Tag Archives: Christ

Good Friday

I do not have time as of now to create a proper post on Good Friday.   That would entail much dedication and a good amount amount of wordsmithing (not a word).  So instead of writing a half baked version of a fully baked piece on Good Friday I only wish to leave people with this thought.

Good Friday is not good because it is fun or makes us feel good.  It is good because of the suffering accomplished that day.  Nothing great can be accomplished with out great suffering.  If you are celebrating Good Friday then you should think of the suffering that was accomplished that day and not revel with joy but mourn and at the same time have hope.  God that day gave us opportunity to find real life.  This should bring great piece to your soul if it does not then I fear for your eternal well being.  Folks life is only accomplished through Christ.  He is the only way to the Father and thus the only way for peace, hope, love and freedom.  Have faith to know that even when it does not feel like it, if you are a Christian, even when the darkness surrounds you, even when you are down for the count or you have fallen to depths you did not know exist.  Christ is there.  There is forgiveness.  There is hope.  All you have to do is ask.  Ask Christ He is with you and He will answer it just may not be how you expect it.

Now go and celebrate Good Friday and participate in the suffering of Christ.  Remember what Peter says about Christ sufferings.

1 Peter 2:21-23 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;

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The Hate of the Perfect

Okay here is something I was thinking on this morning.  Everybody knows no one is perfect.  Some have better lives than others and there has only been one exception.  Jesus.  He was perfect.  People hated Him.  In fact in John 15:18 it says that they hated Jesus.  When you think on this Jesus was perfect and in being so it only accentuated the imperfection in everyone else.

People do not like to be reminded how imperfect they are especially if the one reminding them is not actually reminding them but showing them by living their life perfectly.  Jesus did not go around telling people they were imperfect. (He did say things like that it was not His main stay)  He went around teaching about God the Father.

Here is my thought on this.  The closer we get to Jesus the closer we get to perfection.  People hated Jesus and they will hate us.  Again if our lives show Jesus then there is little that need be said about the sin in another’s life our living will share about what real life is and that will bread hatred in some and longing in others.  It is our job to harvest those who long and continue to live life in Jesus for everyone else.  The closer we get to that perfection the more we will be at enmity with the world.

Just a quick thought.

John 15:18 If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.

The Three Most Holy Days for Christians (part 2 of 3)

This post is going to go over Good Friday.   The first question is what is Good Friday?   This is an easy one.  Good Friday is the day Jesus was crucified read Matthew 27: 33-56 for the story.  The hard question is “Why is it called good?”

The answer is simple yet incredibly hard to accept.   Forgiveness.  That is the simple answer what makes it hard is that Jesus had to die so we could get forgiveness.  So the reason a sinless man was on the cross was exactly because He was sinless.  Our sin needed to be forgiven (so we put Him there) and this was the only way to do that.

In the Old Testament of the Bible God instituted a sacrificial system.  Ancient Israel would sacrifice lambs, bulls, birds and so forth as per the instructions from God.  The reason was simple any sin brought guilt on someone and the penalty of death.  God clearly stated that the penalty for sin is death, due to this God instituted the sacrificial system using the blood of animals instead of our own.  (this is called blood guilt)  The problem with the sacrificial system is the blood of animals did not take away the sins only covered them up.  This allowed God to not destroy humanity because of sin.  This did not solve the problem with sin it only put a band aide on it.  The true problem solver was Jesus.  When Jesus was born this was His purpose and only purpose.  There was  no other reason to come He was to provide a way for true forgiveness of sins and not just a covering of our sins.  This means that when Jesus the Christ forgives us our sins then they are gone.  As far as the east is from the west.  They are remembered no more and God the Father only sees the payment that Jesus made and then looks to us and says welcome good and faithful servant.  (even though some of us are not so faithful He sees us this way anyways)

The reason this day is Holy is simple this is the day Jesus voluntarily gave up His life.  He could have said no.  He could have called down angels and wiped out all the Roman and Jewish cohorts who had Him there.  He could have just walked off the cross and became God in front of everyone and everyone would have believed.  This is not what He wanted.  He wants us to make a choice.  He wants us to have faith. He wants us to live knowing there will be proof other than a personal relationship.  So each person has to find that proof themselves.  Science will never prove nor disprove God.  Philosophy will never prove nor disprove God.  Only in a personal relationship can we find proof that we will ever accept.

