Friday, March 14, 2008
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
For a long time, to be honest, I've been tired of fighting the good fight. I lay down my arms. My knowledge of my failure drove me to apathy. And I reaped the consequences and have caused hurt to others in the process.
I suck at following Christ.
I suck at even trying.
The goal of life is not "not-sinning", but to be conformed into the image of Christ. And it's no good if I'm not even aiming at that goal.
Things must change.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Christ can relate to us, and can redeem us from our mess, because he became in all things like us except sin (Hebrews 4:15). He took on the form of a servant (Phillipians 2:7), taking upon Himself the curse placed upon humanity (Galatians 3:12).
But there comes times all too often when we are faced with situations where there seems to be no right thing to do..
In a complicated pregnancy where at least one person, the child or the mother, will die, the parents are faced with a horrible choice: Action leading to the death of someone, or no action leading to perhaps the death of two. And the horror increases because Scripture is silent on the future state of the unborn. God is under no obligation to save them, and apart from his grace, like everyone else, they are lost, seperated from God, and without eternal life. We can hope God will save, but we cannot know for sure.
When a man faces the choice of whether to go to war or to be a conscientious objector, what is the right thing to do? Should he take up arms because it would be more evil to do nothing? Or should he refuse to kill his fellow man who has friends and family as real as his own, and who is made in the image of God and for whom Christ died and desires to be saved through faith in Him? Who is right, the soldier who wishes he didn't have to fight but does out of necessity, or the conscientious objector?
There are countless other scenarios that are encountered in human life. My first question is: What is the Right thing to do when there seems to be no truly and wholly right thing to do? Secondly, what did Jesus do when faced with such a dilemma? (This is not just an issue for discipleship, but can be seen as a challenge to the sinlessness of Christ... how could He choose the lesser of two evils, yet commit no evil?)
In every one of these dilemmas it seems that someone has to suffer and die. That is just the way things happen in this fallen world.
I didn't really get an answer to my first question. And the second, well, I got more than an answer.
A truly holy God cannot allow sin to go unpunished. There is always someone who must suffer. Man's rebellion against God has resulted in God's curse against man, both in life and after death. And it doesn't even manifest itself in a one-to-one relationship for sin-to-punishment. Often those that suffer have nothing to do with the individual sin.
When someone must suffer, Christ became the One who suffered.
He took the curse of God upon Himself and died for it. He rose again, extinguishing that curse. By his Ascention and His Intercession at the right hand of God the Father, He lifts human nature out of it's corruption and into a perfection beyond which any human ever knew. And even now, when a believer faces the most meaningless, empty, pointless suffering, Christ makes it His own and it becomes for us a means of knowing Him in His suffering.
The same dilemmas still face us in life and they are for those concerned to work out. There are situations when there truly is no right thing to do. But then, that is the declaration that God has made over not only the worst, but all of our best efforts of doing the right thing (Isaiah 64:6). There is great blessedness from knowing that neither I nor the things I do are right, despite my best efforts: I will be counted right before God the only way anyone ever will be: solely on account of Christ's righteousness not earned by me, but freely given to me.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
There's a post by myself on it's way as soon as I get around to it. Soon, in the eschatological sense, perhaps.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
(Big 4 auditor. Reading, England).
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Christianity, if true, then presents the following situation as true: A man murders another man. The murderer comes to see his wrong, and casts himself on the mercy of God in Christ, and God forgives him, remembering his sin no more. Yet at the same time, the victim's family are unable to forgive the murderer. The murderer is seen by God as innocent, being covered in the righteousness of Christ, and is welcomed into heaven. The sins of the victim's family, though as we perceive it, not as serious as murder, are retained and they are condemned to hell.
It doesn't make sense. It's not fair.
Fair according to whose standards? Ours? God doesn't judge based on our standards. You didn't elect him as your Judge and you cannot remove Him as your Judge. You were made by Him and He is the only one in the whole universe who knows you, your intentions, as well as your actions enough to give you a truly fair trial. In the time one stops kidding oneself and takes a good long look at your life, ceasing to excuse oneself based on the behaviour of others, no matter how seared and calloused you could have made your conscience, then comes the realisation, be it faint at first and louder the more we listen, that a "fair" trial would be bad news for us. The good things we have done do not take away from our bad deeds. No one is rewarded for keeping the law, by doing what they know they should have done anyway. They were only ever what we should have done anyway, and we weren't all that good at doing those things either. Fair would be to condemn all parties for the sins they deserve. And it may very well be true that God takes as grevious the thoughtless calling out of "Oh my God!" "Jesus!", etc. to express disgust than he does the murder of another human being, who is made in the image of God. Who knows? But that's the impression I get when I read what He has revealed in Scripture. At any rate, "God will not hold anyone guiltless who takes his name in vain" is clearly promised.
