Christianity 201

April 17, 2019

Wounded by a Fellow Soldier

This week we haven’t focused specifically on the Passion Week of Jesus as we have in other years. Today’s theme seems equally disconnected, until one considers the betrayal Jesus suffered from Judas, and the betrayal inflicted by Peter. Two of his own disciples.

Today we’re returning to Jeffrey Youngblood, who writes at Thoughts of a Blessed Man. Click the header below to read at source.

Friendly Fire

For you will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.- CS Lewis

Friendly fire is a devastating term. In warfare,  it is the term indicating that someone has sustained a wound from a source that is unlikely, their compatriot, comrade, fellow-soldier, and friend.

Can you imagine receiving a mortal wound from someone fighting for the same cause as yourself? Could you imagine being the one that inflicted this wound?

I am currently reading a book about US Grant, and it describes the devastating blow that the Confederate States of America sustained  when Stonewall Jackson was cut down by friendly fire in the heat of the battle. For many, they felt that this one man’s death was a catalyst for the Union armies to ultimately win the Civil War.

Friendly fire is almost certainly accidental. The term for non-accidental friendly fire is called murder…

Peter may have experienced a glancing blow during his walk with God, or sustained a devastating blow himself a time or two. In his second letter he wrote that if someone was going to make their calling and election certain there had to be somethings that were added to the Christians life. Faith was essential, and was the starting point. Obviously this makes sense, because Paul reported that our first line of defense as we are armored in the Lord’s army was the shield of faith.

Without faith we know that “it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.(Hebrews 11:6).

Peter does not stop there to ensure our calling. He said on top of faith, add good character or virtue. Have integrity. Do things the right way all the time regardless the circumstances. Then he admonishes to utilize your knowledge to supplement your good character.

Knowledge of what? What side are you on? We are not wrestling against mankind. Paul in Ephesians said we are wrestling against rulers, authorities, cosmic powers over this present darkness, and spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places. We know that the enemy of our soul is after us. We know that he is trying to destroy us.

So now our faith has been supplemented with virtue and knowledge, but we still are not done. We are still going through the credentialing process of our calling. Peter said that self-control should be betrayed in our actions/lifestyle. Then we have to be consistent and try to mirror the image that God has given us in his word.

People should be able to see Jesus in our lives, and Peter said that the only way people are going to be able to see Jesus present in our world is by supplementing the faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, and godliness with brotherly kindness.

Paul said it this way…

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:9-10).

Only after we begin to love our brothers and sisters, and take every opportunity not to cause harm, can we affirm that we have charity that can be added to our faith. In this case we are able to affirm to Jesus Christ that we have taken necessary steps to ensure that our calling and election is certain.

The will of God is going to be accomplished with or without us. Are we going to inflict “friendly fire” like Judas? Are we taking the necessary steps to ensure that our calling and election is above reproach?

Jesus still went through with obtaining our salvation on the cross, but Judas did not have to be the catalyst to ensure his “friend” was murdered.

Take careful aim today. Who do you find in the cross hairs?

 

November 12, 2016

Scales of Justice

Let God weigh me on the scales of justice, for he knows my integrity.
 -Job 31:6 NLT

The LORD demands accurate scales and balances; he sets the standards for fairness.
– Proverbs 16:11 NLT

The website keyway.ca notes that “While the traditional “scale of justice” is usually regarded as a man-made notion, it actually had its origin in the Holy Scriptures.

scales-of-justiceThe idea here is not a general sense of justice (i.e. “do justice, love mercy”) but rather something more measurable; something that can be quantified. As reflected in a large number of translations of Prov. 16:11, the reference weight was placed in a bag and then the thing to be measured was placed in a bag on the other side and the measurement conducted. (Other translations use pouch or sack.) Many translations and commentaries note that the reference weight or standard is His, the various stones comprising it belong to him.

But there’s also a sense here if practicality. In other words, instead of a more abstract sense of justice, there is an everyday application not to be missed. Thus Eugene Peterson’s Message Bible says, “God cares about honesty in the workplace; your business is his business.” It’s easy for us to appear to have the highest ethical standard; to defend certain Christian principles; but to then be basically ripping people off in our businesses, especially if we are the purveyor of goods or services.

Matthew Henry writes, “God takes more exact notice of us than we do of ourselves; let us therefore walk circumspectly. He carefully avoided all sinful means of getting wealth. He dreaded all forbidden profit as much as all forbidden pleasure.” (italics added)

The Pulpit Commentary notes that we are within our rights to spiritualize our various types of transactions we conduct with others, quoting the verse in the Latin Vulgate: “”The weights and the balance are judgments of the Lord;” in other words, God is present in our various marketplace dealings.

Then, a footnote in the Geneva Study Bible takes this even further, “If they are true and just, they are God’s work, and he delights in it, but otherwise if they are false, they are the work of the devil, and to their condemnation that use them.”

It’s interesting to note that in Daniel 5, when “the handwriting on the wall” appears for King Belshazzar, his life of debauchery is expressed not using the adjectives we might use to describe so despicable a person, but using the the language of mathematics.

This is the inscription that was written: mene, mene, tekel, parsin  (:25)

The phrase mene, mene, tekel, upharsin is usually translated numbered, numbered, weighed, divided. I’ve also seen it referenced as number, number, measure, balance. Thus the conclusion, you are weighed in the balances and found wanting.

None of us wish to be found deficient (NASB) before God. We need to see to it in those areas where our integrity is measurable and quantifiable.


various commentaries used today sourced at BibleHub.com