"Unity without verity is no better than conspiracy." - John Trapp

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Not Peace, But a Sword

I've been blogging about Romans 12:18, where the Apostle Paul writes:
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (ESV)
But doesn't Jesus tell us that He came not to bring peace but a sword? Is this a contradiction to Paul telling us to live peaceably with all? Does not Paul himself describe the Christian life in terms of warfare? Obviously, I do not believe Scripture contradicts Scripture, so how we to reconcile these statements?

First we have to understand that the latter statements are indicatives of what will occur, not imperatives that we are to instigate the conflict. This is why Paul says at the start of Romans 12:18 "so far as it depends on you." We will always have conflict, but we should not be the ones who cause the conflict. I think the command in Romans 12:18 is harder than we like to think.

The comparable command from Jesus is found in Luke 6:27-36:
27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Notice that final line. Our acts of mercy are to reflect God's act of mercy. Mercy that bore the cost of sin, our offense against Him, without demanding anything in return from those that turn to Him. The simple act of trusting in His goodness is sufficient to finding forgiveness and peace. We should be a people where others know that forgiveness is always available.

Second, then, we must see that Romans 12:18 is an imperative - a command. A command based upon the Gospel, that we who were enemies of God have been reconciled to Him. Therefore we must display that Gospel forgiveness, meaning that to all who will live peaceably with us, we will live peaceably with them. And to those who will not live peaceably with us, we must still try to live peaceably with them.

Peter tells us the same thing as Paul, saying (1 Peter 3:13-18):
13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; 16 yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit . . . (ESV)
Most of us who have been Christians a while can paraphrase v. 15, that we are to be ready to give a defense, but note the character of that defense in v. 16 - gentleness, respect, and a good conscience. If I'm honest with you, and me, gentleness is not that a trait many people would use to describe my giving a defense. In football, a good defense means you "stick it" when you are tackling someone. There should be no doubt that they know you were there. Football is popular, of course, because it reflects many of the ways of this world.

God calls us to a defense that is gentle and full of respect, even for those who have no respect in this world. We are to remember two critical points - first, that every human being bears the image of God, and therefore should be treated like an image bearer; and, second, that every one of us, including ourselves, have marred that image through sin. I am not better than the dealer, the gang member, the addict. I have dealt sin to others, forced my will on others, and not been able to escape the grip of my habits. Despite my salvation, I still struggle with these things.

So Paul commands us to live peaceably. It will not just happen, it will take effort. My natural tendency is to react with resentment, bitterness, and anger at those who do not pay me the respect I feel I deserve. But what if God reacted that way when I did not pay Him the respect He really does deserve? But Peter reminds us that Jesus suffered in our place, bearing God's just judgment against my lack of respect, my animosity, my raised fist with finger extended, my angry rebellions.

In light of that forgiveness, how do I justify my anger at those around me? How do hold a grudge against those that have committed slight or grievous offenses against me? Because I forget. I forget the greatness of my sin, and the even more abundance of His grace. My goal is to look to the cross when I feel I've been mistreated. To remember that Jesus deserved nothing of what He received. Yet He prayed, "Father forgive them . . ."

This raises at least one more question - how do we deal with those who absolutely refuse to live peaceably with us? I hope to have that up by the end of the week, but I fly to Charleston tomorrow and will be there at least until Thursday evening. I'll hopefully have some time in the evenings, but there will be a large group of us there, and I'm expecting long days and late dinners that will not be quick.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Another Verse

I've been talking about Romans 12:18, which I noted as a long-time significant verse for me. So I pop onto the blog tonight (I use the links I have to visit blogs I frequent) and read the daily verse (in this case, verses) from the ESV site; Hebrews 12:1-2 which are also long-time friends:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

More PCRT 2007

One of the more interesting sessions at the PCRT-Grand Rapids was Dr. Carson's seminar on Recent Undermining of the Doctrine of Scripture. I think a number of people had ideas about what Dr. Carson was going to address in this session. In fact, when some questions about "emerging" churches were read and discussed during the morning Q&A session, one of the other speakers (Dr. Dever?) mentioned that Dr. Carson was probably covering material from his seminar. Dr. Carson's response was that he had not even touched on the seminar material.

Sure enough, he really had not. In the seminar, he noted four trends that are undermining Scripture and its authority.

