Tag Archives: christianity

What Does Abundant Life Look Like?

In John 9, Jesus heals a beggar blind from birth, enabling him to live a full life, not just live on the edge of life. The religious leaders of the day opposed this healing for silly and irrelevant reasons. In John 10, Jesus responded to the religious leaders with the parable of the Good Shepherd (Himself), contrasting Himself with the false shepherds of that day.

Unlike the false shepherds, Jesus says, “I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

What would Jesus say about today’s prominent religious leaders and Christians? Do we live the abundant life, reflecting our Master? Truth is, to the world, the church often appears weak and irrelevant. Too many churches do not preach the Word. They dilute the gospel and its mission. Its people are rampant in unbelief. Its young people look elsewhere for answers the church does not provide.

Christian marriages fail as often or more than those in the world. Where are the signs and wonders? How many churches go for years without a single conversion or baptism?

Recently, I heard of a church that was closed down and sold to Buddhists. Weak preaching and teaching and lack of faith in God’s power gave the people no motivation to keep coming. The few who were left sold the building to the highest bidder. False shepherds.

We have more Bible reference books than ever, better-trained pastors—but more ignorance. Most people still cannot give a reason for the hope in them. They don’t know how to pray with power. Again, false shepherds.

As a church, we have allowed the world’s agenda to govern our lives and attitudes. Few Christians develop a Christian worldview, applying Bible standards to situations in the natural world. Is it any wonder the humanists and secularists have taken over? It is because of our weakness, not their strength. False shepherds, just as in Jesus’ day.

What does the abundant life look like? Think of Brother Lawrence, a lay brother in a Carmelite monastery, a man of limited schooling, born in poverty, suffering from wounds of war and imprisonment, awkward and rough in appearance. He had none of the things most of us count as needful for life. Yet he exhibited a profound wisdom found in few men. He found such joy in practicing the presence of God, he became the envy of all who met and knew him.

The collection of his letters and conversation, “The Practice of the Presence of God,” has become a classic portrait of the abundant life Jesus intended for all of us.

What does this mean for us today? To really believe and practice God’s presence means His presence will be strong in our meetings. We will no longer need gimmicks to attract people. People will hunger for God’s Word and ways. Preachers will preach with Holy Spirit anointing. The church will manifest the presence of God in signs and wonders.

Salvations will come by the millions from every class and age group. The love of God in our midst will overcome oppression, racism, immorality, hatred, anger, fear. Social transformation will take place. The gospel will burst out of the churches into the surrounding communities and into other nations of the world. Laws will change, becoming more righteous and just.

Amen! Let that day come, Lord Jesus!

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Which Camp Are You In?

The Gospel of John’s account in chapter 9 of Jesus’ healing of the blind man at the temple gate that we examined last month brings us to another side of the matter.

John shows us that the blind man’s healing did not suddenly end all his problems. When Jesus healed him, not everyone rejoiced and praised God for this good thing.

The religious Pharisees became very upset. Although the man had sat at the temple gate for years, they apparently paid no attention to him. They did not take compassion on him. They did nothing to help the man to better his condition. They just left him at the gate to beg and barely survive. They just assumed the man was a sinner who deserved his fate. Jesus’ compassionate act put them in an embarrassing position.

These religious Pharisees were those to whom others traditionally looked for religious advice and counsel. But Jesus demonstrated godly authority, power and compassion they did not possess. He demonstrated that they were really charlatans. With this healing, they must humble themselves and submit to Jesus or resort to reckless means to discredit Jesus. They unwisely chose the latter course.

Jesus’ healing violated their protocols about how and when these things should happen. Also, since they were unable to heal the blind man themselves, they feared that people would look to Jesus rather than to themselves as their authority. None of this met the man’s real needs.

They regarded themselves as a religious elite. To them, Jesus threatened the social order, namely, their own power. Behind their anger lay fear and jealousy because this man, Jesus, from a small town demonstrated God’s power and authority they lacked.

These religious phonies also reacted by attacking the healed man’s character and throwing him out of the temple as an example to others who dared to challenge them. They wanted to intimidate others who might question them. They refused to consider the possibility that Jesus’ power to heal demonstrated His authentic authority from God. Their power over the people meant more to them than a diligent search for truth.

