Posted by: The Simple Guy | January 27, 2010

God-centered arguments

Just a quick post to point out something I have noticed lately.  Have you ever noticed that God argues based upon Himself and His nature?  Of course, He does, what else is there.  But I just noticed two examples lately I wanted to point out.  We should probably be watching for this pattern in Scripture, I think.

First example:

Genesis 15:1-5 CEV
(1)  Later the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision, “Abram, don’t be afraid! I will protect you and reward you greatly.”
(2)  But Abram answered, “LORD All-Powerful, you have given me everything I could ask for, except children. And when I die, Eliezer of Damascus will get all I own.
(3)  You have not given me any children, and this servant of mine will inherit everything.”
(4)  The LORD replied, “No, he won’t! You will have a son of your own, and everything you have will be his.”
(5)  Then the LORD took Abram outside and said, “Look at the sky and see if you can count the stars. That’s how many descendants you will have.”

“How is this God-centered?” you may ask.  Who created the stars?  God essentially told Abram, “I made the stars, your problem is too big for you, true.  But not too big for Me.”  This wasn’t about the stars, it was about Who made them.  Incidentally the next verse is where God credits Abram with righteousness.

Genesis 15:6 MKJV
(6)  And he believed in Jehovah. And He counted it to him for righteousness.

You see, if you or I argue based upon the stars or the heavens, we are arguing outside of ourselves.  But God is pointing to what He has already done, and what He upholds without effort.  Is anything too hard for Him?

Second example:

Ephesians 4:1-7 MKJV
(1)  I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the calling with which you are called,
(2)  with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love,
(3)  endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
(4)  There is one body and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling,
(5)  one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
(6)  one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in you all.
(7)  But to every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

This hits a little closer to home.  Why should we “endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”?

Because this represents the nature of God.  Paul steps back from discussing the Spirit and speaks of Christ (one Lord – Christ – one faith – in Christ – one baptism – His baptism),  then of the Father (one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in you all.)  So the work of the Spirit in us will also be marked by unity with Christ and the Father – as the Spirit is.

Paul did not argue based upon what the effect of this unity would be initially.  (you know, people getting along, good vibes, nice fellowship, etc)  He bases his primary argument upon the nature of God.

Then he explains how that works out in the gifting of the body.

Ephesians 4:11-16 MKJV
(11)  And truly He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,
(12)  for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
(13)  And this until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
(14)  so that we no longer may be infants, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, in the dishonesty of men, in cunning craftiness, to the wiles of deceit.
(15)  But that you, speaking the truth in love, may in all things grow up to Him who is the Head, even Christ;
(16)  from whom the whole body, fitted together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of each part, producing the growth of the body to the edifying of itself in love.

One last thought before I close.  Wouldn’t  a truly God-centered argument be the most powerful one for a man or woman who lives a God centered life?

Craig

P.S.

Any ideas what the “one baptism” is?  I think I know, but I wonder what you think.

8)

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Responses

  1. Hey Craig,

    I believe the “one baptism” here is referring to the baptism into Christ by the Spirit as in 1Cor.12:13.

    Also, with regards to your observations on God-centeredness, it is so true that there is nothing else that we can be legitimately centered on except the One of whom it is said that all things are “of Him and to Him and through Him”.

  2. I recall the pastor we once had who used to say that “the Christ in me will not fight with the Christ in you”.

    The phrase “unity in diversity” has been hijacked by worldly-thinking people and distorted so that some feel it is necessary to force certain the acceptance of certain beliefs on others in order to maintain the “peace”. In the end, there is no real diversity because tyrannical homogenity of society becomes a necessity in order to hold things together. It’s the way the world works because fallen man is really an anarchist at heart.

    But, spiritual unity of revived souls is not the same thing as external conformity. As we learned a few years ago, “fellowship” (with God and His people) is not just something we do, but is something that exists when we are rightly oriented to Christ. Our Head then holds us together even when there are differences of understanding, lifestyle, interests, talents and opinions.

