October 23, 2005

Love & Discipline, Faith and Law

Sometimes the balance in these issues is so hard to find. Sometimes there is not a balance. Sometimes both are exhibited to the full extent at the same time. Sometimes our theology is messed up and we don't know what is going on. Sometimes quick cute answers on these topics do not cut it. Sometimes one must just wrestle with them, like Jacob wrestled with God. I think part of our relationship with God is just questioning and questioning him. Now before you go jumping up and yelling heresy (because as Christians we like to do that a lot), look at the Scriptures.
DISCLAIMER: I don't mean questioning God when he asks us to do something. If we did that, Noah would have slept on the idea of building the Ark and probably been one day too late when the rains came and we all would have been up poop creek without a paddle

God calls Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, to him. God is asking Abraham to do something that seems to go against God himself. Sacrificing children is what other nations were doing at that time to their false Gods.

God tells Abraham to make a bronze Snake and put it on a pole. Then he commands the Israelites to look at the snake so they can be healed. Doesn't this seem odd. He is asking them to look at a man made image for healing. Perhaps there is more though?

There are other paradox's (don't get excited over that word, like most of you probably just did when you read it). You have to face it, there are paradoxs' in the Bible. God tells Adam and Eve to be fruitfull and multiply, yet he choses a barren woman, Sarah, to carry out his plan. And this follows with Rebekah and Rachel.

We top out wiht the paradox that Jesus is both fully man and fully God. Our minds can not understand this and we see it as a paradox.

Yet behind all of these I think God is trying to get us to look to the deeper issue. Faith?? What was God wanting the Israelites to see and do when they looked at the image. Believe that God could heal them?

And behind all of these trust is interwoven.

If God is the one who created everything and made this world, then certainly he is capable of defying human logic. In fact, I want him to defy human logic.

These things I don't understand and seem to oppose each other have only strengthed my faith.
Wow God!


Sween said...

Healthy tensions and dichotomies are what are at the core of mystery. Because it goes against the grain of all our experiences it causes us to look twice.

Romans is a recent encounter of mine regarding paradoxes and the foundation of faith. It seems that the heart of the arguments Paul wrestled with lie in the Jews' lack of dissolvement from the keeping with the law and embracing of grace and the Holy Spirit in regards to how these factors help us in keeping the law.

Aside from all that (because I would most likely create a dissertation regarding differentiating between law, work of the law, and works outflowing properly from faith) there is a sense of mysticism that we lack, perhaps as Wesleyans, perhaps as mainline evangelicals in general.

Hermenutical and systematic theologies should be coupled with an experience with God on a regular basis. This lack of the supernatural in our present situation causes us to always revert to those one time occurances of becoming saved.

All in all, I want to assert that I am on a journey to experience this "abundant life" and willing to forget everything I know except that Christ has a plan to bring me above and beyond the mundane and common experiences of this thing we call... life. He not only has a place prepared post mortem, but there is so much now that is meant to be experienced.

Glad to journey with you, my friend

The Jew said...

I'm overwhelmed with both of your...honesty.

Finlay said...

Interesting stuff...I must admit. I would like to add to all of this one simple thought. Something that I have been thinking about for a while now and in the mist of deveolping a sermon on. What about silence...how does silence play in accordance to our faith. Do you think that too many times that we try to "figure" all this out when God is in the showdows saying, "what I want to show you this" but yet we don't have time to listen.

Are we even meant to have everything figured out or is that part of our faith. Yet, it says that we as Christians need to have a answer, 1 Pet. 3:15.

Warrior said...


yeah silence, that's a good point... that's a really good point. I have nothing else to say, but I just wanted you to know that I'm thinking hard about silence and I'm listening to God about it. Thanks Dave