Posted by: The Simple Guy | October 31, 2014

Was that really nice?


I am the father of 6 children, ages 3 – 19.   There is a lot of personal interaction in our house, as you might imagine.  I can’t count how many times in the last month I have asked someone, “Now think about what you just said/did.  Was that really nice?”

I’m not going to back away from that at all.  I insist on treating one another with courtesy and respect.  I believe that is a biblical concept.

However, in light of these verses, I have been wondering if I am conditioning my family, and even myself to be shallow and hypocritical with others.

Col 3:8-10
(8) But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
(9) Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices
(10) and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Now that I have you thoroughly confused. . . :)

I am thinking of verse 9.  How many times do we say the “nice” thing and avoid the truth?  How many times do I send a grumpy little girl across the room to her sister with this instruction, “Now that wasn’t nice.  You tell  your sister you are sorry.”  So to avoid consequences with me, they grumble “sorry” and stomp off.  Anyone can see that they aren’t sorry.  Am I teaching them to lie to one another, because it is the “nice” thing to do?

So I posed this question in a text to several friends and family the other day:

“Have been thinking about verse 9.  When we love one another, we do not lie to each other.  Sometimes we think it is being nice to someone to not work things out, but really we have just defined how deep the friendship is.  Just my pondering.  What do you think?”

I got this response from my Dad:

“Relationships are built on TRUTH.  Christ is TRUTH.  If we don’t speak truth to one another, we can’t trust or be trusted.”

So does this mean I just have to sit back and watch rudeness in my children for the sake of honesty?   I think not.  I think the secret lies in being committed to each other through the truth, and learning to communicate toward a resolution.  We need to learn to express love and commitment, while at the same time communicating the unpleasant things that need to be said.

I have to learn this attitude myself in order to model it, and then teach it to my children.

Your thoughts?

The Simple Guy

P.S.

This might not be a new thought to some of you.  Have you learned anything in this area that you think might be helpful?

Posted by: The Simple Guy | October 19, 2014

How do you study your Bible 2


Last time I discussed the mechanics of how I study. Now I would like to discuss the mindset I use.

We all see scripture through our own bias. I chose the following bias. All scripture is about Christ. I want to know how I can see Him in the text, and what I learn about Him. He is the point. I am secondary.

John 5:39 (NET) 39 You study the scriptures thoroughly because you think in them you possess eternal life, and it is these same scriptures that testify about me,

John 5:40 (NET) 40 but you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life.

Secondly, I am really careful about commentaries. There was a time I did not read them at all, and at that time it was probably wise to avoid them. I would rather read what He says, than what someone says about what He says.

Now I have relaxed that a little (but not much).
I will read commentaries once I have thoroughly observed the text. Sometimes I find a difficult passage and will read commentaries to find out how others deciphered the text. But only when I know the text myself well enough to measure what the commentaries say against the actual text.

I see this as an extension of reading various translations. When I am wrestling with a particularly difficult text, I don’t mind help with the heavy lifting once I have taken my turn grappling with it myself. I feel that it is sort of cheating off of other people’s paper to read commentaries too soon though. That isn’t to say I begrudge anyone else the use of commentaries , just relating how I do it.

Another method I use for tackling difficult topics is to find what Jesus said about the topic. I find that can clear up the confusion sometimes.

May revisit this later.

What have you learned that you can share?

Posted by: The Simple Guy | October 18, 2014

How do you study your Bible?


Recently I was asked by someone via text to explain how I study my Bible.

Sort of a big topic for a text, so I decided to put together a post on it and open up the discussion. Please feel free to chime in and discuss this as well. I like the open forum format.

My study method is a system that has developed over time. Originally I used a method I learned from a John MacArthur tape series I used to have called (you guessed it) How to Study the Bible. I’m sure he still has it available on his website if you are interested.

Essentially he encourages you to select a small book or a section of a larger book – 5-7 chapters – and read through it every day for at least 90 days. To start with this seems really hard to do but I believe it pays off. You see, to begin with it seems like a lot of reading. About a month in it seems kind of dry. You find yourself skimming through and having to back up and READ it.

But then one day you realize that you KNOW what it says. You can think through the flow of the book. You’ll hear people use a verse out of context and without even having to look it up you know they aren’t using it correctly. (I know verse 5 says such and such but how you’re using it doesn’t mesh with verse 3, or verse 12, or the previous chapter. . . The thought process flows like this, and that just doesn’t match)

So since 1989 I’ve been using this method and have spent 90-120 days reading several books through every day. I’ve used this for all of the New Testament and most of the Old Testament.

