Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Gospel Simplicity

For God has not pre-destined us to meet His anger, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ; who died on our behalf, so that whether we are awake or are sleeping we may share His Life. Therefore encourage one another, and let each one help to strengthen his friend, as in fact you do.  I Thess. 5:9-11 (1912 Weymouth New Testament)

A lot of faulty teaching about the Christian faith gets blasted out over the spongy ears of the masses.  Their ears absorb the misinformation, then they incorporate this viral information into their heads, and let it color all their thinking.  The next thing we know 10,000 misconceptions about Christianity are flying; some of them even amongst those who have been part of churches forever (and should know better.)  So it is refreshing when we come across a short, succinct Bible passage that cuts through all the trash talk and lays it out plainly: God has not pre-destined us to meet his anger.  (Other translations use the word wrath.)  Instead we are destined to share in the life of Jesus Christ... Go strengthen your friends with this news.  How much simpler can the Gospel get?  No tally sheets of sin.  No hoops to jump.  No special prayers or words.  Awake or asleep just share in the life of Jesus.

Now, knowing the life of Jesus becomes the on-going homework assignment.  His first miracle was changing water into wine at a wedding banquet. (John 2)  So, attend church and take communion to remember.  Remember how easily his friends and disciples don't even recognize him (Luke 24:13ff) until he breaks the bread with them.  Jesus healed a lot of blindness in his short three years of ministry.  Don't be a blind person yourself and not see the needs around you.  Share in a Jesus-life of compassion and sensitivity to the troubles and sorrows and misery of those whose lives you cross or pass every day.  All carry some burden or pain.  Encourage, strengthen, smile and uplift always.  Against such there is no law... and in it, awake or asleep, you live out your destiny: salvation through our Lord.

Thank you O God, for meeting us not in wrath or anger but in loving acceptance.  Encourage and strengthen us, and help us do likewise for each person we meet throughout all the day long.  In Christ's name, and in union with His life that we share.  Amen.

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