1) An alarming rise in Biblical illiteracy
2) A cultural plasticity
3) A theological plasticity
4) A growing cultural and philosophical antagonism to Christianity in general and "evangelicals" in particular

Of these, I would say that he emphasized the first, in no small part by putting it first. This puts a significant portion of the blame for what is happening relating to the Scriptures on the shoulders of the church. The more I have thought about it, the more I believe this is a very important point. Many have lamented the fact that Biblical exegesis is a rare jewel in our churches. We are instead ministering moral lessons, sometimes based on a Bible verse or passage. But, Dr. Carson noted, people are not being taught the Scriptures. He gave some rather startling examples of this increase in Biblical illiteracy. If the church does not take the Bible seriously, how can we expect that those outside the church will?

Of course, they will not. This is compounded by the cultural plasticity that makes it difficult to speak out on issues on which the Bible speaks. The old tolerance said, "I may detest what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." The new tolerance says, "You don't have the right to say anyone is wrong." Therefore, for Christians to say certain behaviors are sin is no longer accepted. As a personal sidenote here (which Dr. Carson may or may not agree with; I simply do not remember him addressing this), in the past we have tended to go to far as Christians and shunned the lost who did not live as we live. The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 that we cannot escape associating with those outside. Jesus' model is that we should associate with them, but without participating in their sin. But I digress.

Add to these a theological plasticity, which is stressing the boundaries of what it means to be an evangelical. One key example Dr. Carson gave here was the New Perspective school (I think he also mentioned the "Open" view of God's foreknowledge). He noted that the New Perspective paints a compelling picture of the Bible's main story, but it does so leaving out some critical elements, primarily God's just wrath against sin.

During the final point about the growing antagonism, Dr. Carson stated that in many cases the dislike of self-professed evangelicals was deeper than the old dislike of "fundamentalists."

I would highly recommend this session for those who are able to purchase either the MP3 or other version from the Alliance website (once it is available). I would also recommend the others, but if you can only get one, this is it. If you could get just one more, while Dr. Carson's other sessions were good, as were Dr. Duncan's and Dr. Ryken's, I would recommend Dr. Dever's session on "The Mighty Word."

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Monday, April 23, 2007

PCRT 2007 Grand Rapids

I'm not done with thoughts about Romans 12:18 (I want to deal with questions like - "why does Jesus say He came not to bring peace but a sword?") but while it is still fresh in my mind I want to reflect a bit on some items from the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology (PCRT) this past weekend in Grand Rapids. This is not even intended to be something akin to Tim Challies live-blogging of a conference, just overall reflections.

First, I was a little surprised to learn that this was the first year the PCRT (this was the 34th year for the PCRT) had dealt with the subject of the Scriptures. Given Dr. Boice's long history of involvement in defending the inerrancy of the Scriptures, this seemed odd. But it was noted that there were other conferences in which Dr. Boice was involved that covered this topic. One interesting note is that Dr. Boice had commented that while evangelicals had won the battle over inerrancy, we are losing the war on the Scriptures. This was a statement about the general decline in the belief in the sufficiency of Scripture and a corollary decline in Bible knowledge.

Second, from a personal standpoint, I realized at one point that I was not as excited about this conference as I was the Desiring God conference last fall. In large part this was due to the speakers at the two conferences. Not because one group was more knowledgeable, or godly, than the other. Not because I feel one group is more able to represent Christ. But I was putting too much emphasis on the speaker, not enough on the Word itself. It is the Word that transforms life (and lives). God has promised to bless His word. Dr. Duncan's final address in the pre-conference seminar ("How to Listen to a Bad Sermon") in particular addressed this.

