April 25, 2010

Pondering God X: Shipshape or Shipwrecked

Yes, this is another nautically themed post and it borrows a little from my "Welcome To Reverse World" post. I like the seas.

In the end, all we know and all we do only means something of importance if we have a relationship with Jesus Christ. You can have head knowledge of the savior and still not be saved. Book smarts do not get you through to stand face to face with our precious redeemer. Spiritually discerned things can have their beginnings in head knowledge but that knowledge needs to trickle down from our heads in a distilling process until it reaches our heart. When it does reach the heart it is pure knowledge of the Most Holy and the gift that is freely given. Salvation is not something that is dangled like a carrot that forces us, like the horse to walk forward or work for it to attain it. It is a gift freely given by a righteous and ultimately just God in His mercy and grace. A true product and manifestation of us having accepted this gift are outward signs of a conversion from our old sinful selves into a new creation in Christ. When we do sin (which we will) it will haunt us and convict us because of the spirit that is in us. The Spirit will convict us to live more holy lives.

Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. ~1 John 3:8-10

We are in God’s grace the best when we are like Christ. We can be most like Him when we are holy and righteous. We can know that we are righteous and new creations by faith through grace when we show manifestations of it through the fruits of the Spirit or the “works” mentioned by James:

But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. ~James 2:8

If we truly have the mind of Christ we reflect a behavior similar to the Kenosis in Philippians:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~Philippians 2:5:11

We become servant leaders or more specifically servant of the servants of God or as Gregory the Great said, “Servus servorum Dei". At the table of the Lord the servants at the table are the Body of Christ itself. Jesus was the perfect example of this when he washed the disciple's feet and offered up His life as propitiation.

The idea of this post has taken the path of a servant leader serving the Body or the Church, which is basically God’s work here on earth for the Kingdom. I need to mention one more verse and comment on it and it is borrowed from a post on my blog "Welcome To Reverse World". In reference to an apostle-apostleship or disciple-discipleship of Christ, Paul says:

"So then, men ought to regard us as servants [Greek: huperetes] of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful." ~1 Corinthians 4:1-2

The Greek word "huperetes" was the particular type of slave that was chained or tied to others in a ships galley (Willimon). It is no irony that there is a parallel between the connected nature of these slaves and the Christian tied together in Christ to other Christians...in a common bond like brothers and sisters. All of the “huperetes” rowing in the same direction as directed by the new Divine Holy Captain steering the vessel and everything in it heavenward towards it’s originally intended destination. I say new Captain because the ship was originally mutinous and under command of a flawed and sinful crew all individually controlled by a sinful nature. Since coming aboard the New Captain has forced sinful natures to walk the plank and is working the crew into shipshape capable of reaching the distant shore of Heaven. Thank God we have all been “keelhauled” by the Lord. I for one am glad that I remain at “close quarters” to Him rather being between the Devil and the deep blue sea. ;)

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