  3. Craig,

    I agree with Tom on the “one-baptism.”

    And yes, God-centeredness is all there is; and the focal point of that, for us is ‘in Christ’ by the Spirit. I think as one becomes aware of the Trinitarian pattern — esp. in the Pauline corpus — that the God-centerdeness you are noting jumps off the pages. To be truly God-centered is to inhabit the Trinitarian life of God which happens through our union with Him in Christ by the Spirit . . . so that Paul can say we are ‘one spirit with Him’ (cf. I Cor 6:17).

    Yes, I think we need to start with God and then we can have true knowledge of ourselves. This was Calvin’s approach, we first must have knowledge of God before we can have knowledge of ourselves and the rest of creation. If we don’t start this way, methodologically, then we only will become idolaters worshipping the creation rather than the Creator. Good points!

  4. Thanks for the replies!

    Yes Tom, 1 Cor 12:13 is a good cross reference. Same general topic – same author – worth considering.

    Heather,
    Thanks of reminding me of Pastor Terry, not only did he say this, he lived it. He and I did not agree on all theology, but we never fought. And that’s saying something considering what this know it all young man was like at the time. 🙂

    Bobby,
    Thanks for stopping by. The trinitarian aspect of this passage was very exciting for me. The relationship of the Trinity to each other has been facinating for me lately.

    All,
    I plan on posting my thoughts on the “one baptism” soon. Working lots of hours so it might not be until Sat or Sun. But I am excited by what I think I see. Stay tuned, as I want to know what you think.

    Craig

    PS> more thoughts are welcome as well.

    • I first heard that quote, “The Christ in me will not fight with the Christ in you…” from something your Dad shared with us… It stuck. I still say it now and then. I didn’t know that Terry was the original speaker. I believe it was a taped sermon from Philippians that we heard.

      I haven’t studied the “one baptism” idea particularly, but again the words of your Dad come to mind in the years of Romans studies that we got… …”baptidzo” as I recall in the Gr. – to be immersed, identified. We may not look identical but we have the same uniform. We take the field in the same jersey, committed to the same goal, but having unique jobs to suit a single purpose.

  5. Oh Yeah – and the God-centered idea is a favorite of mine.

    I don’t think that I have found a way to say it clearly, that way that I think about it, so apoligies to all if it seems understated… …or confusing.

    I think of the convenents in which God sware by Himself, for there was none greater and it reminds me that He is the Truth. Not only the Creator of the truth, though He is. Not subservient to the truth, because it serves His purpose and derives its definition from Him, yet there is no conflict in any way as applied to God…

    All that God is and says is indeed “truth”. He did not make His convenent with Abraham because he needed something to live up to. Instead, He was defining, better yet, revealing Himself perfectly to man over time, restoring.

    So, his covenents from Adam to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Israel, and on seem to me to be increasingly revealing of both the natures of God and man. Until, at last we discover, as eloquently stated in the first part of Romans and climaxing in chapter 7, we need all of God’s offering to meet the need necessary for salvation. The “I AM”… truth, good, eternal…

    It would take too long to say this… I am almost sorry to try it here, but can hardly contain my thoughts on this one…

  6. Ryan,
    Great to hear from you.

    One of the things I get SO EXCITED about is how the covenant with Abram worked.

    Usually both parties pass through the blood. So normally God and Abram would have passed through the blood between the carcasses. It is a pledge, that if either does not keep, the other may take their life and walk through the blood.

    However in Abram’s case, both figures that walked through the blood were God. I would say the Father and the Son. You see, when Abram didn’t keep the covenant, who had promised to pay for his crime? GOD!

    The Gospel as clear as you please! Jesus paid that debt when he came and died in our place! It is what the law looked back to (the promise to Abram) and forward to (the fulfillment).

    Craig

  7. […] to the flesh.  Who died in Christ?  All.  Christ raised.  All has become new.  This is another God – centered argument.  We are to look at everyone THROUGH Christ. Why?  Because that is how God sees them.   By the […]


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