Reconcile – One Step Closer
now now now, baptism doesn’t save us … it’s just an outward demonstration of an inward transformation! romans 6! identifying with Christ’s burial & resurrection! let’s go!
on june 26th, 2011, chika nwachukwu, kathryn simmons, nina imo and 2 other women (i don’t have the list or clear pics forgive me lol smh) demonstrated their faith in Jesus Christ via baptism! the city @ good hope is excited to say “congratulations!”
I decided to tackle this because i know it’s a tough and popular topic that will warrant discussion and edify the body, all while illuminating God’s justice, Christ’s death, & His grace.
how should we respond to the death of osama bin laden? honestly, i can’t answer that question with a definite action, but i feel comfortable in answering the question, “before i react, what should i think of in response to the death of osama bin laden?“
@2live4him tweets, “Osama got what he deserved, but before you start shouting, what if you got what you deserved?”
@pngwolo tweets, “According to God, I and Bin Laden deserve to be bunk buddies in Hell’s Oven. Rom. 3:10-19.”
proverb 28:5 reads “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it completely.”
proverb 24:17 reads “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad … ”
proverb 11:10 reads “When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.”
@2live4him prompts us to, before shouting over osama bin laden’s death, think of how it would be if we got what we deserved. Nat, knowingly or unknowingly, is addressing someone already in the wrong, for they are rejoicing at the sole fact that osama is dead, and from a vengeful view. the only person’s death we should rejoice over is Jesus (because He died for us), and that doesn’t break proverbs 24:17, because Jesus (who we were once enemies of) is not in a position of failure anymore; He is at the right hand of God (hebrews 1).
@pngwolo prompts us to look at the sinful state of osama bin laden and ourselves – which are the same. in God’s eyes, the only true eyes, eric michael ward and osama bin laden deserve to be bunk buddies in hell. sidenote: hell is such a lonely place (since we’ll be without God forever) that osama bin laden and i can be bunk buddies and not even know it because there is no community outside of God. PT’s tweets prompt me and others to see that we are no better than osama bin laden, and that we have sinned against God and deserve to be sniped by a bullet of eternal proportion from God’s golden gun (2 Thess 1). God’s righteous judgment is only right because His justice is just.
now, i don’t think we should be mad at someone not responding like us. the issue is deeper than celebration, but of the heart. some believe they are rejoicing in justice, but could be rejoicing in vengeance, which i agree is “contrary to the gospel.” see, most of us (christian or not), rejoice in the fact that bin laden has been killed, but not at the fact that it points to justice – which should ultimately point back to God, the justifier (it sounds like we can’t separate the two, but we can and do), being just and sniping Jesus instead of us. it sounds small when first read but that’s a ginormous [sic] problem. why? see, death & justice are conjoined twins, but some of us want to focus on just 1 head and ignore the other, which leads to either hyper-_____________ (insert view) or a mind controlled by vengeance.
i believe the gospel of Jesus Christ demands we focus on both death & justice, in addition to grace, not either or. those in Christ understand justice, we understand death (we’ll continue to grow in that understanding), and we view the two through a lens of grace. Christ’s death on the cross is something we rejoice over. why? because it should have been us on the cross! and because He rose! that’s grace! now, we rejoice in this because God’s plate of justice which was specifically prepared for you and i … Christ ate it … while He was on the cross! that’s grace by justice!
how should we respond? we should think of Jesus in all things before we react in anything, and that hopefully results in worshipping God. i rejoice at the fact that justice was served once and for all for me because Jesus became my due justice for me on the cross (2 cor 5:21). i can’t rejoice in Osama bin laden’s death, well, because he isn’t Christ and his death wasn’t for my atonement. i can’t rejoice in any man dying and not knowing Christ – because it seems by his lifestyle and devout belief that osama bin laden is away from God’s goodness: hell. that is no reason to rejoice. ever. bin laden’s death actually reminds me of the urgency to exalt Christ’s finished work since there are people dying without Christ as you read this blog. @2live4him & @pngwolo’s tweets prompt me to rejoice in the grace poured on my sinful self, as well as the death and the justice demanded by God, that I escaped because of Jesus. God the Son’s gracious death saved me (all grace). it’s weird i know, but i simultaneously rejoice in the picture of God’s justice, Christ’s death, and the subsequent grace – simultaneously. honestly, i can’t think of 1 and not the other.
what matters more? how someone responds to the death of osama bin laden, or how someone responds to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? let’s not eliminate either side because they both matter, but which really matters more – if one indeed matters more? can we view them apart from each other? i think the latter will effect the former. you? let’s talk.
here is how Francis Chan responds.
