“He gave His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy One for transgressors, the blameless One for the wicked, the righteous One for the unrighteous, the incorruptible One for the corruptible, the immortal One for them that are mortal. For what other thing was capable of covering our sins than His righteousness? By what other one was it possible that we, the wicked and ungodly, could be justified, than by the only Son of God? O sweet exchange! O unsearchable operation! O benefits surpassing all expectation! That the wickedness of many should be hid in a single righteous One, and that the righteousness of One should justify many transgressors!”—
“There is magic in long-distance friendships. They let you relate to other human beings in a way that goes beyond being physically together and is often more profound.”—Diana Cortes (via creatingaquietmind)
These scriptures helped me think about how: God the Father chose me to be free and gave me freedom through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God the Son. By the guiding and transforming power of God the Holy Spirit, I can choose to enjoy life according to the freedom I have been given. I have been given freedom to lovingly and joyfully serve God and all those people that He places in my life. So why do I waste time living according to the spirit that I have been set free from? These scriptures make me want to choose to depend on God’s power and promises while obediently loving what He loves and hating what He hates.
Galatians 5:13-26 (CEV)
13My friends, you were chosen to be free. So don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do anything you want. Use it as an opportunity to serve each other with love. 14All that the Law says can be summed up in the command to love others as much as you love yourself. 15But if you keep attacking each other like wild animals, you had better watch out or you will destroy yourselves.
16If you are guided by the Spirit, you won’t obey your selfish desires. 17The Spirit and your desires are enemies of each other. They are always fighting each other and keeping you from doing what you feel you should. 18But if you obey the Spirit, the Law of Moses has no control over you.
19People’s desires make them give in to immoral ways, filthy thoughts, and shameful deeds. 20They worship idols, practice witchcraft, hate others, and are hard to get along with. People become jealous, angry, and selfish. They not only argue and cause trouble, but they are 21envious. They get drunk, carry on at wild parties, and do other evil things as well. I told you before, and I am telling you again: No one who does these things will share in the blessings of God’s kingdom.
22God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, 23gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways. 24And because we belong to Christ Jesus, we have killed our selfish feelings and desires. 25God’s Spirit has given us life, and so we should follow the Spirit. 26But don’t be conceited or make others jealous by claiming to be better than they are.
13.형제들아 너희가 자유를 위하여 부르심을 입었으나 그러나 그 자유로 육체의 기회를 삼지 말고 오직 사랑으로 서로 종 노릇 하라
13-15It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?
16-18My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?
19-21It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.
This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.
22-23But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
23-24Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.
25-26Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.
“The beauty of the soul shines out when a man bears with composure one heavy mischance after another, not because he does not feel them, but because he is a man of high and heroic temper”—Aristotle (via thesearepeopleyouknow)
These scriptures woke me up to the dangers of forgetting the Good News about Jesus Christ. I should remind myself throughout my day that God is pleased with me because of my faith in Jesus Christ. I cannot please God or make God owe me anything. Only Jesus can please God because He is God and only God is able to be perfectly good. So the only way God would be pleased with me is if I am in the goodness of Jesus Christ, if I am in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ welcomes me into Him only through faith. This faith is a gift from those whom God the Father calls to Him. Romans 10: 17No one can have faith without hearing the message about Christ. (CEV)
Based on these scriptures and other scriptures in the Bible, I can expect that this faith will result in loving Jesus, loving what God loves, hating what God hates, and loving others. God looks at me as acceptable to His standards and demands of perfection by looking at me through Christ. And I can look at God and know He is pleased with me through faith in the Good News that Jesus is God and Jesus took away my imperfections and evilness by dying on the cross. This is a great gift because it enables me to enjoy Him in my life forever. These scriptures warn that if I try to live right or be good in order to be acceptable to God’s standards, then I lose the gift of being accepted by God through Jesus and by the Holy Spirit because the gift is only acceptable by faith.
Galatians 5:1-6 (CEV)
1Christ has set us free! This means we are really free. Now hold on to your freedom and don’t ever become slaves of the Law again.
2I, Paul, promise you that Christ won’t do you any good if you get circumcised. 3If you do, you must obey the whole Law. 4And if you try to please God by obeying the Law, you have cut yourself off from Christ and his wonderful kindness. 5But the Spirit makes us sure that God will accept us because of our faith in Christ. 6If you are a follower of Christ Jesus, it makes no difference whether you are circumcised or not. All that matters is your faith that makes you love others.
그리스도께서 우리를 자유롭게 하려고 자유를 주셨으니 그러므로 굳건하게 서서 다시는 종의 멍에를 메지 말라
보라 나 바울은 너희에게 말하노니 너희가 만일 할례를 받으면 그리스도께서 너희에게 아무 유익이 없으리라
내가 할례를 받는 각 사람에게 다시 증언하노니 그는 율법 전체를 행할 의무를 가진 자라
율법 안에서 의롭다 함을 얻으려 하는 너희는 그리스도에게서 끊어지고 은혜에서 떨어진 자로다
1 Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.
2-3I am emphatic about this. The moment any one of you submits to circumcision or any other rule-keeping system, at that same moment Christ’s hard-won gift of freedom is squandered. I repeat my warning: The person who accepts the ways of circumcision trades all the advantages of the free life in Christ for the obligations of the slave life of the law. 4-6I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love.
These scriptures help me understand religion. This is me “thinking out loud” or rambling a bit, so hopefully, it is not too confusing:
Religions express principles that point out our deficiencies and demand that we do something to correct those deficiencies. They usually add some kind of instructions on what to do, or how to live in order to minimize the expression of our moral deficiencies. They also motivate us to cover up our moral deficiencies by doing some kind of designated good deed or participate in some kind of ritual. Religion has power over us in the same way that a parent holds power over a foolish and destructive child, or a king enslaves people in order to save them from being too foolish and destructive. Religion has some good purpose in bringing some order to our lives and to society, but it is by no means great to be a slave, or a child of nagging imperfect parents. Jesus Christ offers something better: freedom.
