Posts Tagged ‘riddlebarger’

A great God makes proud sinners uncomfortable, a diminished God less so. Given our sinful proclivity to exalt ourselves, the diminished God can easily become a means to an end. While such a God is still much bigger and more powerful than we are, nevertheless the smaller we make him, the greater the opportunity to manipulate his power to further our sinful ends. Unlike the God of the Bible, who has decreed whatsoever comes to pass (Eph. 1:11) and who does whatever pleases him (Ps. 115:3), the diminished God exists to do whatever pleases us. On call 24/7, he is there to attend to all our whims and respond to our constant whining. This God is not to be served and adored, rather, he is a means to an end. Like the genie freed from his bottle, this God is there to answer our prayers and give us what we wish.

Sometimes we use God quite intentionally; other times we do it without even knowing it. The bottom line is that we use God to suit our own ends because we live our lives through the distorted lens of human pride. Inevitably, we see our own interests and agendas as far more important than they really are. From this distorted perspective God exists to enable us to achieve that which we have decreed, that which pleases us-the complete reversal of the two biblical passages just cited. This, of course, is the height of human folly and the sad consequence of sinful pride.

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pretty interesting stuff…

Throughout the apologetic speeches of Paul, as Luke recounts elements of them for us in Acts, it is apparent that Paul is putting into practice his own stated philosophy of ministry, expressed in some detail in his first Letter to the Corinthian Christians:

Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings (1 Cor. 1:9:19-23 NIV).

It is clear from these comments that Paul had thought very carefully about his unique calling as the
Apostle to the Gentiles and his role as a loyal son of Israel. To win his own Jewish brothers and sisters to Christ, Paul became as “one under the law”–though he was free in Christ. To the Gentiles who knew not Moses, the law, or Israel’s God, Paul instead became a man subject only to the law of Christ, so that those who were at one time “separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world” might be won to Israel’s Messiah (Eph. 2:12).

Let us be careful to note that Paul was no mere pragmatist, adopting in chameleon-like fashion, the ideology of whatever group he happened to be facing at any given moment. Paul was not concerned with demographics or “success” in the modern American sense of church planting. He was concerned with being faithful to the commission given him by Jesus Christ. (more…)