Category Archives: Reign of Christ

Counterfeit Grace

Just felt I should share what I posted on Twitter today.

It needs to be said.

@Pasturescott: Be wary of those who are all about grace and not accountability. They haven’t received a revelation of God’s brand, only a cheap knock-off.

This addresses one of the more subtle deceptions snaking through the church in these last days. Shamefully, multitudes are drinking the purple kool-aid because it goes down smoothly and appeals to old Adam’s proclivities.

If we believers are not still accountable to God, then we’re right back in the Garden, fruit in hand, feeling good about ourselves and our chances.

Hashtag: “God have mercy!”

This has happened because, for generations now, the Gospel has been tampered with, tweaked, muddied and dumbed down. It’s been reduced to a formulaic cover-all prayer and a me-centered narrative rather than a lifelong grace-empowered surrender that forsakes all – even our own self – but Jesus.

On a related note, when I fail to forsake my own way and know that I’ve grieved the Holy Spirit, I take to heart the blessed truth of 1 John 1:9 – which is graciously for me! – and repent to Him, find mercy even for my egregious oversights, and fall ever more deeply in love with God who saves, keeps and covers me. And changes me. With genuine grace.

Now I can get into and embrace that brand of grace!

Curses! He’s King! (a PG-13 apologetic for the Resurrection)

"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law BY BECOMING A CURSE FOR US."
- Galatians 3:13

I settled a long time ago the matter of Christ’s resurrection from absolute death. I’m so convinced that King Jesus is alive forevermore that I don’t really need any more proof, but I did take note of a sideways or backhanded confirmation the other day. Maybe it was upside down. Or catawampus.

It was, nonetheless profanely convincing.

I was at the theater, cozied in for a Disney-produced movie, mind you, and as I settled in and got lost in the narrative, my reverie was suddenly capsized by the main character’s graphic expletive.

“Jesus Christ!”

There was no middle initial, so I knew the actor was cursing the one and only Jesus Christ of heaven, with whom his character obviously had an issue.

A few moments later, he cussed Him again.

That’s it. That’s all the evidence I need. I know that Jesus is not long-buried in some Middle Eastern grave somewhere. Otherwise, Hollywood wouldn’t give Him the time of day much less all the free advertisement.

Off-track Question: should Hollywood have to pay royalties to Jesus for each reference to Him…or is He public domain? Oh yeah, just remembered: they’ll each pay retribution when they have to face Him on the Day of Reckoning and the books are opened…

Back to the point: Sure we have the scriptural record that testifies to His risenness, the historical record, the testimonies of numerous reliable witnesses, and bookoos of forensic evidence, but I submit into evidence ‘Exhibit E’: the incessant and pervasive taking of our Lord’s Name in vain in every culture, every language, and in every era of human history since He left His footprint on planet earth.

You never hear anyone cursing Buddha or Mohammed or Santa or the Easter Bunny. Have you ever heard “MLK!” or “Mary Baker Eddy!” or “Joseph H. Smith!”? To get that much (sole) attention, Jesus, the Christ of God has got to be a credible, indelible contemporary influence. And with all that cussing and derision…

…how could He be out of sight and gone from public purview?

How, do tell, could He be gone from the context of our lives if He’s dead and buried? Every time someone shouts an invective built around that Blessed Name, I just hang on it the truth that my Jesus is alive and well.

And, conversely, since there’s no censuring of those other guys and gals, I know they’re cold dead. Unless they’re with Jesus, that is. If they’re not, then they’re hot dead. Only Santa and the E.B. get a pass.

Just like today, 2000 years ago angry people shook their fists at Innocence Himself and cursed Him. They wanted Him out of their lives for good. Their insults took on moisture as they spat upon His Holiness. Then they cussed Him some more.

Within hours His lifeless body was BOUND in grave clothes, SEALED behind a rock that weighed a ton, and GUARDED by soldiers who were trained to keep watch. Presumably, they were there to keep others out, and, just in case, to keep the dead Rabbi in.

