August 20, 2014

Sunday Morning Meditation: Think On These Things

During the month of November we are starting your Sunday—and your week—off with a quote to help you focus on God’s grace as you head to your worship service. This morning we read from Robert Capon’s Between Noon And Three.

The Gospel invites us to believe not that we are safe, provided, but that we are safe period. It is not that sin should not have dominion over us but that it cannot, for its power has been destroyed by Jesus. It reigns in our death, of course, as it always did; but what is that? What is it to have sway over a valley of dry bones? The main things is that sin does not reign over Jesus, and Jesus is our life. And there is the crucial point: Therefore, we are safe. Not safe, if … Not safe, as long as … Not safe, provided … Add anything — even a single qualifier, even a single hedge — and you lose the Gospel of salvation, which is just Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

 

Comments

  1. Mary Anne Dutton says:

    Thank you. This is just very lovely, very calming and encouraging and much appreciated in the chaos of the day.

  2. The gospel invites us to believe we are safe without any provision, including the provision that we believe the gospel? Universalism?

    • Yep, without any provision.

      I know “our minds” recoil at the idea that isn’t God who sets the conditions, “we” want some control after all. And if God is goona ogger and give His grace to THEM, well what’s the point.

      I know I will never understand how Grace works, or how salvation works, or even why I have been lucky(?) enough to have faith and believe..

      I just give thanks, and try to love God and my neighbor as He wants me to.

    • Universalism isn’t scary; it’s quite attractive, like a unicorn.
      Too bad Jesus himself didn’t appreciate Universalism. He seems to keep creating verbal Venn diagrams within his universal offering of grace, using qualifiers and subsets like “whosoever believes in Me”, etc.
      Grace is not an abstract concept of safety. It cannot even be fully comprehended apart from a relationship with our Father. Yes, I think there will be many in heaven whose first words will be, “oh, so it was You That my heart was pursuing all along, and I just didn’t know your name”. But I also think God honor the will of those who choose to reject relationship with him.

  3. We are saved by grace through faith. And faith is a gift of God.

    Do all receive faith?

    _

    I like the quote.

    It removes all add on’s.

    Decisions, seriousness, good works, the necessity of certain fingertips touching certain clergy. It’s ALL God and what He does.

    Now isn’t that liberating?

    (hear the crickets chirp)

    • God’s grace is indeed scary. And yes, the provision of the Gospel is there for those who do not believe. It is there for all. Our role is to die. That’s all.

      For those foolish enough to fight for life on their own, without Life Himself, the provision is still there, but not received. It is like a man dying of thirst while holding a garden hose flowing with endless water in his hand.

      God’s grace is so loud it can wake the dead.

      • Exactly. That is what makes hell even more hellish. People fight tooth and nail to go there despite their salvation already procured by Christ. They will NOT have that Man rule over them. It becomes doubly horrifying because their damnation is needless.

  4. Capon again on much the same that Jeff quoted;

    What our author has done here (Eph. 2:1-10) is to take one of Paul’s greatest insights and give it cosmic dimensions. In Romans 5:8, Paul had written, “But God proves his love for us in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Now, in Ephesians, that passing reference to the Messiah’s embrace of the world in it sins (not after it gets rid of them) becomes a hymn to the completed work of the Messiah acting quite on his own. And the hymn is about our joy, because we were saved by grace, even when we were dead in our trespasses. We’ve always been alive together with him; we’ve always been raised together with him; and we’re already sitting in the heavenly places with him now—all because in every now, we’ve always been in the Messiah Jesus. We’re not there because we managed to reform our lives and make ourselves deserving of such a privilege; we’re there because it’s all his doing: we’re his handiwork, not our own. And last bet best, we’ve never been anywhere else; because, as the writer of Ephesians said at the very beginning in 1:3-5: “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ chose us in him before the foundation of the world.” Even before we were born—even when we were nothing whatsoever—we were home in him forever.

    Moreover, contrary to much of the church’s preaching for two thousand years, neither Ephesians nor Paul seriously means to say that we will be made alive after the second nothingness of either our death in sin or our actual, physical death. They insist that we’ve been alive in him all along, no matter what. Death is not a prelude to our life; it’s the very sacrament, the real presence of the life of Jesus in us. Death is the Messiah’s chosen place for his eternal rendezvous with us, not a disaster he has to overcome. Everything can go wrong for us; be he never fails to show up for his assignation. In the words of the Lady Julian of Norwich, the great English mystic, “Sin is behovely [sin does indeed fit into the picture], but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” Our life in Jesus is a grace irrevocably given and a gift fully received by all. Like it or not, respond to it or not, believe it or not, everybody has it, and nobody will ever lose it.

    …(Paul’s) insistence (is) that the redemption of the world is a gift to be trusted, not a deal yet to be closed.

    Jeff, reading Capon has led me back to the joy of salvation.

    Tom

  5. Bill Metzger says:

    If you draw any lines or limits concerning the Gospel then it’s no longer the Gospel! Romans 5:20!!!