The dictionary defines the word paradox as “a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true.” Today we’re going to look at paradoxical propositions in the Bible that are seemingly contradictory but are not; and instead of being “perhaps” true, they are absolutely true!
Here are just a few of the most common ones delivered by our Prince of Peace for our benefit:
To live you must die (Mark 8:35)
To gain you must give (Matthew 19:21)
To rule you must serve (Luke 22:26)
I think you’ll agree that those are some jaw-dropping paradoxical propositions! And yet they are all true. In order to live we absolutely must die. We must die to self. We must die to our way of thinking. We must die to our dreams and desires. We must die to everything we want in order to live for everything God wants for us. Dying to the self is the only way to live for our Savior.
In order to gain we absolutely must give. The more we give the more we gain, because the gain is first to be found in the giving. Now, I am not talking about the “prosperity gospel,” which teaches that if you give so much you can expect so much in return. We simply cannot bind the conscience of our God or broker His favor. We are blessed by the Best simply because we are in union with Christ. The more we give, the more we get . . . in ways we never imagined.
In order to rule we absolutely must serve. Jesus set the ultimate example of service and He is the ultimate Ruler—the King of kings and Lord of lords. This paradox was so alien to the minds of the disciples that they did not know how to handle His foot-washing seminar.
Clearly the way up is down. The way in is out. The way to life is death. The way to gain is to give. The way to rule is to serve. These paradoxical propositions are the keys to unlocking the door leading to a better life, one filled with the freedom, joy, and faithfulness that only comes through the Gospel.
And only the truths of the Gospel free us to live such apparently contradictory lives. The Lord says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways” (Isaiah 55:8). Instead of trying to figure it the best way to go, we do well to simply follow our Lord’s plan and prepare to pick the fruit He has prepared for us.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!