Psalm 84:10-11 (emphasis added)
10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly
The writer of this Psalm was a king. He had many many great things. Women, land, money, whatever. It was his. In light of that fact, he writes this. One day as a doorkeeper (a servant, a non ruler, a slave) in the house of God is worth more than a 1,000 days anywhere else. Why? Because simply, God is good. He’s the source of life and a simultaneous protector. His worth outweighs whatever the world offers thousands of times over. The writer understood the weight of God and His Goodness by way of a promise. For us that promise has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Is a day in and with Jesus Christ worth a 1,000 days anywhere else for you?
there is a difference between the desires of the Spirit and the desires of the flesh.
that is, one conceives Life, the other conceives death.
the more we submit to ourselves and
offer ourselves up as “living sacrifices” to the altar of ourselves,
the further we drown in the desires of our flesh and
we end up being suffocated to death by … death.
but the more we submit to Christ and
offer ourselves up as living sacrifices to the altar of our Savior,
the closer we are drawn to restoration and regeneration.
what pleasure do we really gain from becoming one, with ourselves?
there is no fulfillment in submitting to our fleshly desires because
we begin to search for new ways to complete a void that’s
too big and too wide for anything or anyone other than
the Creator of this universe, God.
will we continue to give in to the desires of our unsatisfying flesh
that seeks to lead you to death,
or our completely satisfied Savior,
who longs to witness you live, eternally?
which one will you choose?
Lamentations 3…verses 22-24 (emphasis added)
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.24 The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.
I read this, and it made me #pause. First off, peep the whole chapter. It’s so depressing. The author’s life is a mess. He’s a joke in his community. He’s hated. Nothing is going right for him. Then he says, “but I remember this, and it gives me hope”. The next verses are the ones above. Look at that. The love of God never ends. His mercies never end and are steadfast; that means faithful/ dependable/ reliable/ trustworthy. Not only that, but God’s mercies are also new every morning.
Why does God’s mercy have to be new every morning? Personally I would be happy just having some here and there, but God “steps His game up” and gives them “new every morning.” That’s a level of loving grace and care that blows my mind to tears. Then I remembered the mercy, peace, justice, love, power, righteousness, kindness, patience, humility, and everything else that is perfect and good, that rose one morning, Sunday morning to be specific. Our hope lies in HIM.
Thankful … thankful … thankful.
God is good.
Grace and Peace.
If I did what I felt like doing, how would my day to day look? Let me give you some (not all) points.
- I’d stay in bed all day.
- I’d be looking at porn 24/7
- I’d eat poorly. Really poorly.
- I wouldn’t be waiting to get married to have sex.
- Candis and I would be shacking up right now.
- I wouldn’t be a preacher
- This tumblr wouldn’t exist
- I wouldn’t be a maGoh leader.
- I’d have nothing to do with Christianity
See, there’s a difference between what we feel, and what we know. Feelings are deceitful, because they come from a wicked heart [Jeremiah 17:9]. Feelings are flip floppy, they can be in line with what we want, or they could be in line with what we need.
Jesus didn’t feel like dying on the Cross, but he made a choice to follow not His own will, but the will of the Father. Jesus made up His mind to do what it is God had in store for Him for the ultimate good of all. I’m not knocking feelings either folks, feelings are good. Feelings were given to us by God. Feelings are not meant to subject us, but more so for us to them to be subject to us. Do not be mastered by your emotions.
How though? Well….
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
How does transformation happen? Through Jesus [2 Corinthians 5:17]. He makes us new upon our repentance and believe in His work on the Cross, and even that repentance and belief/faith is a gift from God, not a work in itself by us [Ephesians 2:7-10].
Grace and Peace.
but then i met the king of pop who spoke
and sang to me differently.
he sang the most comforting words
a man could ever sing to me and made
promises no other man could keep,
[originally “the gods of heaven & death” (please read) was not meant to have a part II but through further thinking I’ve decided to go into further detail.]
