Saturday, June 28, 2008

Come Along With Me

God’s love for us is so great He gave His only begotten Son as the final sacrifice for our sin. His sacrifice is our salvation. This is the only sacrifice that God accepts because we are blemished, our righteousness is as filthy rags.

Now come along with me as I take this little journey.

In the beginning God created everything including the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of Life. Told Adam not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We know what happens after that.

Now, man, tainted by Adam’s sin, is under the curse. Man now must live under the “Law” – aka The knowledge of Good and Evil. Simple enough. Follow the law, all will be well. Break the law, things go bad. Problem is, man couldn’t keep 1 simple rule (Don’t eat), what makes him think he can keep 10? So blood is shed to cover man’s sin. Must keep sacrificing to cover sin. Not perfect, because man keeps on sinning. God knows this. Always has.

Enter Jesus into the time / space continuum. God in the flesh to show us God’s heart. God in the flesh to take man’s sin upon himself. God in the flesh to shed His blood to be the final sacrifice to wash away the sins of the past and the future. The final sacrifice for a sinful mankind. God in the flesh to make us all acceptable to the Father and pour out His Spirit on those whose faith is in that final sacrifice.

He lived to show us Who love is. He died to make us acceptable to the Father, to wash us clean, to take away the barrier between us and the Father, to impart His Spirit to us so that we can live in the Spirit and not by the flesh.

Side note: Paul wrote in Romans that “he who has not the Spirit are none of His.” You can follow the rules without love, and according to Jesus and Paul it means “nothing.” (I Corinthians 13) When your whole point of view is “the law” and you don’t have love it’s nothing. What did Jesus say to the religious leaders of His day? “You know the letter of the law, but not the spirit behind the law.” (Also consider Mark 7:6, John 6:63 Check out Paul’s views on this subject: Romans 7:6, Rom 8:2, Rom 8:4, Gal 5:18)

Jesus said, “I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life. No one comes to the Father but though me.” Very pointed. Very simple. Okay. Jesus is God incarnate, aka, God in the flesh. Jesus gave us His Spirit – God the Spirit. If we learn from Jesus and follow the Spirit, we will be following God. God is Love.

So, if God is Love, and the Spirit is God, and Jesus is God, therefore Jesus is Love in the Flesh. Therefore, The Way is Love, The Truth is Love, The Life is Love. Not mankind’s view of love, but God’s design for Love. All the Law is summed up in Love God and love your neighbor.

But what does that mean? You may ask. Check out I Corinthians 13. Only Jesus death on the cross makes us acceptable to the Father. What did Paul say he wanted to know? The law? No. New rules? No. What to drink or eat or what not to drink or eat? No. Paul said he only wanted to know “Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

Many will come in that day and say, “Lord, did we not do many wonderful things in your name.” And He will say “Depart from me for I never knew you.”

Do you know Love, or just the rules? Are you putting on God’s righteousness, or are you trying to justify yourself by your own righteousness?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Lord, Save Us...

From "Lord, Save Us From Your Followers" by Dan Merchant

The point is, it's easy to make exceptions to Jesus' call. Now I'm not trying to be a jerk here; I'm merely illustrating how flipping easy it is for us Christians to disqualify someone or some group. We declare them unworthy...unworthy of our best...unworthy of the love we're called to share. That is simply unacceptable. I don't think it's right to partake of this faith and blame others for this tumult. You know, that whole "He who is without sin..." thing weighs on me. And since none of us are in the "No Sin Zone," aren't we all in the same predicament?

I tend to get confused, so I want to be sure I'm articulating my thoughts as clearly as inteneded. Let me see if we're tracking together, okay?

Christians are the ones who believe in the God of love, right? We're the ones who love and worship the Prince of Peace, right? Isn't that us? Aren't we the ones who are to hold patience, kindness, and forgiveness up as ideal standards? We're the truth and grace people, correct? Then why are we hammering others with the truth (our take on it, anyway), and then neglecting to share the grace? Those two things go together; one doesn't mean as much without the other.

Why are we so comfortable blaming those who disagree with us for the conflicts in our country? Why are we allowing the gospel of love to divide America? I'm comfortable with the bar being higher for us. If not us, then who? We're saved, right? Isn't that worth something now? Jesus is the One who accepts everybody, who includes the weakest in His embrace, restores the broken, deperate, and unworthy (there I go again, trying to sneak one by you...yes, you're right, we're all unworthy, that's why I'm so grateful for grace). If we are truly to represent Him, we better come up with a better plan than dividing the country over temporal, political issues.