According to these scriptures, we can be set free from the power of religion by simply having faith in, or trusting in, Jesus Christ and His life, words, death, resurrection, and rescue mission on the cross. By simply having faith in Jesus Christ, He points out my moral deficiencies and spiritual deficiencies, calls me to life a perfect life without deficiency of any kind, and then He does all the work to satisfy the demand for my perfection. Jesus lived the perfect life and sacrificed His life by letting Himself be murdered on the cross, so that He can give me His perfection in exchange for my imperfection. The result of this gift of perfection is that I become a child of God. As a child of God in Jesus Christ, I’m promised moral, spiritual, and eventually physical renewal through the power of His Holy Spirit as I intimately experience Him, who lives in me and is forming me into His likeness. I am free to joyfully live my life while seeking to live up to the perfection He has already given me. Christ calls me to perfection, gives me His perfection, and then He orders my life by His power.
Galatians 3:26-4:11 (CEV)
26All of you are God’s children because of your faith in Christ Jesus. 27And when you were baptized, it was as though you had put on Christ in the same way you put on new clothes. 28Faith in Christ Jesus is what makes each of you equal with each other, whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a free person, a man or a woman. 29So if you belong to Christ, you are now part of Abraham’s family, and you will be given what God has promised.
1Children who are under age are no better off than slaves, even though everything their parents own will someday be theirs. 2This is because children are placed in the care of guardians and teachers until the time their parents have set. 3That is how it was with us. We were like children ruled by the powers of this world.
4But when the time was right, God sent his Son, and a woman gave birth to him. His Son obeyed the Law, 5so he could set us free from the Law, and we could become God’s children. 6Now that we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. And his Spirit tells us that God is our Father. 7You are no longer slaves. You are God’s children, and you will be given what he has promised.
8Before you knew God, you were slaves of gods that are not real. 9But now you know God, or better still, God knows you. How can you turn back and become the slaves of those weak and pitiful powers? 10You even celebrate certain days, months, seasons, and years. 11I am afraid I have wasted my time working with you.
너희가 아들이므로 하나님이 그 아들의 영을 우리 마음 가운데 보내사 아빠 아버지라 부르게 하셨느니라
그러므로 네가 이 후로는 종이 아니요 아들이니 아들이면 하나님으로 말미암아 유업을 받을 자니라
그러나 너희가 그 때에는 하나님을 알지 못하여 본질상 하나님이 아닌 자들에게 종 노릇 하였더니
이제는 너희가 하나님을 알 뿐 아니라 더욱이 하나님이 아신 바 되었거늘 어찌하여 다시 약하고 천박한 초등학문으로 돌아가서 다시 그들에게 종 노릇 하려 하느냐
너희가 날과 달과 절기와 해를 삼가 지키니
내가 너희를 위하여 수고한 것이 헛될까 두려워하노라
Galatians 3:26-4-11 (the Message)
By faith in Christ you are in direct relationship with God. Your baptism in Christ was not just washing you up for a fresh start. It also involved dressing you in an adult faith wardrobe—Christ’s life, the fulfillment of God’s original promise.
28-29In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” heirs according to the covenant promises.
1-3Let me show you the implications of this. As long as the heir is a minor, he has no advantage over the slave. Though legally he owns the entire inheritance, he is subject to tutors and administrators until whatever date the father has set for emancipation. That is the way it is with us: When we were minors, we were just like slaves ordered around by simple instructions (the tutors and administrators of this world), with no say in the conduct of our own lives.
4-7But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!” Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.
8-11Earlier, before you knew God personally, you were enslaved to so-called gods that had nothing of the divine about them. But now that you know the real God—or rather since God knows you—how can you possibly subject yourselves again to those paper tigers? For that is exactly what you do when you are intimidated into scrupulously observing all the traditions, taboos, and superstitions associated with special days and seasons and years. I am afraid that all my hard work among you has gone up in a puff of smoke!
These scriptures provide some helpful declarations about me and God, as well as some helpful questions, for times of self-reflection.
Declaration 1: I’m stupid.—This knowledge is the most helpful for me as it prompts me to be more of a learning listener to God’s words and guidance in my life.
Declaration 2: Know and remember the good news of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross to rescue me from death, sin, and separation from God. Or I risk more stupidity.
Question 1: Anyone put an evil spell on you? Answer: I guess anything that takes my focus off of Jesus and His rescue mission on the cross would be a spell. Is anyone leading me away from Christ?
Question 2: How were you given God’s Spirit? Answer: God just gave it to me—a gift that I didn’t deserve. He gave me a desire for Him, and a desire to repent, and a desire to follow Him. His Spirit now lives in me.
Question 3: Did you get God’s spirit by: A. obeying the law of Moses or B. by hearing the Good News about salvation through Jesus and trusting in Him? Answer: B, I don’t have any hope in obeying Mosaic law.
Question 4: How can I be so stupid? I ask God this all the time, and wonder more about why than how. The answer: Avoiding God as the center of my life as I distrust Him.
Question 5: Can I complete by my own power what God’s Spirit started in me? Answer: God started in me a process of transformation into His goodness. I can’t get close to being His kind of good without Him moving me in that direction.
Question 6: Have I gone through all of this for nothing? “All of this” is following Jesus and “nothing” is what I get when I trust in anything else but Jesus. Answer: No. Even though I’m frequently distracted away from focusing on Jesus, God keeps on rescuing myself from myself and lovingly correcting me towards Him. See Declaration 3.
Declaration 3: God gives me His Spirit and works miracles in me. Transforming me into His goodness even as I consciously and unconsciously try to avoid Him is a miracle.
Question 7: Did God give me His Spirit because of me following religious and moral rules? Or because I heard about Christ and have faith in Him? Answer: From Jesus’ perspective, I’m never really following the religious and moral rules, even when I try, because He knows and judges the motivations and intentions and secrets of what goes on in my head and my heart. I don’t have much faith either but He has given me enough to follow Jesus.