The work of Jesus always winds up dividing people into two camps—those who accept His transforming power and those who rely only upon themselves, even when they use religious terms.

Does not this story of the blind man reflect what has happened to many of you who read this? Like the blind man, you have submitted yourselves to Him, but there are people in your lives who do not rejoice with you in your new-found freedom. They see you as a threat.

Jesus did not leave the man alone in his predicament with the religious leaders. He came to him and encouraged him. The man submitted to Jesus, and Jesus met the man’s need in the face of fierce opposition. He will do the same with each of us who puts our ultimate trust in Him.

We believers in Jesus Christ must ask ourselves: Are we more like Jesus or the Pharisees in our attitudes toward those who suffer for no fault of their own?

Let us who know the power and authority of Jesus Christ in our lives help to make His saving power manifest in all of India and throughout the world.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

The Source of Light

Lloyd Ogilvie, pastor and one-time Chaplain of the U.S. Senate, originally came from Scotland. One evening, he was walking outside without a flashlight. It grew dark. He tripped on a rock and fell down. He put his hand forward to push himself up and felt—nothing.

Sensing danger, he stayed where he was until the dawn revealed himself at the edge of a ravine. One more step, and he would have fallen to his death. Light can make the difference between life and death.

“Thy Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” wrote the Psalmist. Maybe he had an experience like Lloyd Ogilvie’s, and it taught him deeper truths. Jesus Christ is the Word, we read in John 1. In John 8, Jesus also says, “I am the Light of the World.”

In what ways is Jesus the Light? He tells us in chapter 8:
• He comes from the Father (God).
• He speaks with the authority of the Father (God).
• He is going to the Father (God).
• He does nothing on His own, but everything comes from the Father (God).

Everything Jesus is and does He owes to God the Father, the One who knows us before creation, who knows each hair on our heads, who makes a way where there is no way, who keeps all His promises, who overcomes evil in our lives with good.

To me, this sounds like light in a dark world. What other person can rightfully dare to make such claims? What other person can claim a healing ministry like that of Jesus? What other person has overcome death like Jesus? What other person has transformed lives like Jesus? What other person answers prayers like Jesus?

Who else has promised to destroy the works of the devil? So many people in India can claim deliverance from the satanic possession and oppression, from addictions and strongholds when they put their trust in Jesus Christ. He intends to deliver the whole world from this darkness.

As the Light of the World, Jesus is not just a local deity. He is not a western god, or an eastern god, but God of the world. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is for every time and place.

But Jesus does not just want us to know Him as the Light of the World, but to experience Him as the Light in our own lives. That means we must follow Him, not as an idea or teaching, but as a Person. He wants us to relate to Him as His original disciples related to Him—as friends.

Jesus revealed to His disciples things about themselves they did not especially want to hear. He did this, not to tear them down but to help them fulfill their human natures. He enabled them to become more human, not less. He enabled them to do great and mighty things that resonate in our own day. He wants to do the same in and through you and me.

Jesus came not as a light but as the Light—the Light comes from the very one who made us and for whom we were made.

As we remember His sacrificial death and resurrection this month, let us bear His Light into a darkened world waiting for the Light.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

They Never Really Knew Him

Selfish and materialistic, that’s what they were.

Jesus fed a crowd of 5,000 men, plus women and children, with five loaves and two fishes. After this miracle, they wanted to seize Him by force and make Him king. They said, “This is the Prophet who is to come into the world!”

Jesus came to another conclusion: “Truly, truly I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.” In other words, they viewed Jesus as a fellow with magical powers who would fulfill their material needs and desires, someone like Aladdin.

They based Jesus’ value to them on what they could get out of Him. They had no idea of who He really was. What they expected from Him was wrong.

Are we any different? Do we value Jesus for who He is, or for how He meets our expectations? Do we interest ourselves in His view of things or do we want Him to fulfill our agendas? We should not answer this question too quickly.

At this writing, the US presidential election is not yet settled. Christians seem as divided over this matter as they were over slavery during the Civil War. A lot of hateful words and accusations go forth from Christians on both sides as they did long ago.