Enter lightning, thunder and an earthquake. A moved stone. An empty tomb. A humiliated satan. A worshipping woman. Puzzled disciples. An angry prefect. Horrified Sadducees. An ascended Lord. A poured-out Spirit. A Church triumphant. A Coming King.

And you still want to curse Him?

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Easter Needs The Gospel

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First off, go ahead and feed your kiddies all the chocolate bunnies and jelly beans their tummies can, um, stomach.

Color those eggs with the wee ones. Hide them in the tall grasses. The eggs, not the children.

I’m not here to pull the plug on all peeps, cadburies and patent leather shoes. If your kids know that all of it is just a side-show to the Main Attraction, have at it.

For me, I don’t much care for the word “Easter” anymore. I’ve dug through some pretty distasteful records of history that show how that celebration came to us and, frankly, it gives me pause. Or a heartache.

I stopped saying “Happy Easter!” years ago. And now I must tell you why. Excuse me while I pull on my history professor’s tweed jacket, complete with those trendy elbow patches. And now while I make my voice sound more professorial.

(clearing throat)

Ok, then.

Our story begins not long after the dawn of human history. Nimrod, evil grandson of Noah, built a temple-tower called Babel in the plains of Shinar, the birthplace of Babylon. Ancient texts tell us he married his female counterpart, a vile woman named Semerimus. Together, they bore a son, Tammuz, whom they claimed to be the divine Child of God.

Semerimus instituted the first in a long line of “mother-child” religions where she was worshipped as the “Queen of Heaven” and son as the “Divine One.” You see, Satan was already setting the stage to obscure the arrival of the True Divine King, Messiah. In Phoenicia, it was Ashteroth and Tammuz. In Egypt, Isis and Horus. In Greece, Aphrodite and Eros. In Rome, Venus and Cupid.

Fact soon gave way to fantasy and, as the story goes, Tammuz went hunting one day and was horrifically killed by a bear. Forty days later, he miraculously rose from the dead! To commemorate this event, temple virgins would fast and weep 40 days (see Ezekiel 8:14) which led to a great feast called ‘Ishtar’ where colored eggs were exchanged as a symbol of fertility.

A risen-from-the-dead deity.

Colored eggs.

Ishtar. Eas-ter.

This little history lesson is not intended to be a rant against Christians who do the dog and pony show of Easter, but a reminder that it was prodigals who thought the whole idea up, and God came to save prodigals. Prodigals mythologized a faux immaculate conception, a would-be heavenly son and fabled a resurrection, but we have all the factual nothing-made-up reality in Christ, hallelujah!

Satan wanted one-upmanship. He thought he’d do an endaround on the Godhead (remember the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world) and get the world to fall at the feet of an antithesis Christ – one who wouldn’t crush his head! (Gen 3:14,15)

Ah, but that’s not what old slewfoot got. What he got was humiliated, trounced, crushed and defeated!

Christ has utterly wiped out the damning evidence of broken laws and commandments which always hung over our heads, and has completely annulled it by nailing it over his own head on the cross. And then having drawn the sting of all the powers ranged against us, he exposed them, shattered, empty and defeated, in his final glorious triumphant act!
- Paul, Colossians 2, JBP

The evil one’s lair was raided by the Stronger Man, Jesus, and the grave’s captives, long held despairingly and hopelessly in chains and leg irons, became a long procession of gloriously redeemed souls, the most awe-inspiring parade you ever saw! Far more beautiful, even, than a field of colored eggs or a church filled with frilly dresses!

Thanks be to God who leads us, wherever we are, on his own triumphant way and makes our knowledge of him spread throughout the world like a lovely perfume! We Christians have the unmistakeable “scent” of Christ, discernible alike to those who are being saved and to those who are heading for death. To the latter it seems like the very smell of doom, to the former it has the fresh fragrance of life itself.
- Paul, 2 Corinthians 2, JBP

Easter came to us via prodigal lore, all wrapped and dyed to keep our focus on things that lead to death, but Jesus came to set the record straight. Which version will your celebration reflect?

Happy Resurrection Day! (The real one.)

 

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