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(Thread begun by RandyP )
Foundations Of Faith
There are two primary texts that I would like to use to convey to you what I believe the foundations of the Christian faith to be:
There are plenty of other places in the bible from which we could start and come to the same conclusions but, I feel that this is the most direct. This series will read almost like a workbook and is designed to encourage you throughout to discover these truths on your own at your own pace as deeply as you desire. Please realize that my commentary is exactly that; commentary. Always let the Word of God interpret the Word of God.
So if you are in a place in your life that you want to know or need to know what this "like precious faith" as the Apostle Peter wound call it is... here it is:
Report of Reports - Our Report
Think of the Bible as one large report; a report of who we are and who Jesus is, what that might mean to us. Why is it that we don't believe that report?
Think of the Bible as two complimentary reports; the first everything that we are up to Jesus, the second everything that we are after and because of Jesus. What do we not believe about those reports?
Think of the first report as being a collection of separate complimentary reports examining who we are minus Christ Jesus; who we are by blood, who we are by promise, who we are by faith, who we are by law, who we are individually and collectively as tribes and nations, who we are by ancestry and history, who we are prophetically projecting out into the future. Imagine these reports all confirming evidences that we are think ourselves to be something that we are not. Imagine that in each and everyone of these multiple examinations God shows Himself to be who He is and why therefore we need a Savior Jesus. Why do we not believe these reports?
Think of the second of the two major collections of reports examining how and why and to what extent this Savior Jesus is despised and rejected despite the Arm of God being in and on and all about Him to confirm His divine sanction/presence. Imagine it examining our deepest and truest intents by the same factors as the first but, this time in the light of Jesus having been here, having died in the flesh, having risen and been witnessed and ascending. Imagine that it reports a core of belief surrounded by a variety of less honest beliefs surrounded forces that attempt to infiltrate, to divert it, to subject it, to persecute it, to drive it and those that might better believe it from our reprobate existence. Why would we not at least consider the evidences reported especially when we see similar evidences all around us outside of it's report?
So why do we not believe?
Jesus does not come in the form we'd expect... He comes in the form we oppose.
Prophecy - Despite being told of this by Isaiah and having more that 700 years to prepare against being the cold hearted doops that were going to fulfill this, the Hebrew scholars became exactly this. This is despite the Covenant, despite the Law, despite their zealous and devote religious practice, despite the cyclic pattern of their history (especially their history with their own prophets). And if with the children Israel then how much more with us non Hebrew Gentiles. What does Isaiah's report tell us about the nature of all men and the Arm of the Lord? What does this tell us about you and I?
The Law - Without the law, Paul would write, we would know not sin. How can I prove to you that we are born in and remain in sin by illustration of the Law? Now that we have law, remove law from man (even on a secular/civic scale) and sin will abound so such an extent as to necessitate new law. In addition now that we have law, attempting to adhere to the law makes sin abound all the more. With or without law we are sinners, but, by the law our sin is proven. One might state "well I haven't broken the law" to which I reply "has the intent of the law been fulfilled in you". The intent of the law is to prove that before the glory of God almighty, yes I am a sinner. This fact has been proven repeatedly by the conduct of Israel. For us Gentiles can it be any different?
Intentions - Few if any have the intention to do evil. The problem is that we as sinners are determining what good and evil is separate from God. Our designs are always somehow self justified and right in our own eyes no matter how contorted and misdirected they be. The fact that the Jews intend to be God's chosen, intend to be keepers of the sacred, honor and worship the one and true living God does not keep them from nailing their incarnate Messiah to a cross. Shillo comes, Shillo goes, the Scepter of Judah is removed 70 AD.. Where have their intentions taken them? Where do they take us?
The evidence is that men oppose the notion that they all are sinners. They oppose the mention of a savior that would die for sin and rise again for salvation. They oppose that it could be one way, one door, one gate, one prophet, one faith, one spiritual regeneration, one Lord. They reject the notion that we are not able to come to this on our own, by our own resources, by our own intellect. Is this where you are at?
But, He Was
All of this sin and corruption talk sounds awful does it not? As if God somehow lost control of us, as if He hadn't accounted for this in His plan, as if He is having to go back and correct things. Nothing could be further from the truth I assure you.
This all may sound like Jesus did not want to suffer all of this against Him but, He had to correct the accidental mistake. Isaiah suggests a "He was for" reasoning for this. Paul suggests a "subjected to the vanity because of a specific hope". Paul also suggests a "seed sown in corruption, dies to itself, sprouts new spiritual life, is raised to in-corruption".
Surely, the sin that we are born unto and are further corrupted by, the sin for which each and everyone dies, is not accidental and it is purposeful and necessary to produce the desired spiritual
life. If this is the process and that is the goal Jesus would be more than glad to be the gracious host of that occurrence.
And God the Father would be more than glad to accommodate that. He would outright righteous in doing so.
Knowing this then, why do we yet discount the report of the prophets? The Law? The History? The Covenant? The Gospel? The Epistles? The faith of the faithful? The persuasion of the martyrs? Why do we hide our faces as it were to the Arm of the Lord being revealed?
It is because we hide our selves from Jesus. We expect Him to come in a form that we would more readily accept that He cannot become and yet remain righteous. So then is it to be on our terms or His?
Before we move into our study, I would also like to introduce you to the sentiments of another man who witnessed Jesus in this flesh who would often (almost humorously) refer to himself as the "one Jesus loved".
The Apostle John referred to himself this way not in conceit, but, in the way Jesus would make one feel. Jesus loved them all and yet at the same time went out of His way to make each of them feel as though they were the one He loved. I say this at a point most would feel (if they are still reading this) strong condemnation. Jesus did not come to condemn the world, He came to give it life, and that the life we'd be given would be more abundant being the infancy of a spiritual life that He had hoped and designed and called us by His grace to birth into. This now is your opportunity!
In all my readings of the Lord's earthly ministry I have never seen Him to be overbearing/demanding, only commanding in tangible acts of compassion, patiently teaching others with a clarity and authority like no one has ever seen. He is best described by His opposition as "friend of sinners". This is so important to remember as we dig into this deeper.
This study is going to read like a workbook. I want you to make these discoveries. Don't short yourself by letting me or someone else do all the work. This will prepare you for the study of making this knowledge fruitful in your daily life.
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