Monthly Archives: July 2011

From Outrage to Adoration

Many modern readers of the Bible interpret it through a presupposition that it is a book of rules or hero stories (whose lives we should emulate) rather than a gospel narrative.  This can lead to outrage over jarring stories like Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac –  how could God ask that?  Might he ask me to do something similar?  Nancy Guthrie answers:

“Is God trying to teach us that we should be willing sacrifice what is most precious to us? No. This story is not recorded to inspire sacrifice to God. Instead, it paints in vivid colors the sacrifice of God. The point of this story is not to convince you that you must be willing to sacrifice to God what is most precious to you, but rather to prepare you to take in the magnitude of the gift when you see that God was willing to sacrifice what was most precious to him—his own beloved Son—for you.”

Reading the story with Christ as its center results in adoration instead of outrage.  Another outrageous story:

“And when we read the story of Jonah and see him sent to people he has every right to hate because of who they are and what they’ve done, we’re not meant to assume that God is going to require this of us, but rather that he will require it of himself. Jesus will leave heaven to go to a people who deserve to be treated with contempt because of who they are and what they’ve done, yet he will show them grace. He will not be sad when they repent, but will, instead, shed tears over their refusal to repent.”

Read the full post here.


Paul’s Downward Trajectory

Justin Holcomb describes Paul’s downward trajectory of his view of himself from the least of the apostles early in his ministry, to the least of all the saints, and finally to the chief of sinners towards the end.  While it sounds like Paul is regressing spiritually, he is exemplifying spiritual maturity.

“Paul isn’t just using self-deprecating hyperbole as a teaching device. Each of the three statements about himself is surrounded by references to the cross (1 Cor. 15:3-4; Eph. 3:7-8; and 1 Tim. 1:15) and grace or mercy (1 Cor. 15:10; Eph. 3:2, 7; and 1 Tim. 1:13-14, 16). For him, spiritual growth is realizing how utterly dependent he is on Jesus’ cross and mercy, not arriving at some point where he somehow needs the cross and mercy less.”

Read the full post here.

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