[forthright] Seeing Through God's Eyes/Do Something Great

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthright@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2006 15:57:29 -0600
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross

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Seeing Through God's Eyes by Barry Newton
Do Something Great by Stan Mitchell
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COLUMN: Hands-on Faith

Seeing Through God's Eyes
by Barry Newton

Apparently my perspective about my Brazilian
permanent resident status is distinctively my own.
This summer my Brazilian resident ID card set to
expire in an unceremonious moment. As far as I am
concerned, not only is it in Brazil's economic
interest for them to extend my permanent visa
indefinitely, but I want to maintain the
flexibility of being able to visit or immigrate to
Brazil at will. Brazil's viewpoint is different.
If I am not living in Brazil when my ID card
expires, the relationship is terminated.
Governments are in a position to unilaterally
determine their policies regarding foreigners.
What matters is how the Brazilian government sees
things, not my perception of how things should
work.

In a similar vein, Scripture reveals God
unilaterally and consistently has employed his
same principle for determining whom he will
recognize as belonging to him. When it comes to
having a relationship with God, what matters is
whom God perceives as his own, not the audacious
claims we might make.

Through grace, God promised to Abram, "I will
establish my covenant ... to be your God and the
God of your descendants after you."/1 The prophet
Ezekiel, recalling the covenant God had extended
by grace to Israel on Mt. Sinai as well as its
renewal on the eastern bank of the Jordan River,
could write, "I gave you my solemn oath and
entered into a covenant with you, and you became
mine."/2 Similarly, Jeremiah reminded Israel that
belonging to God was based upon their fulfillment
of the conditions of the covenant God had offered
to her./3

Looking forward to the future when God would offer
a new covenant, Jeremiah foretold that through it
God would promise: "I will be their God and they
will be my people. ... I will forgive their
wickedness and will remember their sins no
more."/4 By his death, Jesus created this new
covenant, making it possible for all the peoples
of the world to belong to God and be saved./5
Thus, any biblically accurate discussion about
being saved by Jesus, salvation by faith, or
baptism for the remission of sins must be embedded
in the greater context of covenant.

When the Bible is scoured asking the question,
"who does God recognize as belonging to him," the
biblical framework of covenant clearly and cleanly
arises out of the text. Whatever principles might
be discussed about being saved today are dependent
upon this larger framework of covenant.

Our task involves understanding and responding to
the covenant God offers to us through Christ. It
is not our place to define or determine the
principles by which God saves.

(Part 2 in a series)

1/ Genesis 17:7
2/ Ezekiel 16:8; Exodus 19:5,6; Deuteronomy 29:12,13
3/ Jeremiah 11:3,4
4/ Jeremiah 31:31,33,34
5/ Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:15; Ephesians 2:12-13

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COLUMN: Reality Check

Do Something Great
by Stan Mitchell

"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to
live a life worthy of the calling you have
received" (Ephesians 4:1).

One day as Abraham Lincoln was leaving church, he
was asked what he thought of the minister's
sermon. "The minister had a strong voice and good
delivery," the President began, "But he forgot the
most important part of a sermon. He forgot to ask
us to do something great."

Sometimes it's the preacher who forgets; sometimes
it's the listener. But we need reminding. Biblical
preaching is neither negotiating, nor cliches.
Great preaching does not deal in the petty and the
trivial.  

Like a soft drink in melted ice, we allow the call
of Christ to become diluted, at times. God doesn't
merely call on us to be nice, or polite, or merely
congenial. The call is to discipleship, and
sacrifice, obedience to him, and service. The call
is global, the implications eternal, the stakes
are nothing less than the souls of men and women.


Yes -- do demand that your preacher call you to
something great! He should have love in his heart,
but fire in his belly. And when he does,
understand that call for what it is! There should
be urgency in both the preaching, and the
listening. If you hear platitudes, you heard a
"thought for the day." But if you hear the voice
of God through scripture, you were called upon to
do something great!

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