It comes naturally, and therefore easily for most of us: we feel less responsible for the well-being of a person or group of persons, the less well-known they are to us. If they are total strangers, then the sense of obligation we experience toward them is apt to be nil. In the worldview inspired by Jesus, the disciple knows no strangers, only brothers. How much safer would it be, living in our suburbs if routinely ignored and avoided folk felt were treated as if they were
If love is a purely human value that has evolved along with the sense of smell or taste, then love is what it is in novels, movies, art and hip-hop. In short, love is whatever you want it to be at the time. But if love is a value originating in a Creator-God, a cosmic lover, then the benchmark for love is set by him. And all loving is informed, inspired and measured by that standard.
Earnest men and women of faith are sometimes convinced that the 'message' their church, or their faith movement gives out to the world, is the truth of God, but the witness of other ministries is not, or not quite. It ought to be obvious that such brash confidence does not fit well with the sentiment of today's Scripture. Pride is a subtle evil--especially spiritual pride. The only word Christian agencies are authorized to share is that one which turns people toward each oth
What a friend we have in Jesus! He has borne the weight of our wrong and removed from us the crushing burden of our guilt. Without compromising himself he has bridged the gap between us and God, and made final settlement of religion's quest to meet God in safety and peace. Such is the foundation of our hope and the engine of our joy. But he has done this, not just for Christians, but for everyone else too. We worship best when we confess and celebrate, that those who are
Yes, WE TOO. That is to say, even the lawful, moral and devout ought not believe in their own decency and piety. They ought not do so because it is far from trustworthy. Religion that is redemptive never trusts itself. Its gaze is fastened on that which lies away in another direction. It is absorbed in God's work that he has done in his Son Jesus. This work is so thorough, so admirable, so praiseworthy--it is sufficient for God and man.
Paul does not here speak of any special virtue of his own compared to that of others. He speaks of the task he received personally from Jesus Christ; the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. Work is noble because it is God's gift; an expression of his grace. This includes all work--manual, work, clerical work, professional work--when it is done with the gospel in mind; when it is done to enable the work of God in the earth.
The spirituality known as 'following Jesus,' is a perspective of spacious freedom. Many who would be religious, regard such freedom with suspicion and hostility. Denying and rejecting it, they have no recourse but to seek to destroy in others, what they lack in themselves. Being in bondage, this is their life work. They are false brothers.
The heroes, champions and saviors of folklore, legend, literature, cinema and stage, more or less mirror the fear, passion, longing, and the will to power present in every human heart. If the gospel had originated in the human imagination, it would not be so unfamiliar and disturbing. It comes from a place not ours, not us. It is God's Word to us. We would never have guessed it.
How would this verse read if Paul was writing now, in the twenty-first century? Like this, perhaps? 'There is neither white nor black, rich nor poor, gay nor straight, Liberal or Conservative, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.' How do you suggest Paul would write today?
This request was made by none other than the apostle Paul; prominent New Testament writer and largely responsible for sowing the gospel through the Gentile world of that era. Could he have been foolish? Apparently. By his own admission, yes. Foolishness is a medium shared by all humans. Paul is no exception. In context, he is merely asking the church at Corinth to indulge his humanness to permit him to make a point. Then he acknowledges that they have already done it with