At some point I started noticing my own cross references from one book to the next.

I have also found that as I revisit books I studied before, there are depths that appear that I did not discover during the previous times.

The second development in my study method began when a friend of mine introduced me to esword.
It is a computer program available for free online. It has a KJV option with the Strongs Exhaustive Concordance numbers attached. This has enabled me to begin to find the original words used and is even searchable so I can find how these words were used other places.

Esword also has several downloadable translations that are available for no cost. This feature allowed me to read the same text in several translations and get a fuller understanding of what is being said.

The third development was when I started reading books on hermeneutics. At this point I realized there is actually a science to accurately extracting the meaning.

First read it. Second, observe. Watch for comparison and contrast. Watch for repetition (this is for emphasis). Watch for logical progression. This is evident in words like since, therefore, if-then. Watch for conjunctions. And, but, for. Notice verb tenses. These can be critical. Be sure to save interpreting or application until you have thoroughly OBSERVED the text.

Observe the genre of the text. Is it poetry, historical, allegorical, or instructional?

Then you need to determine what this meant to the original audience. Determine what is different now from then. What is timeless, what is temporary? What are the underlying principles involved?

Now we are ready to interpret it. What does it say, and what does that mean? How does that match with the rest of scripture?

How does that apply to my life?

One last critical point is that you have to have the courage to admit when you don’t know the answer. I’m not God. I am the student and he is the teacher. When I don’t know the answer I ask, study, and wait. Sometimes for years. I prefer to let Him drop the pieces in place in His time.

The last development that I believe is most critical, I began to read as if the author is in the room. BECAUSE HE IS. I read prayerfully and ask what He means. He meets you there.

I have not figured it all out. But I am better for the journey.

Your thoughts?

Posted by: The Simple Guy | October 14, 2014

The worldliness of legalism


I discovered a concept today that was there all the time, I have just been too dull to see it.

We are studying Colossians in our church.  Next week we will be looking at chapter 2:20-3:4.  Last week we looked at this text:

Col 2:16-19
(16) Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.
(17) These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.
(18) Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,
(19) and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

Two “let no one” phrases.  Paul has just told them (us) how the written condemnation for all of our sin was nailed to the cross.  You see, a crucifixion was not a lynching.  It was a legal execution.  The convicted criminal’s written condemnation was literally nailed to the cross.  (that is how we know Jesus was crucified between two thieves by the way, it was in black and white above their heads – but I digress. . .)  Our condemnation was nailed to His cross. (v14)

So first, Paul warns them not to let anyone pass judgement on on them based on the law.  Not that the law is irrelevant, it was all the way relevant.  But it has been satisfied once and for all.  The crime has been prosecuted, and the judgement has already been made.  The sentence has already been carried out.  That is called a CLOSED CASE.  So no one can pass judgement on us.

Let no one disqualify you.  (the speaker envisioned a red card in soccer – and we discussed how the opposing team coach does not have a red card, he cannot disqualify me.  The line judge does not have a red card, he cannot disqualify me . . . you get the idea).  So don’t let anyone step in and claim authority they don’t have and disqualify you, using some new system, teaching, practice, etc.

Only God can disqualify me.

So last’s weeks text was about “let no one”

This weeks text is essentially “now don’t you, either”  The emphasis in verses 20-23 is on self.  Let me show you:

Col 2:20-23
(20) If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—
(21) “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch”
(22) (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings?
(23) These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

“If. . .you died to the elemental spirits of the world. . .why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit . . .to human principles and teachings?”

Then he lists three types of human principles and teachings.

  • self-made religion (religion my own way, by my rules)
  • Asceticism (literally self humiliation)
  • Severity to the body. (self punishment or torture – literally self neglect)

So then he states that these look good, but have no power to stop indulgence of the flesh.

So as I pondered this, I realized a couple of things.  First of all these, things are powerless.  You know why?  The fox is still guarding the hen-house.  I have no power over “self” if “self” defines the religion, “self” is orchestrating the “humility” and “self” is the focus of the punishment.  “Self” is still on the throne.

And as I pondered this, I came to the second realization.  This legalism is no less worldly than the “sins” it seeks to avoid.

Herein lies the danger of reactionary morality.  When I see something that I find exceptionally sinful, and make an external “rule” for myself in order to avoid that pitfall, I am no better off than before.  It is merely an illusion.  I am putting my faith in the Flesh.