During that traumatic time, Abraham Lincoln said, “Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; each invokes His aid against the other…the prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.”

Whoever wins in the end, whoever loses, lies in God’s will, and may take place for reasons that have nothing to do with why we voted as we did. We may believe we know God’s will in these things but may discover in eternity we knew nothing of what was going on. Jesus’ twelve disciples walked with Him for three years. They thought they knew Him, but in the end, after Jesus died and He did not meet their expectations, they discovered they never really knew Him.

All their expectations had to die. During that agonizing time, they hid out in the room where they ate their last meal together before the Jewish religious establishment seized Him and the Romans crucified Him.

Only after His resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit did it finally make sense to them. Only then did they truly come to know Him. First, they had to admit they were wrong. Only then could they emerge from behind locked doors and take their message to the world.

I am always amazed that a great evangelist like Billy Graham felt the need to confess his sins daily before the Lord. He credits his remarkable team for many times saving him from himself. If that was true about a great man like Billy Graham, what does that say about the rest of us?

These humbling experiences helped to make Billy Graham the outstanding evangelist he became.

Let us take these uncertain times to come to know Him more truly than we ever knew Him before. Let us humble ourselves and set aside all unworthy expectations. The more we know Him, the more clearly we will proclaim His Good News, not just our limited version of it.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Subject to Many Trials

How are we as Christians to regard such a time as this?

Some of you may have the virus. Others of you have friends or loved ones who have suffered or even died from it. Others of you have lost or are about to lose your livelihoods. In some way, all of us have experienced inconveniences and discouragement we have never known before. None of us knows what the future holds.

Jesus warned His disciples that in this life we will have tribulations or trials (John 16:33). What was He talking about?

Most times, these are things we don’t like to think about. We have been conditioned to think that when we accept Jesus as our Savior, life will be rosy and sweet. What happens when life is not sweet?

Even the best of us experience trials. Jesus Himself was a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded. Paul the apostle experienced many tribulations (2 Cor. 11:16-33).

In his first letter, Peter portrays the ideal Christian as both a person of great joy and much sorrow and grief, subject to many trials in life. These are not just chance events, but things that are allowed, and even sent, “if necessary,” by God Himself. Why does God find it necessary?

First and foremost, God wants to build His church whose foundation is Jesus Christ. He saves us when we are still sinners. We enter the kingdom in an imperfect state. God allows trials for at least three different reasons:

  1. Sometimes He chastises us for our failures. “Whom the Lord loves, He chastens,” we are told in Hebrews 12:6. If we do not know the chastening of the Lord, if all is sweetness and light in our lives, we are not Christians, it is as simple as that.
  2. Sometimes God allows trials in life to prepare us for a higher task, to make us more dependent upon Him. Think of Joseph and David who knew grievous trials of faith. God chose them for greater things, and they needed greater maturity to bear greater responsibilities.
  3. Even when we have not fallen into gross sin, we are still imperfect in our faith. We all have many areas of the flesh in our thinking and doing, however unconscious they may be, that interfere with our effective walk with Christ. Often, God sends trials our way to make us aware of these things and to bring out a greater faith.

When we bear these trials and learn from them to develop greater fellowship with our Heavenly Father, we certify that we are indeed His children. We learn to rejoice in our salvation (1 Peter 1:3-5) in ways we have never rejoiced before. As believers who rejoice in the midst of tribulation, we become testimonies to a watching world of a great and loving God.

Which of these kinds of trials have you experienced? When we learn from them, they last only for a season. The fruit we bear in our lives at such times glorifies our Lord Jesus. Such fruit lasts for eternity and affects not only us but the world around us.

During this time of trial and crisis, how ready are we to submit to God’s will and allow Him to work through our present troubles to bring about revival, healing and spiritual awakening?

Tagged , , , , , , ,

COVID-19, What Do We Do?

As I write this, COVID-19 or coronavirus has now spread to 164 countries with 8,727 dead worldwide and more than 200,000 infected. It is a global crisis and has been declared a pandemic. Most governments have declared an emergency asking all to take precautionary measures.

