To understand Paul’s writings, you have to understand the art of letter writing. Paul wasn’t writing a collection of instruction books for the whole of Christianity, he was writing as an apostolic leader to communities of faith he planted. How we understand his writings will be wholly dependent on how we understand why he wrote.
Jesus demonstrates for us an alternative approach to engaging with those in our mission fields. He doesn’t just say God’s love is available for “whosoever,” Jesus demonstrates what it means to offer that love to “whosoever.”
The gifting of the Spirit at Pentecost gives us the rawest and truest glimpse of God’s desire for the church: to be the living witness and testimony to the goodness of God in the world. Everything else the church does should be to better serve this purpose.
Labor Day is not a celebration of how great our workforce is, it is a reminder that we are called to be something greater than we have been before. Hebrews 13 offers a similar call to the faithful. It is not a text of how great we are at living our faith, it’s a call to how much greater we should be as a people of faith.
When you hear the story from the ears of the Jews to whom Jesus was speaking, you begin to realize the Samaritan wasn’t seen to be such a “Good” guy. In fact, Jesus using the Samaritan as the faithful one was offensive at best. This kind of radical love is missed when we assume the Samaritan was just a kind passer-by.
Too many people see the empty tomb, but fail to see the presence of the risen Lord in their midst. The good news of Easter Sunday is not just that the Lord is risen, it’s that the risen Lord is calling your name, and inviting you to receive the gift of new life.
Too often, we try to claim that if one is to be welcomed into the Kingdom of God, they must act, think, feel, look, and be like us. Yet, God’s will claims our limited knowledge is just that, limited. To be faithful to God’s will, we must be resilient in our humility, to acknowledge that God is definitive for justice, and that we must humble ourselves to receive God’s will as truth.
The language of love is erotic and steamy, just read Song of Songs (Song of Solomon). It’s a Biblical profession of the power of true love, and we shouldn’t limit it or water it down by writing it off as allegorical.
Our nature is to read what makes us feel good about our faith. We stop reading when we feel like we’ve got our life right with God, and skip the hard texts that teach true holiness. This is one of those texts, which calls us to more than just a ‘personal relationship with God.’
Paul makes a compelling argument that if you’re going to live by the law, you will be held accountable to all the laws. Or, you can live by Christ. Is it really that simple?