Brings to mind Galatians:

Gal 6:7-9
(7) Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
(8) For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
(9) And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

No wonder these “rules” I make for myself are powerless, and result in nothing but frustration.  Father, please help me see through this illusion!!

I think it bears repeating.  Legalism is no less worldly than the “sins” it seeks to avoid.

Worth some thought.

Next, we find the escape hatch!  But that is for you to read in Colossians 3:1-4.  Maybe I will be back to post on that later.  But you will not really reap the benefits if you don’t study it out yourself. . .

Happy Hunting!!

 

The Simple Guy

 

Posted by: The Simple Guy | October 13, 2014

If God is good, why does He allow evil in the world?


Ever hear that question before?  I heard an answer that made sense to me for the first time ever.

Let me answer this way:

Imagine if you will a court case where a murdering pedophile rapist was on trial.  Imagine that the evidence has been presented, the defense has rested.  The final arguments have been made.   The jury has deliberated, and it took them less than an hour to come back with a verdict.  The defendant stands, and the verdict is read.  “Guilty on all counts, the jury recommends the maximum sentence in this case.”

The sentence is to be determined.  The maximum penalty in this case is death.  The courtroom falls silent as all await the judges pronouncement of the sentence.  Gasps are heard all around the room as he speaks, “I’m feeling generous today.  Let’s just forget about this one.  You may go free.”

Is this a good judge?  Can you imagine the reaction of the victim’s family?  Can you imagine the reaction of the arresting officer?  This is the ultimate evil in a judge!  The visceral reaction is deserved.

So friends, let’s not minimize the very real question our friends ask as they see pain and evil in the world.

If your God is so good, why does he allow these things to happen?   He must either be powerless, or diabolical.  In either case, why would I bow to him?

But let’s look at Romans 3:23-26.

Rom 3:23-26
(23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(24) and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
(25) whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
(26) It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Verse 23 says we all come up short, not having the glory of God.  We were made in His image.  It has been demonstrated that we know right from wrong, and that we exchanged His glory for that which is lesser.  (notice 1:23)

Rom 1:21-25
(21) For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
(22) Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
(23) and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
(24) Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
(25) because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Notice 3:24.  We are justified as a gift, through the redemption of Jesus.

Verse 3:25, Jesus was the propitiation put forward by God through Jesus’ blood.  (propitiation is payment in my place)

This shows that God is righteous.  Even though God has overlooked sin in the past.  You see, if God did not pay for the sin He overlooked, He is like the evil judge we just spoke of.

He has been patient with us.  But He cannot pretend it is no big deal if he is anything but diabolical.

Sum it up like this:

You are right to be appalled by evil in the world if I say God is good.  You received the very ability to recognize evil by nature of the fact that you are made in His image.  God hates sin.  But He loves you more.  He has been patient with us for a time so that we could be forgiven.  But while forgiveness is a gift that we receive freely, it was not free.  It was the most costly gift ever given.  God in his patience has forgiven me, but He did not just ignore my sin.  My sin was a BIG DEAL!

God showed that sin is a VERY BIG DEAL by the enormity of the sacrifice made in order to pay for it.

Friends, there is no argument that explains evil in the world except the cross.  Yes, God is just.  Someone had to pay.  But he is patient, and as such in Christ he became the justifier as well.

Whenever someone asks this, take them straight to these verses.  The cross is the answer to this question.  Any other answer lets them off of the hook.

John Piper puts it like this:

Your thoughts?

The Simple Guy

Posted by: The Simple Guy | October 6, 2014

Our Only Hope of Glory


In the last few posts I have been discussing Colossians chapters 1 and 2.  I have been deeply moved the last few days by a truth I would like to share with you.  This will require some setting up, so please be patient. :)

I have believed for quite a while that the theme of Colossians is “Christ in you the hope of glory” (from chapter 1:27)

In the book of Colossians we have seen that Paul is introducing us to Christ as the one who is restoring all of creation to Himself.  All of creation.

And He will succeed!  This is not in doubt.

This endeavor Christ has undertaken is the top priority in all of the universe, and we have been granted a role on the team.  That is the “mystery” of Colossians.  Christ has chosen to restore mankind through His Body, the Church.

This time I was impressed by the fact that “you” in 1:27 is plural.  Not “me” but “us”.

In chapter 2 Paul stresses the importance of the struggle, which is the above mentioned endeavor.

