Unknown by Face (For Now, Anyway)

Monday, March 12, 2012

“Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; and was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: but they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me” (Galatians 1:21-24 KJV).

Today’s Scripture says Jewish believers in Judaea (surrounding Jerusalem) merely heard of Paul’s conversion. They had not seen him in person. Nevertheless, these saints rejoiced because Paul, the very man who once murdered God’s people, was now God’s apostle of the Gentiles! Paul wrote “they glorified God in me.”

The Church the Body of Christ spans some 2,000 years. Its members, scattered worldwide, lived during various centuries, all having never met face-to-face (I have never met most of you in person). Paul never met the Laodiceans and the Colossians (Colossians 2:1)… in this life, anyway. When the Body of Christ is complete, at the rapture, we will see—in person—our brethren, the Christians of the past 20 centuries (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Get excited!!!

Several weeks ago, I received an email from a young grace believer and college student who discovered our devotionals blog (he will be reading this too!). Yesterday, we were finally able to fellowship via telephone… spanning the 1,000-mile distance between us. We know not each other in person—we are both “unknown by face”—but we “glorified God in [each other].” We rejoiced in the Lord, how by His grace, we stood for the grace message (the Gospel of the Grace of God), the King James Bible, young earth creationism, and Pauline dispensationalism. How we were both encouraged by each other’s dedication to sound doctrine, even as our “higher education” systems consider us “outcasts.” Our fervor for upholding God’s Word rightly divided, even in the midst of persecution, encouraged him, and vice versa (1 Thessalonians 3:7,8).

Brethren, when we read or hear about other grace believers proclaiming and defending sound Bible doctrine (Gospel of Grace, King James Bible, Paul’s apostleship, et cetera), let us “glorify God in [them],” even if they are “unknown by face [for now, anyway]!”