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apostle Paul actually was and what he believed. One of their essential arguments within this quest is advanced in chapters three, four, and five. This argument is that Paul believed that a Christian should fully submit his life to Christ, in three ways: being completely dedicated and not swaying under the pressure of the outside world; giving up everything from that world which was not of Christ; and doing everything for Christ. This is made obvious when it is realized that Paul was a living example of this belief. First, Crossan and Reed discuss the opposition that Paul faced from both the Jews and Pagans. The ill will of those groups stemmed from the fact that Paul was successfully preaching a new belief system, and thereby taking away many of their own supporters. Even though he was arrested, beaten, and humiliated on numerous occasions by both groups, he persisted with his mission. He never folded underneath the pressure. Moreover, Paul gave up all that was not of Christ. He personally sacrificed all that he had gained in the Jewish bureaucracy by converting to Christianity. Also, due to the
fact that he believed in spreading the Word to all peoples, it may be assumed that he thought nothing within the world (seeing as how everything may differ from culture to culture) was a requirement for living in Christ – and anything that is not of Christ is a burden and a distraction for a believer. Finally, Paul did everything in his life for Christ. He reportedly never did anything that did not involve his mission to spread the gospel. He believed in full unison of spirit with Christ, and therefore, every inch of his being was used for the preaching of the Word. This argument seems to be a reasonable one. It is true that Paul faced a great amount of opposition throughout his travels. He showed commitment and loyalty to the cause by never giving up, even in the face of death. Without a doubt, he was firmly rooted in his beliefs. It also seems feasible that he was very sacrificial in terms of his worldly possessions and views. He did indeed give up his place of power and wealth among the Jews; and from that point on, he lived a very simple financial life, in which he only made enough money to fulfill his most basic needs. Many times, in fact, he needed various brethren to support him with food and shelter. Despite this help, though, he did not live a “worldly” life.
It is quite evident that Paul was very dedicated to his cause. After his conversion to Christianity, he spent the rest of his life preaching, whether it was on missionary trips or otherwise. In a long-term sense, I cannot see an argument that would say that Paul did not do everything in and for Christ, or at least what he perceived to be Christ. However, I do see one flaw – though small and not affecting the overall point – in the argument that he did everything for Christ. I simply cannot see how Paul could have dedicated all of his Christian life – every single minute of every day – to Christ. Of course, my thinking may simply be a result of living in the modern world, in which Christianity is generally taken as nothing more than a Sunday morning experience – but I still do not think it is unreasonable. Could Paul truly have spent every moment doing something about Christ? When he was in jail, was he constantly praying or contemplating the Scriptures? Did he never spend any leisure time? The point here is not really that the above argument, “Do everything for Christ,” is flawed. It simply needs clarification. Whatever one does, whether it is directly Christ-related or not, it should be done to the glory of God. If someone is preaching, then it is obviously
glorifying God. However, even if someone is playing basketball, for instance, it can be played to the glory of God, by using all the talent which God has given. Like the parable of the servants and the talents, whoever uses his God-given abilities to the greatest potential will receive the greatest reward. This is what Paul meant when he professed that everything should be done for Christ.