Paul says that he wants us to be encouraged and bound together in love so that we can attain the riches of the assurance of understanding the knowledge of the Mystery, which is Christ.

This sums up what I have posted about in the last couple of posts.  These thoughts were in the background of my mind as I talked with Dad this weekend.  So there is some of the background.  Now let me relate some of the events in my family that led up to the discussion I had with Dad Saturday.

I have a cousin who has gone to be with the Lord in the last month.  I say HAVE because he is still alive.  He has never been better.

He lost his father to a random act of violence when he was only 15 – 25 years ago.  His world turned upside down at that point, and I will never be able to understand the depth of the struggle he had.  I don’t want to get into the details, because to my shame, I don’t know them, and because it isn’t the point anyway.  I know there was depression, and there was an injury at some point.  I know he had a struggle with addiction to a pain medication he took for the injury.

When we heard about his death, my first thought turned to the worst.  Especially because of the particular day he died.  However, when I interacted with his family on the day of the funeral, I heard stories of little things he said in the week preceding his trip Home.  He mentioned that he loves Jesus and was so grateful that Jesus still loves him.  He mentioned that he had finally been able to forgive his father’s killer.  I heard that he died of natural causes in his sleep.

The people who were with him the day before he died said that they would characterize his demeanor as “joy”.

Dad and I were discussing this Saturday.  (Mom and Dad were able to go see the family before the funeral, but were unable to attend the funeral.  I was able to make it to the funeral.  So we were both there, but not at the same time.  Saturday was the first time we were able to compare notes.)

Dad related to me his experience as a new Christian, how he bought a red-letter Bible and really concentrated on the things Jesus said.  He knew that whatever Jesus said he could count on.  He said that he spent the first several years of his Christian life pondering the difference between what Jesus did as God, and what He did as a man.  But he said that what he has been impressed with lately is the miracle we see in people, where at various times, we see Christ in them.  And we don’t control this.  Often times we don’t even know it is happening.

His example was my cousin.  My cousin didn’t know he was living out his last days.  He was like me, thinking life would go on for quite a while.  But several little things he said and did in the last week of his life served as a tremendous encouragement to his Mom in  particular, and to the rest of his family as well.

I have worked at leaving enough details out so as not to put anyone on the spot here, so if you know what I am talking about please respect the privacy of the family.

What I want to share is that just like my cousin, we don’t know how closely people will be looking at the things we do or say.  We don’t know the results of the simple, seemingly insignificant things we will do or say.

Now, losing my cousin, (who was younger than me) has already had a profound and sobering effect on my outlook on life.  I have noticed some differences in the way I am spending my time.  But it has been profoundly liberating to me to realize that my cousin was weak, and yet Jesus used him.  I don’t have to be perfect.  Just real – and I have to be holding Jesus’ hand.

From that perspective, look at these verses again (I hope to never see them the same again):

Col 1:26-27
(26) the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.
(27) To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Humbled and Amazed,

Simply Grateful,

The Simple Guy

Posted by: The Simple Guy | September 20, 2014

Why The Struggle?


We looked at these verses in the last post:

 

Col 2:1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face,

Col 2:2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,

Col 2:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

I mentioned how at first I was confused by Paul’s desire that people he had never met would know about his struggle on their behalf.  But as I looked at the original language I realized he was not emphasizing his part in the struggle, he was emphasizing the importance of the struggle or endeavor.

Then we looked at how he characterized the struggle.  He wanted their hearts to be encouraged and bound together in love so that they could attain the riches of the full assurance of thinking together in a way that recognizes Christ.  Knowing Him is the purpose of the struggle.  It appears that we cannot know Him by ourselves, but we must be together.  Meditating on that idea since the last post, my mind went to John 17 where Jesus prayed for us.

Essentially His prayer to His Father was this:

Father, I have shown the world who you are.  Now show the world who I am.  Do this two ways.  First, by what I am about to do.  (his sacrifice in our place, and resurrection for us)  Second, through the people You have given me.  I want them to be in complete unity together.  I want the world to know us through them, since I won’t be here to see.  I want them to come to be with us.

So realizing that His plan is for us to know Him through knowing each other made these verses that emphasize togetherness and His riches come to life for me.

Then I noticed verse 4.

Col 2:4 I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.

I think life together protects us from missing the point, as we have to stay real.  I think isolation leads to a fall as our own weaknesses are exploited.  Fellowship results in the discomfort of being shown where I am inconsistent.  Iron sharpens iron, you know.