Galatians 3:1-6 (CEV)
1You stupid Galatians! I told you exactly how Jesus Christ was nailed to a cross. Has someone now put an evil spell on you? 2I want to know only one thing. How were you given God’s Spirit? Was it by obeying the Law of Moses or by hearing about Christ and having faith in him? 3How can you be so stupid? Do you think that by yourself you can complete what God’s Spirit started in you? 4Have you gone through all of this for nothing? Is it all really for nothing? 5God gives you his Spirit and works miracles in you. But does he do this because you obey the Law of Moses or because you have heard about Christ and have faith in him?6The Scriptures say that God accepted Abraham because Abraham had faith.
어리석도다 갈라디아 사람들아 예수 그리스도께서 십자가에 못 박히신 것이 너희 눈 앞에 밝히 보이거늘 누가 너희를 꾀더냐
내가 너희에게서 다만 이것을 알려 하노니 너희가 성령을 받은 것이 율법의 행위로냐 혹은 듣고 믿음으로냐
1 You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the cross was certainly set before you clearly enough.
2-4Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up!
5-6Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you? Don’t these things happen among you just as they happened with Abraham? He believed God, and that act of belief was turned into a life that was right with God.
These scriptures helped clarify some stuff I regularly found confusing at many times in my life about what it means to be “saved by grace through faith in Christ”, which is a declaration I heard often in churches. My confusion usually begins with a desire to do something that: I know in my heart (or at least strongly suspect) that God doesn’t want me to do anymore, or I know God doesn’t want me to get involved in. I usually try to rationalize my distrust in God by thinking “If I am saved by grace, then I can do whatever I want, right?”
But what I constantly relearn through these scriptures and others is that when I’m thinking that way, I’m leaving out or minimizing the “through faith in Christ” part. I’m forgetting Jesus Christ, His life, His death, His resurrection, His teachings, His promises, and His love. I’m only thinking about using Him to serve myself. What I relearn is: If I have faith in Jesus Christ, then His grace sets me free from the judgment of religious rules and traditions so that I can do what Jesus wants, and live the way Jesus wants me to live, and not live the way of serving myself that leads to destruction. And anyways, if I have faith in Jesus Christ, than I increasingly want to live for Him and serve Him as my King, Lord, and Savior. Jesus stops becoming a way or tool to achieve my goals and desires. He becomes my goal and my desire while His goals and desires become my goals and desires. I learn to love what He loves and hate what He hates.
15We are Jews by birth and are not sinners like Gentiles. 16But we know that God accepts only those who have faith in Jesus Christ. No one can please God by simply obeying the Law. So we put our faith in Christ Jesus, and God accepted us because of our faith.
17When we Jews started looking for a way to please God, we discovered that we are sinners too. Does this mean that Christ is the one who makes us sinners? No, it doesn’t! 18But if I tear down something and then build it again, I prove that I was wrong at first. 19It was the Law itself that killed me and freed me from its power, so that I could live for God.
I have been nailed to the cross with Christ. 20I have died, but Christ lives in me. And I now live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me. 21I don’t turn my back on God’s undeserved kindness. If we can be acceptable to God by obeying the Law, it was useless for Christ to die.
15.우리는 본래 유대인이요 이방 죄인이 아니로되
사람이 의롭게 되는 것은 율법의 행위로 말미암음이 아니요 오직 예수 그리스도를 믿음으로 말미암는 줄 알므로 우리도 그리스도 예수를 믿나니 이는 우리가 율법의 행위로써가 아니고 그리스도를 믿음으로써 의롭다 함을 얻으려 함이라 율법의 행위로써는 의롭다 함을 얻을 육체가 없느니라
만일 우리가 그리스도 안에서 의롭게 되려 하다가 죄인으로 드러나면 그리스도께서 죄를 짓게 하는 자냐 결코 그럴 수 없느니라
만일 내가 헐었던 것을 다시 세우면 내가 나를 범법한 자로 만드는 것이라
내가 율법으로 말미암아 율법에 대하여 죽었나니 이는 하나님에 대하여 살려 함이라
내가 그리스도와 함께 십자가에 못 박혔나니 그런즉 이제는 내가 사는 것이 아니요 오직 내 안에 그리스도께서 사시는 것이라 이제 내가 육체 가운데 사는 것은 나를 사랑하사 나를 위하여 자기 자신을 버리신 하나님의 아들을 믿는 믿음 안에서 사는 것이라
21.내가 하나님의 은혜를 폐하지 아니하노니 만일 의롭게 되는 것이 율법으로 말미암으면 그리스도께서 헛되이 죽으셨느니라
Galatians 2:15-21 (The Message)
15-16We Jews know that we have no advantage of birth over “non-Jewish sinners.” We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ. How do we know? We tried it—and we had the best system of rules the world has ever seen! Convinced that no human being can please God by self-improvement, we believed in Jesus as the Messiah so that we might be set right before God by trusting in the Messiah, not by trying to be good.
17-18Have some of you noticed that we are not yet perfect? (No great surprise, right?) And are you ready to make the accusation that since people like me, who go through Christ in order to get things right with God, aren’t perfectly virtuous, Christ must therefore be an accessory to sin? The accusation is frivolous. If I was “trying to be good,” I would be rebuilding the same old barn that I tore down. I would be acting as a charlatan.
19-21What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.
Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.
These scriptures helped remind me of some principles for advocating the Good News about Jesus Christ to people in need of Him (everyone needs Jesus).
1. God chooses and empowers His followers to advocate the Good News about Jesus. Jesus is the eternal God the Son who became a human on a mission to glorify the eternal God the Father by rescuing people from eternal death and slavery to sin.
2. Keep the facts straight about the Good News: Eternal God the Father raised Jesus from the dead after Jesus obeyed God the Father by willingly sacrificing His life on the cross. What was the effect of Jesus’ death on the cross? His death on the cross released us from the curse of our sins and rescued us from evil. Nothing but the gift of Jesus’ death on the cross can remove the curse of our sins. And nothing but His saving and resurrecting power can rescue us from evil and an evil world.
