Common Sense Christian

The Thinking Christian’s Site

Daily Devotional – August 8

 

Time to Grow Up

Part 6 – Final

What Its All About

(This post is the conclusion of a series started July 24.)

Each one of us files out into the cold night air. I place my hand on our youngest members’ shoulder and squeeze it, trying to convey warmth and comfort.

His dear sister and brother in marriage were part of the evening “games” a day previous–He, being torn limb from limb by four Arabian stallions; she, along with several other women, an old man and two children, rent by the stadium beasts.

He looks at me, his eyes sad but clear.

He had accepted our Jesus, joining with a following in Venetia. His whole family had made their way south to the city in search of us by word of a fervent brother who had devoted his life to seeking out and exhorting the followers of the way

THE WAY.  The way is not a religion.  It is not volumes of canonical rules and regulations.  Its not a secret or exclusive club.  Its not formal trappings, traditions or superstitious ceremonial performances, gestures and invocations.  It is not a “have to”, it is a “want to”.  It is about one’s personal relationship with the man who died in our place.

Tonight, this man reaffirmed to all of us his commitment–to his God, his Jesus, and to us.  He stood before us, his head lifted toward heaven and praised our Lord for the honor of suffering.  He knows what it is all about.  

“If not for love, then what’s the point?” He told us.

His eyes shone, but we could hardly see them through our tears.

Why do we come? What does it mean to truly be a Christian?


1John 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

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August 8, 2007 - Posted by | Challenge, Time to Grow Up

7 Comments »

  1. Was Judism or any other religion for that fact a religion or a way of life?
    Did Jesus practice Judism?
    Do you think practicing rituals are wrong?

    Comment by Voice of Reason | August 8, 2007 | Reply

  2. Hi Voice,

    First of all outstanding questions!

    First one: Yes and yes!
    Second one: Yes, to a degree.
    Third: Yes and no.

    I don’t know everything about His Word, but I love it, and I think any time we ask such questions it should drive us back to the source for answers.

    Here’s an elaboration on each question. Judaism, as we know it, goes back to the giving of the “law” to Moses. At this time, the newly formed nation of Israel had been freed from slavery in Egypt and was nomadic. God made a covenant with the this group of people that if they followed a certain set of laws that he would in term give them certain blessings. Now keep in mind that SALVATION wasn’t one of those blessings. God never said that if they kept the law that they would be saved. God has never said that. But over time, it became human nature to confer upon man the ability to work out his own salvation through his works or keeping of the law. This was a twisting of God’s words–he never promised that if a Jew observed the law (Paul said that he had actually managed to keep the whole law – Mosaic – but still managed to hunt down and kill early Christians before his salvation) they would be saved. So when the law was asked for by the children of Israel and they made a covenant with God, there arose an order and structure to maintain that law. For many societies, this function remains secular–court systems, judges, juries, enforcement officers, etc., but for the Jews it saw the rise of the Levitical priesthood–Israel’s lawyers, politicians, judges and jury so to speak. The result of this merging of human government and “religion” became what we currently know as Judaism, and if we fast forward into Jesus’ time, we see it for the corrupt and degenerate politic body it had become. I am sure you have probably read the gospels many times, and you will note how much the Lord criticized what to him amounted to spiritual whoredom (Called them son’s of snakes–illegitimate!) which is essentially idolatry.

    The bad thing about this is that people like Paul felt that they were actually doing God a favor by killing Christians–such was their way of life and mindset. The Chief Priest actually resorted to purjury and conspiracy in order to kill Jesus at the time. If this wasn’t as much a way of life as it was a religion to them I don’t know what was!

    I hope that makes sense.

    I’ll move on.

    Keep in mind that Jesus had two ministries. He came to his own (the Jews) as Messiah (annointed one–or coronated one–as King!) and also came to perform the redemptive work for His Children. His ministry and calling was primarily to his own people. While he was with them he observed their customs and traditions–although we notice he broke them a time or two (especially seemed to enjoy breaking the Sabbath). Anyhow, we do see picture of Christ in the temple, debating and exhorting, and the Temple of the day was the seat of Jewish government as well as its orthodoxy. What is interesting, is that NO one had a clue, not even the Old Testament prophets that Jesus was going to die for the sins of the world (Jew and Gentile) until it was revealed to Paul. That is why it is very important to make sure one views Christs teachings and statements AND actions in terms of his ministry to his own people where applicable. (Imagine–he called a gentile woman a DOG!)

    Lastly, ritual for ritual sake is empty. Most of what we could apply scripturally are verses like:

    2Timothy 2:16 But shun profane [and] vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

    Galatians 1:14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. (Paul pointing out that the traditions led to his killing of Christians)

    Matthew 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

    Of course, lets face it, just from a common sense Christian perspective–put yourself in God’s shoes–the ultimate creator, knows all, all powerful–wouldn’t it give you a bit of a chuckle to see someone take themselves so seriously or put some significance to engaging in some form or the other? I don’t know, if I was God (and thank Him that I’m not) most of these things that people engage in would have me cracking up on a regular basis. As I would wipe my eyes, still chuckling and apologizing to the zealous Christian chanting and rubbing fatback on their belly, I just wouldn’t be able to help myself. “Hey, Holy Spirit, check that guy out! HA! HA! Ok, I’ll behave…HA! HA! HA!”

    Then again, I’m not God…ha!

    Thanks so much, Voice for your challenging comments and questions.

    Paul

    Comment by bereans | August 9, 2007 | Reply

  3. Do you think the normal rituals in any protestant or catholic church building qualify?

    Is it true that the Japanese came over to America after the atom bombs were dropped to find out what God we worshiped and returned to say it was the god of money and power?

    Comment by Voice of Reason | August 9, 2007 | Reply

  4. Ritual for ritual sake is just that, Voice. What would you think?

    Second question would be a good one for Google! 🙂 Its hard to say, though, because I have known many Christians in my life that would not be able to fit in that button hole. But one can say that there are many who consider themselves Christian who give the good ones a bad name.

    Got a joke: Its a shame that 99% of lawyers give the other 1% a bad name…

    Ok, bad joke, but what do you think the percentages may be if we talked “Christians?”

    Paul

    Comment by bereans | August 9, 2007 | Reply

  5. Do you think everyone in America is christian?

    Comment by Voice of Reason | August 9, 2007 | Reply

  6. Do you, Voice? What do you think the Bible says about it?

    Paul

    Comment by bereans | August 9, 2007 | Reply

  7. All have sinned

    Did Jesus offer sacrifices?

    Comment by Voice of Reason | August 9, 2007 | Reply


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