Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Things are not as they seem!

Last night I shared a Chestertonian nugget with you, something I'd found in Viola and Sweet's new book, Jesus Manifesto. Here, I'll give it to you again:
There is a great difference between a mystery of God that no one understands, and a mystery of God laid hold of, let it be but by one single man.
As I've come to chapters 5 and 6 in my Romans Reading Plan this month (reading 5:1 to 6:14 all month), I feel like I've been meandering down stream in a kayak, but just now I've hit the rapids. There's just so much here!

But getting back to the Chesterton quote, I take his "laid hold of" to mean, simply, believed. Believed, and lived out. A truth of God, mysterious, not fully understood (the truths of God never are), but believed and lived.

Here's another quote for you. It's not from the Romans passage, but it compliments what Paul says there nicely:
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)
By the way, Ray Ortlund has something to say about this brief verse at his blog the other day. Check it out.

Making a similar point, John says:
Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)

But here's what I'm getting at. It's one thing to read the word of God. It's another thing to lay hold of, to believe and to live out, what it says there. I died? And my life is now hid with Christ in God? Things are not what seem, brothers and sisters. If I were to really lay hold of that, how would it change my life?

Back to Romans. I could choose any number of statements from this chapter-and-a-half, but let's go to 6:11:
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
This means believing that what Jesus accomplished on the cross really does stick. It really does make a difference. The imperative is: consider it done.

Lay hold of this mystery. You are now dead to sin, alive to God. You thought you were alive before, but you were under the dominion of death. When you were born again, your were born into a new kingdom, a new dominion. A dominion of life and light. It may not seem so, but things are not as they seem. Trust God and walk in newness of life.

Can I do that? Can I take my own advice and lay hold of this mystery today?


Bridget said...

I just started reading Watchman Nee's The Normal Christian Life. It is saying much the same thing as you right now.

God dealt with our sins by the Blood of Jesus Christ. And He deals with our sin nature by the cross of Jesus Christ. God doesn't feed the old man, empowering him to overcome his sin nature, He crucifies the old man with Christ on the cross.

Romans 6:6,7,8.

Therefore our grasp of deliverance (walking in life) is the same as our grasp of forgiveness. Taking God at His word and believing in in our depths. KNOWING.

Glad I found your blog. Now I'm headed a few posts down to check out the links you provided.

In Him,

Bob said...

Excellent. That Watchman Nee was a smart fellow! Always wonderful to learn of new visitors to the blog. Thanks for the encouragement!

Erin Hope said...

You and Nate both, man, I don't know if I can take this much encouragement.... I might walk around all day joyful, or some such crazy thing. : )