Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Like? Or Under?

Adam and Eve decide they want to rule “like God” instead of ruling “under God,” which means Adam and Eve are usurpers. The sin they commit is the sin of wanting more than responsibility of governing on God’s behalf; the sin they commit is made clear in the words of the scumbag serpent in Genesis 3: “For God know that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened [in a Pleasantville sort of way], and [here it comes with full force] you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (3:5, emphasis added). The story of sin in the Bible is the story of God’s elect people wanting to be God-like instead of god-ly, of ruling instead of sub-ruling and being ruled.— Kingdom Conspiracy, pages 28–29 (all emphasis original)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

It's all about?

The gospel is a story about Jesus, and because it is about Jesus, it is about us. To make the story first about us, or first about me and my salvation, is to reduce the story and to rob Jesus of the glory of being the central actor.— Kingdom Conspiracy, page 25

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The World

This selection of texts from the Fourth Gospel represents the New Testament posture toward the “world” as the unredeemed realm of human affairs, a realm into which Jesus is sent and out of which he saves his own. The point I am making, then, is that Jesus didn’t come to make the “world” a better place or to “influence” or “transform” the world. He came to redeem people out of the world. Trying to make the world a better place is a species of worldliness, and “worldliness,” to quote Hauerwas and Willimon, “is a hard habit to break.”— Kingdom Conspiracy, page 17

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A summary

The fruit of the Spirit is not a to-do list to check off. The Spirit produces the fruit in us. Christianity is not a set of rules, nor is the Bible a manual for good living. Christianity is about a relationship with God the Father, through His Son Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit.— Live Free: A Fresh Look at the Fruit of the Spirit, page 31

Monday, July 20, 2015

Dead people don't sin!

We are no longer under the authority of sin. Paul develops this point in greatest detail in Romans 6. If we have died with Christ, we have been set free from sin (Romans 6:7). What Paul means by “sin” in Romans 6 is sin as a power, or ruler. The point he is making is that, by dying with Christ, believers have been released from sin’s power; we now live under Christ’s authority. Yet Paul appeals to the Romans not to put themselves under sin again (6:12–13). While sin is no longer our master (6:14), the pull to go on “obeying” sin is real and powerful. But Paul wants us to realize that we don’t have to give in.

The famous Welsh preacher D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones illustrated this struggle well. In 1865 the work of Abraham Lincoln and others to abolish slavery in the United States finally came to fruition. All slaves were declared free. Lloyd-Jones says to imagine you had grown up a slave in Alabama. One minute, you’re a slave. The next, you are free—legally, officially, and forever free. While you may now have your freedom, your internal grasp of that freedom may take some time to catch up to the reality. Imagine that one day you ran into your former slave-owner on the street, and he calls out to you, “Come here, boy!” At that moment, will you feel like a slave? I think you probably would. Your whole life, you’ve responded to him as your master. You’re conditioned to obey that voice. Every muscle and fiber in your body is inclined to obey.

But the reality is that you are free. You are not a slave. Your former master has no authority over you at all. He cannot tell you what to do, and you have no obligation to obey him. Our struggle with sin is just like this. Sin once ruled over us, and our bodies were conditioned to obey its demands. It’s the way we lived our entire lives until we were set free by Christ. Now that we know spiritual freedom, our comprehension of it can take a while to catch up. Occasionally, sin calls out, “Come here, boy!” and our initial impulse is to obey. But in Christ we are no longer slaves to sin. We do not need to obey its call. And yet we will feel its pull and even struggle with our first reaction to give in to its demands. Even though we are free, we can choose to do what it says, even though sin has no right to tell us what to do.— Live Free: A Fresh Look at the Fruit of the Spirit, pages 28–29 (emphasis original)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Dos and Don'ts

Notice that Paul does not say, “Don’t do these things.” Instead, he appeals to a deeper way of thinking. He appeals to a spiritual reality. If we belong to Christ Jesus, we have crucified the flesh. Now, remember that the vice list is introduced as the acts of the flesh. Flesh is the power that produces such practices.

But in [Galatians] 5:24 Paul says that the flesh has been crucified. It has been put to death with Christ. Because we belong to Christ Jesus, we are united with Him in His death. Spiritually, we have been put to death. We are no longer subject to the power of the flesh. This is so much more than a simple command to avoid certain behaviors. A radical change has taken place and we no longer belong to the realm of the flesh, enslaved by its passions and desires. We now belong to the realm of the Spirit.— Live Free: A Fresh Look at the Fruit of the Spirit, page 18 (emphasis original)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

It's far deeper than that!

The Spirit isn’t interested in just changing certain behaviors—adding some and removing others; He is interested in changing who we are as people. Changed people do changed things. But the internal change has to come first. God doesn’t want us to be robots who always do the right thing but whose character is, well, robotic. God is after our hearts.— Live Free: A Fresh Look at the Fruit of the Spirit, pages 15–16 (emphasis original)