One God and Father of all

People who justify wrong ways use twisted logic. “God is one,” they say, at least where I live, “so all paths lead to God.” They apparently borrow the phrase that said, during the Roman Empire, all roads lead to Rome.

Somehow they miss Jesus’ statement that he is the only way to God, John 14.6.

The apostle Paul ends his great list of sevenfold pillars of unity among Christians this way: “one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” Ephesians 4.6. God is one, and he unites all Christians in one great unity of faith, worship, and work.

The first thing that needs to be noted here is to whom “all” refers. As always, context determines the meaning. Continue reading “One God and Father of all”

Pursuing peace

Peace is not produced by passivity. Harmony is not a settled state. Man tends toward discord. A close reading of Genesis 3 will reveal that sin caused disharmony between man and his Creator, disharmony between man and creation, and disharmony between man and man. We live in a world where sin is the settled state. Where sin is, there is disunity, discord, and disharmony. Peace must be something we work toward, something we pursue.

The blood of Christ has the power to heal the divide between God and man (Colossians 1:20). But man must be willing to pursue that peace (see 2 Corinthians 5:20). Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Denying self and following after Christ are basic prerequisites to reconciliation with God. Peace with God through salvation does not simply come to us, we must come to God in faith. Once we have been unified with God, we must continue to live by faith to maintain that fellowship with the Divine (1 John 1:3-7). Continue reading “Pursuing peace”

With one voice: Unity under the fullness of God

All that is good comes from God. To each one he gives what is more than sufficient. In Christ, there are no shortages. God shares his fullness with all, and there is more than enough to go around.

Paul sums up in Romans 15.5 what God gives as endurance and comfort. He helps us go the distance and cheers us on to keep up our spirits. (Sounds like Philippians 2.13.) Continue reading “With one voice: Unity under the fullness of God”

Christians still prefer the rich. How crazy is that?!

The rich, as a rule, love their riches. Jesus observed how difficult it is for the rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, Matthew 19.23. As well, many saints, whose eyes are impressed by wealth, give preference to the more well-off in life.

Therefore, it is necessary that we all, as brothers and sisters who love each other without prejudice or conditions, hear again the word of God, which discounts completely the possessions that a person has, for “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” Luke 12.15. Continue reading “Christians still prefer the rich. How crazy is that?!”

Love and knowledge

Sometimes living as a Christian can seem confusing. Unlike the Law of Moses given to Israel, there isn’t a list of “do’s and don’ts” detailing how we should live. Instead we find principles we can use and examples we can see that help us determine how we should live.

One of the big ‘issues’ that the Christians in the first century had to face was in eating. Although this might seem strange to us, we need to realise the problem was not necessarily in the food itself, but in people’s perception of who we were, based on what we were eating. In particular this had to do with food that had been sacrificed to idols. Continue reading “Love and knowledge”

‘A universal proverb among Christians’

Driving one Sunday morning up US Highway 45 in Tennessee, on our way to report on our work to a congregation outside of the town of Dyersburg, we passed a denominational church building with a sign posted near the right-of-way. It was simple, with three words, one on top of the other: Scripture, Tradition, Reason.

In truth, in order to reflect that group’s positions, the order ought to be reversed: reason, tradition, scripture. The denomination could not exist were it not for human reasoning and religious tradition, because its name and its teachings do not appear in Scripture in any form.

Division among people who call themselves Christians is a serious problem. Religious leaders not only justify it, but promote it. They glory in human names and creeds. They impose their doctrines and, like the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees, make their followers “twice as much a child of hell as” themselves, Matthew 23.15. Continue reading “‘A universal proverb among Christians’”

Is unity still a realistic pursuit?

The first pair of brothers was not united. Cain was jealous of Abel and killed him because of his righteousness, Genesis 4. Unity has always been a desirable pursuit, Psalm 133. It has not always been an easy exercise. Moses dealt with rebellious siblings, and Joseph was betrayed by his brothers. In Israel, tribe rose up against tribe. Abram’s sentiments to Lot are rarely heard: We are family, so let’s not quarrel, Genesis 13.8.

The early church dealt with challenges to unity at every turn. Judaizers, promoters of human philosophies, libertines, and greedy opportunists sought to slice the family of faith into pieces and prey on the weak. Continue reading “Is unity still a realistic pursuit?”