Which leads me to: third, in counterpoint to the second, this is not to say that the speakers are unimportant. There was an emphasis, particularly in the pre-conference seminar, on the need for preachers to be prepared and as engaging as possible. Much of Dr. Duncan's last session in the pre-conference seminar came from Richard Baxter's "A Christian Directory" Chapter 19, which provides much good information about how to listen well. But even Baxter, early in the chapter, writes:
"Live under the clearest, distinct, convincing teaching that possibly you can procure. There is an unspeakable difference as to the edification of the hearers between a judicious, clear, distinct, and skillful preacher, and one that is ignorant, confused, general, dry, and only scrapeth together a cento or mingle-mangle of some undigested sayings to fill up the hour with. [This was good for a laugh from the crowd.] . . . Ignorant teachers, that understand not what they say themselves, are unlike to make you men of understanding; as erroneous teachers are unlike to make you orthodox and sound."
I would like to reflect a bit on Dr. Carson's break-out session on recent underminings of the Scriptures, but I'll save that for later.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Just More Randomness

Tomorrow (okay, today now, if you want to be technical) I'm off to Grand Rapids. The long winter is (seems to be) over. I'm not sure if people who have always lived south of Tennessee can really understand cabin fever, but it will be nice to travel a bit and hear the Word proclaimed.

While reading this, one of the early lines:
I sometimes - not often enough - grieve at how little the Scriptures actually touch my heart.
reminded me of a song (most things do, I just don't usually talk about it, because, well, many of the songs from my youth might be better if I forgot them). It was off topic there, so I didn't post it as a comment, but thought I would bring it up here.

There was (still is, I think) a CCM group called Glad that was most popular in the '80s. One of their songs was "Most of the Time" which had lines like:
"And sometimes I hear You with Your gentle soothing voice;
Your words are always truthful, and they cause me to rejoice.

But most of the time I'm still not understanding,
the smallest part of what Your trying to say.
And most of the time I find that I'm pretending,
And the things that You desire get in my way."
The song struck me when compared to most Christian music of the time because it was not about how great everything was if you were a Christian. The song found hope and joy not in blessings in this life, but in total dependence on Jesus and the trustworthiness of the Scriptures:
"All of the time You say that You're perfecting me;
And everything You've said I know it's true.
And some of the time I'm close to understanding,
That it isn't up to me it's up to You."
That is the hope, that my sanctification, like my salvation, is in His hands, not mine. Not that I don't "press on" but that I know that "He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it." It is the message of Colossians 3:1-4 - focus on Jesus, on the Kingdom that is not fully here yet, not on this world which is passing away.

Which reminds me of a Bob Benson story . . .

Have a blessed weekend!

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Live Peaceably with All

In my last post, I quoted Paul from Romans 12:
Romans 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

I want to spend a little time "unpacking" this verse. Three things I want to note briefly here. First is the context, second is the extent, and third is the command. Paul also acknowledges that there is a problem that will be discussed somewhere in here.

First, keep in mind that Romans is the great epistle on the gospel. Chapter 12 is the first time Paul has moved from predominantly theological/doctrinal reflection and argument into predominantly "how should we then live" discussion. In context, I think Paul is saying you were once enemies with God, and He has made the great sacrifice to live peaceably with you. What then is too large a sacrifice for you to live peaceably with others?

In the first part of this verse, Paul admits that it is not always within our grasp to live peaceably with others. As the old cliche goes, some people only want to bury the hatchet in you. Regardless of what you do, they will not be reconciled to you. They will always think you mean them harm. They will always read/hear your words differently than you intended. They will never give you the benefit of the doubt.

But even here the we are to love that person and not be antagonistic. I'm a good calvinist, in the school of Spurgeon, Edwards, etc. Some of the TR's out there and theonomists might disagree with me on that assessment, but I think it's correct. Therefore I know that we read words like "every" and "all" we have to be careful. To read "all" as every single individual in some contexts would make one a universalist. So, point two, extent, what does Paul mean by "all" in Romans 12:18? I think this is a particular universal. It is particular to me and universal in its application to me. "All" for me is everyone I know and with whom I have contact. "All" for you is everyone you know and with whom you have contact.

Yes, as noted above, there will be some with whom this is not possible. BUT . . . that is not an excuse for you (or me) to return the antagonism. An outsider looking in on the situation should be able to see clearly who is supplying the fuel to keep the conflict raging.

"All" here clearly is a reference to fellow believers. But it also goes beyond that to those of the world who reject Jesus. The context of Romans 12:14-21 is that of responding to persecution. Think about why Paul endured the persecution he did without bitterness or malice - because once he was the persecutor and had been shown mercy while the persecutor. This passage has its corrollary in the parable of the good Samaritan. Who is your neighbor? With whom should you live peaceably? Too often we (or at least I) look for why I should be allowed to exclude someone from my favor (not, mind you that my favor is such a valuable thing that its missed terribly when not given). But the Gospel is that we who are the least deserving of God's favor have been given it anyway through the sacrifice of the Son. God makes the rain to fall and the sun to shine on both the just and the unjust (both rain and sun are necessary and blessings). We are called to honor that modeling that.

