Mar 302014

People Led Into Captivity

A verse from this last Sunday’s sermon caught my attention:

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.
2 Corinthians 2:14 NIV

When I think of Christ’s triumphal processions, I don’t imagine myself, as a Christian believer, in among the captives; in chains and defeated. No, I want to be among the victors, one of those being cheered and praised. The apostle Paul, though, says Christians are the captives. Maybe he means our past lives? Maybe once we are saved we get to move to the front of the line?

Sorry. Notice the word ‘leads’ is present tense. Not ‘he led us’ but ‘he leads us.’ Now throw the word ‘always’ in the mix and we see this is not talking about some past condition but rather that he is speaking of his own position at the time as well as our current status.

Should this discourage us? Doesn’t the gospel promise us health and wealth? No, it doesn’t. The only people who believe that the Bible promises a carefree life have not read their Bibles or at least have chosen to ignore large portions of it.

As a side note, the verse continues with a discussion of our aroma. Our aroma as captives. It would be interesting to see what some commentators make of this portion of the passage. It brings back memories of driving into my wife’s hometown of Lewiston, Idaho and smelling the paper mill. I would make derogatory comments about what it smelled like but my father-in-law would retort that it “smells like a paycheck.” And so, our ‘aroma’ as Christ’s captives smells like death to the dead but to those who are alive in Christ it is the smell of life itself.

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Jul 172013

God With Us

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel  (which means, God with us).

–Matthew 1:23 (ESV)

Reading this today I realized the difference between the wording of God being with us and God being for us.

As humans we want God to be ‘for’ us. To support us in our decisions. To work out situations for our good (especially when we pray in desperation). The word ‘for’ really reverses our relationship with God. We should be for God not vise-versa.

Immanuel, God with us.
What a comfort. Knowing no matter what comes, God is with us. In temptation, in sorrow, in all of life we have God with us.

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Jun 152013

Pilgrim Theology.
Michael S. Horton.

Reformed theologians have often criticized the idea of grace elevating nature (like helium in a balloon), and the modified Platonism that underlies it . Instead of making us something more than human, grace saves and liberates humans to become more human: finally to glorify and to enjoy God forever.

Page: 330

Many religious or spiritual people want to believe that to be ‘one with God’ means to shed our humanity and become one with the universe. This is not what the Bible teaches. We were made humans and our humanity was corrupted by sin. When, at last, free of sin we will once again be the human creatures we were designed to be.

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