A Word for Wednesday…On Thursday
“For while we were still weak, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).
I know, my timing is a little off. Today is Thursday, not Wednesday, the day I am supposed to post a “Word.” I try to get things done on time, but sometimes I fail. I have a really good excuse. I always do. But you probably don’t want to hear it. Needless to say, my timing is not perfect, but God’s timing is perfect.
I often wonder what the Apostle Paul meant by his statement above. It is but one small part of a lengthy argument that comprises most of his letter to the Roman Christians, where he brilliantly makes the case that we are justified by grace through faith and not works, so that "no one can boast.” In that larger context it would be easy to overlook this one verse, but I think Paul was the kind of person who chose every word carefully and deliberately. What was he trying to say with these?
At the very least, I think this was Paul’s way of saying that God sent Jesus at a very particular time in human history for a reason, or maybe several reasons, all of which we may never know until we get to heaven. But to all those who said, “God should have seen the Messiah sooner,” or “God should have sent the Messiah later,” I believe Paul would say that God knew exactly what he was doing.
In my own life I can think of so many examples where God’s timing did not align with my timetable. There are so many times I wished he would have done something sooner, or later, or maybe even never. I suspect many of you do too. I’m not suggesting that our individual experiences rank anywhere near Jesus’ death on the cross, but I believe these principles hold true in all situations. God’s timing is perfect. God does know what he’s doing. ... See MoreSee Less
Historical Clapp Family Association will meet August 12 at 5:00 pm to discuss genealogy followed by dinner at 6:00 pm. Program at 7:00PM by Dr Carole Troxler, professor emeritus from Elon University, sharing stories from her book"Shuttle and Plow: a History of Alamance County". Dinner reservations 336-213-1565 ... See MoreSee Less
A Word for Wednesday…Knowledge
“Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (1 Cor. 8:1b).
“If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing" (1 Cor. 13:2).
I’ve been reminded recently of how much diversity exists within the body of Christ. To be more specific, the diversity that exists among Christians in regard to their beliefs, doctrines and convictions. I suppose I’m reminded of this on a weekly basis, as I’m preparing my sermon for the theologically diverse congregation I serve, trying to be faithful to the text while not speaking in a disparaging way of those who hold views different than my own. (If the placement of someone with a Wesleyan-Arminian background in a church with the word “Reformed” in their name isn’t proof that God has a sense of humor, I’m not sure what is.) But it was really driven home to me on account of recent events in our community.
Presumably an individual’s theological views emerge from the knowledge they possess about God. They acquire this knowledge through a variety of avenues, including their personal experiences, any religious training they have received, and personal study. Yet the diversity of theological views would suggest our knowledge is not all the same. We would be hard pressed to find another way to explain how two committed Christians could reach two entirely different conclusions.
It’s tempting to look at someone with views different than your own and assume the knowledge you possess is closer to the truth. Why else would we hold a particular view if not because we think it is the right one? If we think our view is the right one, doesn’t it follow then that any view other than our own is the wrong one?
The Apostle Paul had a lot of knowledge about God, far more than anyone I have ever known. In those days most Jewish boys had more of the Bible memorized by the time they were twelve than most pastors today, this one included. But Paul understood there was something more important than knowledge. That something is love. Without it, all the knowledge in the world is meaningless.
If love is more important to us than our knowledge, we should be able to find a way to get along with our fellow Christians, even those whose beliefs, doctrines, and convictions are very different than our own. More than simply get along with them, we will respect them. We will count them among our brothers and sisters in Christ. We will be open to the possibility that their knowledge may be more complete than our own, and that we could learn something from them. ... See MoreSee Less