Bought by the Blood

September 3, 2011

Four Questions For Those Who Labor For Jesus in the Marketplace

In honor of the Labor Day weekend, I think the following four questions are essential for Christians who work in a secular environment to meditate on:

Do you see your work as nothing more than a necessary evil, or only as the context for evangelistic opportunities? Or do you see it as a means of glorifying God through participating in his purposes for creation and therefore having intrinsic value? How do you relate what you do in your daily work to the Bible’s teaching about human responsibility in creation and society?

Where in all your activity is the deliberate acknowledgement of, and submission to, the divine auditory? In what way does accountability to God impinge on your everyday work?

How do you perceive the governance of God in the marketplace (which is another way of seeking the kingdom of God and his justice), and what difference does it make when you do? Is it really the case that “Heaven rules” on Sundays, but the market rules from Monday to Friday (with Saturday as a day off for gods and humans)?

In what ways is your daily labor transformed by the knowledge that it is all contributing to that which God will one day redeem and include with his new creation?

Christ Wright from “The Mission of God’s People”

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August 13, 2011

Every Spiritual Blessing

By God’s grace, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, believers are assured of “every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

  • We are justified; that is, we receive here and now advance declaration by God of the verdict of his court on the day of judgment, that we are included among those whom he will declare righteous on account of our faith in Jesus and his obedience unto death.
  • We are saved; that is, we are delivered from the wrath to come, rescued from the anger of God against all wickedness and rebellion.
  • We are reconciled; that is, the enmity between us and God has been removed, because God himself bore our sins in the person of his own Son on the cross.
  • We are forgiven: that is, God chooses to “carry” (the Hebrew word usually translated “forgive” our sins, rather than repay them to us, because they have been “carried” by Jesus on the cross.  They will never be held against us.
  • We are redeemed: that is, God has achieved our liberation from all the bondage of sin, as he rescued the Israelites out of Egypt, through the sacrificial blood of Christ.
  • We are adopted: that is, God includes us among his children, or more specifically, treats us as firstborn sons (whether male or female) and thus as his heirs, sharing in the inheritance that belongs to Christ.
  • We are made alive: that is, from the death of sin we are given new life, the resurrection life of Jesus himself.
  • We have the Spirit: that is, the promise that God made to Israel, that would bring about their renewal and “resurrection” and obedience, is now poured out in us, bearing the fruit of transformed lives.

The above is taken from the book, “The Mission of God’s People” by Chris Wright

June 15, 2011

Exceedingly Good News

The following is taken from Chris Wright’s book, “The Missing of God’s People.”

  • Only in the cross is there forgiveness, justification and cleansing for guilty sinner.
  • Only in the cross stands the defeat of evil powers.
  • Only in the cross is there release from the fear of death and its ultimate destruction altogether.
  • Only in the cross are even the most intractable of enemies reconciled.
  • Only in the cross will we finally witness the healing of all creation.

The fact is that sin and evil constitute bad news in every area of life on this planet. The redemptive work of God through the cross of Chris t is good news for every area of life on earth that has been touched by sin – which means every area of life. Bluntly, we need a holistic gospel because the world is in a holistic mess. And by God’s incredible grace we have a gospel big enough to redeem all that sin and evil have touched. And every dimension of that good news is good news utterly and only because of the blood of Christ on the cross.

Ultimately all that will  be in there in the new, redeemed creation will be there because of the cross. And conversely, all that will not  be there (suffering, tears, sin, Satan, sickness, oppression, corruption, decay and death), will not be there because they will have been defeated and destroyed by the cross. That is the length, breadth, height and depth of God’s idea of redemption. It is exceedingly good news…There is no other power, no other resource, no other name, through which we can offer the whole Gospel to the whole person and the whole word, than Jesus Christ crucified and risen.

February 6, 2011

Redeeming Love

For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God…For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.
(Deuteronomy 4:24 & 31 ESV)

The fire of Yahweh as a jealous God is the fire of an exclusive commitment to this people that demands an exclusive commitment in return.  It is, in short, the fire of redeeming love that had brought them out of the fires of bondage and would therefore tolerate no rival…It was the fire of God’s jealousy that protected the strength of God’s mercy and covenant faithfulness to this people.  In rebellion and idolatry they would find the God of verse 24.  In return and obedience they would find the God of verse 31.  This is the same unchanged God, responding to a tragically unchangeable people.

– Christ Wright

December 3, 2009

Why and How To Read The Bible

“We talk about the problems of ‘applying the Bible to our lives,’ which often means modifying the Bible somewhat adjectivally to fit the assumed ‘reality’ of the life we live ‘in the real world.’ What would it mean to apply our lives to the Bible instead, assuming the Bible to be the reality – the real story – to which we are called to conform ourselves?” – Chris Wright

October 12, 2009

Jesus Authorizes Our Mission

This is one of this inspiring quotes about mission that fires me up and is great encouragement about being bold for Jesus.  It is from Chris Wright’s book, “The Mission of God.”  The emphasis is mine.

The whole earth, then, belongs to Jesus.  It belongs to him by right of creation, by right of redemption and by right of future inheritance – as Paul affirms in the magnificent cosmic declaration of Colossians 1:15-20.  So wherever we go in his name, we are walking on his property.  There is not an inch of the planet that does not belong to Christ. Mission then is an authorized activity carried out by tenants on the instructions of the owner of the property.

Suppose you are a tenant resident in your house or apartment and you are challenged about your right to be installing a new kitchen and bathroom.  Provided you can point to the written instruction of the owner of the property to attend to the matter on his behalf, your action is authorized.  If the one to whom the property belongs entrusts to you his purpose of renovating his property while you live there, then your “mission” is an authorized cooperation with and implementation of his or her “mission.” You are legitimately carrying out what the owner wants to be done on his or her own property.

