Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Thomas The Inquisitor

The idea of doubt has more of a fearful color to it. Like indecisiveness, it freezes the traveler at any fork in the road.  There is the doubt that a right decision can be made or the fear of giving up gained ground for new venture.  Doubt, like fear, keeps a traveler stagnate. The Thomas we know of, the "doubting" Thomas, saint, disciple, apostle, was not fearful.
Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him. (John 11:16 NIV)  
These were the words of the disciple as he assessed Jesus' decision to return to Judea.  There was great concern about returning to this region due to Jesus having nearly been stoned to death. However, Thomas spoke up and expressed his readiness to follow Jesus and die if it be necessary.

Thomas is popularly known for his doubt when faced with the resurrected Jesus.  This is possibly a mistaken assessment of his character.  Thomas wasn't frozen with indecisiveness.  He was not the unbeliever who walked away and ignored the gospel. On the contrary, Thomas made a decision as to what evidence he needed, how he would obtain such evidence and then carried out the plan.

Pushing his fingers into the recovered wounds of Jesus' nailed hands/wrists, Thomas confirmed the resurrection for himself.

Prayer: Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Found finding the Finder?

"I found God." An all too common phrase used by Christians to express several feelings of accomplishment. They may be implying that they completed certain deeds that brought them closer to God, that they went on a metaphorical journey or that they denied themselves certain pleasures-applied a discipline. Sometimes converts will also use this cliche to speak of a new life choice. Although it might be a pet peeve of mine and a fun satirical endeavor to dissect this cliche, I believe there is also slight danger for those who ascribe too deeply to such a notion of the Found finding the Finder.

Is God lost? Where was God hiding? You found God? Oh, how dedicated and profound your detective skills must be (tongue in cheek). Isn't it we who were lost then found?

For God in his search, looking out from the most high with all advantage, saw us before we were born and recovered all creation with a vicarious sacrifice. Thus, the Found benefited from an action that was not their own and were given access due to the Finder's will and grace.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Strength of Salvation

When Saul aka Paul "worst of sinners" was bestowed salvation, this was a display of the strength and patience of salvation. He was a murderer and serial in method. He held a position of authority that could easily hide his deeds by false-context and hire the best legal defense. This precedent of salvation's capability is often forgotten as we in time lose a belief in what salvation can accomplish and narrow it's target audience to those who only commit minimal deeds. We are also given an example of the fruits of salvation. It's not a trifle confession, otherwise it's just words. It's not just a momentary change in weekly actions, otherwise it is just a sensation. Paul's salvation had suffering and repentance, he vowed dedication, he visioned a path of purpose and gave everything.

There is hope in all things reconciled.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

New sensory for new beginning

Many addictions start with the initial sensory experience. The stimulant is so foreign yet so altering. I'm not really focusing on drugs as an example, even though that would fit. I'm thinking more about music or sound waves, more about aesthetics. Our senses experience something unprecedented and when we do, it changes us ever-after. We love our music, to make it, to dance to it, for it to express our feelings. The beautiful person from around the corner, when we see them, just might change our lives forever (sounds like a soapy love movie I know). How is a sensory experience with God any different? There are many who will read the Bible, hear of the gospel, hear preaching, meet Christians, etc. and this will never move them, but for someone like St. Thomas (the inquisitor or the doubter) we know that a touch of Christ's scared hands makes a life changing difference. We know blinding and a vision of Christ can change a murderer into an apostle (St. Paul). And for sound, what about how thunder or a lions deep roar makes the animal kingdom react? How much more reverence the sound of angels singing in heaven?

When I ponder Apocatastasis, I consider that salvation may continue past the grave. I think about the first time a person will hear healing words right from God's mouth, the songs of angels, the sight of God's glory and to touch the hands of Christ. Surely this sensory experience for the worst criminal, the worst doubter would lead to a new beginning.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Vicarious Life

To share in the desired outcome or the desired experience, but from someone else's efforts and actions, is to live vicariously. An easy example of this is the fan that lives vicariously through their favorite sport hero, movie star or celebrity. On a larger scale of reward and consequence, there can be a vicarious sacrifice, where lives are spared due to the work and sacrifice of another. An old Biblical/Hebrew Scripture example of this is found in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in the book of Genesis.

Three men approach Abraham; he refers to them as Lord. Some scholars say them to be angels; others say them to be the Trinity. Abraham learns of God’s intention to destroy Sodom for its wicked ways but is allowed to intercede, to ask if the town could be spared should some righteous people be found. It is agreed that the town could live vicariously through the life of a few.
And the LORD said, if I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes... And he (Abraham) said, Oh let not the LORD be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake.
- Genesis 18:26 & 32 (KJV)
When God completed his count of the town, the agreed upon number of righteous people was not found. God proceeded to inflict the consequent of wrath and destruction to the town found guilty of wickedness.

Ultimately, sin brings about the consequence of God’s wrath. Sacrifices are made, codes of conduct are followed and a life of faithfulness is what had kept peace between God and his people. Building over time, a wicked and sinful world in it’s majority, the consequence of wrath was being prepared. The intent was not to destroy a few more cities, but the world. At the same time, a vicarious sacrifice was being prepared for the world to have a vicarious life. If we observe that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2), and that he was the sacrifice, we can observe on that day he saved all creation from wrath and destruction.

Being as torturous as it was, it was not the crucifixion, the crown of thorns, or lashings that caused Jesus great anxiety before his sacrifice. It was a “cup” of wrath or the full consequent of a world’s worth of sin that he was to bare, which brought about sweat of blood (Luke 22:42-44). In addition to the wrath intended for the world, was the endeavor of conquering the power of death (Revelation 1:18) and the conquest of hell (Ephesians 4:8-10, Acts 2:31)
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. - 1 John 2:2 (NIV)
This is the vicarious life.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Christ in us

The Christian believes in an invite of God into their soul, a metaphysical joining and change in composition. I have read and heard many positions on how this effects thinking patterns, habits, character, the mind and how fast these changes could occur. From my experience, this metaphysical invite does not result in a completed make-over of the mind. Most would concur that salvation has a process, "fear and trembling", "he who began a good work in you will continue it onto completion". I'm thinking about how our beliefs in Christ's identity, his purpose, God's plan, can effect the transformation of our mind. Do we have beliefs that slow down our salvation of the mind? I think yes. What if we believe that God is a failure? What if we believe that he sent his son to die on a cross for the sins of the world, but that he will still lose many of his creation to an eternal hell? I think this misunderstanding causes many Christians and non-believers to have an ill-opinion of God. In our journey of salvation through Christ, this theosis, we make progress as God's plan and Christ's identity become further apparent to us. God saves all. The redemption plan has no victorious enemies. Christ's sacrifice is 100% effective.