Holy, spiritual and acceptable sacrifices

It’s fascinating to watch a building go up on a construction site. Builders, architects, engineers, owners, suppliers, and workers participate in a highly coordinated process to make it happen. Sometimes, however, the process is interrupted, and the construction is slowed or stopped. The finished product is always a sight to behold.

Christ is that first and living stone in the spiritual temple of God. He is God’s firstborn, for he brings other living stones to build up this temple. Our work is to bring still more of these living stones into this temple. This is our priestly work. Continue reading “Holy, spiritual and acceptable sacrifices”

Jesus the supreme example of suffering

Some people make it almost a life’s goal to avoid or remove any type of discomfort in their lives. They live by a dangerous misconception that happiness depends upon the absence of suffering and pain. Jesus’ gave us the supreme example of humility and also the supreme example of suffering. Following him is the key to joy and meaning.

Originally, man was created to enjoy life with God without suffering or pain. (Perhaps the deep-seated aversion to them and attempts to avoid them rise from this truth.) The Garden of Eden was the perfect place for man’s fellowship (relationship) with God. He had all he wanted or needed. Nothing lacked. Everything abounded in supply and variety. In the Garden, Adam and Eve had no worries, no cares, no difficulties. This was God’s eternal design. Continue reading “Jesus the supreme example of suffering”

We are special

“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 7:6-8 ESV).

The Israelites were to be a “holy” people. They were God’s “treasured possession” out of all the people who lived on the earth. God had chosen them. God “set his love” on them.

But what does it mean to be holy? Continue reading “We are special”

Christians are the spiritual Israel of God

Some people are surprised that the Old Testament is so much larger in size than the New. In my Portuguese Bible it takes up 764 pages out of a total of 994. That’s 76% of the whole Bible. Several explanations as to why may be adequate, but here is one thought, how the Lord was building up to, and preparing for, the time when Christ would come and fulfill his eternal plan.

In both Testaments, God created a people for himself. In the Old Testament, it was Israel, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Each of Jacob’s sons became a tribe in Israel. In the New Testament, God’s people is the church, and they are variously described as the body of Christ, the family of faith, the temple of the Holy Spirit. No more is there a physical connection to define God’s holy ones. We are born into God’s family because we respond to his message and obey his commandments, John 3.3, 5. Continue reading “Christians are the spiritual Israel of God”

Because of whose you are

Rude statements. Inconsiderate demands. Aggressive behavior. It can get worse. Deliberate mistreatment.

Sometimes we are the recipient of them all. Justice would seem to justify a tit-for-tat retaliation. Yet, Jesus and his apostles denounced this natural instinct. They had a very good reason. The concise and crystal clear idea they described encapsulates a perspective, a worldview, capable of transforming our lifestyle and society. Continue reading “Because of whose you are”