Finally, the command then is to live peaceably. Some people (too often I) like to stir the pot. I can give absolutely horrible examples of when I have done this in my own life. But we are not to be antognists. We are to love and reach out. We are to seek reconciliation, because we have been given the ministry of reconciliation. Try selling someone, "God loves you and wants a relationship with you, but we really don't want your kind in our church." Or "God loves you but I find you offensive." God finds us all offensive in our sin; He loves us anyway. He became one of us and lived among our filth.

To live peaceably with others we must humble ourselves. If we see ourselves as better than others, we will destroy any peace that exists between us. To live peaceably we must be broken because of our own sin. When we have wept over our sins we are able appropriately weep over the sins of others and call them to repentance. To live peaceably we must be sure of our standing with God in Christ Jesus. We can endure persecution and slander only when have properly grasped that it is only for a time and that our standing with God will never change.

I have not lived this recently. I speak these things not from the mountain, but the valley. God grant me the grace to climb.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

When I Grow Up

I want to be a librarian. Think about it. All those books and a nice quiet atmosphere. A long time ago I read a list of the best jobs. At the top was actuary (quiet and better pay, I suppose) but second was librarian. I'm sure there are the periodic confrontations, but mostly it would seem like a quiet job.

But that's not the career path I chose. So I'm an engineer. Not a bad job, but more stressful, I think, than being a librarian would be. Which is to say I generally want the rest of my life to be quiet and uneventful. I'm starting to see that's not likely to be the case. It is said there is an ancient Chinese curse - "May you live in interesting times." Our times are interesting, I will say that.

I bring this up to say that one reason I haven't been blogging, or reading blogs, much these days is because they are (gross generalization coming) contentious. There are exceptions. Voice of Vision, The Dow, Dluxe's World, Craver VII, Between Two Worlds and others I readily acknowledge as exceptions. But many of the places I (used to) frequent seem to thrive on debate.

I'm not against debate. There are those who are called to the front line and all of us are there on occasion. I just don't want to be there all the time. So I'm going to try to remove that "tone" from my posts. This is not a call for others to do the same. If you read this and are happy with your blog, by all means carry on. Sometimes the debate blogs get the lion's share of the attention, so not everyone feels like I do. It's probably more of a temperament thing anyway.

I thought about deleting some of my more contentious old posts, but that's more work than I want to spend on this. Besides, they provide a measuring stick for whether I've really changed or not. Part of this attitude change may relate to being out (again) of the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention), but probably not. I'm not sure if it's a life verse (if you have a life verse, feel free to let me know) but it's a verse that I have come back to quite often since I found it years (okay, I can probably measure this in decades now) ago:
Romans 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (ESV)
When I grow up, I want to be a peacemaker.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Event that Transforms the World

The religious leaders were right not to be concerned about Jesus' followers. The huddled together or scattered. None were Marc Anthony's out trying to raise indignation over the sham trial through which Jesus had been put. They were concerned only for their own well being. They had thought they were following the Messiah. They had thought that the kingdom was coming. Instead, Jesus had not overthrown the Romans, their oppressors, but had been killed by them. Now, what were they going to do?

The women had at least one last task, to properly prepare the body for its long decay. The job done after the crucifixion was hurried to beat the setting sun. So they arrived early on Sunday morning with the intent of mourning and anointing Jesus' body. Only there was a problem. There was no body to anoint.

Something earth (existence) shattering had happened. Death was not able to hold Him. Jesus was raised from the grave. God the Father has accepted the sacrifice of the Son and our sins are forgiven. Witness the empty tomb.

Christianity did not grow slowly, but exploded into the Roman world. It did not begin in some out of the way place, but in Jerusalem, where it's claims could have easily been refuted had they not been true. Putting an end to the church should have been easy, unless there really was no body to find. Jesus literally died on a cross and literally rose from the grave.

And so a few fishermen, a tax collector, a zealot, some others, and eventually, in God's perfect irony and plan, a Pharisee took this "good news" to world. That Pharisee, the Apostle born out of time, would right these words (1 Corinthians 15:12-28):
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.(ESV)

For more on the resurrection, please see Pastor J.D. Hatfield's post.

