Jesus’ Rule and Human Destiny

Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale shared last week that one of the fundamental questions to be answered by any worldview is “What is my purpose?” The Bible answers this question by saying that God made human beings to rule and fill the earth. (Genesis 1:28) Their rule was submitted to His rule, but He gave the earth to Adam’s children to rule (Psalm 115:16).

The fundamental loss of this purpose, which happened when Adam sinned, is he disobeyed God to usurp God’s rule over him in order to be his own ruler like God. I find it fascinating how resonant stories of deep meaning in our lives have picked up on this motif of a second in command usurping and supplanting his master by seizing power for himself. For example, STAR WARS has made this as one of the cardinal principles of the Dark side of the Sith. The apprentice always kills the master. Disobedient to authority, eventually leading to deposition of authority. In Antman, the apprentice eventually overthrows and undoes his mentor. This way of usurping authority in rebellion is the classic evil of Satan’s sin against God.

A beautiful contrast of this is seen in the humility of King David. He refused twice to lay hold of the crown for himself: to strike down the current King Saul. In this way, he showed himself to be a man after God’s own heart, and it was his line that was blessed and established for the Messiah to come through.

Go back further, and another example: Joseph. When he was 2nd in command of Potiphar’s house, and though he was tempted day after day by his bride, he said, “My master has entrusted everything to me in this house, save you. How can I do this great wickedness and sin against my God.” (Genesis 39.)

Human kind was made to rule, but the way of rule is not to escape authority, or to crush it, but to submit to it. To stay close enough to the Moses, that He chooses you to be his Joshua.

God desires such to serve Him, and you will never serve a better master than He.

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The Disciple and the Tree

In response to those in the church who say the primary purpose of any disciple is to make more disciples, I have this to say:

Jesus called the church to make disciples.
Jesus did not call the church to make disciplers.

Being a discipler is totally part of being a disciple,
But there is more to a tree than the seed which bears it;
Or the seed in the fruit on the branch which stretches out
With the leaves that take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen
Shading the bark shielding the hart and the sap drawn up from the ground
Through the roots which stand the tree upright toward the heavens.

In the same way there is more to a disciple than the new convert;
Or drawing people to the gospel by the love of Christ
Which comes from humble submission to God in working as He does
Offering strength and rest to those in need, preserving the value of life in truth
Being grounded in a world from which we are inseparable, being dust
Standing upright before God for the good of all men.

There is more to being a disciple than being a discipler
Just as there is more to being a tree than a bearer of seeds.

The church must remember the tree out of which is made the cross they are called to carry.
The church must remember what it means to be fully human.
Only then will she ever properly represent the fully human Jesus Christ.

Who is the Second Adam.

From with Him

I sit here in the real: a couch beneath me, my socks are damp from the morning dew. The rustling of my mother moving past, and the quiet of my father on hold on the phone across from me.

I see in stillness what the eyes cannot see. I wish not to move lest I disturb it. I just read a book about the book of Genesis, and I can see the perspective of the author of that book and how it is correct in places, and not deep enough in others. But am I the judge?

People read the different books of the Bible all the time. The more one reads it, the more one sees through the letters on the page into the story beneath it. And the story is more clearly seen not only in terms of historical accuracy, but also worshipfully correct, celebratory interpretation of the historical events from with Him.

I had to get up to blow my nose. I am such a human. How grateful I am to be a human. What does it mean to be a human? If we take humanity as a whole as a clue, it appears it means to generally desire what is good, but to mess up and fail all the time. If we use humanity as a whole to help us interpret the scriptures that say, “All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.” (Romans 3:23) We may say, “Everyone is no good.” But if we interpret humanity through the lens of who God is, then we see humanity as He sees them: as bearing His image and His likeness. This is why He loves them, because His goodness is what makes humanity valuable. This is only seen from with Him.

I journal. It has helped me go deep into the heart of who I am, as a sort of “Soul Mirror” which I use to talk with Him about what I see. It is through my journaling that I have been able to honestly see how utterly corrupt I am– How inexcusably unworthy of being the judge of good and evil. As I have broken down all the childish follies which grow up in my heart like weeds every day, I have seen in the light of His word, the things that are of Him. But I can only see them from with Him.

Humans today scrutinize God, with an intention to pass judgment on Him. And why not? The church has been passing judgment on people emphasizing God’s wrath on sin, and our otherness from Him. (My Dad just playfully passed a trashcan between my face and the screen as I wrote this. It is like that when we speak of God in such an unloving fashion. It obscures the glorious magnanimity of His face with the garbage of misinterpretation from our own failures.) If only we could see Him. See his face. What would He look like? Would we see someone in the likeness of our own corrupted vision? Is there a way we can see Him better?

Dad just walked up to me and said, “You’ll discover this later, but I bought a rope, in case you want to use the rope for projects in the future.” Then he gave me two thumbs up and said, “I have set you up for success.” I smiled and thanked him, and now I think, hasn’t God done that for us? Has He not since the creation given us everything good? Hasn’t He been pleased to give us good things? I immediately think, “What about all the terrible things that have happened in my life? How can a good God give me that?” Then I continue to think from with Him, and I humbly admit that I don’t understand it all. I just have fully trusted and become convinced that He is good, and that I am not yet aware of just how good He is, because I don’t want to know.

It’s a pervasive problem of being human because we are corrupt sinners. We don’t really want God to be a God who is bigger, greater, more perfect than we can perceive. We also don’t want the “God” who has been interpreted to us by people who claim to know him, but are really painting a picture of God in their own wounded image. This is what we want: we want to be our own arbiter of good and evil. We want to make God in our own image. This is so unworthy of God that He is just to condemn, and punish sin with death, because it takes what is good and perverts it and twists it to its own destruction.

We try to be our own “god.” It’s how we read the Bible; it’s how we pray; it’s how we live this crazy thing called real life. It’s utterly foolish. It is not possible to know God from this standpoint. How absurd! It’s like the pottery saying to the potter, “Look! I don’t have hands, therefore, the Potter must not have hands.” I don’t think this is what Isaiah was talking about in His reference, but the point is still the same. We have a Potter who is beyond us, and has been pleased to fashion us after His likeness. It is the serpent, the enemy who has sown these bad, corrupt, fake, fruitless seeds that have mixed in with God’s goodness.

When I am with Him, I see things. (My Mom just came up to the lamp by the couch and replaced the bulb that had blown out. It is shining now.) And when I see them, I love Him. But it is because I love Him that I see them. And because I love Him, I do what pleases Him. And when I do what pleases Him, I see that He is good, and his reasons for what He commands are perfect and powerful. He is with me, and I don’t see that unless I am with Him. I cannot see Him unless I am with Him. I will not be with Him, unless I can find Him. And He hides from the proud, but with the humble, He is intimate. Why? *smile*

Like a father who wants his children to grow up to take after him, so God the Father is inviting you to grow up to be like Him. This is why Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “Be imitators of God as dearly beloved children.” It is simple. There are an infinite number of ways to do life wrong, just like there are infinite numbers stretching both ways from “0.” But there is one way, one place where all of life comes to a whole. And it is Jesus Christ. All else is seen, done, and known rightly from with Him. And in this world, He is not stationary.