I want to address what would have happened if Jesus actually did not go through with it.  Remember in the garden He asked the Father to allow this to pass and lets try something different.  The Father said no.  Now Jesus being God could have done what He wanted to He could have said yes and not have gone through this.  What would have happened.  Honestly, this would have been absolute proof that He was not who He said He was.   In other words God will never be untrue to who He is and thusly even if everything else was just right and in the end He did  not follow through He would not have been who He said.  Thank fully He did go through this.  If He had not we would not have forgiveness.  We would not have someone else pay our debt a debt mind you that we are not able to pay.

Lets tie this together now.  Jesus had to die in fact if you read the Bible you will find that He knew this even before creation was made.  He decided to make creation anyways.  He had love for us even before we were created.  That love was their even knowing what we would do, say, think and so on.  He knew how often we would fail.  He knew how often we would really hurt those around us.  How often we would do things to ourselves that are just wrong.  He knew all this and decided to do it anyways because of love.

This is simply and explanation.  There are hundreds of Bible passages that relate to this and when I get to this section under my Systematic Theology section I will explore this in its entirety.  Thanks for your understanding as to why that is not done here.

Thankfully though the story does not stop there.  Be ready for part 3 next.

The Three most Holy Days for Christians (part 1 of 3)

There are three days that stand out above the rest on the Christian Calendar.  The first would be Christmas (the Birth of Jesus) the second would be Good Friday (the Death of Jesus) and the third would be Easter Sunday (the Resurrection of Jesus).  I want to take a look at each of these and see how they are pivotal in the Christian world and how each one should be portrayed and why.  I will not make a determination as to which is more important I am of the opinion that they are equally important and are at the top of all history with nothing even near it in importance.

Lets start with Christmas.  This is the time we celebrate Jesus’s birth.  We all realize that He was not born on Christmas day but this is a day that we use today to remember His birth and why He was born.

Matthew 1:18-25 

18 Now the birth of Jesus [r]Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been [s]betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned [t]to send her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for[u]the Child who has been [v]conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for [w]He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this [x]took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name [y]Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” 24 And Joseph [z]awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, 25 [aa]but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

This passage give us the essence of what took place.  There are many more passages like this in other books.  The base concept we need to understand as Christians is that Jesus came from Heaven and took residence here on earth.  He did this of His own free will.

Philippians 2:5-11

Have this attitude [e]in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be [f]grasped, but [g]emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death [h]on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ isLord, to the glory of God the Father.

This passage clearly states that by Jesus leaving heaven He willingly took a lower station in life for the express purpose of following the will of God the Father.  Jesus was born into humble circumstances and lived in the same manner the whole time He honored His heavenly Father even to the point of death.

Why is this important?  Why make such a big deal of His birth?  Why not just honor His ever near presence?  All good questions and worth asking.  The point of Christians celebrating Jesus is to recognize His coming.  There are many amongst us now and through out history who have stated that Jesus never existed and that He was made up for the express purpose of supporting Christianity.  There are a number of ancient documents outside of Christianity that support His being born.  Most folks believe He lived even if they do not believe He is God.

The birth of Christ is a big deal for a number of reasons the foremost being that God became man and dwelt amongst us.  God dwelling among us is fantastic in fact so much so many question the viability of this statement.  This is where Faith steps in.  God expect us to have faith and without faith we are not able to please Him.  He wants folks who will make the choice to believe He does not want robots who are forced to serve Him.