I don't think it's useful to hold onto an imaginary hypothesis, when we have something much closer to home that's real and concrete. Besides, I'm quite sure that God is tired of being treated like a hypothetical idea. (I treated Him as such for years while claiming to keep an "open mind", "saying prayers", etc. all the while my search for God never expected to actually find Him. I never expected it to come to this, but it has. He found me.) God is God and Truth is Truth regardless of what we think of it. God does not put before you a hypothetical idea but reality. You aren't called upon to answer for others, but yourself. You, not another, are put in the spotlight. He rolls over the boulder of "what I'd rather not think about" and reveals the snakes living underneath. Ever told a lie? Then you're a liar. Ever stolen something? Then you're a thief. Ever lusted? Then you've done the deed in your heart. Ever misused God's name?..
Sinners are squirmers and as such, Truth makes us uncomfortable. An encounter with the Truth lets questions be asked that we would have previous squirmed away from, and causes us to admit our guilt without making excuses. God knows you, the event and the situation better than you do, anyway. The warnings of hell and condemnation are not for others, but for you, whose eyes now read this. Want to see what your sins deserve? Then look at a beaten, spat upon, whipped, tortured man nailed to a cross. Likewise, the offer of forgiveness, is for you. Want to see your sins forgiven? Look to the cross, and the empty tomb.
It doesn't make sense that God would punish His Son so that the guilty, such as you and me, could go free. Much that is true doesn't make sense, especially love and forgiveness. But it is what God does. Humans, being made in the image of God, only begin to realise their humanity when God Himself begins to live within them. Not as a vague memory or hypothetical idea but a new heart and spirit. It is Christ's life they live, and He who forgives those who do not deserve to be forgiven through them. Let me say this again: It is not the fact that we forgive that makes us forgiven, but the forgiveness and eternal life we have received which does the forgiving. Forgiving for the Christian may be extremely difficult, as the dishonest, squirming sinner which they still are does everything it can to resist the life of God being lived out, but it is also inevitable, if one is truly in Christ.
Again, let's not stick with hypothetical examples but concrete ones. For example, Gladys Staines, who chose to forgive those who burnt to death her husband and their two young sons. Christ lives in her. May He also live, and forgive, as brightly, through us.
Monday, April 17, 2006
and that at the last he will stand upon the earth;
and after my skin has been thus destroyed,
then in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see on my side,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
My heart faints within me!"
I know that my Redeemer lives!
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever living head!
He lives triumphant from the grave;
He lives eternally to save;
He lives exalted, throned above;
He lives to rule his Church in love.
He lives to grant me rich supply;
He lives to guide me with his eye;
He lives to comfort me when faint;
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears;
He lives to wipe away my tears;
He lives to calm my troubled heart;
He lives all blessings to impart.
He lives to bless me with his love;
He lives to plead for me above;
He lives my hungry soul to feed;
He lives to help in time of need.
He lives, my kind, wise, heavenly friend;
He lives and loves me to the end;
He lives, and while he lives, I’ll sing;
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King!
He lives and grants me daily breath;
He lives, and I shall conquer death;
He lives my mansion to prepare;
He lives to bring me safely there.
He lives, all glory to his name!
He lives, my savior, still the same;
What joy this blest assurance gives:
I know that my Redeemer lives!
Friday, April 14, 2006
Go to dark Gethsemane,
All who fell the tempter’s power
Your Redeemer’s conflict see.
Watch with him one bitter hour;
Turn not from his griefs away;
Learn from Jesus Christ to pray.
Follow to the judgment hall,
View the Lord of life arraigned;
Oh, the wormwood and the gall!
Oh, the pangs his soul sustained!
Shun not suffering, shame, or loss;
Learn from him to bear the cross.
Calvary’s mournful mountain climb;
There, adoring at his feet,
Mark that miracle of time,
God’s own sacrifice complete.
"It is finished!" hear him cry;
Learn from Jesus Christ to die.
Early hasten to the tomb
Where they laid his breathless clay
All is solitude and gloom.
Who has taken him away?
Christ is risen! He meets our eyes.
Savior, teach us so to rise.