Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Irresistible God

Brad is the son-in-law of my next door neighbor, and  he cuts my neighbor's grass. For the last two, or three years, Brad has been cutting the grass at the margin of my property. He cuts a row of grass with his zero-turn lawn mower as he drives past my house to the corner of the street, and then cuts another row of grass on his return to my neighbor's house.  I asked Brad if my neighbor was paying him to cut my grass. He laughed. and said, he had to go past my house to cut the grass on the corner of the street, so it wasn't a big deal. But this time Brad has gone too far. He's gone out of his way to cut the grass along the side of my house about three hundred feet in one direction, and then another three hundred feet back! No doubt Brad is a darn good businessman. He's made himself very easy to hire; but isn't there something more going on? Isn't this God? Knowingly or unknowingly, isn't Brad participating in the life of Christ? Quoting the prophet Joel, the apostle Peter tells us that in the last days, God will pour out his Spirit on all flesh (Acts 2:17). Kindness, goodness, and love, are virtues that don't exist outside of God.

How does God do it? God has found a way to us in the person of Jesus, the Christ. He has pulled us into himself. In the incarnation (in flesh), and the atonement (at-one-ment), God has made himself one with us. God hasn't left us alone. God exists in the world. He lives in people, not in buildings (Acts 7:48;17:24; Acts 25:19; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; Gal. 2:20). We are a new creation in Christ Jesus! Yes, the good news is that the whole creation has been made new! Obviously, it hasn't been fully manifested, but Jesus said, "It is finished! (John 19:28-30). In saying, it is finished, Jesus has fulfilled the Scriptures. He has filled life to the full! and he has destroyed death (John 10:10; 11:25-26). So when we see the virtues of God, we're seeing the kingdom of God being manifested on earth as it is in heaven. We're seeing Jesus, living his life, by grace, in the lives of God's children, human beings, and brothers and sisters of Jesus (Acts 17:28-29).  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Jesus, Our Perfect Prayer

Jesus himself is the embodiment of perfect prayer. He is both our High Priest, and the Lamb without blemish; the sinless Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). When Isaac asked his father, Abraham, "Where is the lamb for the offering?" Father Abraham proclaimed, "God will provide for himself the lamb for the offering (Gen. 22:7-8), and he has. You see "Before Abraham was, I am," said Jesus (John 8:58).

Jesus has perfect faith, and perfect obedience. It's not enough to say that he is God and man. No, he in himself, is the union of God and humankind, and therefore is a perfect prayer. He is perfect in word, because he is the Living Word (John 1:1-4, 14). He is perfect in truth, because he himself is Truth (John 14:6), and nothing but living words, and life-giving truth proceed from him. He is perfect in deed, fully obedient to the Father, and to his calling, on our behalf.

We pray because we are united to God in Christ.We join in the life of Christ. Prayer is our participation in the life of Christ. We give thanks. We make petition. We meditate, and listen; but it doesn't stop there. Our participation is our involvement, by grace, in the life of God, through Christ. Prayer happens in our work, and in our hobbies. Prayer happens in our re-creation. We celebrate our union, and we partake of communion with God, in Christ, all by his grace. Prayer, is our joyous celebration of our union with God, in Christ Jesus.  

Friday, February 10, 2017

Man the Image, and Glory of God

There is union, and unity within the human race. Not only did God make us in his image, and likeness, after the God kind (Gen. 1:26-27; 5:1; 9:6), but Jesus himself said, "In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you (John 14:20 NASB).

God has incorporated himself into us, and through him, we have been intertwined into one another. God is an us being (Gen. 1:26), and in the person of Christ Jesus, he has included humanity in his "usness."

We have not been left out, or left alone to go it alone. We are all included in the three-person being of God - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul wrote, "For in him we live, and move, and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are his children.' Being then the children of God..." (Acts 17:28-29). Paul was not speaking to believing Christians, but to idol worshipers - people who worshiped many gods, and did not know the three-person-True- God. Paul goes on to tell these people, that they should change their mind about who they worship, and how they worship. We are called to do the same thing - to acknowledge what's already true and to live in that reality.  

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