We stay together as we love one another.  Then I see Christ in you, and you see Christ in me.  Isolation results in a theoretical religion where I can talk myself into anything.

 

There are not several bodies of Christ.  We are the body of Christ.   Christ is not divided.

Lets work on life together so that we can see Christ in each other and the world can know us by our Love.

 

What do you say?

The Simple Guy

1Co 1:10-13

(10) I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

(11) For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers.

(12) What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”

(13) Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

 

Posted by: The Simple Guy | September 17, 2014

The Main Thing:


Col 2:1-3
(1) For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face,
(2) that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,
(3) in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

 

I have been thinking over these three verses for the last couple of days.  The first verse seemed almost self-serving, or overly dramatic at first.  Paul wanted them to know how much he was struggling for them, even though they had never met??  If I wrote you a letter like that, what would you think of me?  But what he really says here is I want you to know the importance or priority of the struggle I have for you.  This corporate struggle, contest, or endeavor we are involved in as the family of Christ is the priority over everything.

The fact that it is corporate, and singular (together, and not our own separate struggles) is apparent in verse 2.  The word “encouraged” is a verb form of paraklete (the word used for comforter – see my post on 2 Corinthians 1)  It is to come along side, for help, or even for rescue.  The phrase “being knit together” is one word that means to come together and walk side by side.

For what purpose?  To reach some specific riches.  What are they?  Absolute certainty of understanding and knowledge of God’s (revealed) mystery. Namely Christ.

That’s a mouthful, let’s unpack it a little.

Understanding is the word “synesis” and means literally “to flow together”.  Has the idea of a train of thought or thought process.  Things fit together.

Knowledge in this case is “epignosis”  a compound “upon” and “know”  I means to recognize or to realize.  It is the “aha!”

So in this case, we gain riches as our thoughts flow to a recognition of Christ.  Not just a mental assent to specific facts, but the recognition of  “Hey, I know that guy!”

So imagine if the governor of your state walked by, and you suddenly realized, “Hey, I recognize that guy!  I knew him at such and such place, and we got along great!”  Suddenly you realize the riches you have available to you as a friend of the governor!

But this is better than that.  Because Paul is telling us about the mystery here.  Remember?

Col 1:27
(27) To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (emphasis added)

This isn’t someone I know.   This is someone in me, and I am in Him.

Verse 3.  In Him are hidden all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  (and He is in me, and I in Him)  But this isn’t my genie in a bottle to wield however I please.  Jesus is here for a reason, doing something intentional.  What is He doing? That is what is referred to as this “great struggle” or supreme contest or endeavor.

So what is this supreme contest?

Paul told us in chapter 1 what Jesus is about.

Col 1:15-22
(15) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
(16) For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
(17) And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
(18) And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
(19) For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
(20) and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
(21) And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,
(22) he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, (emphasis added)

He is redeeming all things to himself.  And the part we play in this, is that He intends to present us holy, blameless, and above reproach to himself.  US.  not ME

This time through Colossians I have been struck by the resources at our disposal.  Jesus the unstoppable is restoring all of creation to Himself.

His glory as the Redeemer is the main point.  He is the Reconciler.  Our reconciliation to Him and to each other is the outward evidence of what He is doing in the world.

This is the supreme contest we have the privilege of sharing in.

Your thoughts?

The Simple Guy

Posted by: The Simple Guy | September 11, 2014

When Christ Appears


It has been a LONG TIME since I have posted anything.  Not sure if anyone even reads any of this anymore.  But I wanted to bounce an idea off of any of you believers in Christ who may still stop in from time to time.

Our church is currently going through the book of Colossians.  I think Colossians is about “The Mystery Revealed”

I think these are the key verses of the book:

Col 1:26-27
(26) the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.
(27) To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

I think that Paul was writing to combat two separate errors that look different from each other, but have one common factor.  They both focus on the external.  One error was the Judaizers, who wanted Gentiles to act like Jews.  The other error was a worldview that saw the world through the dualism of Greek philosophy and would separate the spiritual from the physical.  This idea’s misguided conclusion was that God only cares about the spiritual and doesn’t care about the physical.  So as long as you have some sort of mysterious spiritual experience, the physical doesn’t really matter.

But in chapter 1, Christ is introduced as the supreme cause and reason for all of creation, and as the one who is redeeming all creation unto Himself.

