When you have something seismic to say be very happy if the amen is both unsolicited and scarce. Be aware that people say amen even when they know what they are hearing is false or at least questionable.
It took Paul 14 years to put his personal and professional achievements and aspirations behind him. Growth takes time.
It will take time – away from the popular sloganeering and traditional hubbub – to settle into the excellence of Christ as compared to what we were and had.
No story of how God revealed any truth to me will erase the gap between us and the elevated Christ or end the growth of His disciples. No miracle we have experienced can shortcircuit the growth that grace initiates.
Amen can be sounded by clapping, standing, and by raising a hand. Amens are happening more often than we imagine. Not only do we need to avoid mentally encouraging nonsense, we also need to drop the curtain on speakers who are saying nothing that deserves assent. I am perfectly comfortable zipping my lips when the crowd is loud and excited.
Amen is too precious to waste.
It will take time. No hurry. No waste.
There seems to be more people who either do not care or never thought about the distinction of Christ’s work for the human race than those who know that dying to loose us from our sins is redemption’s story. The blood of Christ (both his death and life) is a priceless commodity with a single eternal purpose. People who reject the offer of eternal life will find alternate uses and invent slogans to cover their deception, but Christ’s blood was shed once and is sprinkled daily when a sinner is turned from destruction.
Clarity and Precision
Romans 3:25-26 addresses the precision of blood on three fronts.
- CHRIST’S BLOODWORK declares God’s personal righteousness
- Faith in that blood results in remission of sin
- God is just in justifying the (ungodly person who believes
Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Blood is covenantal and a one-shot deal
Blood is for the spiritual life: remission that facilitates adoption. Blood does not heal diseases, correct finances, mend relationships, and does not drive out demons. Blood is shed and sprinkled.
Hebrews 9:12 addresses Yeshua’s entry into the holiest place
Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
Hebrews 10:19 assures our participation with the High Priest.
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
Once one embraces the blood the passover is assured. The rest of our lives are in our power, as enabled by God. Let us leave the blood right where it is.
Another preacher picks this text and has nothing to say about Paul’s things behind.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Paul was not writing about personal troubles: pain, failure, hurts, ingratitude, or unforgiveness.
Behind Paul, in his own recollection were:
- tribal pride
- sectarian zeal
- resume of opposition to the truth
(from Philippians 3:5-6)
Other disturbing games religious people play include the absurd belief:
- that God cannot hear a believer who does not first seek sinlessness by asking for it.
- That humans needed cleansing but animals did not (who made unclean humans and animals?)
- That God has to do what he has always done
- That God can only say what he has always said
- That Love crashes and burns every day when believers sin
But we are not hopelessly trying to please God
Loving him never fails. Hope affirms that there is something to strive for. Our tendency to seek out sin and the condemnation of others shows the child’s game that most religious people are engaged in. They promise people victory and deliverance but they wear a permanent robe of condemnation and all kinds of illness, disability and lack of knowledge.
In our haste to imitate the people of Bible times we run from “Lord I need You” to commiserate about where we have fallen from, desire what “we have lost”. We were never in Eden, nor were we ever in possession of eternal life (and lost it).
God only restores things we had.
and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:5
Genesis 13:3-4 is one of the few sources where we find a name of God. We have treated as personal name GOD, LORD, YAHWEH, EL, a number of compound names with EL (SHADDAI, OLAM, ELYON) and a number of compound names with Yahweh. The difference between a title and a name is often blurred: Queen Elizabeth, Yahweh Elohim, and Governor Zerubbabel show this split. Beyond the word – name – used to address someone is the person, a distinct reality. Isaac and Abram worshipped by calling on God.
And he went on his journeys from the south even to Beth–el, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth–el and Hai; Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord. Gen. 26:25
Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord.
David and Solomon realized that the divine name is the person. One calls on God, not merely the given name.
If there is a name that is going to be the means of salvation then it is not just the label but the person, and in this case the man Yeshua.
In that name we conduct our lives.
In that name we are safe
The Bible is eminently full of pictures that tell about God. No one has ever seen God, and until Christ became flesh humanity had not gazed on divine glory. We need those pictures to give us some sense of the invisible, whether it is from the sky or other parts of the natural world or from the words of his messengers, because God is still invisible.
Psalms 19:1 is a popular saying about this kind of revelation.
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Paul affirms the access all people have in Romans 1:20
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Some pictures that have been used are inappropriate and dangerous. Below are mirror, love (without the Cross), law as vaccine, divine live as compliance with demands, and law as transcript.
- Law is a mirrow. It shows only sin. Something other is a better choice. Really? A mirror that shows something other than what is in front of it is a perversion. A thing shows the righteous God? No. Nicht. Nyet. It takes GOD to show GOD, And since there is no one or no thing that is righteous it takes God to show righteousness.
- Love is proven by what we do (such as eat and drink) or things we do no ever do. God is not a thing we do . The only people who have a problem with loving God are those reject love without conditions, people who want to cling to discrimination against outsiders.
- Law is vaccine (hidden in the heart prevents sin). Lying testimony or creative writing? Psalms 119:11Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Psalms 130:3-4 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.
- God’s Love is all he knows and does. He commends it by the gift of his Son. Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. If God’s love for Christ has anything to do with commands it has to be the laying down of one life for the sins of all, as John 10:18 reports.
No man taketh [my life] from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
The law is transcript only as written (in stone). The Law is not exactly what God’s character is. It is not a report of what God has done with a grade. It it not transcribed from one language into another.
Should not God’s character be his excellence: love, abundance of goodness and truth (reliability)? One thing is certain about what the Law portrays. Human failure is presumed with every utterance of the law (Romans 3:19) and it is not the decalogue that provides the picture of sin and its relief. We find that in Numbers where the bronze serpent is elevated, conforming to the saying “He who knew no sin became sin for us”.
He lights up everything. Nothing hides from him. He frees from every prison. He expels fear by pouring his love into us. The best gifts are not miracles.
Don’t bother saying Amen,
If you don’t believe the Word ABBA’s saying
You’re so busy occupying and vetoing
And ya think nobody knows what you’re doing
(From a song Knows Whacha doin)