[forthright] The People of God Principle (2) / Digging Deeply

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 2010 07:45:35 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross

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COLUMN: HANDS-ON FAITH

The People of God Principle (2)
 by Barry Newton

An unearthly, unchanging, single determination has
rifled across diverse cultures and languages revealing
God's perspective and fingerprints.

Whereas humanity predictably and repeatedly has claimed
a relationship with the divine based upon our
characteristics, such as: ethical and moral qualities,
spiritual development, ethnic descent, or
organizational continuity or name, God has consistently
identified his people based upon an opposing, singular
and unexpected principle.

When scripture is scoured, researching God's
perspective, a single answer dominates. From Abraham
(Genesis 17:7-8) to Israel (Exodus 19:5-6; Deuteronomy
29:12-13) to Christians (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews
8:6,10), God's stance remains the same. In grace, God
promises through covenant to enter into relationship
with people.

While Christendom readily recognizes that Christ's
blood, which created the new covenant, brings people
near to God (Ephesians 2:12-13; Hebrews 10:19-22),
tragically the details of how and when people receive
these promises have remained muddled.

Valuing one's own inherited tradition or personal
history, as well as building upon unfounded definitions
and assumptions, the original message has remained
obscured.

Fortunately, the original message emerges when open-
mindedness examines all of scripture regarding
reception of the two covenant promises from Jesus'
death: 1) a relationship with God, and 2) forgiveness
(Hebrews 8:10,12; John 1:12-13).

When does God infuse the spiritually dead with life,
giving them a new birth and adopting them as his heirs?
God promises to enter into a relationship with people
when they rely upon Christ in baptism. (Galatians 3:26-
27,29; Titus 3:5; Colossians 2:12-13)

When does God forgive someone's sins? Forgiveness is
granted on the basis of Jesus' blood, when a person is
baptized (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Hebrews 10:22) Yet, this
does not mean that the simple act of baptizing someone,
whether young or old, will save them, because baptism
is an act of faith (Colossians 2:12; Acts 8:37)

In plain English, when people trust in Jesus by being
baptized, they receive the new covenant's promises and
enter the new covenant as the people of God.

On the one hand, belief or faith describes the type of
response to Jesus which is necessary. People cannot
reject Christ or remain neutral if they wish to become
God's family and be forgiven.

On the other hand, baptism along with its accompanying
acknowledgment, regarding Christ, describes
specifically how a person must trust in Jesus to become
a child of God and be forgiven.

What's God's perspective on the people of God
principle? God's people are those whom God has saved
through the new covenant, which was created by his
Son's death. They have exhibited faith in his Son
through being baptized. Forthright. Biblically
consistent, and filled with the unearthly fingerprints
of the divine.

----
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COLUMN: REALITY CHECK

Digging Deeply
 by Stan Mitchell

A couple of years ago, commentator Dan Dierdorff was
fired from the popular Monday Night Football program
because he "sounded pompous," when he spoke. A little
investigation revealed the fact that he used too many
"big" words in his commentary, and that "turned some
listeners off."

Now there's a remarkable thing: An intelligent ex-
football player. And someone didn't like it because he
used some words that were longer than two syllables.

Why does our society mock the smart kid as a nerd and
glorify the monosyllabic kid as cool? Why do we dismiss
a book or TV program because it's too complicated, or
it takes too much effort to follow? Why do we put such
a premium on ignorance? Why do we seem to glory in a
society of mediocrity?

Have you taken out a copy of the Declaration of
Independence lately? Can you believe the big words and
profound thinking those supposedly backward people of
the 1700's used? In religion, too, we seem to require
snap answers rather than thoughtful study of scripture,
cliches rather than Bible quotations.

"Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever
makes haste with his feet misses the way," (Proverbs
19:2, ESV).

This week, for a moment, turn off the TV and read a
good book. We cannot reap deep discipleship when we sow
shallow teaching. While there certainly is a place in
Christianity for Sunday School for children, Christians
interested in serving God well cannot be content with
hymn lyrics, sermons and prayers that are little more
than baby talk.

Dig deeply from the well, for the well of God's wisdom
is indeed deep, and life sustaining!

----
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