Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hope in the fact that it really IS all Jesus!




Theology= Thoughts ABOUT God.
This word has been pretty distorted through the ages.  We came up with "Theologians", those are the ones who had a great following of people who agreed with their thoughts or got published or went through all the proper schooling to be considered a "Theologian".
But truly, if you like to think about God, you're a theologian!

I like to think about God.  I have a whole group of friends on Facebook who have varied and vast views of God. I have them listed in a special group called, "Spiritual Friends" and I often love to just look through that group on my newsfeed. If you've liked something that I've said about God on my Facebook, chances are I stole it from one of these friends. 
Today is no exception.
Hey! SOMETIMES they're my own!

I have a friend named Bart Breen (Hi Bart! Hope you're reading this!) He has many impressive titles and experiences behind his name to qualify him as a proper "Theologian", but I just like him because he's kind and really seems to take interest in people and listen to their views. He's one of those people who truly fit my definition for the word, "Pastor".

Today he posted some "theological thoughts" and I thought... YES!  THIS, is my Creed.  This, sums up what I believe. The rest, is just..."fluff".

Basically the statement sums it up that everything, even our "faith", IS Jesus! 

This really ticks off the "works" folk. They don't like it when people talk about this love and grace stuff without adding all the HAVE TO's. Matter of fact, many of my friends on that "Facebook Spiritual Friends list" I mentioned, have been kicked out of religious positions and groups because of firmly standing on this...
(Trust me, it happens)

I guess their thinking is that if you go around teaching this stuff, people will... I dunno, you fill in the blank of what could happen if you don't have a scary god that requires some sort of performance on your behalf... repentance, faith, making Jesus your "Lord", baptism, sacraments, confirmation, Communion. All of these are... "Works" or... Fluff in my opinion.

Do we have something to do with our relationship with God then?? YES, we are BELOVED!  That, is what WE have to do with it! 

One of my favorite parts of scripture is Ephesians 2:8,9 
Which says, "For it is by Grace, you have been saved, through  faith - and this ("faith") is NOT from yourselves, it is the GIFT OF GOD, so that NO ONE can boast!" 
"faith" added by me.

When you read it, the whole of Ephesians Chapter 2 is ALL ABOUT how He does and is EVERY THING! As well as the whole Bible in my thinking! (I've read it a lot!)

So, on to my Theologian friend, Bart's words...
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I have to say, that this is really what my "theology" has ALWAYS been... I just let myself get wrapped up too tightly in religion.  But, you know what they say, "satan himself masquerades as an angel of light" 2 Cor. 11:14

Here it is:
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Gal 2:19 For I, through the law, am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (KJV)

Many modern translations adjust Gal 2:20 to "faith in the Son of God." Usually I'm able to see where the modern translations are better translations but in this one, I think the KJV get's it closer to what the original language intends.

It's not our faith that is the key, rather it is Christ's faith exercised on our behalf. What is more, it is sufficient for all mankind, meaning that it's not a matter on our part of providing the missing piece to Christ's work to be finished on our behalf. Jesus work IS finished! In effect all of mankind, individually, HAS a paid ticket, to restored relationship with God. The question is, are we going to take what we have and redeem it or not?
Much confusion comes into the terms we use. We're saved by faith? Yes that is true, but the reality is that we're saved by Christ and it is Christ Himself who has exercised faith on our behalf. That is objectively true and finished. Subjectively the question is are we going to accept what Christ has finished and done on our behalf or not? We're not adding necessary faith from that perspective. We're resting as beneficiaries in the faith already exercised and finished by Jesus.

The law doesn't give us righteousness. If it did, then as Gal 2:21 says then Christ died in vain. The Law has never been our problem. Sin is our problem and the law reveals that problem, by making sin abound so that we're clear that we're unable to do any of this on our behalf. Christ finished this work, not simply to satisfy the law, (which He most certainly did) but His finished work goes beyond that. Jesus, the second Adam, has addressed the problem of Sin in the First Adam and His work is not less than the first.

