Getting a week’s jump on Mardi Gras.

If I’m not mistaken, this is the best time of the year to bring up the whole problem the Christian faces in living in the world (old creation) while possessing eternal life in Christ which is the life of the new creation: The conflict between living in the spirit and living in the flesh and the never ending battle in this present evil age.

Saint Paul constantly wrote about this conflict of the Christian in all of his epistles and he referred to this old Adamic nature (life-style) in various ways. From just two chapters in the Roman letter come these terms: Old man,Old self, Body of sin, Slaves of sin, wretched man, and Body of death.

The spotlight on the Superbowl this year has become a spotlight on this central theme of the Christian life. First and foremost because of the convergence of two major factors: the New Orleans Saints are playing there for the first time in their franchise history, and the fact that they are doing so only one week before the Mardi Gras week-end. So its only natural (to the men of flesh) for the Saints to taste victory and think about stepping up the celebration by one week. I find all kind of ironies in this whole scene-not the least of which is the franchise name, “The Saints”.

Let me suggest that this is indeed the perfect time for American Christians to rediscover their basic identity in Christ in the light of the American culture. All of this has a great deal to do with the theme of unity which is advocated on this blog. It has a great deal to do with what has been called “the Great Christian Tradition” and it has a lot to do with the controversy raised this year about  those certain Superbowl ads. The latest issue of Touchstone Magazine  suggests just how serious these things are in America and have taken a stand on what they perceive are the critical issues they have with their STATE.

Has the State gone too far?

“On November 20, 2009, Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical leaders released the Manhattan Declaration at a press conference in Washington, D.C. Among the 148 original signatories are fourteen Roman Catholic bishops, two Eastern Orthodox bishops, and Evangelical leaders from various ministries, churches, seminaries, and colleges, many quite well known, including J. I. Packer, Charles Colson, and James Dobson. The coalition of signatories is the strongest expression yet seen in this country of the new ecumenism of Christians dedicated to the Great Tradition.”

(Touchstone Magazine- “The Audacity of the State“.

I do not agree with all said in this issue-in fact I would want to contend that “the strongest expression…of the new ecumenism of Christians dedicated to the Great Tradition” is not in fact these issues involving the so called culture-wars, but rather what myself and others are calling the Missional-ecumenism. But the two agendas are in fact related and the Christians in America cannot get on with their God-given mission in the world without dealing with the question of unity and life in the Spirit, not in the flesh.

Read the Manhattan Declaration

Related post: A Script to Live by

conquering-christ

Conquering now and still to conquer, rideth a King in His might;
Leading the host of all the faithful into the midst of the fight;
See them with courage advancing, clad in their brilliant array,
Shouting the Name of their Leader, hear them exultingly say:

Refrain:
Not to the strong is the battle, not to the swift is the race,
Yet to the true and the faithful vict’ry is promised through grace.

Conquering now and still to conquer, who is this wonderful King?
Whence are the armies which He leadeth, while of His glory they sing?
He is our Lord and Redeemer, Savior and Monarch divine;
They are the stars that forever bright in His kingdom shall shine.

Conquering now and still to conquer, Jesus, Thou Ruler of all,
Thrones and their scepters all shall perish, crowns and their splendor shall fall,
Yet shall the armies Thou leadest, faithful and true to the last,
Find in Thy mansions eternal rest, when their warfare is past.

– Fanny J. Crosby

Lenten Readings-Final Week

Wed    2 Tim 2 A Good Soldier of Christ                                              Thurs 2 Tim 3 Equipped for Victory                                                       Fri Eph 3 The Eternal Purpose of  God                                               Sat Eph 4 Growing up together in unity                                                                    Sun  Eph 5 Children of Light and Love                                              Mon Gal 5 Faith Working through Love Tue Gal 6 Fulfilling the law of Christ

VICTORY in JESUS CHRIST (video)

Pay Close Attention to FLESH in his writings

“The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. . .all flesh is grass” -The Prophet Isaiah, chapter 40.

The subject of flesh and blood is one of those cords that is woven very distinctly throughout the fabric of Scripture: it is prominent in the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as well as in the understanding of His Apostle to the Gentiles. Consider just a few samples.

“Flesh and blood hath not revealed this to you…”( Jesus to Peter).

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (Jesus to Nicodemas, a ruler of the Jews)

“Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God” (Paul to the saints at Corinth)

“We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against…the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Paul to the saints and faithful in Christ Jesus at Ephesus)

The Apostle Paul gives us the “Resurrection” chapter of the Bible in the same letter which is begun with quite a lengthy discussion of the foolish ways of God and the wisdom of humankind. He makes a statement regarding the wisdom of God which goes to the heart of what is at stake: God’s way of redemption, of restoring His fallen creation, insures “that no flesh should glory in His presence”.

These and many other scriptures signal a basic truth: God’s ways are not our ways. When Messiah Jesus is sent into the world, it announced to all the earth (all human flesh) that God was doing an entirely new thing which would be the definitive thing in defeating our enemy for the glory of His Name. This new thing would involve the creation of a new human flesh; a flesh which was of heavenly origin, not earthly. It is through this heavenly flesh and it alone that the good and perfect will of the Father is at long last done on earth as it is in heaven.

The heavenly flesh was sent by way of the cross on its way to the resurrection and the glory that is to follow: “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit”(Jesus, speaking to his disciples just before his betrayal and death). The cross of the heavenly flesh is much more than the sinless sacrifice that “takes away the sin of the world”; it is the death of death itself that does away with the earthly flesh and all the corruption that goes with it. It is not this body that is raised with Christ. That flesh is to be relegated to the grave, and we are commanded to “reckon it to be dead”.

It was the “offense of the cross” that was at the center of all the resistance to Paul’s gospel preaching. Why? Because it meant that God had judged the earthly flesh once and for all and put it to death. The repentance that He now requires of all who would enter His everlasting Kingdom not only involves an agreement with His verdict concerning our sins of rebellion, but much more, what He has in fact already done with our flesh. What He now requires of us in true repentance is a drastic repudiation of our earthly flesh and a life of “no holds barred” mortification of it as long as we are in this body.

In Christ, He calls us to replace the flesh with the “grace and duty of minding the Spirit” (Romans 8:1-27), and of “walking or being led by means of the Spirit”. This is the way to read Romans 8 to obtain the greatest profit. This is the way to read Saint Paul and to learn from him what is the TRUE life of CHRIST (Galatians 5).

To be continued: If I had only one message to post before I die