I had to cancel and change my ministry travel plans within India and return earlier than planned. We had to cancel all scheduled large gatherings. We postponed the special 90-year anniversary celebrations at India Bible College & Seminary and the outdoor graduation service where we were expecting 4,000 guests and held the graduation with just the students, faculty and staff inside the chapel. Similar things took place at other training centers as well.

Now is the time we do things differently yet strategically to fulfill the Great Commission. We use the tools that God has given us and yet remember the most powerful ones are the personal connection and communication we maintain to share the Gospel.

How do we communicate the Good News while maintaining social distance? What do we do?

Let me suggest five things that we all must do:

1) PRAY: The Bible says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6,7 NLT)

Prayer is essential and it shows we are dependent on His Grace. We communicate with Him day and night and express our confidence and trust in Him in the midst of this crisis. Pray that He will use this crisis for His glory and all people will turn to Him and receive His Grace and experience His peace and eternal life.

Prayer will help you to trust and not panic as those who have no hope. Pray for opportunities to instruct people to humble themselves and seek the help of God for His supernatural intervention and the healing of our land and nations. This should be a time of self-examination, reflection on the Word and timely action. This should be a time of intense and fervent intercession.

2) BELIEVE: God is in control of every situation. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who gives us faith to trust Him in uncertain times. Remind yourself that He came to this world, died for our sins, rose again from the dead, ascended to heaven and He will come again to rule this world. Jesus who is Sovereign and Ruler is with you and He has promised never to leave you nor forsake you. Jesus has power over any situation and will grant you His peace and assurance.

Jesus said “I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” Think of it, nothing will crush, defeat, conquer or eliminate the church. Nothing, even plagues or viruses. The church will remain, even into eternity. The church is you and I, who have been cleansed and redeemed by Jesus Christ, a body of believers. We as believers in Jesus Christ unite, live, face challenges and love together. Our hope and connection are both found in Jesus Christ. He holds us together.

3) CONNECT: This is a great time to connect with your non-Christian friends and neighbors via phone, Skype, FaceTime, email, etc., and share the Good News of Jesus Christ and what He can do when we place our trust in Him.

4) MODEL: You have a role to play in stopping this virus—by faith, through prayer, as a church—we want to be obedient citizens, responsible believers as we practice good hygiene, social distancing, and even exercising restraint as we avoid panic in the hoarding of food and goods.

5) SUPPORT: We are called to fulfill the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are to proclaim who Jesus Christ is and share what He has offered when people place their trust in Him. He will liberate people from their fears and anxieties and He alone can give hope and assurance of eternal life.

We are to send and support those who proclaim the Good News. This is what IGO evangelists do all the time. They need your help and regular support.

Pray for all needs to be met for every IGO evangelist and his family who are engaged in sharing the Gospel and establishing communities of faith where they have never heard about Jesus Christ.

Let’s proclaim the good news of hope that we have in Jesus Christ “in season and out of season.”

May the power of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ fill your hearts with hope, joy and peace.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Made for More

silhouette-of-person-walking-1046896God made us for more than we imagine!

We glimpse this in Psalm 8 where David writes, “…you [God] crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet…” This repeats God’s mandate in Genesis 1.

This dominion mandate has never been fulfilled because sin and death entered into the world—death to our physical bodies and also death to our spirits. Our spirits are the part of us designed for fellowship with God and to fulfill His grand design.

Sin destroyed our ability to fellowship with God. We became indifferent to God. We became hostile to God. We underestimated God. We ignored and disbelieved God. We suppressed the truth about God. We did not take God into account. We did not fulfill our mandate, and the whole universe has suffered. We are no longer in harmony with God, our purpose for being, the world around us, our own bodies, or other people.

Sin has taken a terrible toll on our minds. No longer in tune with God and our purpose for being, we are limited only to those things we perceive with our five senses, to our own limited reasoning capacities. A thing may seem right to us, but it leads to death. We may have high ideals and moral standards, and enjoy the arts, but we still fall pitifully short because we no longer have God’s perspective or power.

