Monday, August 31, 2009

Who He Has Made Us...

Probably my biggest pet peeves is theologically incorrect worship music. Usually the songs that really irk me are the ones about the "rapture"/ones about escaping to heaven, for obvious reasons (its "your kingdom come", not "let us fly, fly away").

Much of our theology isn't formed from reading the bible or listening to sermons, but from the music we sing during "worship". But what happens when our "worship" isn't glorifying to Jesus?

Recently, I have been more and more distraught by the songs containing lyrics like "make us holy", "wash us clean", or "i'm just a sinner, won't you fix me", etc. (These are generic lyrics, as I can't think of any specific songs to speak to right now).

Why have these songs been bothering me you ask? Because the finished works of the cross have already made us holy, clean, and righteous. Jesus poured out his blood to free us from our slavery to sin and shame, we carry it no more because Jesus took it from us. So why do we continue to sing, asking him to do something he has already done? He did it on the cross and paid the ultimate price.

He can't do again what he already did. I'm not entirely sure what result we are looking for when we sing lyrics like these as worship. By singing "make me holy", it is almost like we are asking him to bear the cross again.

"Oh Jesus, you're so good! La la la! But now that I think about it, the first time you died and rose again wasn't enough to make us holy! La la la! Won't you go to the cross again so that I can be holy once more? La la la!"

I understand that while we are made holy in Jesus, we can still sin. But sin isn't the standard, righteousness is. How are we going to live up to the standard of righteousness if we continue to believe the lie that Jesus' blood isn't enough to make us holy for eternity? I honestly think that the distinction is in something as little as a mind set. We were baptized into his crucifiction, and raised again with his holy spirit. We are a new being, the old is gone, the new has come. We are not slaves to sin, but to righteousness. We no longer have the chains of death shackled to our leg, but we are free, holy, righteous, and the only place that this isn't true for most of us is in our minds. In Eph 2, Paul says that before coming to Jesus, we lived as sons of disobedience, and we "lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the flesh and the mind". Well our flesh was crucified with Jesus, and we were given the mind of Christ. Maybe its about time to renew our thinking about our holyness and our standing with the Father.

Jesus is soooo good. He poured out his blood to make us holy. We sit in heavenly places with him. We are his body and his holy temple. The holy spirit dwells in us.

He stands at the door and knocks, and if we just but open the door, he will come in a dine with us, and he will let us sit on His throne with him. He's so freaking good that he doesn't even put us at the kiddie table in heaven, but asks us to sit on his throne with him! I can't even process the implications of what this means.

One thing I do know is that having him elevate us so high should do nothing but humble us and cause us to worship him even more. Us being holy has nothing to do with our actions and everything to do with how much he loves us. The only possible responce would be for me to offer up a sacrifice of worship to him. And not a weak, "make me holy" kind of worship, but a worship that says:

"Jesus, you're so good, you're so beyond compare, you're so holy that you made me holy, you're so good that you made me (who once was a broken wretch) righteous, you made me a king in the heavens, and that makes you the king of kings. You made me a king, and you're the king of kings!"

This is the kind of worship that will not only bring the utmost glory to our savior king, but will also glorify his body and cause a generation to rise up and be who He paid for us to be. Because when the church is glorified, Jesus is glorified, because we are his body. Jesus can't be glorified unless we are glorified. Jesus can't be king on high unless we are king on high with him.

Jesus can't be who is deserves to be unless we accept who he has made us...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Why is this man blind...?

I am currently reading Greg Boyd's God at War. In it, Boyd addresses the blind man "who sinned, him or his father" passage in John 9.

Jesus response is typically translated "he was born blind -so that- God's works might be revealed in him." Boyd argues that the word we translate "so that" shouldn't be translated as passive, but as an imperative (as more of a command). Boyd translates it, "he was born blind. But let the works of God be manifest!"

The disciples are asking a moral question, Jesus is responding with a command to heal the man. Jesus isn't concerned about answering questions about God's intent other for this man to be healed. "Yes, he is blind, stop asking questions and heal him." In such a situation, with such an emphatic command, there is little room left for God's will to be in question. He wants this man (and all men) healed. He is blind because the world is fallen/the devil caused it, but this passage isn't about why he is blind. It is about God's desire to heal him.

Even if we did read this passage in the traditional vain of thought, it would be a lone passage saying its God's will for this man to be blind from birth in a book neck deep in stories of God healing all whom he touches. Should we change our entire mind set to fit this one passage (that as Boyd argues is mistranslated/interpreted to start with), or should we seek to find the reading of this passage that fits with the rest of scripture?

Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8) by healing the sick, raising the dead, and advancing the kingdom of God/heaven/light against the kingdom of darkness. Everywhere else in the gospels, Jesus healing acts are seen as advancing the kingdom. Nearly everytime the "Gospel of the Kingdom" is mentioned in the gospels, healing, raising the dead, etc, follow as commentary on what preaching this gospel entails. I could walk you through the versions, but I feel like I have done this multiple times before, so scroll down.

Would it be too much of a stretch to say that this man was blind because he lived in the "kingdom of darkness" (i.e. the fallen world he lives in)?

When the Light of the World comes into the Kingdom of Darkness, the only proper question is not about God's will, or the origin of sickness, "Why is this man not healed yet?"