Posted by George Morrison

Communication Chains             Word on the Week          11th December 2021.

Not the paper chains we make to decorate the house at Christmas but the metal chains that bind us.   To be in chains is such an emotive expression conjuring up visions of helplessness.   That is unless you were cut from the same cloth as the Apostle Paul who used his chains to his advantage!

The Apostle had time in that Prison in Rome.   Two years in fact.   During them he wrote letters to the churches at Ephesus, Philippi and Colossi.  He also shared the Gospel with the Jewish leaders (Acts Chapter 28 verses 17 to 28).   When the majority of Jews rejected the message Paul spent the next two years preaching to the Gentiles (Acts Chapter 28 Verse 31).

St Paul’s chains were a great encouragement to Christians who may have been suffering persecution and took courage from Paul’s witness from prison so that the whole of the Imperial Guard heard the gospel (Philippians Chapter 1 verses 12 to 14).

At this week’s Bible Study, the usage of the word ‘chains’ among hymn writers was discussed.   The bulk of the time it is used to describe the binding nature of our sins which refuse to be shaken off.   Perhaps the best example of this is Wesley’s ‘And can it be that I should gain’ which has the verse: –

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.                                                              

Describing in graphic terms the new convert’s feelings upon conversion.

Then there is that song dating back to 1745 which deals so clearly with sanctifying grace in the daily life of the believer.  The first line, ‘The Saviour died and rose again’

Who then can e’er divide us now

From Jesus and his love,

Or break the sacred chain that binds                                                               

The earth to heaven above.

Of all the chains that communicate truth the idea of a sacred chain whereby God binds himself to the earth is one of the most vivid.   The notion of this chain of divine love wonderfully illustrates St John’s ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (chapter 3 verse 16).

Blessed chains that communicate truth.