Hello I'm back... I hope.
I have had a crazy year and it is still crazy but I am feeling much better these days and I am hopeful to be staying the course as God continues to carry me and it has always been the Gospel that has brought me comfort through the toughest times.
I wanted to touch up my last posting before I start writing more and adding more posts here. I have also started writing for the Examiner for Wichita. The link is on the top right corner of my blog.
I am still a member of an Independent Christian Church and have recently been Received and joined an Episcopal Church. Talk about from one extreme to the other.
I have thoroughly enjoy the depth of the tradition and liturgy and the young priest is doing a very good job of preaching the text given in the Book of Common Prayer.
For some reason God has brought me to this denomination and more specifically this congregation and to be able to meet with the priest to discuss the hope to bring this denomination to be a gospel centered Episcopal Church. The liturgy is very good and Gospel centered. So, if the preacher really blows it on the sermon the liturgy will present the Gospel throughout the other aspects of the service. Such as the Eucharist / Holy Communion, scripture readings, absolution, etc.
Below is my version of the Heidleberg Catechism, but I have added 2 more Gs to make it the 5G Network like AT&T and Vorizon have the 4G... but we have the 5G network.
When I think of the Bible as a whole and when I want to talk to someone about it.
The following words come to mind as I scan across the bible from Genesis to Revelation. I see it in this way: God, Guilt, Grace, Gratitude, Glory
God: It all begins from a Holy Creator in a Holy way and its state or status is Holy, Pure, and "Very Good" as it is described in Genesis. Isaiah 6 is a great picture God's Holiness and how a man who was a prophet of God and considered a righteous man, would tremble in fear at the vision he had seen. God is called Holy, Holy, Holy.
Guilt: Adam and Eve are amongst and living in absolute pure conditions, and they have perfect reason, and perfect conditions. The only thing is a command to not eat of the Tree. The only odd thing is there is a talking serpent. I'm not certain talking snakes was the norm there either. So, the guilt that enters is really Satan himself and the questioning of what God had said and what God would do, if they ate of the Tree. So, at this moment Adam and Eve had the ability to not sin, but they gave in to the temptations and did sin, even before touching the tree.
Grace: God was not surprised by these events at all. This was all part of the plan. God wants to show the extent of His love for His Son and the Son for His Father. They decided that when they created man in their image, they knew that they were going to fall into sin. And that Jesus out of an expression of His love for the Father He would go and fulfill all the laws and prophecies and statutes that were established by God. As a propitiation or sacrifice by His life and by His death... and by His Resurrection. Some people may ask, "why did God have to allow sin to happen?"
And the only thing I can think of is, if He didn't allow sin to occur then we wouldn't know this kind of Love. We wouldn't know Grace, Mercy, Sacrifice, salvation, savior, redemption. And when Jesus said the following:
John 15:12-14 (New International Version) 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
Again, we wouldn't know that kind of love if sin wasn't allowed to happen.
Gratitude: Jesus did in the desert in the worst conditions what Adam and Eve could not do in perfect conditions. Adam and Eve had a tree that was a temptation to eat from. Jesus had a tree the was a temptation to flee from. The temptations that Satan had for Jesus were ultimately the temptation to avoid the cross and to not do the Father's will.
Since we are this gift from the Father to the Son and the Son comes to redeem us back and by raising from the dead he makes it possible for us to be raised as well. His life becomes our life and his death / sacrifice became all of our sacrifices. He is the High Priest and He sat down by the Father, because that is the end of all sacrifices. When Jesus died on the cross He was treated as if he lived our lives, and he takes our sin upon himself. Then we are treated as if we lived His life and receive His sacrifice as our sacrifice for Sin. Propitiation is the turning away of God's wrath and taking it upon Himself. I think that was probably the most painful part of the crucifixion. Jesus enduring the wrath of God, which some people say it is God turning away from His son. I think it is the only possible reaction God can have against sin, it is just annihilated in the burning purification of His Holiness.
So, I say all of that to show how we are like the Tax Collector in Jesus' parable where he is in the temple and doesn't even lift his eyes to heaven, but cries out, "have mercy on me a sinner". Grace is so marvelous, if we also are "poor in spirit" like this tax collector. Then our next response would be to live a life out of Gratitude for what Jesus has done for us and for the Father.
Glory: Ultimately, all of the Bible is about beginning with Holiness, and ultimately it's about ending with Holiness, or Holiness Restored. So, God is making a way for the Jesus to express His love to the Father and for the Father. As well as express His love for the gift which the Father has Given to Jesus. Jesus goes to redeem the gift and has the Father and the Holy Spirit care for us while He prepares a place for us. And when He returns for His Bride, He comes back to call them to His home and we as adopted children get to be with Him and the Father and the Holy Spirit in Glory for all eternity.
So, it is more about God than it is about us. It is more about the person and works of Jesus Christ than it is about us. It is more about the Gospel than it is about us.
It is imperative to see that if you only go to the Bible and only come away with a personal application and don't see a hint of these things, then you most likely have missed the main point. And the main point comes from the Gospel which is the Person and Works of Jesus Christ.
All of this is DONE by God for God. Saved by God from God. Brought to Glory to God by God.
Soli Deo Gloria: All the Glory to God Alone
Greace = Grace and Peace
Coram Deo!!! (Before the Face of God)