3. Adding any requirements for salvation to the Good News is terribly wrong and will get you in big trouble. Here in South Korea, I hear people measure a person’s salvation in Christ by adding the requirements of going to church every Sunday and avoiding alcohol while still mentioning the Good News in the same breath. The spread of this false message makes it difficult for people to hear the Good News as something other than religious advice for living a good boring life.
4. The purpose of our efforts to advocate the Good News in our thoughts, deeds, and words is to glorify God, not ourselves. This is the way Jesus lived and the way His followers are called to live.
5. It is Jesus who saves people and calls people to follow Him when He reveals His Good News message. Eternal God the Holy Spirit points people toward Jesus and teaches them about Him. It is not the efforts of the advocates of the Good News message that saves people from sin, eternal death, and gives them a new life following King Jesus. I could tell someone about Jesus all day long, but it will have no impact until Jesus chooses to reveal Himself to that person through the Holy Spirit’s power through me, or without me. The rest of the chapter explains this by giving the example of Paul’s life killing Christians until Jesus revealed Himself to Paul.
Galatians 1:1-12 (CEV)
1-2From the apostle Paul and from all the Lord’s followers with me.
I was chosen to be an apostle by Jesus Christ and by God the Father, who raised him from death. No mere human chose or appointed me to this work.
To the churches in Galatia.
3I pray that God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace! 4Christ obeyed God our Father and gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins to rescue us from this evil world. 5God will be given glory forever and ever. Amen.
6I am shocked that you have so quickly turned from God, who chose you because of his wonderful kindness. You have believed another message, 7when there is really only one true message. But some people are causing you trouble and want to make you turn away from the good news about Christ. 8I pray that God will punish anyone who preaches anything different from our message to you! It doesn’t matter if that person is one of us or an angel from heaven. 9I have said it before, and I will say it again. I hope God will punish anyone who preaches anything different from what you have already believed. 10I am not trying to please people. I want to please God. Do you think I am trying to please people? If I were doing that, I would not be a servant of Christ.
11My friends, I want you to know that no one made up the message I preach. 12It wasn’t given or taught to me by some mere human. My message came directly from Jesus Christ when he appeared to me.
사람들에게서 난 것도 아니요 사람으로 말미암은 것도 아니요 오직 예수 그리스도와 그를 죽은 자 가운데서 살리신 하나님 아버지로 말미암아 사도 된 바울은
그리스도의 은혜로 너희를 부르신 이를 이같이 속히 떠나 다른 복음을 따르는 것을 내가 이상하게 여기노라
다른 복음은 없나니 다만 어떤 사람들이 너희를 교란하여 그리스도의 복음을 변하게 하려 함이라
그러나 우리나 혹은 하늘로부터 온 천사라도 우리가 너희에게 전한 복음 외에 다른 복음을 전하면 저주를 받을지어다
우리가 전에 말하였거니와 내가 지금 다시 말하노니 만일 누구든지 너희가 받은 것 외에 다른 복음을 전하면 저주를 받을지어다
이제 내가 사람들에게 좋게 하랴 하나님께 좋게 하랴 사람들에게 기쁨을 구하랴 내가 지금까지 사람들의 기쁨을 구하였다면 그리스도의 종이 아니니라
11. 형제들아 내가 너희에게 알게 하노니 내가 전한 복음은 사람의 뜻을 따라 된 것이 아니니라
12. 이는 내가 사람에게서 받은 것도 아니요 배운 것도 아니요 오직 예수 그리스도의 계시로 말미암은 것이라
Galatians 1:1-12 (The Message)
1-5 I, Paul, and my companions in faith here, send greetings to the Galatian churches. My authority for writing to you does not come from any popular vote of the people, nor does it come through the appointment of some human higher-up. It comes directly from Jesus the Messiah and God the Father, who raised him from the dead. I’m God-commissioned. So I greet you with the great words, grace and peace! We know the meaning of those words because Jesus Christ rescued us from this evil world we’re in by offering himself as a sacrifice for our sins. God’s plan is that we all experience that rescue. Glory to God forever! Oh, yes!
6-9I can’t believe your fickleness—how easily you have turned traitor to him who called you by the grace of Christ by embracing a variant message! It is not a minor variation, you know; it is completely other, an alien message, a no-message, a lie about God. Those who are provoking this agitation among you are turning the Message of Christ on its head. Let me be blunt: If one of us—even if an angel from heaven!—were to preach something other than what we preached originally, let him be cursed. I said it once; I’ll say it again: If anyone, regardless of reputation or credentials, preaches something other than what you received originally, let him be cursed.
10-12Do you think I speak this strongly in order to manipulate crowds? Or curry favor with God? Or get popular applause? If my goal was popularity, I wouldn’t bother being Christ’s slave. Know this—I am most emphatic here, friends—this great Message I delivered to you is not mere human optimism. I didn’t receive it through the traditions, and I wasn’t taught it in some school. I got it straight from God, received the Message directly from Jesus Christ.
Notes from a sermon by Dr. Keller of Redeemer in NY, NY. The sermon is about problems people have with Christian claims to exclusivity. Below the scripture selection for the sermon are my notes which are mostly paraphrase but possibly some direct quotes, but I’m not sure.
1Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 4Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
God Is Love
7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Problem 1: Exclusivity. How can you possibly claim that your religion is the only religion? That you believe there is only one truth?
People blame religions for dividing people and creating strife. Dr Keller agrees. He says that religion creates a slippery slope that leads to oppression and violence. People feel superior because they have the truth and others don’t, and then they avoid those other people, become unfamiliar with them, stereotype and dehumanize them. Religious people begin to dehumanize people who believe differently and believe that they deserve to be marginalized. Religion erodes peace on earth between humans. So what do we do?
Two strategies that people are using these days that won’t work.
1st strategy: Hoping, calling for, and helping religion weaken until it disappears. This is not working. Religions are growing like crazy. The African continent has gone from 8 percent Christian to 55 percent Christian in 100 years. Christianity is growing rapidly in China. As society advances, religion grows, not declines. Efforts to stamp out Christianity makes Christianity grow more indigenously and rapidly, like in China after they threw out the Western missionaries.
