The personal focus of writers and speakers cannot be nebulous. A hard line of reality separates “I” from “we”, “you” from “us”, and “him” from “them”. Realizing that expressions can be reports or questions, demands, or commands, or speculations, we pay attention to the type of expression we find ourselves reluctant to confront.
As a teacher of the gospel (=Christian theology) I find that one needs to pick carefully from the growing list of red herrings and non-sequitors in order to be most effective. Constantly going after students’ oneliners and supposedly faith building slogans is more destructive than helpful. One has to notice that many things called Christian have no explicit reference to :
- CHRIST- Messiah the Anointed One (lamb, king, saviour, door, shepherd, lover-supreme)
- Christ’s work – dying, rising, interceding on high
- Christ’s words – sayings from the apostolic witnesses (4 gospels, the letters, the prophecy of Revelation and Acts)
Why is that?
We need to be reminded that we are not our neighbour, and that our names matter because identity matters. We know we cannot insert any name – least of all our names – where the Bible has a personal name. Jesus is not Isaiah, nor will Moses ever be John the son of Zebedee.
Scoffers have no legs
The chances of anyone who turns away from dealing soberly with Yeshua’s words and actions contributing to anything besides mockery and ignorance are small indeed.
We buy a great many catastrophic scenarios if we insert ourselves into the text without asking “What time is it?”
Of all those sayings in Psalms and Proverbs which can we say have brought us back from death?
God said both “let there be” and “I am sorry I let there be”. God said both “let us make” and “I am sorry I made”. So we can spare ourselves a lot of misery and embarrassment by filtering the notion that all God-spoken words are relevant all the time for all people.
And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; … for it repenteth me that I have made them.Genesis 6:7
Why did the Sinai covenant not include “angry with a brother is murder”? Where are the priests who work on the Sabbath and are innocent? Are there any people partaking of sacred things – as David did – illicitly that we might want to execute.
Walking in two camps at the same time has never been attractive and is mostly destructive.
- Declaring righteousness
- Being just
- Justifying people who believe
- Justify people apart from their performance
Whom God has 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 believes in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.