Friday, August 26, 2011

Jesus Is...

In Psalm 15, the person whom David is describing sounds like Jesus. Who else can say his walk is blameless? No one but Jesus. As followers of Jesus, we all strive for that perfection that Jesus embodied, but we can never achieve it.  Of course, knowing that we can't acheive perfection does not give us license to simply do as we will and continue in our old sin patterns.

Romans 6 clearly states that even though the grace and mercy of Christ is always extended to us, this is no reason for us to continue to give up trying to be like Christ.

This is undoubtedly a very daunting task. To speak the truth in love, to say no slanderous words against another, to keep our promises even when it hurts, to give of our money (and ourselves) freely to those in need. These are just some of the characteristics of Jesus, and to be true to these few attributes is hard for us. But try we must.

There is a lot for us to strive for in those verses. Perhaps concentrating on one thing for now will help us to focus more clearly on God's intentions for us. Let's focus our discussion to Speaking the Truth in Love.

This is a sometimes misunderstood responsibility. In Ephesians 6, Paul admonishes the people in Ephesus to speak the truth in love to one another. We must remember that Paul writes to a congregations of believers, so whatever he tells them is meant as a directive on how to treat those within the body of believers. We can't augment those words and conclude that we, as believers, should treat non-believers the same as we treat those within our own faith community.

Does this mean we aren't supposed to speak the truth of God the way we see it? Certainly not. It simply means that we are obligated to one another to speak up when we see a fellow Christian in an activity that contradicts scripture.

Here is the tricky part, though -- there are so many divisions among Christians, different sects and denominations, that it is hard to dissect what the truth really is when it comes to the small details of our faith. The list is endless of the points we quibbled about when it comes to Christianity.

There is, however, one central truth absolute to all who belong to the Christian faith -- a belief in Jesus as our Savior, that he was both God and human at the same time, that he came to us as a servant to fulfill a mission in his death and resurrection. On this point we cannot quibble. To us, he was not simply a good man, nor only a prophet. He was (and is) or Lord and Savior. This central truth among us, is the one thing, when all the other squabbles fall away, that fastens us all together as one body.

So, when we hear a brother or sister declare themselves a Christian, but does not believe in Jesus in this way, we must speak the truth to them in love. This is a requiremtnet and  is what Romans 6:14 means. It means that mature Christians, those who are no longer babies in the faith, take the newer Christians under their wing and make sure this truth is not overlooked.

I admit that I am rather progressive in my biblical interpretation, but on this fact I do not waver. I don't assault others with my beliefs; it is their right and privilege as a person with free will to choose to worship (or not) as they see fit. But for those who are under the umbrella of Christianity, I will speak the truth of our faith to them. By the blood of Jesus we are made whole because he is our Emmanuel - our 'God with us' - nothing less.