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Friday: Further Thought – I Will Arise — 10 Comments

  1. As Christians we often read these passages on justice and mercy with the "what's in it for me?" approach. We want to see our picture of God vindicated. We want to be assured of our salvation. We want to be assured of God's mercy towards us. We want God to tell us that we got all the prophecies right.

    We can become very egocentric about our Christianity if we are not careful. And we need to think carefully about how all this sounds to others. One atheist put it succinctly; "Why should I believe in a religion that is so egocentric that it thinks they are right and everyone else is wrong?"

    The "Pub Test" for Christianity is that we practice the justice and mercy that we claim for God. It makes no sense for us to claim that God is just and merciful if we don't interact with both one another and others in a just and merciful way ourselves.

    We like to quote Isaiah 61 as a Messianic prophecy but perhaps we need to think of it as a message for ourselves as well:

    The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me
    because God anointed me.
    He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
    heal the heartbroken,
    Announce freedom to all captives,
    pardon all prisoners.
    God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
    a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—
    and to comfort all who mourn,
    To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
    give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
    Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
    a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
    Isaiah61:1-3 KJV

    Do we need reminding that singing Psalms about justice and mercy while practicing intolerance and discrimination is called by another name - hypocrisy?

    • Maurice - May I suggest to direct the friend you quoted as saying: “Why should I believe in a religion that is so egocentric that it thinks they are right and everyone else is wrong”, to Jesus Christ.
      You may consider sharing the following with your friends who do not know our God nor Jesus Christ His Son.

      The Christian’s faith is not a ‘religion’, it is the living, observable testimony of the redeeming power of the Love of our God at work in those who believe and walk according to His Word.

      Jesus is the only one we as Christians can point to for the perfect example testifying to God’s redeeming resurrection power. Those choosing to follow Jesus Christ believe that the old nature has been replaced through the gift of God of our born-again, new nature which follows the Will of God expressed by the Holy Spirit through faith; imperfect though it may be.

      The Son of God became Jesus the man through taking on humanity's body; perfectly exemplifying the power of God to elevate earth-bound man by overcoming his earthly limitations through embracing the spiritual aspect of the living soul that he is - choosing to live his life by faith instilled in him by God’s Holy Spirit.

      Earthly man will always be limited by his weaknesses, but when found in Jesus Christ, God within us becomes strong! “… My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2.Cor. 12:9.

      • I agree, but the direction should come not from verbal argument, but from the way I live my life in Jesus. My prayer should be; "Live out your life in me."

  2. When it comes to God versus no God, then, yes, Christians are right and everyone else is wrong. I am sure that you are saying that a very big problem arises when we begin to think that the atheist is somehow worth less, and does not deserve the justice and mercy which, in reality, God wants us to show to everyone. When we develop that attitude, then we become wrong whereas the atheist, in this area of justice and mercy, could be right.

  3. Thank you, Maurice Ashton, and this is why to me I fail to see in many of our leaders and leadership the "Sticking by the Matthew 18:15-18" and telling their "Sub Leaders" to do the same with this "Counsel of Jesus the God-Man," and also counsel their "Members" to follow this counsel "With Strick adherence to the steps of this Counsel." Step 1. go one on one with the person they feel is in the wrong before seeking "A Committee," to help them. step 2. take another brother with them if the first step did not work but still stay away from "Committee help in step 2." then if step 3 did not work, then make it a "Church Business Meeting," Not a Board Meeting for this step either and "No Church Sub Committees for the third step either."

    • Pete, when it comes to church discipline I have seen the best and worst of behaviours and know from experience that it is often not easy. You are dealing with people and it is not always easy to deliver a salvitic outcome. It is easy to point the finger at the faults of leaders as they are often the public face of such actions. However in a study forum such as this one, perhaps the primary focus should be< "What are the implications for me?" There is a parable that Jesus told about beams and motes that always pops up in front of me when I try to reform leadership.

      • Yes, again Maurice Ashton. But even inspired counsel from Ellen G. WHite counsels "Strick Adherence to these steps and even to have "Nothing to do with the case if these steps are not strickly followed." And yes, the parable of the "The Mote and The Beam," is very good counsel too, but if we were to only go by the "Mote and Beam Parable," I would venture to say that we would not even follow the three step counsel either because I have yet to see anyone without "Motes or Beams," including myself. The "Three step Conunsel" in Mathew 18:15-17. is not to "Perfect" anyone but to "Work out a reconciliation," between members who are not getting along with each other and also for Leadership to utilize these steps when trying to descipline their Church Members too.

  4. Learning about God's mighty power contained in the Psalms has greatly renewed my appreciation for them as a source for comfort. What became more clear to me then before is the work of the Holy Spirit revealing to man God’s Ways - providing understanding and comfort to this new-born, living soul open to receiving and understanding His Love He has for His children.

    Thoughts of revenge may still enter our mind, though we have learned that and how God’s Ways deal with ‘setting the record straight’, and trust Him to do so. As we are called to pray for out enemies, it is for Him to deal justly because He knows all things. He makes no mistakes, He is God Almighty – yes, our comfort is that it is HE that arises to address the evil in this world.

    As a human being, I consider there to be always a chance for experiencing worldly calamities. But circumstances arising due to God’s foes attempting to undermine our faith in His Way of Life, need to be addressed through strengthening our faith in “God’s love and goodness and power!”.

    How do we do this? We stand strong through the conviction by His Truth which has been revealed to us in Jesus Christ, so having been readied to defend our faith of God's power present in His Son, Jesus Christ. Believers are admonished to 'be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might'!

    Our spiritual armor is comprised of the most powerful weapons God can give His earthly children, and we are admonished to wear it at all times; never laying it down, not even for one second!
    The belt of God's Truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of Salvation, the sword of the Spirit – "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” – Eph.6:10-18.

  5. I find myself uncomfortable when reading Ps 58:10: wash .. feet in the blood of the wicked. Perchance this is the "harsh language" referred to in question 4? Regardless of the poetry, or the translations (other translations say : footsteps), or the sense of "foot" in the local culture at the time of the writing, I just can't imagine rejoicing in seeing blood flowing, or breaking of teeth (Ps 58:6), or cut in pieces (Ps 58:7), or the dashing of the little ones against the stones (Ps 137:9).

    • I think I speak for a lot of Christians when I say that we all feel uncomfortable with some of the language used in the Psalms. Some of it was written by a guerrilla soldier who went above and beyond the call of duty to present his prospective father-in-law with 200 Philestine foreskins. And who murdered someone to cover up his adultery. This was how life was lived 3500 years ago, and it was not pretty. David, in particular uses language from the experience he was familiar with. He was a warrior king, who gained and maintained his Kingdom by the use of force. He was not a Christian pacifist living in the 21st Century. Interestingly God refused to let him build a tabernacle because of his bloodshed.

      That explains but does not excuse his language. David was also aware of how much he was forgiven. And I think that when we read the "bloody Psalms" we also need to read the forgiveness and mercy psalms. David grew spiritually. He experienced tough times, not only politically but at a personal and family level. And perhaps we need to read his Psalms as a spiritual journey.


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