First let me start by saying that Kristin and I have had our baby. He was born August 17 at 12:39am weighing in at 7lbs 13ounce. He is healthy and happy. There is a lot I could write about his birth, and maybe, hopefully I will be able to at length on this blog. I have been constrained however to write about something else today.
The focus in evangelical Christianity today seems to be solely on justification. You know, "Let's get as many people saved as possible", however that focus is not the focus of our Lord. Maybe that is a bad statement, 'getting people saved' might be the focus of our Lord, but we must define the term 'saved'. I know I have become a broken record on this blog, but salvation is not just deliverance from eternal punishment, it is deliverance from present tense sin, and is separation from this world.
It is true that God justifies the sinner based on the attoning work of Christ on the cross. Christ suffered once under the wrath of almighty God for our sin, bearing willfully the punishment on our behalf, we are justified based on that work. This is a beautiful unexplainable truth, and that truth must never be minimized. Instead we must look deeper into that justifying work and see what exactly its purpose is. Is justification all that was accomplised on the cross? Was God's entire purpose of the crucifiction to keep undeserving sinners out of hell. The answer is NO, a thousand times no.
Let's focus on Isaiah 53 for a moment. We see in this chapter the punishment poured out on Christ for our sin. Why does a father punish his son. Why would I punish my new son Joseph? If I gave Joseph a command; "do not talk back to your mother or else I will give you a spanking", what must I do if he violates my command? Clearly he must receive the punishment that came with the command. Now why as a father do I punish him? The obvious reason is because I must be true to my word, and his sin must receive the punishment promised, however this is not the only reason, in fact it is not even the primary reason. The reason I would punish him is so that he will no longer talk back to his mother. Lets compare my example to the example of Christ on the cross. Did Christ pay the penalty only because a penalty needed paid? If we were in Him at the crucifiction was it only for the reason of being pardoned for our trangressions? No, he received the punishment on our behalf so that we would not continue in sin. This is so important, we were disciplined unto holiness in Christ. This is not some abstract concept, he was crushed not just to pay for our disobedience, but to put an end to it all together.
Am I saying the sinless perfection is possible? I do not think so, what I am saying is that the ultimate purpose in God's justifying work is to move you ever closer to perfection and perfect holiness as long as you walk this earth. He payed the price in order to purchase a people holy and separte from the world. Did God deliver Israel from Egypt primarily to get them out of bondage to Pharaoh? No, if that had been the case he could have left them in the wilderness. He delivered them from Egypt in order to establish them in the promised land. So it is in our lives, Christ died not only to save us from the penalty of sin, but instead that we would enter into kingdom today. God kept telling Israel to remember their dilverance from Egypt so that they would remember the He has the power to establish them in the promised land. You should remember your justification, but remember it in order to better realize the power of God to keep you holy.
I need to stop because I would have to write a book to explain all the implications of this line of thinking.
I have not proof read this. I wrote it quickly fairly late at night. It was burning in me a little so I thought I would get it down.
Exodus 16 clearly laid out the command that manna should only be gathered for 1 days consumption, except for the day prior to the sabbath on which two days supply must be gathered. When this was violated and there was an attempt to eat old manna it was found to be rotten.
Jesus is the bread of life, the bread from heaven, the new testament manna. When we pray ...give us this day our daily bread... in a sense we are asking for His provision of Himself for our day.
Let's put this all together. You can not live on past experiences of Christ. Period. It is moldy, and holds no value for today. Did you go to promise keepers? Wonderful, that is good for one day, what about the next morning. Did you wake up to fresh bread, or did you pull out that old moldy loaf from the day before. Youth often seem to be prone to relive past events, you know the big rallies and retreats, but the reason they are so afixed on the past is that they have no abiding prescence of God in the present. A popular retreat amongst people in our denomination is call 'The Walk to Emmaus', this is a retreat that focuses around fellowship and preaching (talks) and various other small group interactions. It has had a profound impact on many, and yet the majority of its participants have a tendency to desire to live off that same bread for the next few weeks, months and some even years. Again the reason is that there is a lack of daily abiding in His prescense, so they will go back to that old moldy loaf that was once fresh (for a day).
Much of the ministry done today is an attempt to feed people moldy manna. Pastors preach messages to give people something to chew on until the next sunday, when in truth it is moldy monday morning. Some people will go from event to event trying to get fresh manna, but again it is in vain, you must collect that manna fresh from the ground each and every day. Lets wake up, Christianity is not event based, it is daily from minute to minute relying on fresh revelation from His word, fresh strength from His prescense, not past experiences.
Again preachers are feeding this stuff to their congregations because they often have no fresh manna of their own. They go and find already preached messages that were once fresh. The find 'ministry models' and 'growth strategies' developed by other men, and all of it may have been fresh.... yesterday. They cannot bring a fresh word from God because they have not gone to Him to receive one. They have instead gone to Spurgeon, or to Ravenhill, or to Wesley, or Augstine, or Calvin, or Paisley or whoever they go to, but they have not gone to Him. They find the latest person that preaches with power and try to feed there congregation with another mans power, but again its yesterday's manna.
A few quailifying words before I close this rant. We are certainly called very often in scriptures to remember. Israel is constantly being commanded to remember, and we too are reminded to remember. Past experience is not to be forgotten. Even great words of past preachers are not to be ignored and can be used in preaching. Nonetheless we are to remember the provision in the past only to remind us of the confidence we can have in God for our present provision. We can quote if we must in order to bolster the fresh manna we have received today.