Posted in Christian

FORGIVENESS

brave1
This is highly dramatic and picturesque account of the historical events of Good Friday, with which we may find it hard to relate.  Paul’s first readers must have understood it all, and we are encouraged to believe this by the way in which he proceeds to apply the teaching to their new life.  All that Christ did both in submission to death and overcoming his foes has personal and experiential relevance in  the light of Col. 3:9, 10: “seeing that you have put off the old nature…and have put on the new nature.”  The Christians’ “putting off” exactly matches Christ’s “putting off”, and points back to 2:11.  When the Lord consented to yield to the regime of the astral powers and then to triumph over them, Christians too were involved in that representative act and by their faith union with him (expressed in baptism) they were united with him in his death and victory.  The result is clear:  You died with Christ out from under the elemental spirits of the universe (2:20).  They are now an enemy which brings its accusations and indictment against you in vain, for they have done their worst to Christ and been foiled in the attempt to succeed in their clinging attack.  He has neutralized their malevolence and holds them as his spoils of war.

by:  Ralph P. Martin 

Reconciliation and Hope
Edited By: Robert Banks

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Posted in Christian

Covenant before God

progress not perfection

A Prayer by Michael Quoist, a French Cleric

I have fallen, Lord,
Once more.
I can’t go on, I’ll never succeed.
I am ashamed, I don’t dare look at you.
And yet I struggled, Lord, for I knew you were right near me, bending over me, watching.
But temptation blew like a hurricane,
And instead of looking at you I turned my head away,
I stepped aside
While you stood, silent and sorrowful,
Like the spurned fiancè who sees his loved one carried away bo the enemy.
When the wind died down as suddenly as it had arisen,
When the lightning ceased after proudly streaking the darkness,
All of a sudden I found myself alone, ashamed, disgusted, with my sin in my hands.
This sin that I selected the way a customer makes his purchase,
This sin that I have paid for and cannot return, for the shopkeeper is no longer there,
This tasteless sin,
This odorless sin,
This sin that sickens me,
That I have wanted but want no more,
That I have imagined, sought, played with, fondled, for a long time;
That I have finally embraced while turning coldly away from you,
My arms outstretched, my eyes and heart irresistibly drawn;
This sin that I have grasped and consumed with gluttony,
It’s mine now, but it possesses me as the spiderweb holds captive the gnat.
It is mine,
It sticks to me,
It flows in my veins,
It fills my heart.
It has slipped in everywhere, as darkness slips into the forest at dusk
And fills all the patches of light.
I can’t get rid of it.
I run from it the way one tries to lose a stray dog, but it catches up with me and bounds joyfully against my legs.
Everyone must notice it.
I’m so ashamed that I feel like crawling to avoid being seen,
I’m ashamed of being seen by my friends,
I’m ashamed of being seen by you, Lord,
For you loved me, and I forgot you.
I forgot you because I was thinking of myself
And one can’t think of several persons at once.
One must choose, and I chose.
And your voice,
And your look
And your love hurt me.
They weigh me down
They weigh me down more than my sin.
Lord, don’t look at me like that,
For I am naked,
I am dirty,
I am down,
Shattered,
With no strength left.
I dare make no more promises,
I can only lie bowed before you.
[The Father’s Response]
Come, son, look up.
Isn’t it mainly your vanity that is wounded?
If you loved me, you would grieve, but you would trust.
Do you think that there’s a limit to God’s love?
Do you think that for a moment I stopped loving you?
But you still rely on yourself, son. You must rely only on me.
Ask my pardon
And get up quickly.
You see, it’s not falling that is the worst,
But staying on the ground.

Posted in Christian

Life in the Spirit

come-and-dieThere were two especially significant differences in the way Christians understood the presence of the Spirit. The first arose from the fact that the ancients in general thought that the divine spirit would come on only a few outstanding people. It would be a most unusual experience, reserved for those who were especially close to the deity. But the Christians insisted that all believers have the Spirit. Thus, Paul says positively, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14), and negatively, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person is not his” (Rom. 8:9). It is nonsense to talk about a Christian who does not have the Spirit. That is a contradiction in terms. It is a distinctive of the Christian way that the lowliest believer enjoys the presence of God’s Spirit within him.
Many see the Spirit as a force, an influence. But Paul seems rather to have understood the Spirit as a person. The giving of gifts looks like the activity of a person, more particularly since Paul concludes his list by informing his readers that the division is made “according as he wills” (1Cor. 12:4-11). He speaks of the mind of the Spirit (Rom. 8:6, 27) and urges people not to “grieve” the Spirit (Eph. 4:30). The love of God is poured into our hearts through the Spirit (Rom. 5:5), and the Spirit produces love in us (Gal. 5:22), both activities being evidently personal.
New Testament Theology
by: Leon Morris