A Radical New Way: Loving Those Whom You Disagree & Disapprove

… [w]e have forgotten how to flex two mental muscles at the same time: the muscle of moral conviction and the muscle of compassion to all regardless of their morality. Secular society no less than religion often operates on a narrow-minded logic: you can only love those whose lives you approve of. You can only be friends with people who agree with you. The logic can take you in two directions. The religious version reduces the number of people it loves — to match the few lifestyles it approves. The secular version increases the number of lifestyles it approves to the point of accepting virtually everything, thus fulfilling G. K. Chesterton’s famous quip about open-mindedness: “An open mind is like an open mouth: its purpose is to bite on something nourishing. Otherwise, it becomes like a sewer, accepting everything, rejecting nothing.”

But there is a third way, based on a different logic. It’s where we learn to respect and care even for those with whom we profoundly disagree. We maintain our convictions but choose never to allow them to become justification for thinking ourselves better than those with contrary convictions. We move beyond mere tolerance to true humility, the key to harmony at the social level.

Quoted from Dickson, J. P. (2011). Humilitas: A lost key to life, love, and leadership. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan., 169-170.


Believing the Truth, Key to Growth in Godliness

Luther was right: the root behind all other manifestations of sin is compulsive unbelief—our voluntary darkness concerning God, ourselves, his relationship to the fall world and his redemptive purpose. For this reason the entrance and growth of new spiritual life involves the shattering of our sphere of darkness by repentant faith in redemptive truth. If the Fall occurred through the embracing of lies, the recovery process of salvation must center on faith truth, reversing this condition. Therefore Jesus says to those are trapped in unconscious slavery to sin, “If you continue In my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will in the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8:31-8:32). The deliverance which brings us into spiritual life in communion with God is summed up in John’s description of redeemed behavior as withdrawing from darkness and walking in the light of truth and holiness.

 

 

Quoted from Lovelace, R. F. (1979).  Dynamics of spiritual life: An evangelical theology of renewal . Downers Grove, Ill: Inter-Varsity Press, pp. 91-92.


Growing in Christ

[A] failure to recognize and trust that the sin issue between you and God is over will effectively stop your spiritual growth in Christ. It’s really not complicated. The process of spiritual maturity is simply our learning to turn more and more areas of our lives over to Christ through faith. The past is over; the future isn’t here yet. Therefore, living by faith can only be done in the present.
 
Quoted from George, B. (1989). Classic Christianity. Eugene, Or: Harvest House, p. 58.

Jesus, The True Adam

By designating Jesus as the firstborn Paul indicates that he is the fulfillment of the commission originally given to Adam. This view is strengthened when we see that the words eikon and prototokos are parallel in Colossians 1:15. Israel was appointed to reclaim what Adam had lost, and the Davidic king played a representative role in this reclamation project. What Paul suggests here is that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of what both Israel and David were called to be. In other words, Jesus Christ is the true israel and the true Davidic king precisely because he is God’s sovereign ruler over the world. He fulfills the task of ruling over the world in God’s name as Lord and Christ. His lordship over the world is scarcely surprising since he is the agent of creation (Col 1:16) and also the one who  continually sustains the created order (Col 1:17). The one who rules over the created world is also the one through whom the creation came into being.
 
Quoted from Schreiner, T. R. (2001).  Paul, Apostle of God’s glory in Christ: A Pauline theology . Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, p. 176.

The Gospel and Thankfulness

Christ’s giving us spiritual life is a far greater miracle, and its benefits are infinitely greater than healing from leprosy. Yet how often do we give thanks for our salvation? Have you stopped today to give thanks to God for delivering you from the domain of darkness and transferring you to the kingdom of His Son? And if you have given thanks, was it in a mere nominal way, much like some people give thanks at a meal, or was it an expression of heartfelt gratitude for what God has done for you in Christ?
 
The truth is, our whole lives should be lives of continual thanksgiving. Paul told his audience at Athens that “[God] himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25). That means that every breath we draw is a gift from God. Everything we are and everything we have is a gift from Him. If you have intellectual or professional or technical skills, those skills are a gift from God. It’s true you probably studied diligently in college and perhaps endured long hours of professional training, but where did the intellectual ability and innate talent that you have come from? They came from God, who created you with a built-in aptitude and then in His gracious providence directed you in the path of developing those skills.
 
Quoted from Bridges, J. (2007).  Respectable sins: Confronting the sins we tolerate . Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress , p. 80.

Eternal Life and Fertility Rates

Beginning in the 1950s and 1960s, those sectarian differences began contracting and collapsing and what emerged in their place was differences in religiosity so that today what you see is a very distinct fertility rate for people who never attend church services, another very distinct fertility rate from people who go twice a year, another fertility rate right around replacement, by the way, for people who go once a month, and then a very healthy fertility—right around 2.35—for people who go to services once a week. … All that matters is that you show up, and I find that to be a fantastically evocative piece of data because I think what it’s saying is it’s saying a lot about what it takes to get people over the hump and committing to having families. …. I think it’s something more basic about the very theistic view of the world, which is these are people who view the present differently than everybody else. People who don’t go to church for them the present is all inclusive, it is everything. The present is the entirety of their worldview. The people who go to church once a week, what I would argue is that the present actually has a much diminished place in their worldview. The present is important, the present is consequential, but it is only viewed in light of obligations to pass in hopes of a future.
 
Jonathan V. Last on Thinking in Public, America’s Coming Demographic Disaster Transcript , April 1, 2013. Audio here.

Knowing I am Growing in Grace

Often the strongest evidence of my growth in grace is my growth in the knowledge of my need for grace.
 
Quoted from Greear, J. D. (2013).  Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved . Nashville: B & H Pub. Group, p. 103.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers