Summary: Paul speaks about a letter not written on stationary, parchment, onionskin, or even newsprint; written on the most costly writing paper in the world – the hearts and lives of believers.
The High Cost of Christian Writing Paper
“You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart”
Introduction: The Sun, a tabloid daily newspaper published in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, is the highest circulated English Newspaper in the world. In 2007, the Sun had a daily readership of 7,969,000. There is a publication that has a far greater readership than any newspaper. Paul calls this publication Christ’s epistle, which he states, is “known and read by all men”. I am told that the most expensive writing paper in the world was that sold by Cartier’s on Fifth Avenue in New York City, at $8,000 for 100 sheets including envelopes. The epistle or communication that Paul speaks about is not written on Cartier’s exclusive stationary, parchment, onionskin, or even newsprint; it is written on the most costly writing paper in the world – the hearts and lives of believers. Let us consider the high cost of Christian writing paper.
I. The Purchase Price for Christian Writing Paper
A. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “... do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.”
B. The Price of Salvation
• The Priceless Precious Blood of Christ – 1 Peter 1:15-19 “...as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’ And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
C. The Price of Acceptance
1. Romans 10:9-10 “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
2. Confess (homologeo) means to express openly one's allegiance to a proposition or a person, in this context the person of Christ. It is a statement of identification, faith, confidence, and trust. Homologeo has strong legal connotations. As a judicial term, the word indicates the binding and public declaration, which settles a relationship with legal force. When we acknowledge Jesus as Lord, we express a binding commitment to Jesus publicly acknowledging our relationship to Him as our Lord and Savior.
3. There is a cost involved in confessing that Jesus is Lord.
4. Luke 14:29-33 “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it – lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”
5. Matthew 10:32-38 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man's enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”
6. “We can never forget all that it meant to say that Jesus Christ is Lord. If a man called Jesus, kurios, he was ranking him with the Emperor and with God; he was giving him the supreme place in his life; he was pledging him implicit obedience and reverent worship." – Barclay