Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bus Conversations

True conversation snippet from the bus:

Q: "So, which group of Baptists did you train with?"

A: "The crazy ones."

Monday, April 13, 2009

John 10:10 (again) - "came"

Many moons ago, I started going through John 10:10, Christ's self-given mission statement, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." Unfortunately, because I was still in school at that point and thus even more distractable than I am now, it got left by the wayside before I'd gotten very far (the old posts are here and here). I'm going to try taking it up again.

So, having discussed the subject of the sentence, the rooted and authoritative "I", we are presented immediately with the associated verb, "came". Although, of course, finding a verb here is quite natural, the particular word is rather interesting. "Came" is a word based on change, both in place and, because of that, in time. In other words, it it says that something that was there is now here.

This is rather natural for human beings, since our actions routinely require movement in time and space. However, God is not a human being. In fact, we know from the Bible that God is eternal and omnipresent – in other words, He is at every time and every place in the universe at the same time. Thus, it isn't strictly possible for Him to "come" at all, since He's already here.

However, being present by definition wasn't enough, and so He became a man. The movement wasn't one of moving from point A to point B, but instead was from a position of inaccessibility to one of absolute accessibility. As John wrote, "No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side [i.e., Jesus], He has made Him known." (John 1:8) Prior to the Incarnation, we had very little information on what God was like. The Old Testament records a few conversations with God, and some of His actions, but the level He generally acted on left mankind with a very incomplete portrait of Him. When Christ came, God was suddenly accessible, both because He was visible, and because He had to act within the constraints we understand, things like time and space. Although the difference is generally greatly overstated, it's almost understandable how some people see the OT God as a God of power and wrath and the NT God as one of love; wrath and power can be seen from miles away, but love must be demonstrated to someone close-by.

Because of this, it is no coincidence that in both the commissions of Matthew 28 and Acts 1, Christ made a very clear requirement of going to preach the gospel. What Christ started is what we are to continue as His church, and so, since He came visibly and purposefully into the world to give it an example and ultimately to transform it, He calls us to do the same. The gospel could never be effectively spread by a few men who stayed hidden in a room in Jerusalem; nor can it be spread by people today sitting in their homes and church buildings. The church down the street may be "present", but the work can only begin when the people in it actually go into the world, not just to visit and then hide again, but to live with and in front of that same world.

So, if you want to participate with Christ in His mission, you will have to go into the mission field to do it. Luckily the mission field is right outside your front door. The task calls for patience, humility (see Philippians 2:4-8), creativity, and longsuffering (John 15:18) – in short, it requires us to seek after extreme Christ-likeness, so that others can see, understand, and come to follow Him (1 Corinthians 11:1). And, for that, we must have the Spirit (see Acts 1:4-5, Romans 8:1-17). Thankfully, Christ has promised all that we need, and more!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A Good Friday Poem

O Man nailed here upon a cross,
Raised up for all to see,
Why do you bear the curse of God,
For what this agony?

Why do You gasp out words of grace
For those who hang you there?
How can You think to offer hope
As pain Your body tears?

Dear God! How can it come to pass
That You'd forsake Yourself?
What poor wretch suffers here below
Bereft of that last help?

Oh Christ, what has been finished now–
Your life, Your days, our hope?
If the best Lamb is led to death,
Then whither shall we go?

And why, oh sinful self, here stand,
And gaze upon this sight?
Dear Lord, the punishment is mine!
If I but had the might.

But yet a wonder, as He dies:
He trusts the Father still.
He breathes His last, and as He does,
Commits Him to that Will.

And so He dies, but yet 'tis strange
To see within a man
Such peace in meeting deathly doom
As if in full command.

The sacrifice is now complete,
The perfect One is slain.
My pardon cost the Son of God,
How can I count that gain?

Oh foolish me and sorry Death,
The Living One will rise;
He'll show new life to all mankind
When Easter morning shines!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Minor Organizational Updates

Yesterday, I was browsing about the blog and elsewhere, and noticed that some things needed to be updated here. So, I've done so. The changes are mostly small and boring, like changing the display of the post archives (that list was getting rather long) and updating the copyright date on the bottom. However, I did make some changes to the "Other Blogs of Note" list. On the sad side, the Rensselaer Christian Association has not updated their blog for almost two years now, so I've pulled them off. The group itself and the RCA website are still alive and well, though, which is good. Taking its place in the list is Curious Cognitive Content, which I found had put up a link to the Post. It's always nice to be able to reciprocate, and Elle writes a very good blog, to boot (she even updates it regularly, unlike me!). So, it works out well.

One thing I thought about updating, but didn't, is the author description. It turns out I'm doing a lot right now, and keeping the summary short wasn't working out very well. This level of activity is probably also why I don't post as often as I'd like. Thanks for continuing to read what does make it up, though, and I hope that they're worth the wait. Until next time, God bless!

All content (c) 2005-09 Nathan I. Allen
Biblical quotes are from the English Standard Version, (c) 2001 by Crossway Bibles, unless otherwise noted

No sockpuppets were harmed in the making of this website.