Many politically conservative Christians in America are tempted to resist, even to the point of armed rebellion, the results of the what they believe to be an illegitimate election. But Jeremiah’s letter to the exiled Jews in Babylon would point them in a different direction.
In John 1:15 John the Baptist identifies Jesus in a way that is usually translated “The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me, because he existed before me.” I propose that all three clauses should be translated temporally something like, “The one coming after me has existed since before me, because was first before me.”
God’s love for us is unreasonable – it is not based on reasons but merely on God’s sovereign decision. The resurrection of Jesus is also unreasonable in that it lies beyond the realm of reason either to prove or disprove. This is why it is the perfect demonstration of God’s unreasonable love. It is also why our unreasonable faith in the resurrection is the perfect human response to God’s unreasonable love.
Inasmuch as non-Christians do good, they are working with Christians in doing the will of the Lord Jesus. Non-Christian goodness does not supplant or negate the lordship of Christ. It confirms and demonstrates it.
Being “poor in spirit”, as Jesus talks about in Matthew 5:3, is about realizing that we are bankrupt without God. When we deny the illusion that we are the masters of our own fates and confess our brokenness to God, the good news is that God is near to the brokenhearted, and where God is, there is the kingdom of heaven.
Karl Barth’s sermon from August 2, 1914, encourages his listeners to have confidence in God and God alone in the face of the coming war. The 19th century liberal idea of human progress had been proven to be a faulty foundation for hope. Instead, one’s hope must come via a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Karl Barth’s sermon from July 26, 1914 (just days after Austria-Hungary’s ultimatum to Serbia and just days before World War I finally erupted), is a reflection on the seeming incongruence of Ephesians 2:4-7 – and especially the idea that God has set us in the heavenly realm with Jesus – with the fearful turbulence of the times.
God’s unconditional love does not imply that what we do doesn’t matter. Nor does believing that what we do matters imply that God’s love is conditional. The biblical truth is that God loves us unconditionally, and that is precisely why what we do matters.
In John 20:24-28, the resurrected Jesus shows the scars of his crucifixion to his disciple Thomas, meaning the resurrected body of Jesus has scars. What does this tell us about scars, about what it means to follow Jesus, about the identity of Jesus, and about the nature of God?
In Amos 5:10-13, we see a corrupt society where the wealthy elite maintain their wealth and power by dishonestly fixing the system in their favor. A just judge is despised. God’s punishment is appropriate: whatever you use your wealth to build will be taken from you before you can enjoy it.