Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mr. Chambers on Dust and Deity

The following is from Mr. Chamber's book Shade of His Hand:

(Note: My emphasis is in bold)

"God made human beings a mixture of dust and deity (Genesis 2:7). The dust of a man's body is his glory, not his shame. Jesus Christ manifested Himself in that dust, and He claims that He can presence anyone with His own divinity. The New Testament teaches how to keep the body under and make it a servant.
"Drudgery is the outcome of sin, but it has no right to be the rule of life. It becomes the rule of life because we ignore the fact that the dust of the earth belongs to God, and that man's chief end is to glorify God. Unless we can maintain the presence of divinity in our dust, life becomes a miserable drudgery. If one lives to hoard up the means of living, he does not live at all; he has no time to, he is taken up with one form of drudgery or another to keep things going."

To "maintain the presence of divinity in our dust" is the outcome of a strong and growing relationship with God in Christ. When life becomes all about survival and not about a romance of becoming one with God, it becomes the mediocre drudgery that survival is.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Word is Alive

"The word of God is alive..." Hebrews 4:12
  1. By Inspiration: "The word is given by inspiration of God..." (II Timothy 3:16) In the beginning of creation, man was but the dust of the ground. It was not until God breathed into man His divine breath that man become a "living soul" (Genesis 2:7). So too, this sacred book that we hold in our hands is only so much useless ink and paper if it were not that God has breathed His divine breath upon it, mingling His presence with the ink and paper, and the book became and is a living word. That the word is alive, i.e., inspired by God, means it carries the life and light of God in it.
  2. By Incarnation: "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us..." (John 1:14) In the beginning before creation, before there even was a beginning, there was the Word, the living being of God's second person. When sin corrupted all flesh and poisoned the innermost dispositions of creation, another mingling occurred. Where sin separated the divinely breathed life of God from man, the Word mingled with our dust, danced with the dirt, and in doing so sanctified it, and made it holy. That the Word is alive, i.e., in the flesh, means that God's presence has revealed Himself to His creation.
  3. By Resurrection: "[The Word] rose again the third day..." (I Corinthians 15:4) In the beginning of the third day, the life and light of men (John 1:4) loosed the pains of death (Acts 2:24), and through death destroyed the Devil (Hebrews 2:14, 15) and his works (I John 3:8). That the Word is alive, i.e., risen from the dead, means that the life of God can return to the innermost of His creation (Galatians 2:20).
"The Word is Alive,
And it cuts like a sword through the darkness
With a message of Life to the hopeless and afraid
Breathing Life into all who believe.
The Word is Alive,
And the world and its gloried will fade
But this truth, it will not pass away. It remains.
Yesterday and forever the same.
The Word is Alive."

-Casting Crowns, "The Word is Alive" (from The Altar and the Door)

Mr. Chambers on the Loss of Pious Pretense

The following is from Mr. Chamber's book Biblical Ethics:

"When we hear Jesus say, "Blessed are the pure in heart," our answer, if we are awake, is, "My God, how am I going to be pure in heart? If ever I am to be blameless down to the deepest recesses of my intentions, You must do something mighty in me." That is exactly what Jesus Christ came to do. He did not come to tell us to be holy, but to make us holy, undeserving of censure in the sight of God. If any man or woman gets there it is by the sheer supernatural grace of God. You can't indulge in pious pretense when you come to the atmosphere of the Bible. If there is one thing the Spirit of God does it is to purge us from all sanctimonious show; there is no room for it."

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Word of Warning

A common mantra that floats around the inner circles of most liberally educated Christians is "All truth is God's truth." Such a dogma is true (pun intended). From modern Catholics such as G.K. Chesterton saying that Christianity is to embrace every facet of truth, to old Protestants like John Calvin declaring that all truth is from God regardless of whose mouth it came forth from, Christians who look at the world and all its facets seriously have long held that everything that is true is from God. It is indeed a wise approach to life, a wonderful way to broaden your knowledge, imagination, and soul in general.
However, a word of warning must be said. "All truth is God's truth" is not a license to believe whatever we want. This is a trap too many "liberated" Christians fall into, too many use this mantra as an excuse to believe in anything that is wise, noble, logical, pithy, clever, but not true. Often you find "liberated" Christians desperately scrambling for anything that supports their opinions, and "All truth is God's truth" becomes a floodgate for using anything to bolster one's congenial preferences.
The reasons behind this error are surely complex, but fundamentally they can be broken down into the following formula:
  1. A certain unChrist-like so-and-so does a very unChrist-like such-and-such to Christian A.
  2. Christian A, though strong enough to not abandon his/her faith over this incident, is not strong enough to see the unChrist-like so-and-so as separate from the unChrist-like so-and-so's denomination, tradition, bible and music preference, political stance, theological stance, philosophical stance, etc, etc.
  3. Thoroughly "burned out," Christian A henceforth proceeds to scrap together every bit of "truth" that goes against unChrist-like so-and-so's denomination, tradition, etc., etc., using "All truth is God's truth" as a smokescreen to allow all manner of thought and belief to slip in the back door, with the only real requirement being that it must bolster one's opinions against unChrist-like so-and-so.
This formula occurs often, is devastating each time, and none are immune to it. We all are susceptible to the same travesty, to treating "All truth is God's truth" as a license to believe anything and everything so long as it is "truth" in that it goes against that which we despise. That what we despise could have some truth of its own buried under all its error is never consider, and thus we ironically betray our own mantra: "All truth is what bolsters my opinion and sooths my hurt feelings."
Get it straight so you won't fall into this trap. "All truth is God's truth" simply means that everything that is true is of God. That is not license, that is limitation, and truth is the limit. These days, we are not bound to the truth like we ought to be. Everybody's too busy trying to be right.

Mr. Chambers on the Primary Objection to the Gospel

The following is from Mr. Chamber's books The Servant as His Lord and The Philosophy of Sin:

"When the Spirit of God come in, we begin to realize what it means--everything that is not of God has to be turned clean out...We soon find why the gospel can never be welcome. As long as we speak winsomely about meek and gentle Jesus, and the beautiful ideas the Holy Spirit produces when He comes in, people are captivated, but that is not the gospel. The gospel does away with any other ground to stand on than that of the atonement. Speak about the peace of heaven and the joy of the Lord, and people will listen to you; but tell them that the Holy Spirit has to come in and turn out their claim to their rights to themselves, and instantly there is resentment...The majority of people are not scoundrels and criminals, living in external sin; they are clean-living and respectable, and it is to such that the scourge of God is the most terrible thing because it reveals that the natural virtues may be in idolatrous opposition to God."

"The first thing in salvation is the element of destruction, and it is this that people object to. With this thought in mind, recall what our Lord said about His own mission: "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword." Our Lord reveals Himself as the destroyer of all peace and happiness, and of ignorance, wherever these are the cloak for sin. It sounds a startling and amazing thing to say that Jesus did not come to bring peace, but He said He did not. The one thing Jesus Christ is after is the destruction of everything that would hinder the emancipation of men and women. The fact that people are happy and peaceful and prosperous is no sign that they are protected from the sword of God. If their happiness and peace and well-being and complacency rest on an undelivered life, they will meet the sword before long, and all their peace and rest and joy will be destroyed."