Thursday, March 27, 2008

acclimating ourselves to all of God's revelation

It is important for us in Jesus to work at acclimating ourselves to all of God's revelation given to us. I think particularly here of God's "special revelation" found in Scripture and in Jesus (within Scripture), not to discount God's "general revelation" found in nature, in the world of creation.

This means we have to keep reading through and taking seriously the Old Testament. With all of its conundrums and problems. For example, God's wrath in judgment is quite evident there, though you'll find it in uncomfortable, for us, places, in the New Testament, as well.

There's no use or value in sweeping those hard passages under the rug. Instead, we must take them seriously, if we're really to get the full picture God has given us. We must hold all things together.

An example of what I'm trying to think through and say comes from Miroslav Volf (and my memory, here). In one of his outstanding books I think (or possibly hearing him, recorded), he mentions how Mennonites, who are Christian pacifists like himself, at least some of them, have not liked how he brought in the judgment aspect of the Revelation into the mix of how we Christians today should work through issues of injustice in the world. Of course, as Volf points out (and perish the thought of me speaking for others, and especially for people like Volf, and this is filtered, of course, through me), God's work in Jesus is that of judgment and grace. We see this at the Cross in which Jesus took upon himself God's just judgment, so that it is really God taking the judgment for our sin on himself in dying there for us and for the world. And this judgment and grace plays out in a different and climactic kind of way, in Jesus, in the Revelation, the last book of the Bible.

Certainly this means we have to see a part of Scripture with reference to the whole, that is to the entire Story of God, and start with its immediate context, and then the context of like writings, and the same conjectured author (the Revelation being one of the books of the Apostle John, along with others, as most would agree). Working on the book of Revelation, and hearing it as depicted (and quite wonderfully, I add, if still strange to me) from The Bible Experience is definitely an experience (CD or MP3 CD). Seeing the Revelation as the end of the Story, of course a Story that really knows no end, but the end as found in the Book, is quite helpful, I think. But I need to keep working on it, along with everything else. In my own simple, slow way, crowded in with all the necessities of life.

It's not easy to realize you're not fully developed yet in your thinking and living. But that's important, as we press on to maturity together in Christ. And we do have the Spirit of God along with the word, to help us through, everyday, just where we're at right now, to live in and live out the grace and truth found in Jesus.

What would you like to add to this?

5 comments:

NaNcY said...

some animals can walk shortly after they are born. not us humans! no, we slowly learn to walk and it is a lesson that continues throughout our whole life.

thank God for His Living Word, His Spirit and for His Love that flows through us to eachother.

i have not heard of the bible experience before. revelation is not one of the books that i have spent very much time in...yet.

NaNcY said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NaNcY said...

"Christ will either be our physician or our executioner. If His Word is not the instrument of our life, it will be the instrument of our death, if not the instrument of our justification, then the instrument of our judgment."
- J.D. Hatfield

this is the end of a good post that was referred to on the blog of milton stanley today.

http://transformingsermons.blogspot.com/

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
The way God made humans is quite interesting. Quite dependent and of great potential, since made in God's image. All dependent on God in creation and now in the new creation in Jesus. Of course all human beings are born in God's image, even though it is distorted by sin. And renewed into that image by faith in Jesus.

You'll like "the Bible Experience" alot. They do a great job on it all, and the Revelation is interesting in the way they do it.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
Yes, true. And well worded.

We must warn people of the judgmetn to come, but we also must major on the good news that Jesus took our judgment on himself and came not to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him (John 3:16-17).

I believe people need to know from whence (or where) they have fallen, that they have fallen and are sinners, that God thus pronounces us guilty and by faith we receive that, but that in Christ, God has taken our judgment on himself so that he can prounouce us justified or righteous in Jesus- and by faith people need to receive that, as well. And thus begins not only a new legal standing, but a new life in Jesus.

Thanks for sharing that along with your other comment.