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Archive for April, 2012

Vicarious Humanity of Christ(6)

April 30th, 2012
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Scripture of the Day: Acts 22: 1-5

1 “Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.”2 When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet. Then Paul said: 3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. 4 I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, 5 as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.(NIV)

Paul has been one of the great enigmas. He probably has caused more commentaries to be written than anyone else. Religious people get divided about what he meant. Scholars can build whole careers on discussing aspects of his teaching.

But there is something ironic about Paul’s letters. His background includes being trained by one of the great scholars of the Jewish faith.

He was a very religious and zealous man in the religion given by God, described by Paul as near to God compared to the Gentile world. Paul described this ministry written on stone as glorious.

David Torrance said: When God gave his word that was revealed through Moses, he gave them the laws of worship. All those laws of worship which accompanied the word were to teach Israel they could only worship God in God’s way, and therefore these laws of worship are given quite meticulously. The tent, in every detail, the furniture of the building, every detail of worship, in the sacrifices and the great feasts were given to them. They could not worship in their own way, they had to worship only in God’s way because each of these forms of worship and sacrifices are symbolic, representing God breaking through to make atonement for the people.

They are given circumcision. They were a sinful people, and yet a reminder that despite their sin, God, the Holy God, had entered into a covenant of grace binding them to himself. That circumcision, that perpetual reminder that they were sinful, a perpetual reminder that despite their sin God had bound himself to them in a bond of love, and it was a symbol anticipating the day when God would, himself, come and break through himself, be cut off, circumcised for his people.

He understood religious zeal: that was motivated by fear of any threat to the dominance of the rightness of your religion; of being so jealous of your rightness that you can persecute those outside what you believe and practice.

Message for the Day

Vicarious Humanity of Christ(5)

April 29th, 2012
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Scripture of the Day: 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.(NIV)

MM: Some days I just don’t feel very fresh or new. It just feels like the old person is still there. How do these go side by side?

DT: Well, that’s true. But we don’t go by our feelings. We go by what is real. When Christ gave himself to us, he gives himself to us. That’s something very real. We’ve got to keep looking away from ourselves to Christ. If I look inward upon myself, it’s only darkness. There’s no certainty. We’re full of doubt. It’s when I look away to Christ and say yes, he is life, he is light, he is salvation, there is joy, there is assurance. Life is a constantly looking unto Christ. It has to be. As long as we look onto Christ we are able to share in the victory of the cross and the resurrection. As we look onto Christ we are able to manifest something of the real life and the power of the Holy Spirit.

MM: You talked about the resurrection of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in us. Is that the way in which we are sharing in the resurrection of Jesus now?

DT: Yes, it’s through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, you might say, is Jesus’ other self, although the Holy Spirit is distinct from Jesus, and yet the Holy Spirit is Jesus’ other person. The Holy Spirit comes to live within us, to reign over us. That’s Christ living in us. As the Holy Spirit comes, he seals within us the finished work of Christ, the new life of Christ, so that Christ is there, and Paul says, “It’s not I who live, it’s Christ who lives within me.” He lives within…by God, the Holy Spirit.

Message for the Day

Vicarious Humanity of Christ(4)

April 28th, 2012
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Scripture of the Day: Romans 6:1-4

1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.(NIV)

MM: Once we realize that and we respond to that, how does life change for us? What difference is it going to make in our life? Can we just live a rotten life until we die and just before we die then say oh yes, I’d like to sign onto the program?

DT: Three times in the epistle to the Romans, Paul is answering questions obviously that were put to him — can I sin that grace may abound? He goes on and says this type of question you raise. He says no, that’s impossible. To receive Christ means that we’ve shared in his death — death to our own life, death to all our sins, that we might share in the resurrection. We can only enter the kingdom of God through death and resurrection, and that’s a total thing. It’s a death to our old way of life, it’s a death to our sin.

If we have received Christ, sadly, we’ll go on sinning, but death is no longer the power that reigns over us. We can’t go on sinning. John brings that out in his epistles, “We can’t go on sinning and yet believe in Christ,” in other words, we don’t really, in a deeper sense, believe in Christ. We’re not really followers of Christ.

MM: Is that what the Bible is talking about when it uses the word salvation — that it’s not just a ticket into heaven but it’s this entire package of taking on Christ, of dying, of rising — is all that encapsulated?

DT: Yes. It’s a receiving of a totally new life in Christ. We receive Christ once and for all, and we go on and on receiving Christ as a continuous process. It is a total thing. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. You can only serve one or the other.” If we seek to receive Christ as our Lord, he is the one we serve. There’s no half measures. As I said, sadly, we will go on sinning. As long as we are here on this earth, none of us are perfect, we go on sinning. But the Lord is our Lord and king. He is dominant. So he picks us up, cleanses us, renews us — day by day we start afresh.

Message for the Day