The Good News is that God has never revoked His dominion mandate. Through Jesus Christ, He entered the world in Bethlehem to set things right through His life, death and resurrection. Through Christ, He regenerates our dead spirits and sends His Holy Spirit. We become part of His heavenly family, for we are told He is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters. One day, His dominion mandate will be 100% fulfilled through us who trust Him.

In the meantime, we must renew our minds with these things. Once crippled by the limitations of sin, our minds, through the Holy Spirit, are now capable of perceiving something of what God has designed for us.

George Muller, the great man of prayer and faith, wrote in his autobiography, “I saw more clearly than ever that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not how much I might serve the Lord, or how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished… Now what is the food for the inner man…but the Word of God.”

The Word of God leads us to the promises of God. As we regularly partake of His promises in trust, our minds are renewed. To the regenerate person, renewed by the Holy Spirit, the promises of God provide the impetus to pray more effectively and glorify Him. We begin to walk in the Spirit, live in power and bear fruit.

Every day, more of India’s unreached peoples are learning these vital truths. Let us join together to insure all of India hears this great news!

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Baptism

Baptism-2019Praise God for His wondrous grace by which He provides everything we need for our salvation. Salvation comes to us by grace through faith alone which is His gift (Romans 4, Ephesians 2).

In spite of these specific declarations of God’s salvation through grace alone, numerous people, both Catholic and Protestant, still believe that we need water baptism for salvation. They insist on this though nowhere in scripture do we find Jesus, Paul or anyone else making such a specific declaration. If baptism were absolutely essential for salvation, why wouldn’t Paul say it outright, leaving no guesswork or need for debate? Since he doesn’t, that should settle the matter.

Think of those saved in the Bible who did not receive baptism—the paralytic man in Matthew 9, the penitent woman in Luke 7, the publican in Luke 18 and the thief on the cross in Luke 23. Nowhere does the Bible mention anything about infant baptism. Biblically recorded water baptism takes place only among people who first choose faith for themselves, and always by immersion.

If baptism does not bring us salvation, why does Jesus command His disciples to baptize at the same time He commands His disciples to preach the gospel to all peoples (Matthew 28:19-20)?

To follow Christ means to change our identity. Baptism publicly declares our identity is now with God’s people and what He did through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Baptism publicly declares we have died to our old life, and we are raised to new life in Christ. We are united with Him.

When Jesus first saves us, He saves us in spirit and soul. But we also consist of a body, and our bodies must work in harmony with our spirits and souls. A visible sign, an action of our bodies, confirms outwardly what we have already done inwardly.

A wedding ring does not in itself bring a man and woman into relationship with one another. Neither does baptism bring a person into relationship with Jesus Christ.

But a wedding ring does signify that a dramatic change has come about in that relationship. A covenant has been made and vows taken between two people that mean new commitments and responsibilities to one another, to future generations.

Baptism should signify a dramatic change in one’s relationship with Christ not just serve as a rite of passage. No longer are we content with passive church attendance, but we publicly identify with the finished work of Christ on our behalf.

With Christ’s finished work as our life foundation, we publicly declare our readiness to bear new responsibilities for Christ. We are ready to take an active concern for those things that move the heart of God. Just as the wedding vows mean new responsibilities, so baptism should become the beginning of new commitment and responsibility for God’s kingdom.

Baptism should signify to the rest of the world not only that we are members of God’s family but that we identify with those eternal things that move the heart of God
our Father.

One of those things that moves the heart of God is fulfillment of the Great Commission that will lead to fulfillment of His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. As true children of God, we will take outward action to fulfill the Great Commission through our prayers, gifts and time.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Generational Curses

adult-bride-child-1250452Generational curses are common in India. There is increasing talk about them in western countries and among Christians.

Someone has defined a generational curse as “the cumulative effect on a person of things that their ancestors did, believed or practiced in the past, and a consequence of an ancestor’s actions, beliefs and sins being passed down.” What does the Bible tell us about generational curses?

A verse often cited is Exodus 20:5 which tells us that God’s wrath is visited to the third and fourth generation of those who hate God.

