral heart, and concern one for another. And so he speaks words of truth with power, even cutting and piercing words. Oft times he used hard exhortations, shameful entreatments and rebuking allegations.
Yet he did this for their good as a father and a friend. He sought only their individual blessedness, and the benefit of the whole. AND this is most evident. For even amidst all the harshness of corrective chastening and instructional preaching, the love of Paul shines forth.
Therefore, let us, as the children of God, heed this warning and loving
admonishment, and share in this posture of Christian piety and pastoral
consideration for all the saints of God. All those that call upon the name
of the Lord in truth and in sincerity, be they near or far, let us lovingly
embrace them as dear and beloved. Unto the praise of the Glory of His effectual