Col 1:15-20
(15) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
(16) For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, wheather thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
(17) And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
(18) And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
(19) For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
(20) and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

So the physical world matters to God, and Christ is the center of it all.

Then Paul lays out for us how we fit into that picture, Christ is to be revealed in us, and God gets the glory.  (Christ in you, the hope of glory)  Remember, to glorify God is to show who He is.

In chapter 2, he talks about how we grow up in Him, and he is the Head.  We are the body.  I find it interesting to note all that is “in Christ” in this chapter (2:3, 2:9, look it up), and then remember that in 1:27, we saw that Christ is in us.

Then we are warned to not let anyone disqualify us by external checklists (law keeping, or measuring your mystical experience).  Externals look religious, but have no value in solving my internal problem.

Col 2:23
(23) These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

So what stops indulgence in the flesh?

Col 3:1-4
(1) If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
(2) Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
(3) For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
(4) When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

So now we come to the idea I wanted to bounce off of you.  Did you notice that last verse?  When does Christ appear?  Did you notice the verb tense of His appearing?  Present tense.  That’s right, now.

I always thought that was about the great blue yonder in Heaven some day. . .

But when I read this verse with the “revealed mystery” in mind . . .

God is glorified in me when I die and Christ lives in me.  That is the Gospel at work.  If I died with him, I live with him.  That is present tense resurrection power.

What do you think?

The Simple Guy

Posted by: The Simple Guy | June 26, 2013

Am I Getting the Cart Before the Horse?


Rather disturbed by the Supreme Court decision today about marriage.

However, since I don’t follow current events much (we don’t have TV, I don’t read the paper – I’m too busy being a Dad) I find it somewhat striking that God taught me something that relates to this new development only a week or so ago.

Heather has been helping our younger children begin to memorize Romans chapter 1.  So Heather and I were discussing the chapter the other night.  What I am about to say is similar to what she told me she was seeing, but as she was explaining it I didn’t quite get it.  (So Honey if it sounds like what you said, I was listening, just not quite firing on all cylinders yet)

However, in an effort to stay involved with the focus on Romans, I sat down with the children and have been studying Romans with them as well.

As we discussed Romans Chapter 1 as a family, this thought occurred to me.  It may take me a bit to explain it, so bear with me.

Some background first:

In Ephesians 5:32 Paul makes the statement while talking about marriage that marriage itself refers to Christ and the church.  I have discussed that before here, and if you look at the topic on the side bar you will see what I mean.  Basically that God has instituted marriage so that we will have a living example in the flesh of the type of relationship he desires with us.  Not the King / subject  relationship, or Employer / employee relationship, or Owner / pet relationship, but the husband / wife relationship.   We are to guard this because it is a picture of something more important.  It displays how we are to be devoted to Him, and how He loves us.

He desires intimacy with us, but we are not the same.

Now look at the progression here in Romans 1.

Rom 1:18-27 ESV
(18) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
(19) For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
(20) For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
(21) For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
(22) Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
(23) and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
(24) Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
(25) because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
(26) For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;(27) and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

So part of what I see here is that God’s wrath is revealed against men who suppress the truth of God by their own unrighteousness.  How so?  Well, what we know of God, we do not honor him and are not thankful.  That is what He is really angry about.  Now we tend to get angry about what happens a few verses later.  But lets stay with the first part for now.

So, since we, the created thing, (symbolized by the bride) do not honor Him, the Creator, (symbolized by the groom), and we are not thankful, instead we worship nature – our own kind – He has allowed us to reap the result of this by having same attracted to same, rather than our natural God ordained attraction.  He takes this personal.  You know why?  Because to Him, IT IS!!  He is the one we are “cheating on” when we worship anything but Him.

Perhaps so we can see the distortion we are guilty of in our relationship with Him??

How is it any different when created thing honors created thing rather than the Creator?

So in essence, we get to see a futile and fruitless attraction in our own relationship so we can understand the futile and fruitless attraction in our lack of honor and gratitude to God.

So the question I have been pondering for the last week or so is this.

Am I more disgusted and repulsed by someone’s homosexual desires than I am by my own lack of gratitude to God?

Doesn’t this text imply that this would be backwards?  How many of us are all upset at the degradation of our the institution of marriage, but have not spent one single minute today in true and undistracted, grateful worship of the One to whom we owe our very existence?

Father, forgive me.

Odd to me that I would be pondering this in advance to the Supreme Court decision when I had no idea it was even before the Court.

Just my thoughts.

Yours?

Craig

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