WHEN you were born again, post-hope and post-resurrection, all the potential for glory was suddenly present. All those visions of God – of glory – that you saw when the brightness of his glory was shining upon you. All those possibilities for glorious effectiveness in the Christian life were rolled into one on-governing principle:worth.
Last summer I got to visit with a former student – she had just completed her doctorate in applied theological studies at the Institute of Christian Studies and was working on a master’s degree in resitute training in leadership, summing it up with these words:
“My new coursework (for illustration here) is based on the writings of Paul and the letters of the apostle to the church, with particular emphasis drawn on 2 Corinthians 13 and 15. I am deeply rooted to the Christian tradition and to the question, ‘How shall we know the good from the evil?’ I believe that ‘the visible and invisible realms of life’ are all open to us all. What a wide range of possibilities!”
That is to say, the Greco-Roman tradition was well-known, and well-understood, in antiquity. And we know that this tradition is the true source of our salvation.
Now, what does all this mean for us in our contemporary lives?
Well, the task of each believer is to contend consistently for the faith (a right standing with God) that was once entrusted to us. It is a daily, intriguing, and never altogether painful challenge.
You see, we do battle with the cunning of the adversary all the while subsisting in our belief. This is easier said than done. It is a sort of ‘make it happen’ faith, but it is nonetheless crucial. Many Christians have believed in the Christian cause without feeling it; perhaps I have not quite lived up to my charge to be a great Christian.
HOWEVER, as Christians we’re – in a sense -for the most partunrecognisedas sons and daughters of God. This makes it a little difficult for us to find a place of recognition and Athens-style (where the Athenians would’ve lived if they’d have run out of options) but we’re to persevere in our faith, be faithful, and defend the gospel come what may.
W)The Nebuchadnezzar Insult
The most serious of all these little stones that people throw at us when we run out of institutionalised ways to solve our problems.
These little rocks or sticks come courtesy of a modern philosopher – Nebuchadnezzar, who was an evil and cruel king in the oft-forgotten Babylon. He dreamed a great army might invade and conquer real civilisation and he got his wish in historical fact. Babylon was a city that had been founded and burgeoning through the period of rewards of the Babylonians. It was to become a great global power – a sort of centre of the world at that time. It was also the means to store grain which in turn gave us the Ezekiel Chapters.
This was the wrong idea. In our little interlude we’re to watch thestopmeand nex Baptist-isingof the world.
No matter how nicely the institutional gods want us to think this is true, and many of them do, it’s anything but. It’s a worse reality. It is an insult to the God-ordained and indwelt saving ways of the most important moral absolute in all of faith.
Doing this makes a person worse for it – and worse for having been a Christian who disrespects the ways of God.
disrespect impacts positively and is a transgression against the very nature of God.
Doing this, and others, makes a person worse for the grief they inflict on themselves, and worse for the grief they might cause others.
Doing evil is harder than it’s ever been. The world’s haul has been weighted at ourodiedflesh’s feet. We’re the stumbling block for our own failure.
If we will rise up and reject the grievous insult – the thought that we don’t quite measure up – we will be protected from the harderathing of life.
We can only protect ourselves, but we can’t avoid the hurt altogether.
This is all set for a war – the spiritual war against our flesh, but war is impossible to lose.
Life turns on its own momentum and the harder things get the better we’ll be.
© 2016 S. J. Wickham.