Tuesday, December 31, 2013
God's Word is Perfect -
Man's interpretation is not. So Christ Jesus came to reveal "the way, the truth and the life." Not only that, but redemption, reconciliation and adoption into the family of God; Father, Son & Spirit. The Living Word, even Christ Jesus is also perfect then in fulfilling the law and the prophets even unto death; the perfect propitiation, the Atonement (at_one_ment) of sin on behalf of the Holy Trinity, the Father and His children. These things are not revealed by or in man, but are the work of the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father sent at The Son's request on our behalf to reveal the Truth, even the mystery of the Word made flesh. So then, what are we to make of the interpretations of men? They tend more to cause division and disunity among the "elect", and because of that, to cause others to disdain or turn away from life in Christ, and the Church. Predestination, transubstantiation, penal substitution and more are terms coined by and interpretations revealed by man, not God. They serve more as stumbling blocks along the Way rather than guideposts or cairns. So God has given us Fatherly advice; "test them all, hold on to what is good," and of course the Spirit is our Counsel in that regard. As for the notion of predestination, a Calvinist reformation idea, if God is indeed Sovereign then of course He knows who will choose (free will is a truth too) His Christ, the Way. However, that does not mean we have no part in His Kingdom and the lives of His children. The truth is we are His instruments of love, grace, mercy and salvation to one another, to those who will choose; to the elect and the others as well. We don't know the mind of God nor those He foreknows, so our commission from His Son is simply to go and proclaim His Truth, the Gospel of Jesus Christ; first and foremost with our lives, then when necessary with words that the Spirit gives for that time, person(s), and purpose. And fear not, God will provide those words if we are obedient in our surrender and submission. As for all the other doctrine, dogma and laws of man, they are best seen as "nonessential" and to be treated with charity and grace, while we as His Body hold in unity the essentials of our Faith in Christ Jesus. "The disciple whom Jesus loved", the Apostle John, gave us this wise exhortation, (1 John 4:1) "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." Yes, even Christ Himself told us, (Matthew 10:16) "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." It is the Holy Spirit, the Counselor, that enables us to do so. You may ask if I'm "Calvinist", maybe to some extent. What about Arminian, again to some extent. But I prefer, I choose to emphasize for myself and in my life to hold the central tenets of faith in Christ, those things which unify us; Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and all the Protestant denominations alike. The "final" word: Revelation 21:1-8 Then I saw â€˜a new heaven and a new earth,â€™ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, â€˜Look! Godâ€™s dwelling-place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. â€œHe will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more deathâ€ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.â€™ He who was seated on the throne said, â€˜I am making everything new!â€™ Then he said, â€˜Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.â€™ He said to me: â€˜It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practise magic arts, the idolaters and all liars â€“ they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death.â€™ Christus Primatum Tenens . . . and to God be the Glory!