Showing posts from March, 2022

Redemption, not Abandonment

At the heart of Christian hope is the future resurrection of the saints at Christ’s return and the arrival of the new heavens and the new earth .  Central to the New Testament understanding of salvation is redemption . God is not simply abandoning what He first created, but instead, He is recovering and restoring what was enslaved by sin, decay, and death. But in His redemptive acts, the end state of all things that have been redeemed will be vastly superior to their original state, and this is epitomized in the promise of bodily resurrection - [ Cemetery sunlight - Photo by Kevin Andre on Unsplash ].

All are Heirs in Jesus

Returning to the custodianship of the Law means rebuilding the wall between Jew and Gentile, but “you are all one in Christ - heirs of Abraham.” In  Galatians , Paul portrays the Mosaic Law as the “ custodian ” or “ pedagogue ” that supervised Israel “ until  the seed came ,” and that “ seed ” was Jesus. In Greco-Roman society, the “ pedagogue ” was the slave with custodial and disciplinary authority over an underage child until he reached maturity, even though the custodian was a slave - [ Farmland - Photo by Stephen Talas on Unsplash ].

Way of the Cross

To follow Jesus “wherever he goes” requires a life of self-denial and sacrificial service for others – Matthew 20:20-28 .  When Jesus dispatched his disciples to announce the “ good news ” to the “ lost sheep of Israel ,” he warned that they would find themselves as “ sheep among wolves .” Hostile men would haul them before “ councils and whip them in their synagogues .” In reaction to Christ’s message, even “ brother will deliver up brother to death ,” and his followers will be hated “ by all men for my sake ” - [ Photo by Karsten Würth on Unsplash ].

Spiritual Warfare

Christians wage spiritual “warfare” through right conduct and by emulating the example of Jesus .  Today, “spiritual warfare” is a popular topic and features prominently in popular preaching. The basic idea is derived from a passage Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus - “ Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood but against the principalities and powers … against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places ." But what exactly did he mean by  “spiritual warfare”?  - [ Photo by Henry Hustava on Unsplash ].

Slave of HIS Kingdom

To be a citizen of the kingdom of God requires a life of self-sacrificial service for others, not power over them   –   Mark 10:35-45 .  According to the New Testament, collectively, Christians are a “ kingdom of priests .” As citizens of this realm, they rule with Jesus both now and in the “ age to come .” But such a high calling raises the obvious question:  How does each believer participate in his present reign? Fortunately, both Jesus and Paul provided straightforward explanations for how the disciple implements his sovereignty - [ Communion Elements - Photo by  James Coleman  on  Unsplash ].

Paradigm of the Cross

“Christ crucified” is the pattern for discipleship, the test of its genuineness, and the Jesus that Christians are summoned to emulate .  The death of Jesus on a Roman cross is the paradigm for discipleship, the benchmark against which Christian conduct is measured, and the criterion for differentiating true disciples from false ones. Whether examining spirituality, wisdom, or the miraculous, Golgotha is the red line that divides the genuine from the counterfeit, and God cannot be known apart from His crucified Messiah - [ Photo by Dejan Livančić on Unsplash ].