Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Who is God, who is man, and what can be done about it?

The title above was more or less our topic last night at home community. We read through some scripture and comments asserting that 1) God is perfect and holy, 2) humans are inherently flawed and unable to meet God's standards, and 3) God's grace is necessary to save us, through Christ.

Now, some thoughts per the challenge of my mouseketeer friend.

-The packet we read through reminded me of a five-step tract on steroids, though, the intent was to help us stay grounded in scripture rather than to be for direct evangelism. Forgive me if I'm projecting my own shortcomings here, but I was just thinking the other day that the American church on the whole does a poor job of staying close to God. What I mean is that we are taught, first of all, to separate our spiritual lives from the "secular" parts of life, but then we live in such luxury that these "secular" things surround us and demand all of our attention.

However, if we root ourselves in the Word (and the Spirit, thank you Jodi), then we can walk with God and tackle all of these things just the same. So I appreciate efforts (such as the one tonight) to seek a foundation of scripture.

-At one point the question was posed, essentially, "who are we to tell others that their religious beliefs are wrong?" I've heard this question a lot, and I don't like it. I'm not sure I would call it false humility, but it is something like that, and it misses the point.

We as Christians are remiss to give the gospel such low regard; instead of worrying about the nonbeliever's assumed rights and our own so-called judgmentalism, we should be asking, "who are we to hide the light that God has graciously given us?"

If we assume that hearing the gospel is a negative thing, if it's not actually good news, then of course we should be reluctant to tell other people that it is true. But scripture says that "the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field."

This, of course, is not telling us that we should hoard the gospel for ourselves, but pointing out that it is worth giving away your life for, and that we should be ecstatic to have it. So if we as Christians take the gospel for what it's really worth, we can't really question the validity of sharing it with others.

Where I tend to struggle on this point, and I think I see it in others, is that I've been camping out in that field with the treasure for awhile now, and sometimes the novelty wears off; and the gospel isn't quite so effective when you take it for granted.

-What is the role of the law for us as Christians? As Paul notes, it can lead us toward faith in Christ, but it does not necessarily lead us to faith, nor is it necessary for faith. "Now that the time
for faith is here," Paul concludes, "the Law is no longer in charge of us." Christ didn't come "to keep the law and teach us to do the same," he came to fulfil the law as the messiah and redeem us "from the curse that the law brings."

-Lastly, does God expect us to be perfectly holy and untainted by sin? Heck yes he does. Fortunately, Jesus took care of that for us. And that is good news.