I believe we are indeed supposed to honor His ever near presence.  I think we should at all times do this.  When looking at Christmas from this perspective it is important to think of the celebration of His birth as a singularity in time.  A time where God intersects with man in such a way that the entire world changed.  Think of our calendar system for just one example.  Our calendar system is based off of the birth of Jesus.  This singular moment when God became man and came to earth where God lived with us (as in the garden yet different) where God was our friend, confidant, teacher, servant, savior and more.  This is the one key pivotal moment in all of history where the One who started it all who spoke one word and history began is with us.  That is you and me He is with you and me.  It is this reason we celebrate Christmas.  I realize that the date we celebrate is not His actual birthdate but since no one knows His actual birth date it works for me.

The next article in this series will be on Good Friday.

 

Why Jesus had to die (part B)

jesus-on-the-cross-at-sunset

I realize that part A was replete with words and actually said everything that was needed.  I also wonder if I should just leave it as it is.  I think to myself when something is said why expound on it?  Why make it wordier then it need be?  I guess my answers is I think what I am about to say needs to be said as well and since it ties in with what was already said then I guess I am making it part B. (or I just like to read my own thoughts not really sure which)

Jesus had to die because of sin.  Revelations 13:8 shows us that even before the foundations of the Earth was laid Jesus was slain.  In other words even before God made everything that is He knew Jesus would have to die, His only Son.  He did this anyways in order that His justice, His righteousness, all His immutable qualities may be made manifest to all even to the angels and the fallen angels. God whole purpose is that we may have opportunity to have a relationship with Him and live eternally in Heaven.

Lets step back and go to the beginning.  Adam was in the garden of Eden (paradise).  God told Adam to eat anything there except the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God said if you do this you will surely die.  The punishment for SIN is death.  God made that clear in the beginning.  The natural question that arises is why put the tree of knowledge of good and evil even in the Garden?  Glad you asked that is a great question.  God did not want people who served Him because they had to He wanted folks to serve Him because they chose to.  The only way to do that is to have an opportunity to choose to not serve God.

The problem is Adam and Eve decided to eat of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Now SIN has entered and death came not only to mankind but also to the animal kingdom.  Remember Adam and Eve realized they were naked.  They tried to hide themselves with fig leaves (fig leaves can be rather large) and they hid from God due to their nakedness.  At this point God questioned them and in the end it came to Him killing an animal to make clothing for both Adam and Eve.  Mans SIN affected more then just himself it also affected the animals, the earth and everything that lives.

As SIN goes it grew more and more.  People continued to sin and they offered sacrifices to God to seek forgiveness and to have their SINS covered.  The problem was the sacrifices offered were only putting a bandage on a gaping wound.  It helped but radical surgery was needed and man was not able to do it themselves.  God proved this where He held Jesus back 1000’s of years to give man the chance to serve God and in doing this God proved that man was always going to SIN and that man needed help.

Enters Jesus.  Jesus came with the express purpose to help man fix the broken relationship with God.  He did this knowing He would be the ultimate sacrifice.  The one fix that is permanent and would always satisfy.  In fact Jesus sacrifice did not cover up SIN as the old sacrificial system did but His sacrifice actually took the SIN away.

This is incredible because now we have the ability to go boldly to God and we can do so in a state like Adam had prior to his SIN.

Jesus knew when He created everything that He would have to go through this but He chose to do it anyways.  He knew that His death would be painful and His suffering would be great but He chose to do it anyways.  Creation was created for the express purpose of showing Gods love to all of creation.

Now we have this benefit and look forward to an even greater benefit in the after life.

There will be more in my Systematic Theology section when the time comes.  Stay tuned for more.

Forgiveness (where would we be without it)

forgiveness

forgiveness (Photo credit: cheerfulmonk)

I am going to change my format a bit.  What I mean by this is that I am going to talk a bit more about the topics in hope that I can get some feed back.  So far I have had people like my stuff and read it.  I was hoping for more feed back since my end goal is to publish this work so that others can learn and know about Christ while at the same time not using jargon or Christianeze. Forgiveness.  I think the statement says a lot “Where would we be without it.”

