Tag Archives: Jesus

Living life well

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The Gospel ushers us into condemnation-free living. In right-standing with God, and the rich promises of Scripture ours, there is every reason for living life well. These few modern-day parables will help establish you in the good of the New Covenant. It is God’s will for you to live there with confidence and ease.

Life is walking the high-wire, with Christ our safety net. We might slip and fall in the day-to-day, but we remain safely suspended in the lofty context of His victory. When we lose our footing, there is no inevitable devastating plunge to destruction. All there is to do is regain our equilibrium and get walking again. Consequently, we walk the tightrope confidently, without anxiety or fear, no matter how tetchy things might get on a wind-buffeted high-wire from time to time.

Life is an innings at the crease with an umpire who will never give us out. The bales scatter; we’re not out. Caught playing the shot; not out. Plumb LBW; a shake of the head from the umpire. We can’t even be run out. That’s because every ball that life or the devil bowls at us in the cricket game of life has been rendered a no-ball by the cross. Every one remains a scoring opportunity, but none can take our wicket.

Life is a ride on an up-escalator. The inexorable upward momentum of the life of Christ makes it well-nigh impossible for us to lose ground. Serious regression takes concerted, sustained effort, for He wills and works for our salvation at all times. We all stumble from time to time, but as we do, the escalator of His loving-kindness continues to carry us into our preferable future. In all things, He works for our good, even if the things themselves are not of Him, and not good. We can rest in Christ and enjoy the blessings and privileges that are ours by unmerited favour.

Ours is the privileged life of the adopted child. The fact is that we are His four times over – He created us; He redeemed (purchased) us; We are born again of Him; and He adopted us. The adoption aspect of it all was transacted by grace in the moment of faith, and it means that we and all of our stuff are His! We have a new name, and it’s His. And so, on the giant school playground of life on earth, who’s your Daddy? No need to submit to the bullies of anxiety, fear, guilt, condemnation and shame, and no need to inflict them on others. Rather, we live secure in the family to which we’ve been added – the community of Father, Son, Holy Spirit and saints.

I want to live for Jesus. I want to live life well. You do too, or else you wouldn’t bother reading this kind of post. Only those who have received the gift of His perfect righteousness can do that, because everything else falls short. But in Christ, that which we do in response to His love, is done in partnership with His perfection and under its banner. The result is ordinary men and women living lives to the glory of God, and doing so in the mundane of the daily, and at times doing extraordinary exploits.

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Meanings have words

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Words have meanings and meanings have words.

We can get so focused on the former that we lose sight of the latter. I’m not suggesting for a moment that we cease to do due diligence in our approach to the Bible, but we can get so caught up in intricacies of the language and grammar that we miss the point entirely.

Jesus is the Word of God. He is what the Lord has to say. To us. Today.  And what a message He is!

Words have their place, of course, and I’m a strong proponent of responsible Bible interpretation. The Spirit and the saints of old went to great lengths to ensure the integrity of our Bibles, and so to treat the text as anything other than accurate is to insult its heritage. But let’s not allow our emphasis on accuracy to lead to our being blinded by the details.

It’s the Pharisee in us that nudges us towards majoring in minors in this way. They even tithed on their herbs, which was the kind of behavior that Jesus described as straining out gnats while swallowing camels. Don’t you just love the imagery there. In literary terms its called hyperbole, i.e. making your point by being a little over the top. Do you know how small a gnat is? Have you ever ridden a camel.

And so it is that our Christianity can spiral into mountain-molehill confusion. We can berate ourselves and other for all the praying, Bible reading and church attending we’re not doing. Chapter and verse can be applied to everything and everyone, everywhere. Our Christianity can be so perfectly packaged in what we do, where we go, what we say and who we hang out with, that when it;s all said and done we can’t help but impress ourselves. And in paying close attention to all all these details we can consummately miss the point. Hair-splitting hypocrisy is within reach for all of us should we lose sight of keeping the main thing the main thing.

So, what is the main thing? What is God saying in Jesus? The answer to that question could fill many a book, but it can also be bundled into just one simple sentence. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life”. The degree to which our Christianity declares that message is the degree to which we’re marching to the drumbeat of heaven, and the degree to which our Christianity obscures that message is the degree to which we’re bumbling around the dance floor with two left feet.

Words have meanings and meanings have words. Remain true on the meaning, and our lives in Christ will find appropriate words and actions with which to express it. From time to time we may be misunderstood; Jesus was. But that never changed His message, and neither should it alter ours. Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in and through Jesus, are loving and redeeming their world, and we are a part of His redemptive plan. This is our story. This is our song!

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We’re the Gospel’s perfect foil

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You can serve as a foil to someone if you show them to be better than you by contrast. If you can’t dance but your friend Lisa can, you can be a foil to Lisa’s grace. (http://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/foil)

For the Gospel to demonstrate its true magnificence it needs someone to save who is utterly unable to save themself. We are all the perfect fit.

The Gospel is light to our darkness, hope to our hopelessness, righteousness to our sinfulness, power to our powerlessness, ability to our ineptitude, acceptance to our rejection, wisdom to our folly, and the solution to our problem. It supplies our lack, meets our need, and it answers our questions. It is the strength in our weakness, the constancy in our vissitudes, the order in our chaos, the clarity in our confusion, the joy in our mourning, the peace in our storm, and the substance to our reality.

The Gospel is everything we need, and the Gospel is all we need! The Gospel is Good News, Perfect Theology, Spiritual Reality and Eternal Veracity. Correctly understood, the Gospel is a Person, and that Person is Jesus. He is our Perfect Fit!

 

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