Month: December 2007

a.m.: Matthew 1 p.m.: John 12:37-50

As we’ve been considering the name of God over the past few weeks, we come to the name which above every other name – Jesus the Christ. Just as the name of the Father reflects his character, so the name given to God the Son in the flesh reflects his mission. Jesus is indeed, “God to the rescue”.

“Rescue from what?” you might ask, to which the bible would answer, “Our sin”.

For the Word was made flesh that he might set us free from the punishment due to us for our sin. Whilst he was on earth, he set and example by leading a sinless life, he taught with authority unknown amongst the teachers of the Law, but ultimately he came to die in our place. He mission was made complete in his crucifixion and resurrection, where he took on the wrath of a holy God in his death, and his defeat of death in his rising again on the third day. You might ask “If God were merciful, why could he not just ignore our sin without the need for the crucifixion?” The answer lies in the fact that God is a merciful God. Just as we feel aggrieved when justice is not served in our earthly lives, God must act according to his just and holy nature. Justice must be done, punishment must be served. Through faith in Christ, he takes on our sin, and imputes his righteousness to us.

We are also saved from the power of sin. For anyone who sins is a slave to sin, but the Holy Spirit dwells within all Christians enabling them to say no to unrighteousness. This is not to say we’ll reach sinless perfection this side of eternity, for that would be folly. We will still battle against our sinful nature, but we will no longer have to battle alone, for the Holy Spirit not only enables us to say no, but enables us to become self-controlled, to be free.

However, one day, we’ll be completely free from the presence of sin when our sanctification will be made complete and we will be with God in eternity. The justification which is ours in Christ through faith and is already complete will be accompanied by a sanctification which will be complete in eternity. We will be reconciled to God not only legally, but completely.

As Charles Wesley’s famous hymn quite succinctly summarises:

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”

Do we know what it is to be reconciled to God?

a.m.: John 12:20-36 p.m.: Matthew 20:20-28

In the bible, the name of God is not just a tag, but it represents him. As such, not only are we to not use it lightly, but we are to afford it due glory and praise.

Just as Jesus gave glory to his Father, so we are to glorify God in all we do. In order to praise God, we need to know him personally. We need to know God as he really is, not some figment of our imagination, but as he reveals himself in the bible and in creation. This is the God who is eternal and infinite, almighty and omnipresent, who sees all and knows all, who is holy and just, merciful and loving. It is because of these things, he is worthy of all glory and praise.

In the opening lines of the Lord’s prayer, we seek to hallow God’s name, to set him apart from everyday life, and yet have him involved in our everyday lives. Just as we should avoid doing anything which would bring the name of Christ into disrepute, so we should seek to do that which glorifies the name of Christ.

On our own, we cannot do these things, for our nature is sinful. We need to have our sin dealt with by the one who is to be glorified. By the sacrifice of Christ, we can have our sin taken away from us, and his righteousness become our own.

Slow, Slow. Quick, Quick…

A rather relaxing day to start with, mostly spent having breakfast, playing the piano, playing the violin, tidying the house, doing some food shopping and trying to fix the installation of Direct X on my Windows box. For some reason, after installing the latest ATi drivers using Windows update, any 3D graphics use doesn’t work any more. Despite a lot of fiddling, it still doesn’t work, but then, it’s mostly games which are affected and given that it’s the mad rush leading up to Christmas, it’s probably a good thing.

The evening was spent at Feltham Evangelical Church for a talk by Paul Garner of Biblical Creation Ministries. His main emphasis was on the correct exegesis of Genesis 1, using various statistical and lexical analysis. After lots of powerpoint, I must admit to being strongly persuaded by the young earth argument. Time will tell I guess.

I finished the day helping prepare some food for the tomorrow’s lunch at FEC.

I’m now exhausted, but happy. 🙂

This one’s a little weird

Started learning the Sicilienne attributed to Paradis which is rather tricky – especially as it’s only classified as grade 5! The Mozart Bagatelle is beginning to become second nature now, all I need to do is get it up to speed!

a.m.: Exodus 20:7 p.m.: Matthew 10:34

When most people think of the third commandment, they have a very narrow view concerning its application. It’s often only thought to concern bad language such as swearing and blasphemous vulgarity.

However, as Christians, it’s not just what we say which can be blasphemous. If we claim to be Christ’s and fail to do his command, we are effectively sullying his name through our conduct. Those around us will see our actions and speech and associate it with the name of our Lord and Saviour.

In addition, our attitude to God’s name encroaches on our reliance of oaths. How can we bring the God of the universe into our petty squabbles? Our reputation alone should be enough to back the trivial. Even when considering serious matters such as determining someone’s criminality, we should understand the gravity of swearing in the name of God.

Much like all of the other commandments, it is primarily a question of attitude. Our conduct ultimately results from our attitudes. If our hearts are polluted, then so will our speech and actions. There is no point in policing our actions if our hearts are unchanged.

Effectively then, when we break any of the other commandments, we break the third.

Tuppence a bag

Whilst it may have only cost tuppence to feed the birds, it usually costs £9.50 to enter St. Paul’s Cathedral! Compared to £5 to enter Salisbury Cathedral, this seemed a little steep. Fortunately, Southwest Trains have a 2 for 1 offer, which we duly used.

Admittedly, it seemed a little miserly considering that, unlike Salisbury, you get to climb to the top of the dome free of charge and you get a magnificent view of London.  Saying that, comparing Christopher Wren’s masterpiece to Richard Poore’s pride and joy is like comparing apples and oranges. They are both worth visiting, and I’d have difficulty in choosing a favourite!

Afterwards, we met up with some of the usual suspects to celebrate Abi and Ally’s birthday in Chiquitos. The company and conversation were great, although I’m not sure about the food!

Ah well, a good day none the less!

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