I have been lately mulling over a few thinly related things in both solitude and communion that touch my relationship with Christ. I cannot fully recount all, but I will share the bulk of it.
I had the good pleasure of sitting next to a friend and former teacher last week at the opera. The unplanned meeting proved to be tremendously uplifting. She shared the things that God had done in recent days. We praised our Lord for His faithfulness to even those with waning faith.
I opened my heart to a sermon Sunday night about a few verses in the beginning of the book of John. The preacher focused momentarily on the self-sufficient nature of the Trinity. He guided his listeners through the basic truths that God needs nothing other than Himself to live. He does not need anything in His creation to exist. Inter-trinitarian love is sufficiently perfect in itself; God does not need an object of affection outside of himself for perfect love to exist (He could love perfectly without you or me or any other creature fallen or pure). These are simple, basic truths about the nature of the only true God. But when fully grasped they mean so much more than the few simple phrases belie.
-If God can love perfectly without loving you or me, then that means that the love He shows to us is superfluous.
-If the love that He has for you or me is pure overflow, then the smallest affection would be enough for us to fall head over feet in gratitude.
-God allowed the trinitarian fellowship in which perfect love existed to be momentarily broken in the death of the incarnate Christ. Christ died to save us. God was willing to sacrifice Himself as well as an ancient relationship within the Trinity in order to preserve us.
-The incredibly high degree to which God demonstrated His perfect love to us necessitates an eternal gratitude. Because of the Word and Grace we can express that gratitude through the righteousness that God commands in the lives of those whom He saves.
-Conclusion (boiled down): An accurate understanding of God will affect how we live and think and make choices.
There are two over-arching themes that encapsulate all of the above. First, I learn a lot about God through how He works in the lives of others. I love hearing how God worked miracles in the lives of His children. I love it when people show how He is the God of their lives and not just the God of the Bible. Why try to contain God between two calf-skin covers? Why not prove your experience by the Word and see how through prayer and providence God is proving Himself more and more faithful to His chosen ones every day? And why not share such experiences with others? I know that hearing about the mighty deeds of our Lord among His people is as much if not more telling of His grace than pure, solid academia (I'm not talking about emotion vs. mind but rather experiential vs. cognitive).
Second, I learn a lot about God through how He reveals Himself in his word. If you preach then please, please preach Christ. Preach the word as God spoke it. It is so much more effective than a verse-backed political rally, conduct checklist, or anecdote recital. Tell me about my Savior. Teach me something about who God is. The Living Word preached in pure simplicity and faithful study to what God is communicating about Himself has always changed me and made me more reverent for His authority and divinity than anything else. I don't want to be entertained. You don't have to impress me with your wit. I will respect you so much more, preacher, if you get out of the way of what God wants to show me. When I think back on the sermons and lessons that caused me to grow I find that they are seldom filled with drama and humor, but with truth. I don't mind if you tell me that something is sin or something else is a good thing to do. However, if you teach me about who God is then I am more likely to see sin for what it is and righteousness for what it is and want to choose right.Posted by timf at March 24, 2006 11:02 AM