Secular and Religious folk agree that with out forgiveness we have a very mentally (and physically) unhealthy people.  Our mental health has a very strong effect on our physical health.  As a Christian I take it even further.  I believe without forgiveness we will have a society that is trapped in anger, bitterness, revenge and justice without mercy.  How can we have a proper society with out mercy and with out forgiveness.

As a Christian we have firm beliefs that everyone (literally everyone) needs to be forgiven.  Our God Himself teaches us in our Scripture Mathew 6:12 that we are to ask for our forgiveness from God and in turn God expects us to, in the same way as we expect from him, forgive others.  Mathew 6:14 says the same thing if you forgive others their sins then our Father in heaven will forgive give us our sins.  This very concept is played out in Scripture over and over again it is a basic tenant of our faith that we need forgiveness and we need to forgive.

Romans 3:23 states that everyone has sinned so everyone needs forgiveness.  As a Christian I firmly believe there is not one person who does not need to be forgiven.   I believe that all humans understand that.

The question to ask is what is forgiveness?  How does it look?  How does it feel?  Why should I forgive someone else? (they do not deserve it).  These are all great questions and all valid.

The dictionary standard definition is simple “to pardon an offense or offender, to cancel a debt” while these are good and proper on the day to day level they are hard to do.  The Christian concept of forgiveness takes it to a whole different level.  As a Christian I will define it differently or maybe it is better to say I define it at a higher level.

When God forgives He also forgets, He also removes that sin from us and gives us real freedom from it.  I think we can all understand how things we do wrong can stay with us even if we quit doing it.  For some reason that thing we did wrong seems to have power over us.  Forgiveness takes that power away.  James 5:16 states that we need to confess our sins to one another so that we may be healed.  To obtain forgiveness we need to confess our sins and that action of verbally confessing our sins can take away the power it has over our lives and we can be free.  The reason he says confess to one another is because as Christians we can understand and sympathize with the other so that as God has forgiven us we can share that same life experience with others and they can find the healing of forgiveness from God.

From the Christian perspective when God forgives us that sin (wrong doing) is no longer there it will no longer be held against us.  Of course as Paul states in Romans 6:1 we can not continue in that sin which grace has brought forgiveness for.

I see I just introduced a new thought one of grace and how it works in tandem with forgiveness.  This can be a long topic and I think I will have a different post regarding how each one of these themes work together in synergy to bring about a whole Christian and a mature Christian.

I believe most people get the basic concept of forgiveness it is easy to understand and since there is no one who has not done something wrong we all understand that we all need it.  The problem comes with the implementation and how that works out in day to day life.  This is where it gets personal.

I will say a quick prayer before going further since this is a very difficult subject to breech and to tackle.   …….  Okay done.

The next question to tackle here is “Why should I forgive someone else?”  This is valid.  There are people that most would say do not deserve forgiveness.  They have done some very horrible things such as molesting children, raping people, murder and so on.  There are things so horrible that we can not think of forgiveness.  Why should we?  Wow the answer is not easy and many will disagree with me.

Here I go.  I think everyone should have the opportunity for forgiveness.  I remember when James Dobson interviewed Ted Bundy.  People were saying that there is no forgiveness for Ted Bundy. He does not deserve it.  I would agree that he does not deserve it.  I would also agree that I do not deserve it.  Folks this is hard to accept but I have to believe it to be true that when God says the only unforgivable sin is that of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit that is the only unforgivable sin.  I am not saying that Ted Bundy and for that matter anyone should not be held responsible for what they have done that is wrong.  As far as humans go it was correct to sentence him to death.  He earned that from his actions.  In the whole of eternity God has His own plan and if Ted Bundy was honest (I am not so sure he is able to be honest) and actually accepted Christ then he will be in heaven (or as some think maybe a type of purgatory).

Christ Himself states in the Lords prayer for me to receive the forgiveness of God that I need to also forgive.  If I hold it back then so will He.  Matthew 18:21-35 a great parable about forgiveness.  I would not want to be the servant who did not show mercy and forgiveness.

Okay all this is getting to long for one post this may not be the best place to stop but I will continue the second piece later this week.