John says to test religious leaders or prophets, but he uses the word ‘spirits’. Why does he use the word ‘spirits’? Behind religious views, there are spiritual forces/views. They are not all good. Religious impulse is not just an intellectual thing. The need to worship something is a spiritual part of human nature.
2nd strategy: more prevalent. Confine religion to the private realm:
1. All the people in society need to agree that all religions are equally valid paths to God.
2. Religion is good to strengthen your private life but never argue for values in society that are rooted in the particulars of you religious faith.
These ideas are prevalent but they won’t work. John says they are speaking from the viewpoint of the world, a position of faith. #1 above is a naked assertion. I ask those who say #1: Why should I believe that all religions are equally valid paths to God? They usually respond to this question by talking about the blind men touching the elephant. Leslie Newgbin, a missionary to India, counters this story by saying that the only way you could know what the blind men were doing, and the only way you can tell the story is if you can see all of the truth. The only way you can assume that all religions are valid is if you think you can see all of the truth. This is arrogant and imperialistic.
Examine #2 above. Everything based on faith should not enter the public square or public world. Instead, just look for strategies that work. Problem with this is that it is totally impractical: What does religion mean? Religion is a set of answers to the big questions of—- why are we here? What is right and wrong? What is wrong with humanity and how do we fix it. So it is impossible to leave your religious beliefs at the front door when you walk out of your home. Otherwise, you are saying that your enlightenment influenced Western individualistic assumptions are privileged over others.
Everybody has a set of exclusive beliefs and believes theirs are better. So, the question is: Which set of religious beliefs produces the most peace loving inclusive behavior?
One strategy that will work: Look at the things that are unique about Christianity.
Of course Christianity has some things in common with other religions, but that won’t help you.
Three different things:
1. The origien of Jesus’s salvation: Jesus Christ came, which means He was somewhere else before He was born. In Jsus Christ god comes into the world.
2. Jesus Christ comes in the flesh. Religions say the flesh is a matter of consciousness or it is bad and you can escape it to go to heaven by being moral. But Jesus receives a body and seeks to redeem and fix this world. Christian salvation lies not in an escape from this world but a transformation of this world. No faith holds out a promise of eternal salvation for the world except Christianity
3. Grace. All other religions, you got to do things to win god’s approval. The gospel says, “not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent Himself as a sacrifice for our sins”. Jesus is not mainly a teacher who told us how we should have lived, but He is a savior. We can be saved by radical grace.
Unless the spirit moving you confesses these unique distinctiveness of Christianity, then your spirit will move you against others. You are not saved by performance so you, as a result, you can’t look down on anyone. Secularlists are every bit as self righteous as the religious people. The gospel leads you to expect that people who don’t believe like you will likely be better than you because you need grace.
Resurrection. Since the purpose of salvation is a new world and a new earth, than you are working with God to make a new world. Seek prosperity here because this is the future. Serve here, now, and serve others because that is what God is seeking to do.
Could knowledge of the Gospel lead to self-righteousness? “Jesus is God come in the flesh. My founder is God, yours is just a man.” This doesn’t lead to self righteousness as evidenced by history. Early Christians said Jesus is Lord of all and created the most inclusive community at the time. The exclusive belief that Jesus is God created inclusive behavior because ultimate reality became visible: A man, who is God, on the cross loving people who don’t love him, and forgiving people who abuse him. They couldn’t be cruel to others as a result of this reality. The exclusive beliefs of Christianity will lead to the most inclusive and loving behavior. You will be humbled and seek to serve and love those who don’t believe what you believe.
If you believe the gospel believe it more deeply than you ever have before, and if you don’t believe the gospel, then consider believing it.
1 Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.” 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
10 The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”
13 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
15 But the LORD said to him, “Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 16 So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
17 Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.
19 Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp and flute. 22 Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah.
23 Lamech said to his wives,
“Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. 24 If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.”
25 Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.” 26 Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh.
At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD.
My notes, mostly paraphrasing:
The Bible is not a set of stories, but a single story telling us what’s wrong with the human race, what God has done about it, and how it will turn out at the end.
This section is not often taught because it confuses the modern reader. What people will attack Cain? Where did he find a wife? Who did he populate the city?
Understand that biblical narrative is incredibly selective and bare of information. Like in the gospels, the gospel of Mark is spare in his accounts yet Luke’s gospel is detailed. The reason why the biblical narrator doesn’t reveal a lot of details that we would like to know about is that it doesn’t help him get his point across. They only reveal what is necessary for you learn what the Lord wants to tell you.
3 things we learn from this passage: the ruin of Cain, the culture of death, the future city of grace.
The ruin of Cain: Cain killed his brother, and God gives him every opportunity to repent. “Sin is man curved in upon himself”—Martin Luther. Sin is always choosing self over God and others. Sin determines that even when you do good things, it is always about you. Sin determines that you only relate to God or people when they further your agenda. Sin determines that when a relationship becomes costly, we withdraw because it doesn’t serve ourselves. Repentance means taking yourself out of the center of your life. Cain is sorry, but sorry in a self-absorbed way. He is only worried about how his sin of murdering his brother will hurt him. He is upset with the consequences of sin but he is not upset with sin. His weeping for what he has done wrong is self-aborbed. If repentance is so important for us, yet so slippery, then we should help each other repent. The inability to repent is at the heart of the ruining of the human race.
Point 2: Sin ruins human society and culture. We were made to be creative because we were made in the image of the Creator. But sin messes up our creative efforts as we use them to serve ourselves rather than God and others. One of the main points of Genesis is that polygamy is disastrous and is a cultural form that leads to oppression. The human culture is twisted by sin, now you have a life of power and exploitation. Lamech in the passage demonstrates a power over culture when he is wounded (scratched) by a young man (child) and he feels justified in killing him.
