Monday, February 13, 2006

God's people

Some basic concepts of Christianity boggle my mind. There's the idea of God's becoming man, then dying as a substitute for the rest of humanity as a consequence of everyone else's misconduct. Then there's the resurrection a few days after the death, followed by a witnessed ascension into the skies. And the idea that a reenactment of death, burial, and resurrection occurs in a ritual called baptism which, when united with faith in Jesus being divine and the above being reality, makes us God's children (Read Romans 6:1-4 and Galatians 3:26,27, if you don't believe me). When one steps back and takes a hard look, one can understand why skeptics ridicule such ideas. They just do not fit into our everyday experiences. More seriously, the worldview of many people precludes such events. They have not observed such things themselves, and do not believe anyone else has.
In Hebrews chapter 8, a passage from the prophet Jeremiah is quoted as having been actualized in Christians. "I will be their God and they will be my people," reads one line. "My people," says the creator of the universe. Other biblical passages assert even more, suggesting a noble destiny of service intended by God from the beginning of time. Still, "my people" keeps reverberating within my mind. God cares, and claims these people.
That relationship carries great responsibility on our end. When my brothers and I left the house for a date or to travel, our father would always say, "Remember who you are." What we did or said would reflect on other members of the family. God's people hear similar words: "Be holy, as I am holy." It's tough sometimes just living up to a human family's legacy. How does one live up to being one of God's people? "I will forgive their wickedness," God says, "and will remember their sins no more"(Hebrews 8).
God's not an overly permissive parent. Responsibility and accountability are required. But God possesses, loves, forgives his people. He does not remember what he forgives. That ranks right up there in hard-to-believeability with executing God's son and resurrection. He does not remember what he forgives!
That's good news. No, that's great news!
Let's spread it.

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