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Sabbath: When Conflicts Arise — 6 Comments

  1. The subject this week is a topical one and my prayer is that we will find a practical application for our current disunity. I know that there will be many calls for Bible Study and yielding to the Holy Spirit and while these are all good advice, there is a third element. We need to take that experience into the real world and apply it. Here are three observations on practical application that I will probably come back to during this week.

    1. 1. Keep talking to one another when in conflict. While you are talking there is still hope for resolution.
      2. Don't expect unity to be the work of a moment. The Holy Spirit is like water and fertilizer on plants. Often we have to look for a growing experience rather than a quick-fix overnight change.
      3. Do not resign your membership as a protest. When you have voted with your feet you have made your last contribution to the issue. Maybe the Holy Spirit wanted to use you some more, and resignation has signed off on that opportunity.
  2. Amen!(46)
  3. This week's memory verse contains an important 'formula' for genuine, foundational unity and for the capacity to resolve conflict/s.

    "For as many of you as were baptised into Christ have put on Christ ... for you are all one in Christ" (Gal 3:27-28)

    For as many of you ... This is stating that only those who meet the following 'pre-conditions' are capable of being part of "one in Christ" - are capable of being unified and are capable of resolving conflict/s.

    What are the 'pre-conditions'?

    1) Baptism into Christ. What does this mean? Paul expands further in Rom 6:1-4. Baptism into Christ means metaphorically joining in His (a) death, and (b) resurrection to new life.

    What was Christ's death? Isa 53.12 and Phil 2:8 tell us that Jesus died because he refused to surrender self-renouncing, self-sacrificing love as His base of life and living. This is why He was successful as the 2nd Adam (see Rm 5) - because this is the point upon which the 1st Adam 'fell'. The first Adam exchanged self-renouncing for self-indulging. Jesus, the 2nd Adam, would not exchange his self-renouncing base of life and living - even when faced with the temptation to avoid having to endure the worst possible death. That is the most extreme point of temptation that a human can be confronted with.

    Said another way, the 2nd Adam died to self in that he would not exchange self-renouncing for self-indulging. This is the first 'step' that we, as humans, need to take if we are to be united in Christ's baptism. We need to choose to die to self - to choose to turn 180 degrees away from (ie, renounce) self-indulgence or self-reference as the basis for the way we live our life.

    The best way to let go of something is to instead grab hold of something else. So, if we let go of living according to a self-referenced, self-indulgent base, we instead grab hold of living according to self-renouncing love as the principle for how we now living our new life. This is how we become united with Christ in the resurrection to new life - the second component of baptism.

    2) Put on Christ. To put on Christ is the same thing as to put on the robe of Christ's righteousness. In Bible metaphor, clothing is representative of character development. Thus, to put on Christ is to develop a new character that is based on, and an extension of, self-renouncing love. This means going through each day of life re-developing how I treat others. Whereas before I practiced using others for my benefit, now I practice being of benefit to others. I practice being non-judgemental of others, I practice being compassionate towards how I view and treat others, I practice treating others with dignity and respect, and so on.

    Now what I have said above is not and can not be accomplished by my own leading or in my own strength - but neither can it be accomplished unless I follow the promptings and leading of the Holy Spirit or unless I put the strength that the Holy Spirit gives me into practice (Phil 2:12,13).

    But when I do these things in union with the leading and empowering of the Holy Spirit, then I will be one with Christ and one with all others who are similarly one with Christ. True unity can only be experienced among those who are each, individually one with Christ by being 1) united in His baptism and by 2) putting Christ on as outlined above.

    But when I am in union with Christ by doing what is outlined above, I will automatically be in unity with all others who do the same - even though there will be diversity and differences within this unity.

    Where conflicts exist between those who operate from this base, conflict will be able to be resolved. Where conflicts exist between those who do not all operate from this base, conflict will not be able to be resolved.

  4. Thank you Phill for your comment! How it helped me! Blessed be our Lord Jesus that through His people the message of salvation is spread out and it accomplishes what He commanded.


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