For an attempt at harmonizing the gospel accounts of the resurrection using a fictional disciple, see this post of mine.

He is risen indeed!

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Saturday Night before THE Sunday Morning

What must it have been like for the disciples that Saturday, particularly as darkness fell again. By now most of them knew about Judas' suicide, probably about Peter's denials, and about the guards at the tomb. Based on what would happen on Sunday morning, John and Peter, at a minimum, were together. Was John berating Peter for the denials or trying to comfort him?

We don't know the details, but we can be pretty sure from what the gospels do tell us that they were very apprehensive, even scared. They worried that they might be the next targets. Probably, however, apart from concerns that the disciples might try to steal the body the religious leaders were little worried about this band from Galilee. Fishermen, a tax collector, a zealot, and other less than influential people were not a concern. With Jesus dead, those who had followed Him would surely fade into obscurity.

Unless something earth shattering happened . . .


Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday 2007

Approximately one thousand nine hundred seventy seven years ago God incarnate hung on a Roman cross just outside of Jerusalem. He had come unto His own, and His own had not received Him. Instead, they had turned Him over to the their oppressors, and demanded that He be killed. None of this surprised Him. He and the Father had planned these events from before time.

This is not just a story. Jesus literally hung on a wooden cross in agony. He in whom the fullness of deity dwelt was separated from God. In once sense, it is the height of arrogance to call this "good" Friday, because the only good Man who ever lived was killed by wicked men, men like me. But He was "delivered up according to ithe definite plan and jforeknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23). When Peter indicated that Jesus should not die, Jesus called Peter "Satan". The crucifixion was no accident and we call this Good Friday because of what God has wrought from the greatest crime ever committed.

Jesus suffered as no other man has ever suffered. The One who had eternally been in a love relationship with the Father was rejected and bore the Father's wrath. Not because He deserved it, but in our place - because we deserved it. This act was the act of sacrifice to redeem His chosen ones. This act was the act of love to reconcile those estranged from God. This act was the act of atonement to pay the penalty for our sins. This act was the act of propitiation to allow the Father to justify us.

Praise God who can take our vilest act and use it to cleanse us from all our sin.

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?(ESV)

i Luke 22:22; [ch. 3:18; 4:28; 13:27]
j 1 Pet. 1:2; [1 Pet. 1:20; Rev. 13:8]
The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ac 2:23). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

A Maundy Thursday Reminder

Luke 22:14-22

14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. 21 But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. 22 For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” (ESV)

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Easter Truth

"Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but usually manages to pick himself up, walk over or around it, and carry on." Winston S. Churchill
Churchill knew this about as well as anyone in recent history, seeing the west deny what Hitler was really trying to accomplish until it was almost too late despite his persistent warnings. I don't know Churchill's religious convictions, but as we approach Good Friday and Easter, I'm reminded that Jesus told us that He is "the way, the truth, and the life." Because of our sin, as a result of the fall, we stumble over Him, but too often pick ourselves up and carry on as if nothing at all happened. Again, the Spirit knew we would, and inspired the Biblical writers to tell us that Jesus would be "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense."

This Easter weekend, there is one question that matters - did Jesus rise from the grave? Is the resurrection a literal, physical reality, or just the imaginations of some men roughly 2000 years ago. If it is the latter, then Paul the Apostle says Christians are of all men the most to be pitied.

But if it is real, then Jesus the Christ has conquered death and is putting all enemies under His feet. If it is real, then there is a life and a kingdom beyond this world that has broken into this world. If it is real, then we can suffer and endure tribulation in this life because, as Bob Benson said, we are going to a celebration. Instead of eating, drinking, and being merry in this life, we have a joy and a peace that passes all understanding, because we will feast (whatever that may mean for perfected saints) eternally when the Bridegroom returns for His bride.

The resurrection is God's promise to us that Jesus' sacrifice was sufficient to cover our sins. It is the new rainbow. When the Father looks at the Son seated at His right hand there is an eternal reminder that sin's debt has been paid, that sin's penalty has been meted out. Easter reminds us that Jesus is the first fruit from the dead, and one day death itself will be destroyed.

Happy Easter!

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