So our mission on God’s earth is not only authorized by its true owners, it is also protected, nurtured and guaranteed by him.  We go in his name.  We act on his authority.  There is therefore no place for fear, for wherever we tread belongs to him already.
There is no place for dualism either.  We know of course that the Bible also affirms that the evil one exercises a kind of lordship and power over the earth.  But he does not own it.  His claim to do so, and to have the right to give it to those who worship him was exposed as fraudulent by Jesus in his wresting with temptation in the wilderness.  Whatever authority Satan exercises is usurped and illegitimate, provisional and subject to the final limits set by the earth’s true owner and Lord, the Lamb who reins from the the throne of God (Rev. 4-7).

September 26, 2009

The Gospel and Ethics

Filed under: Chris Wright,evangelism,Gospel,holiness,Missions,The Mission of God — cubsfan1980 @ 11:23 pm
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“We either adorn the gospel or we are a disgrace to it. Our ethics (or lack of ethics) support (or undermine) our mission…There is great missional and evangelistic power in lives shaped by the standard of biblical holiness and goodness.” Christopher Wright

September 10, 2009

The Gospel in Ezekiel

And while they were striking, and I was left alone, I fell upon my face, and cried, “Ah, Lord God! Will you destroy all the remnant of Israel in the outpouring of your wrath on Jerusalem?” Then he said to me, “The guilt of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great. The land is full of blood, and the city full of injustice. For they say, ‘The Lord has forsaken the land, and the Lord does not see.’ As for me, my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity; I will bring their deeds upon their heads.”- Ezekiel 9:8-10

I love Chris Wright’s exposition of the above passage.  It shows us who God us in His justice and compassion while pointing us to the cross.  In God’s judgment of Israel we see the true of sinfulness of sin.  Wright also uses the example of Ezekiel for showing us a model of God honoring prayer.  I highlighted some of my favorite parts and was definitely tempted to highlight the whole thing.  All of the last paragraph is highlighted because as I read it this morning during my quiet time I was led to worship and adoration of Christ atoning death for me on the cross and how great the sacrifice was to redeem me from my sins.

Ezekiel’s intercession, then, like that of Abraham and Moses, is based not merely on heart wrenching pity for those who were being slain, but on the ultimate purpose and glory of Yahweh among the nations.  In that respect, also like Abraham and Moses, it stands as a model for what ought to be the primary motivating force behind all our own intercession for the world, and especially for the church when, through hardness, disobedience and apostasy, it puts itself in the path of God’s imminent judgment. It is of course entirely right to pray out of compassion for others.  Jesus and Paul both did.  But Ezekiel models an even deeper foundation for intercession – passion for the glory and purposes of God in the world

It would be easy to, with all the surrounding scenes of armed execution and terrible carnage, to image God’s words being spoken with vicious coldness and implacable malice.  Actually we need to remember that they were being spoken by the God who longed more than anything else to show pity, by the God who had spent centuries with this people withholding the full extent of his wrath, by the God whose very name ‘Yahweh’ is defined as ‘compassionate and gracious.’   If there was steel in the voice, there were tears in the eyes and unbearable pain in the heart…

And yet, he had to do so because of their unchanged rebellion, and the northern kingdom was destroyed in 721 BC.  This is the same God whose mercy long to triumph over justice, whose love outlasts his punishment on a scale of 1,000 to 1, who is ‘slow to anger and rich in love’, and who is ‘good to all’ and ‘has compassion on all he has made’.  For such a God to be brought to the extermity of having to utter the terrifying words we read here speaks more loudly than anything else could of the horrific, detestable, and intolerable nature of human sin, and the moral necessity of its being finally and justly punished.

Rather than merely recoiling from the iciness of the words, we should reflect on what it cost the heart of the God of all love, mercy and pity to have to utter such words at all.  And such reflections will ultimately drive us to the cross, for only there do we find the mystery of the infinite justice of God fully exposed before human gaze.  For there, under the whips, swords, nails and torture of Roman rather than Babylonian enemies, God’s love absorbed God’s justice in God’s own self, and the words’ I will not…pity or spare’ were breathed again by the Father as, for our sake, he turned his eyes away from the agony of his own beloved son.

September 6, 2009

The cross is central to mission

Filed under: Chris Wright,cross,evangelism,Missions,The Mission of God — cubsfan1980 @ 2:10 pm
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The cross was the unavoidable cost of God’s mission…The cross is the place of personal pardon, forgiveness and justification for guilty sinners.  The cross is the place of defeat for all cosmic evil and seals its ultimate destruction…The cross, paradoxically the most terrible symbol of death in the ancient world, is the fount of life…The cross is the place of reconciliation, to God and to one another…the cross is the guarantee of a healed creation to come…That Jesus died in my place, bearing the guilt of my sin, as my voluntary substitute, is the most gloriously liberating truth to which we cling in glad and grateful worship with tears of wonder.  That I should long for others to know this truth and be saved and forgiven by casting their sins on the crucified Savior in repentance and faith is the most energizing motive for evangelism.” – Christopher Wright.

August 9, 2009

the Great Commission in Advance

“The Abrahamic promise is a self-replicating gene.  Those who receive it are immediately transformed into those whose privilege and mission it is to pass it onto others…The Abrahamic promise can stake its claim to be not the “gospel in advance” but even more so, the Great Commission in advance.”

Chris Wright “The Mission of God.”

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