Monday, November 4, 2013

Take Off Your Shoes

We are given the great privilege again of ascending in to the holy of holies, into the very presence of God in His holy temple, not made with human hands, but made of humans, saints, you and me, the living stones of His temple in which He dwells.  As we do so, I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to take care.  We are walking into the temple of God and so, metaphorically speaking, we should take off our shoes.  If we do not, we will likely track in all sorts of uncleanness.

This is what it means to confess your sins as you enter here now.  It means to put away, to take off, to remove your transgressions.  Put away your sin, confess your disobedience. Anger, lust, envy, backbiting, private ambition, all must go. Take off your shoes.  In a short time, you will dine with these brothers and sisters – make sure you have not come to spoil the meal.

The metaphor can be adapted many ways.  Wipe your feet, take off your shoes, consider where you have been walking, look down for a moment, in all humility.  We are coming to worship God the Father.  The Lord Jesus washed the feet of His first disciples. So let Him wash yours.

Baptism: The Doorway to the Table

A good picture that helps us understand the relationship between the sacrament of baptism and the sacrament of the Lord’s Table is the relationship between the door into your home and the table where your family sups.  In order to come to the table, you have to come through the door and come into the family.

Baptism identifies a person as a covenant family member.  It is the outward means by which God declares through His church that this one is His.  His name is placed upon the one baptized along with all the privileges and responsibilities of being a family member.  One of those privileges is the privilege of coming to the Table, the Table of Christ, the Lord’s Table.  Here we sup with Christ and with the Father’s family.  Here we enjoy the fruits of our peace with Christ – in fact, here we partake of that peace with Christ.  And so, to all who have been baptized, come and welcome to Jesus Christ.

The Arians' God is a Moving Target

"Once the Arians implicitly introduce temporality into the Father-Son relation, they implicitly introduce temporality into the existence of the Father himself.  If there is an interval between Father and Son, and yet the Son is somehow "God," then God is subject to becoming (Discourses 1.17).  If the Triad emerges, then true religion is not fixed; piety is trying to hit a moving target (Discourses 1.18.  For the Arians, God becomes Father only after begetting the Son (Discourses 1.24).  The Arians imply in various ways that God is subject to time, that he is a God-in-process.
The point of the paradigm of sonship thus cannot be to highlight a temporal interval between Father and Son.  To be sure, there is such an interval in human life, but since God is beyond time, there can be no interval." - Leithart, Athanasius, p. 51

If the Father is not eternally the Father (and He is not if there is not eternally a Son), then God the Father as we know Him now is not the same.  The unchangeable has changed.

Chamberlain's Empathy-Listening with Hitler - not so good...

"Forces that are un-self-regulating can never be made to adapt toward the strength in a system by trying to understand or appreciate their nature.  This was Chamberlain's great mistake at Munich in trying to empathize with Hitler.  Priding himself on his own reasonableness and his unwavering belief in the value of achieving consensus, Chamberlain was trying to "understand Hitler's needs."  He tried to project himself into, that is, fell for, Hitler's position, so that they could work out a mutual accommodation.  It never seems to have occurred to him that there are forces on this planet that, because of their inability or unwillingness to self-regulate, are by nature all take and no give." - Friedman, A Failure of Nerve, p135

There is such a thing as real evil in this world.  Leaders would do well to remember this.