NOTE: This is longer than my normal posts.
I’ve had an ongoing dialog in my mind and, at times, a not so subconscious dialog with others, about the possibility of the impossible. The possibility of the impossible means something that is deemed impossible but made possible by some other means.
Although I’ll only quote two particular passages, if you are familiar with Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and the Book of Galatians you’ll quickly understand the fuse that ignites my thought process.
Most studies of Galatians I’ve sat in, or perhaps—I can’t recall—taught, have dealt with the idea that the Law (Torah) was given as an impossible standard so that people would recognize their sinfulness and turn to God/Christ in faith. In doing so we apparently make possible the impossible. In other words, without the means of grace, faith, the power of the Holy Spirit, etc., one could never achieve what God set out in the Torah, what Paul sets out in Galatians, or what Jesus teaches in the Sermon on the Mount. Continue reading
Mark Twain observed that “common sense is very uncommon.”
That observation can often be applied to our approach to Bible Study. Common sense says, this book is not just a book of words and moral beliefs. It is God’s word spoken and written to a different people in a different culture. If it wasn’t always easy for those who heard it originally to get it, then perhaps it’s not going to be easy for me to get it. My goodness, on multiple occasions the disciples sat scratching their heads about something Jesus had said. Continue reading
I really appreciate it when a pastor thoughtfully walks through a passage of scripture with the primary goal of bringing people (me) along with him. He brings us along in order to help us understand and then apply the clear message of the biblical text. Well, at least it seems clear on the surface.
Our pastor is working through the Gospel of Matthew and is currently helping us wrap our arms around the wonderful, but oh so challenging, Sermon on the Mount. I’m of the opinion there is perhaps no greater passage of scripture than this teaching. It’s Jesus’ longest at-one-time discourse. Considering Matthew places it at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry and at the inauguration of his disciple’s commitment to follow him, there is a good deal to be unpacked. Continue reading
Several weeks ago, at the conclusion of a sermon I was listening to on-line, the pastor closed his prayer with a phrase “and let us not bring shame on the name of Christ.” Because the sermon was about the crucifixion – an experience that was all about shame and humiliation—he wasn’t trying to accuse his church members of something. I believe it was a way for him to make clear, if we’re not careful and attentive, how we conduct ourselves as Christ-followers has the potential for bringing shame on the name of Christ. Continue reading
“He (God) will not take into his company any person, however orthodox in mind, who will not follow after holiness of life.” J I Packer, Knowing God
I definitely not be in the same camp of knowledge as Packer, but this observation seems a bit more than challenging. I’m forced to ask, “What does it mean to be taken into God’s company” and what does it mean to “follow after holiness of life”? Who’s the judge of those observations? Continue reading