Heaven is not fire insurance (because it too will be destroyed by fire), a place where you will receive 40 virgins, or a place where spirits float with wings.
let me unpack that.
Heaven is not fire insurance
Heaven is a place where God resides. Heaven is a place where sinners are not permitted to enter. Heaven is a place where repentant sinners forgiven by Jesus are welcome (2 Cor. 5:8, Phil 1:21). Heaven is a place that is going to pass away.
Earth is a place where creatures reside. Earth is a place where sin caused a great fall for all creation. Earth is a place where Jesus came to die on a cross to forgive sinners. Earth is a place that is going to pass away.
[21:1] Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4 ESV)
God made a promise to Noah that He would not destroy the earth by water ever again, but He didn’t say anything about fire.
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” (2 Peter 3:10)
This does not mean that God will obliterate the heavens & earth then start anew, but that God will do away with the present condition.
Remember those “RE” words?
Redeem, Reform, Resurrect, Reborn, Restore, Reconcile, & Regenerate. God does not merely Reject creation but seeks to make it whole again.
Resurrection means that when Christ died, he also rose to live forever as the first of many to rise. Jesus Christ rose in a perfect body as a cognitively thinking being who was able to eat. Please get this, we who die with Jesus’ sacrificial sin for righteousness exchange on the cross are given the right to also be raised with him by faith.
We do not merely go to heaven when we die but God & the heavens will one day come to us! Remember: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.”
With that perspective I can agree with Paul and say, “To live is Christ, & to die is gain”. Death no longer creates fear because it is but a second compared to the reality of eternity. “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
[here are some great resources that helped me derive at these thoughts:
Culture by Tim Keller
I asked someone, “what do you desire the most?”
They responded, “heaven”.
The remarkable thing about her answer was that she doesn’t believe in the afterlife.
I asked another person, “what do you desire most?”
They responded, “heaven”.
The unremarkable thing about his response is that he believes in the afterlife.
Upon deeper questioning these people had the same motive for wanting heaven – materialism.
Heaven is not fire insurance
Heaven is not a place for people who fear hell, but a place for people who love & are loved by God. The first woman that I asked feared hell, but at the same time did not believe that anyone could definitively prove that the afterlife even exists. Quite a contradiction.
Before I knew the gospel I would have told her, “what do you have to lose in believing in Heaven besides living a good moral life free from the repercussions of sin?” (#fail)
Now that I’m learning the gospel I told her, “Eat drink, for tomorrow we die.”
If heaven is not a reality then why care? Why sit in school learning some stuff you could care less about? Why sacrifice your goods to help feed a homeless person? Why not go out & gratify your fleshly desires?
The gospel of Christ is that you get the desires of your heart now & after you die. The tragedy of that truth is that apart from being born again you have a desire for everything that is not God. The desires of man are to fulfill this God-shaped void with everything but God. No one seeks God, no not one (Rom 3:9-18).
Christ kidnaps our hearts and transforms our affections toward him. One of the greatest blessings from God is to be allowed to worship Him. If we are not worshiping God we are worshiping something (Rom 1:25). On the cross Jesus replaced our hearts with his perfect heart.
“The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” –Genesis 6:5
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” –Jeremiah 17:9
“And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,” –Ezekiel 11:19
So now the desire of your heart is Jesus. You will get Jesus now & after you die.
How do I know there is more to life than this earth? Because Jesus rose from the dead & told me so, & if it were not true he would not have told me (John 14:2).
Heaven apart from Jesus is hell
The other person I spoke to wanted the pearly gates & golden roads. Heaven basically became about material & being rich. Heaven was merely fire insurance & his moral living was a response to the idea of earning heaven.
It saddened me for a moment, but because I’m learning the gospel I knew how to respond.
I told him, “Heaven without Jesus is hell“.
“And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” – Revelation 21:23
Heaven without Jesus is a dark barren place with beautiful sights but no way to see them.
Desire Jesus & you will get him. Hell is simply the desire of your hearts, the unblemished wrath of God.
Jesus absorbed God’s wrath on the cross & is giving away his absolute peace with the Father as a free gift. Sadly there is no afterlife: There is only the here & now, but the here & now will last forever.
Forever apart from Christ is a long time.