Thursday, May 1, 2014

A PRINCE OR A PAUPER?

     In Mark Twain's novel, The Prince and the Pauper, young Prince Edward chooses to switch identities with his look-alike, Tom Canty, a poor boy with a cruel father. Edward's decision casts him into a time of extreme hardship even though he was entitled to every royal privilege.

     In 2 Corinthians 8:9 the Apostle Paul says, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich." (NKJV)

     Unlike the impulse of Twain's Edward, the Lord Jesus, knowing it would cost His life, willingly left heaven to fulfill His Father's plan to restore mankind to God's royal family. People did not recognize or acknowledge the Messiah's rightful position any more than the citizens of 16th century London did the fictional prince.

     In Philippians 2:7 Paul tells us that Jesus "made Himself of no reputation" and verse 8 states, "He humbled Himself and became obedient to... the death of the cross." (NKJV) In Hebrews 4:15 we learn that through His life experiences He fully understands every challenge we face.

     Incredible love compelled Him to both give up and endure more than we can imagine. Why? To free us from the tyranny of one whose cruelty far exceeds that of Tom Canty's father and to make us co-heirs with Him. (Romans 8:17)

     John 1:10 and 12 sum this up perfectly. "He was in the world... and the world did not know Him." (John 1:10 NKJV) "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name." (John 1:12 NKJV)

     In Twain's novel Edward's knowledge of the Great Seal proved his right to the royal line. The believer in Christ is "sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise who is the guarantee of our inheritance." (Ephesians 1:13,14 NKJV) Our Prince has secured our right to "all things that pertain to life and godliness." (2 Peter 1:3 NKJV) As members of His family we have no need to beg for anything. We are protected from ever being paupers.

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