The bible does not have a negative view of cities. God shows a lot of care for cities. When God has the world in the condition He wants it in as described in the Bible, it looks like a big city. He made Adam and Eve in His image. As a result they are creative and they start building cities. A city is any settlement with a wall and in the city you had jurisprudence so cities became centers of creation. Yet cities were affected by sin and are great, yet exhausting. A burn out. Diversity becomes a stimulation of creativity but also conflict. Will a city be a place to serve others? Or a place to accrue power, exploit others, and attain glory? It is hard to live in cities without being sucked into the power-over culture. If you want a happy life, probably don’t want to go into a city’s competitive culture. But if you want to make a difference, then go to a city. But how to avoid getting sucked into the power culture of self glorification?
Point three: Gods city of life through grace culture is different than the world’s city culture of death through power. God’s city culture is a society of service that honor’s the Lord’s name. Believers in God, and later believers in Christ (the line of Seth described at the end of the passage), is supposed to be an alternate city culture in every city. Jesus, in the sermon on the mount, says He wants us be a light to others, a city on a hill. You do this by living with, loving, and serving those who hurt you and accuse you of doing wrong. If you want to be serving others the way Christ served us, and not get sucked into the culture of power domination, how? Remember that God has every right to be angry with us forever because of our sins, yet He shows us mercy and is endlessly forgiving. Contrast this to Lamech who had no right to be endlessly angry when a boy scratched him, but declared that he would be endlessly angry and extremely punitive to anyone who hurts him.
The consequence of Cain’s sin (wandering, killed, separated) fell on Christ: Jesus was the endless wanderer (Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”), was killed on the cross, and lost the presence of God on the cross. The real curse for our sins fell on Jesus so we can receive God’s blessing and the name of the Lord is on us by grace. As a result, we can repent every time we have an opportunity to do so and we can resist the desire to make a name for ourselves since we have the Lord’s name on us.
“If Abraham was not justified by works, how was he justified? The apostle goes on to tell us how: What does scripture say? (that is, about how Abraham was justified). Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness (Rom. 4:3; Gen. 15:6). Abraham, then, was justified by faith. Paul and James do not contradict each other: good works follow justification… When someone believes in him who justifies the impious, that faith is reckoned as justice to the believer, as David too declares that person blessed whom God has accepted and endowed with righteousness, independently of any righteous actions (Rom 4:5-6). What righteousness is this? The righteousness of faith, preceded by no good works, but with good works as its consequence.”—Saint Augustine of Hippo (via conformingtotheson)
These scriptures help me check my attitude in my relationships with those people that God has put in my path. If I am following Jesus Christ and I have put my hope in Him and His promises, then as a consequence, I should be following His example and have a primary attitude of service towards others. I should be patiently serving the needs of other followers of Christ and all those who God puts in my path: even if they insult me, or irritate me, or seem culturally strange to me. And I should have an attitude that wants to serve others in this way as a joyful opportunity to glorify God.
Jesus glorifies God by serving those who trust in Him. He served me by dying on the cross to save me from my sins even when I had no faith. He still patiently serves me by reconciling me to Him even as I daily insult Him with behaviors and thoughts that reveal my weak faith in Him. He promises in the scriptures that I will be with Him forever according to His loving grace as He reconciles people to God and to each other in Him. The Holy Spirit and the words of Jesus empower me with hope to lovingly serve others. That’s the power I should rely on, not my own sheer determination or talents to serve.
Romans 15:1-13 (CEV)
1If our faith is strong, we should be patient with the Lord’s followers whose faith is weak. We should try to please them instead of ourselves. 2We should think of their good and try to help them by doing what pleases them. 3Even Christ did not try to please himself. But as the Scriptures say, “The people who insulted you also insulted me.” 4And the Scriptures were written to teach and encourage us by giving us hope. 5God is the one who makes us patient and cheerful. I pray that he will help you live at peace with each other, as you follow Christ. 6Then all of you together will praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7Honor God by accepting each other, as Christ has accepted you. 8I tell you that Christ came as a servant of the Jews to show that God has kept the promises he made to their famous ancestors. Christ also came, 9so that the Gentiles would praise God for being kind to them. It is just as the Scriptures say,
”I will tell the nations about you, and I will sing praises to your name.”
10The Scriptures also say to the Gentiles,
"Come and celebrate with God’s people."
11Again the Scriptures say, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles.
All you nations, come and worship him.”
12Isaiah says, “Someone from David’s family will come to power.
He will rule the nations, and they will put their hope in him.”
13I pray that God, who gives hope, will bless you with complete happiness and peace because of your faith. And may the power of the Holy Spirit fill you with hope.
믿음이 강한 우리는 마땅히 믿음이 약한 자의 약점을 담당하고 자기를 기쁘게 하지 아니할 것이라
우리 각 사람이 이웃을 기쁘게 하되 선을 이루고 덕을 세우도록 할지니라
그리스도께서도 자기를 기쁘게 하지 아니하셨나니 기록된 바 주를 비방하는 자들의 비방이 내게 미쳤나이다 함과 같으니라
무엇이든지 전에 기록된 바는 우리의 교훈을 위하여 기록된 것이니 우리로 하여금 인내로 또는 성경의 위로로 소망을 가지게 함이니라
또 이사야가 이르되 이새의 뿌리 곧 열방을 다스리기 위하여 일어나시는 이가 있으리니 열방이 그에게 소망을 두리라 하였느니라
소망의 하나님이 모든 기쁨과 평강을 믿음 안에서 너희에게 충만하게 하사 성령의 능력으로 소망이 넘치게 하시기를 원하노라
Romans 15:1-13 (the Message)
1-2 Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”
3-6That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. “I took on the troubles of the troubled,” is the way Scripture puts it. Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us. God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next. May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus!
7-13So reach out and welcome one another to God’s glory. Jesus did it; now you do it! Jesus, staying true to God’s purposes, reached out in a special way to the Jewish insiders so that the old ancestral promises would come true for them. As a result, the non-Jewish outsiders have been able to experience mercy and to show appreciation to God. Just think of all the Scriptures that will come true in what we do! For instance:
Then I’ll join outsiders in a hymn-sing; I’ll sing to your name! And this one: Outsiders and insiders, rejoice together! And again: People of all nations, celebrate God! All colors and races, give hearty praise! And Isaiah’s word: There’s the root of our ancestor Jesse, breaking through the earth and growing tree tall, Tall enough for everyone everywhere to see and take hope! Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!