This is the Good News! It's not even a matter in this context of us placing our faith in the Son of God as some of the newer translations suggest. No, it's the very faith of Christ on our behalf that had already finished all that needs to be done. We have the ticket. Present it and thank God that we can share in this and are free to live now in a life of loving response to what God has already finished.
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You know, the one thing I have to add to this is the part where Bart said, 
"The question is, are we going to take what we have and redeem it or not?"
 
This is where I think we "Theologians" have to be very careful. Because it is NOT up to us to decode the exact way this happens.  If this were a blanket statement about relationship with Father... then my disabled son, Noah, will NOT be able to have it. Noah has been my very best teacher as to my need to drop all the religion I was "standing on" and just, rest.
Thank you Noah!
Also, I think Jesus would have said that He was going to send the denomination you belong to, or the "Four Spiritual Laws" or (insert your little religious idea here)... but no! He said He would send the Holy Spirit and He said He would draw ALL men to Himself and He said I will NEVER leave you or forsake you and He said PEACE I leave with you and He said I NOW call you friends... Jesus said a lot of things. He was NEVER the same in the way he He dealt with each person! I believe He's STILL deals with people that way today! Why do WE always try to map out "the way", when Jesus said He IS the way??
We just LOVE our little formulas, don't we??

People are always expecting "performance"  from other people. You see that ALL THE TIME in various relationships. I guess that is one way I see God as totally OTHER than me.  He does not pin all His hopes on my behavior and He really does not expect me to perform for Him! He wants me to Love Him. To be Loved by Him.  To live, Loved.
Well, that's MY theology anyway.

I have HOPE that it is indeed ALL Jesus, and that it is better and more lovely and more pure and more excellent than we could EVER imagine it being in a zillion years!

5 comments:

  1. Love is a term that works for me. Yet sadly...there are many who twist it to be something else.

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  2. Thanks for sharing this Chris, and yes I did see it. You're right too, that I agree with you about what you qualified in my use of words where we redeem. I believe that Noah and all who are young or limited in their ability to understand are covered by the grace of God. Christ's finished work is universal in scope in terms of its efficacy. Many take offense in that preferring to believe that Christ's work is limited to them and they're special and elevated above others. God grants us free will and some choose to resist and walk away. Those who can't choose or walk in either direction are no less God's children, and no less loved. Christ's finished work applies to them.

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  3. This echoes what I've recently read from David Wilkerson's Pulpit Series newsletter. The sweet message God has been showing me is that indeed, I am free, because of the Finished Work of the Cross. His righteousness is mine and I need not strive. I am already made clean by the word spoken over me. (John 15:3) That word: FINISHED! Amen! Love to you! Keep sharing your wisdom, Sister! <3

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  4. Thanks for your thoughts guys!

    Bart, I have so many friends who are Universalists. I cannot be honest with myself and say I am in complete agreement with this belief right now, personally. As you say, some CAN choose to walk away. If that is not the case I will be REJOICING!

    However, the way THOSE friends have been treated by people saying they belong to Jesus is mind boggling to me. Even people who might be "hinting" Universalism are cast out! That to me is a Hell all on it's own.

    Have you read The Great Divorce?

    I believe they will have FULL knowledge about what they are walking away from. It won't be hidden as to what they are refusing.

    Was the rich young ruler sent to Hell?? Simply because he wouldn't follow Jesus because he couldn't sell everything? How many believers came to know Christ in THIS way? See my point here. No formula. Just Jesus!

    Sorry for the rabbit trail. I guess my main point is that it is Jesus + NOTHING. AND we don't get to provide the perfect formula. I believe people like Noah are in relationship with Father too... but what do I base that on?? One verse in the bible about King David's son?? No, I base it on a GOOD and LOVING God who is not willing that ANY should perish.

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  5. I'm not a Universalist, but as you say, it wouldn't bother me at all should God choose to save all. I have read the Great Divorce and I believe Lewis had a good handle on this.

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We have this Hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
Hebrews 6:19