Henry Mahan

Several years ago a young communist left an eastern university and traveled to Mexico to labor as a communist. He wrote to his fiancee, breaking off their engagement – "We communists have a high casualty rate. We are shot and hanged, tarred and feathered, harassed and jailed, slandered and ridiculed, fired from our jobs and in every other way made as uncomfortable as possible. A certain percentage of us expect to be killed. We live in virtual poverty, turning back to the party every penny except what is necessary to keep us alive. We have been described as fanatics. We are fanatics! Our lives are dominated by one great overshadowing factor – the struggle for world communism. We have a definite purpose in life. We have a cause to promote and for which to contend. We subordinate our petty, personal selves into this great movement and if our egos seem to be hurt or offended through subordination to the party, we are adequately compensated by the thought that each of us in his own small way is contributing to something which is true and better for mankind. There is one thing about which I am in dead earnest &#!50; that is the cause of communism. It is my life, my business, my hobby, my sweetheart, my wife, my bread and my meat. I work at it in the daytime and dream about it at night. Its hold on me grows, not lessens, as time goes by. I cannot carry on a friendship, a love affair or a conversation without relating it to communism, which both drives and guides my life. I evaluate people, books, ideas, and actions according to how they affect the communist cause and by their attitude toward itl I am willing to die for what I believe!"

Here is a young man lost in a cause! It is a poor cause, a worthless cause, and one that shall fail. But if you will read the letter again and insert the name of the Lord Jesus Christ everywhere he mentions communism, I believe you will have expressed loud and clear the life and attitude of a true believer. This is what our Lord is saying in Matt. 16:24-25 "If any man will come after Me, Let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it."

Communism is no more offensive to men of freedom than the gospel of God's grace is to men of flesh. The believer knows that the cross is offensive, that the natural man receiveth not the things of God (they are foolishness to him), and that he will be hated of all men for Christ's sake, but he is willing not only to believe on Christ but to suffer with Him. The believers life is dominated by Christ and His Word! This is the one thing about which he is in dead earnest – the cause of Christ. It is his life, his business, his hobby, his sweetheart, his bread and meat. He works at it in the daytime and dreams of it at night. Christ's hold on him grows, not lessens, as time goes by. He cannot carry on a friendship, a business, or a conversation without relating it to Christ. He evaluates people, books, ideas, and actions according to how they relate to Christ and by their attitude toward Christ! The believer subordinates himself, his personal ambitions, his feelings, and his desires to the family of God and if he is misunderstood, offended, ignored, or fails, 'he is adequately compensated by the thought that he, in some way, has contributed to the glory of Jesus Christ.

I am disturbed when I hear preachers talk of accepting Jesus Christ as one's Savior while ignoring His Lordship. This is certainly not the teaching of Christ. I am troubled when I hear preachers invite young people forward for dedication to "full-time service." Is not every believer a full-time believer, a full-time Christian, in full-time service? Whether I am in the pulpit or the pew, whether I am on a foreign field or employed in a factory or on a farm, whether I am a deacon or dish-washer, if I am a child of the King, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, I am in Christ full-time, dominated full-time by His grace, His gospel, His Spirit and His love. "Ye are not your own - ye are bought with a price." As one person said long ago, "Faith is the decision to live my whole life on the assumption that the commands of Jesus Christ are absolutely binding and the-promises of Jesus Christ are absolutely true."

Henry Mahan, Pastor
Thirteenth Street Baptist Church
Ashland, Ky.

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