These scriptures help me understand what it means to be wise. Ecclesiastes is pointing out that keeping oneself aware of the reality of death and aware of our lack of control over our future will move us toward wisdom. Remembering in a serious way that I will die, and I could die anytime, helps me take my life and the words of God more seriously. Awareness of death motivates me to look towards God and invest my time, mind, heart, and body in those behaviors, deeds, thoughts, and attitudes that He loves while avoiding what He hates. I will start to become wise as I ask God to correct my life in all these areas, and as He causes me to willingly receive His correction.
Paul tells followers of Jesus to examine their lives in a humble way, a way that is willing to be corrected by God. He tells them to do this so they can know if they are actually true believers in Christ. If I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the living King over all, who is God and Savior of His followers through His sacrifice on the cross, then I should be showing evidence of that belief in my life. Jesus says I must be “born again” in order to enter the Kingdom of God. My life should demonstrate transformation if I follow Jesus and believe in Him.
However, Ecclesiastes reminds me that being really good won’t enable me to control God and make Him give me a good life. Neither will being really bad enable me to damn myself if He chooses to save me from my sins. God gives according to His will, and He gives with love and grace. The facts that we will die and that we have no control over God or our lives, should motivate us to ask for, and receive salvation and redemption in Jesus Christ.
Ecclesiastes 7:1-15 (CEV)
1A good reputation at the time of death
is better than loving care at the time of birth.
2It’s better to go to a funeral than to attend a feast;
funerals remind us that we all must die.
3Choose sorrow over laughter because a sad face may hide a happy heart.
4A sensible person mourns, but fools always laugh.
5Harsh correction is better than the songs of a fool.
6Foolish laughter is stupid. It sounds like thorns crackling in a fire.
7Corruption makes fools of sensible people, and bribes can ruin you.
8Something completed is better than something just begun;
patience is better than too much pride.
9Only fools get angry quickly and hold a grudge.
10It isn’t wise to ask, “Why is everything worse than it used to be?”
11Having wisdom is better than an inheritance.
12Wisdom will protect you just like money;
knowledge with good sense will lead you to life.
13Think of what God has done!
If God makes something crooked, can you make it straight?
14When times are good, you should be cheerful;
when times are bad, think what it means.
God makes them both to keep us from knowing what will happen next.
15I have seen everything during this senseless life of mine. I have seen good citizens die for doing the right thing, and I have seen criminals live to a ripe old age.
2 Corinthians 13:5-9 (CEV, Paul speaking)
5Test yourselves and find out if you really are true to your faith. If you pass the test, you will discover that Christ is living in you. But if Christ isn’t living in you, you have failed. 6I hope you will discover that we have not failed. 7We pray that you will stop doing evil things. We don’t pray like this to make ourselves look good, but to get you to do right, even if we are failures.
8All we can do is to follow the truth and not fight against it. 9Even though we are weak, we are glad that you are strong, and we pray that you will do even better.
지혜의 그늘 아래에 있음은 돈의 그늘 아래에 있음과 같으나, 지혜에 관한 지식이 더 유익함은 지혜가 그 지혜 있는 자를 살리기 때문이니라
하나님께서 행하시는 일을 보라 하나님께서 굽게 하신 것을 누가 능히 곧게 하겠느냐
형통한 날에는 기뻐하고 곤고한 날에는 되돌아 보아라 이 두 가지를 하나님이 병행하게 하사 사람이 그의 장래 일을 능히 헤아려 알지 못하게 하셨느니라
내 허무한 날을 사는 동안 내가 그 모든 일을 살펴 보았더니 자기의 의로움에도 불구하고 멸망하는 의인이 있고 자기의 악행에도 불구하고 장수하는 악인이 있으니
Ecclesiastes 7:1-15 (the Message)
1 A good reputation is better than a fat bank account. Your death date tells more than your birth date.
2 You learn more at a funeral than at a feast— After all, that’s where we’ll end up. We might discover something from it.
3 Crying is better than laughing. It blotches the face but it scours the heart.
4 Sages invest themselves in hurt and grieving. Fools waste their lives in fun and games.
5 You’ll get more from the rebuke of a sage Than from the song and dance of fools.
6 The giggles of fools are like the crackling of twigs Under the cooking pot. And like smoke.
7 Brutality stupefies even the wise And destroys the strongest heart.
8 Endings are better than beginnings. Sticking to it is better than standing out.
9 Don’t be quick to fly off the handle. Anger boomerangs. You can spot a fool by the lumps on his head.
10 Don’t always be asking, “Where are the good old days?” Wise folks don’t ask questions like that.
11-12 Wisdom is better when it’s paired with money, Especially if you get both while you’re still living. Double protection: wisdom and wealth! Plus this bonus: Wisdom energizes its owner.
13 Take a good look at God’s work. Who could simplify and reduce Creation’s curves and angles To a plain straight line?
14 On a good day, enjoy yourself; On a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days So that we won’t take anything for granted.
15I’ve seen it all in my brief and pointless life—here a good person cut down in the middle of doing good, there a bad person living a long life of sheer evil.
2 Corinthians 5-9 (the Message, Paul speaking)
5-9Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it. I hope the test won’t show that we have failed. But if it comes to that, we’d rather the test showed our failure than yours. We’re rooting for the truth to win out in you. We couldn’t possibly do otherwise.
We don’t just put up with our limitations; we celebrate them, and then go on to celebrate every strength, every triumph of the truth in you. We pray hard that it will all come together in your lives.
“Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him.”