Too often, however, this passage is isolated from its full context. The passage also tells us that God’s mercy is visited upon thousands of generations of those who love God. Note the contrast—three or four generations of wrath, but thousands of generations of mercy. The purpose of this passage is not to communicate a specific number of generations He will bless and curse but to contrast God’s greater mercy with His wrath.

We should note that the term “generational curse” appears nowhere in the Bible.

Generational curses do not come from God, but from sinful human nature. Sin results from our distrust of God, our alienation from God. We shut out God’s light, and spirits of darkness take over, replacing God’s truth with lies. We wander into traps of our own making, leading to all kinds of slavery.

Sinful lifestyles are learned by example by one generation after another. For example, when a parent adopts a dark view of life, it can result in lifestyles of alcohol or drug addiction, abuse, divorce, gambling, incest or sexual promiscuity. It is likely the children will pick them up.

Our first ancestor, Adam, alienated himself from God, and through him, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Through our first ancestor, we all face the prospect of a generational curse.

Generational curses are a human-made form of captivity, blindness and oppression in which many generations may suffer.

Jesus Christ tells us that “He [God] has sent me to preach the gospel to the poor, He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18).

Paul the apostle writes, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). He became the curse through His death on the cross. He broke the curse when He rose from the grave.

Paul also tells us that Jesus Christ is the Second Adam who frees us from the curse. “Just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so the result of the one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men” (Romans 5:18).

Through His cross and resurrection, Jesus Christ has broken the power of every curse including the generational curse.

In Christ, we no longer must live as victims of the past. Let us put these things behind us and enter the new way of life Jesus Christ has already provided through the cross. Let us renew our minds daily with this truth (Romans 12:2).

The best news is that this is a free gift paid by God through Christ. Let us live in His grace and experience His freedom. Let us also proclaim it to all of India and beyond.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

The Foolishness of the Cross

Almost 2,000 years ago, the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing…” (1 Corinthians 1:18). Paul could well have written those words today.

After the release of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ in 2004, movie critics pounced on the film, condemning it for its violence, telling parents they should never take their children to see it. One critic said, “No level-headed parent should ever allow children to see it.”

Another critic, an avowed atheist, labeled the film a “mainstream snuff film.” Still another critic said that the film “arises less from love than from wrath, and succeeds more in assaulting the spirit than in uplifting it.” Yet another critic said the film should have been named the “Jesus Chainsaw Massacre.” And still another critic castigated Gibson for focusing upon the brutality of Jesus’ death rather than upon his teachings.

Clearly, these people have no understanding of the cross, its power to save or the plan of God before time began. Indeed, they have contempt for the cross. They are those of whom Paul writes, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent” (1 Corinthians 1:19). In this, Paul echoes the word of God through the prophet Isaiah (29:14) hundreds of years earlier.

As a young boy, one of our students at India Bible College & Seminary was allowed (and probably encouraged) by his parents to see The Passion of the Christ. Instead of being traumatized, his life was permanently and positively transformed by the cross of Jesus Christ. To him, even as Paul wrote, the cross is not gratuitous violence, but it is “the power of God.”

Even as a 12-year-old, this young man wanted to tell others of the saving power of the cross. Even as a child, he saw the horror and violence to Jesus as the result of God’s love for him and his unsaved Hindu friends. To the sophisticates of our day, his decision to follow Christ is just a poor boy’s traumatic response to seeing a horror movie. We should not be surprised.

In The Message, Eugene Peterson contrasts the offense and beauty of the cross:

“Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse. This is a terrific responsibility. Is anyone competent to take it on?” (2 Corinthians 2:15:16)

The cross of Jesus Christ will always be an offense and a thing of infinite beauty. Jonathan Edwards wrote of the smug men and women who find the cross an absurdity:

“The reason why men are not affected by such infinitely great, important, glorious, and wonderful things, as they often hear and read of, in the word of God, is undoubtedly because they are blind; if they were not so, it would be impossible, and utterly inconsistent with human nature, that their hearts should be otherwise than strongly impressed, and greatly moved by such things.”

As we approach Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, let us thank God for His wonderful gift, and help to spread its fragrance to those He is preparing to receive it.

Tagged , , , , , ,