Friday, January 24, 2014

How can a sinful cultures fascination with zombies point us to God?

At church we are currently in a series on Romans. In Romans 11:33-36 Paul talks about how all things are from Jesus and through Jesus and to Jesus. Which makes me ask "all things?" Now I am not a fan of horror movies or books or anything of that genre. As a Christian I think I can justify that by pointing to God's call for us to dwell on things that are beautiful in Philippians 4:8. But I can't help but think that even in the culture's fascination with zombies there is a great reminder for us. I don't know much about zombies but I do know they are the living dead. How can that point us to God. We live among a people that the Bible tells us is spiritually dead (Rom. 8:10, Eph. 2:1). Even though they are spiritually dead they continue to live physically in this world. If nothing else I believe the world embraces the idea of zombies because they are in a spiritual sense like them. And like zombies moving together, they serve their father the devil without even being conscious of it. Rather than simply being repelled by the things in our world perhaps we should ask if the base things we see are perhaps a reflection of what is already in the heart of men. This should make us grateful that we have been made alive in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 6:11). Perhaps even this could be an entry into a conversation that could help someone come to new life in Christ. This is one more backhanded way our sinful culture can remind us to live a life focused on God. What are some other ways our culture's fascinations point out their fallen state and remind us to look to God?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Super Sins and their Power to Separate us from God?!?

New Year's day and we are setting around discussing how things seem to come between us and God. The problem is not that things come between us and God. Paul asks in Romans 8:35-36 if anything can separate us from the love of Christ. Then he goes through a short list of physical trials and dangers including death. In the next three verses (Romans 8:37-39) Paul declares that nothing can come between us and God. If there is really nothing that can separate us from God then why do we seem to struggle with that feeling of separation?

The reality is that we are really quite prideful. We think of ourselves as somehow needing to do some kind of penance in order to make ourselves right with God. The only problem with that is it makes our standing with God dependent on our ongoing work and not on Jesus finished work. We are living as if our sins are somehow super sins that require more than Jesus' atoning work!

King David in the Bible is called a man after God's own heart. Here is a guy who had big public sins and rebellion within his household. He was so bad he probably would not be accepted at a lot of our churches. Saul his predecessor might not have been a man after God's heart but his house was orderly and his children were loyal to him. Contrary to David, Saul would probably be accepted at a lot of our churches.

What seems to define David being a man after God's own heart is his continual dependence on God. Nothing seemed to be able to separate David from God. When Nathan confronted him with his sin we see repentance and Psalm 51 as a result. When Absalom drove him from Jerusalem he was mocked and cursed by Shimei one of Saul's descendants. In 2 Samuel 16:9-12 his response is one of acceptance of this cursing as if it were from God. In the next breath he sees in the cursing hope that God will repay him good for the cursing he received. Instead of getting defensive at being kicked when he was down, David hopes in God's blessing. Earlier in David's life Saul was hunting him down to kill him. Twice David could have killed Saul (1 Samuel 24:9-12, 26:8-11). In both cases David shows dependence on God to be the one who would avenge him. David's heart seems to always turn to God and cling to Him even if he has sinned. David is dependent on God. In contrast Saul continually did things in his own strength and did rarely showed repentance or dependence on God.

Perhaps the problem when things seem to separate us from God is that we pridefully refuse to depend upon the grace found in the finished work of Jesus. Our actions declare that we really don't believe that Jesus' work was powerful enough for us. Brothers and sisters you are not that great of a sinner, no one is. David really demonstrates what it means to live a God focused life. It might be broken but it is utterly dependent on God. Better to be a broken vessel in my Savior's hands than to be standing on my own in insufficient penance. Let your sin drive you to repentance and your Savior's embrace.