These scriptures helped me think about how people can respond to experiences of mistreatment in their lives. Ecclesiastes identifies the world as a place full of oppression and injustice. Everyone everywhere suffers from mistreatment to some degree in their lives. Ecclesiastes goes on to identify common responses to the inescapability of suffering and mistreatment:
1. Compare ourselves to others and try to work our way into a being better than others.
2. Give up on life and embrace self-destructive behaviors.
3. Avoid awareness of the screwed-up world by being busy.
Paul in 2 Corinthians, who was suffering in some way from attacks by a Satanic being, describes a different response to mistreatment:
Ask God for deliverance from the experience of mistreatment. Then, trust that God is good and loving. God is all-powerful and therefore able to remove the mistreatment according to His good will. If He doesn’t remove a particular experience of mistreatment from my life, than I should look at it as a gift from God and part of His good plan to redeem and restore the world. The particular experience of mistreatment is a gift from God because it keeps me praying and trusting in Him to empower me to serve Him in spite of the mistreatment. God may also use it to enable me to be a better blessing to others. Genesis 50:20 “You tried to harm me, but God made it turn out for the best, so that he could save all these people, as he is now doing”.
In other words, if God doesn’t deliver me from mistreatment when I ask Him to, then that experience of mistreatment becomes an opportunity to witness and enjoy more of God’s powerful grace in my life.
Ecclesiastes 4:1-8 (CEV, probably King Solomon speaking)
1I looked again and saw people being mistreated everywhere on earth. They were crying, but no one was there to offer comfort, and those who mistreated them were powerful. 2I said to myself, “The dead are better off than the living. 3But those who have never been born are better off than anyone else, because they have never seen the terrible things that happen on this earth.”
4Then I realized that we work and do wonderful things just because we are jealous of others. This makes no more sense than chasing the wind. 5Fools will fold their hands
and starve to death.
6Yet a very little food
eaten in peace
is better than twice as much
earned from overwork
and chasing the wind.
7Once again I saw that nothing on earth makes sense. 8For example, some people don’t have friends or family. But they are never satisfied with what they own, and they never stop working to get more. They should ask themselves, “Why am I always working to have more? Who will get what I leave behind?” What a senseless and miserable life!
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (CEV, Paul is speaking)
7Of course, I am now referring to the wonderful things I saw. One of Satan’s angels was sent to make me suffer terribly, so that I would not feel too proud. 8Three times I begged the Lord to make this suffering go away. 9But he replied, “My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So if Christ keeps giving me his power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am. 10Yes, I am glad to be weak or insulted or mistreated or to have troubles and sufferings, if it is for Christ. Because when I am weak, I am strong.
내가 다시 해 아래에서 행하는 모든 학대를 살펴 보았도다 보라 학대 받는 자들의 눈물이로다 그들에게 위로자가 없도다 그들을 학대하는 자들의 손에는 권세가 있으나 그들에게는 위로자가 없도다
그러므로 나는 아직 살아 있는 산 자들보다 죽은 지 오랜 죽은 자들을 더 복되다 하였으며
이 둘보다도 아직 출생하지 아니하여 해 아래에서 행하는 악한 일을 보지 못한 자가 더 복되다 하였노라
내가 또 본즉 사람이 모든 수고와 모든 재주로 말미암아 이웃에게 시기를 받으니 이것도 헛되어 바람을 잡는 것이로다
어떤 사람은 아들도 없고 형제도 없이 홀로 있으나 그의 모든 수고에는 끝이 없도다 또 비록 그의 눈은 부요를 족하게 여기지 아니하면서 이르기를 내가 누구를 위하여는 이같이 수고하고 나를 위하여는 행복을 누리지 못하게 하는가 하여도 이것도 헛되어 불행한 노고로다
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
여러 계시를 받은 것이 지극히 크므로 너무 자만하지 않게 하시려고 내 육체에 가시 곧 사탄의 사자를 주셨으니 이는 나를 쳐서 너무 자만하지 않게 하려 하심이라
이것이 내게서 떠나가게 하기 위하여 내가 세 번 주께 간구하였더니
나에게 이르시기를 내 은혜가 네게 족하도다 이는 내 능력이 약한 데서 온전하여짐이라 하신지라 그러므로 도리어 크게 기뻐함으로 나의 여러 약한 것들에 대하여 자랑하리니 이는 그리스도의 능력이 내게 머물게 하려 함이라
그러므로 내가 그리스도를 위하여 약한 것들과 능욕과 궁핍과 박해와 곤고를 기뻐하노니 이는 내가 약한 그 때에 강함이라
Ecclesiastes 4:1-8 (The Message, probably King Solomon speaking)
1-3 Next I turned my attention to all the outrageous violence that takes place on this planet—the tears of the victims, no one to comfort them; the iron grip of oppressors, no one to rescue the victims from them. So I congratulated the dead who are already dead instead of the living who are still alive. But luckier than the dead or the living is the person who has never even been, who has never seen the bad business that takes place on this earth.
4 Then I observed all the work and ambition motivated by envy. What a waste! Smoke. And spitting into the wind.
5 The fool sits back and takes it easy, His sloth is slow suicide.
6 One handful of peaceful repose Is better than two fistfuls of worried work— More spitting into the wind.
7-8 I turned my head and saw yet another wisp of smoke on its way to nothingness: a solitary person, completely alone—no children, no family, no friends—yet working obsessively late into the night, compulsively greedy for more and more, never bothering to ask, “Why am I working like a dog, never having any fun? And who cares?” More smoke. A bad business.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (The Message, Paul speaking)
7-10Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
"When God’s people are at the end of their rope, they sometimes think they need a miracle. But what they need even more is for God to stand by them and pour out His grace. And that grace has its greatest effect and impact when we are at the end of our resources. Do you know the song, He Giveth More Grace?”
He giveth more grace when the burden grows greater;
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase.
To added affliction He addeth His mercy;
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves.
I wish for all this to be marked on by body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography - to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience.
“… there is a very real hospitality in just making time for someone, being there for them. If I want to spend time with a friend, then she is giving of herself to me by complying. To live the truth that human beings are radically relational is to end up living a relational hospitality, where we make ourselves open and available to those around us.”—From a commenter, Joshua, in a private blog discussion thread I’m a part of. I think this is exactly right and beautiful: that before it is anything else, hospitality is a willingness to open one’s self to another. It may involve a shared meal or a guest room offered to a visitor, but underneath all those things is a posture of openness and self-giving. (via wesleyhill)