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Thinking like the Brides of God

There are so many things that considering that Christians as the brides of Jesus Christ, God the Son and true Man, spotless and worthy by His Blood, makes plain and clear.

Such a thought so perfectly fits and describes so much of the glory of our faith and salvation. St. Paul writes that the woman and man who unite are made one flesh, and the soul saved by the Lord, united with Him, is married to Him as one spirit with Him – the union, far closer, far all-permeating, far more encompassing, far more transformative, of which the marriage of the man and the woman is the shadow, the echo, the illustration.1 There is such a similarity between this thought (and this passage in St. Paul’s Epistles) and the prayer of Jesus on the night before He died, that He would be in us as the Father in Him and that we would be united in Him as He and the Father are one. Continue reading “Thinking like the Brides of God”

Celibacy, Hospitality, and Church Leadership

What is “Church Leadership?” What does it even mean?

Why do so many (at least in Evangelical circles of various denominations) consider lifelong dedicated celibacy so lowly? Why is it something almost no one considers, while marriage is lauded everywhere? Why is it something no one sees and no one is encouraged to consider?

Maybe the two questions are related? Maybe “Church Leadership” and celibacy, though not identical, should often be seen together?

What if “Church Leadership” is more than preaching sermons and getting to know “church members” and “counseling” people? What if “Church Leadership” should mean being an example to both the brethren and those who do not yet believe? What if, anyone who isn’t so, is by definition not a “Church Leader?” Continue reading “Celibacy, Hospitality, and Church Leadership”

Heaven: To See the Face of God in Christ and Be Like Him

“I shall see Thy face in righteousness; I will be satisfied when I awake after Thy likeness.”

“Little children, it is not yet manifest what we shall be, but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

“Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God.”

“We who behold with unveiled faces the glory of the Lord as in a mirror are being transformed into that same image as from glory to glory.”

“Now we know in part; then we shall know in full. Now we see as in a mirror dimly; then we shall see face to face.”

“He predestined us to be conformed to the image of Christ so that He should be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Heaven is the fulfillment of our nature. It is to see Him whom we were created to see, and by seeing to be like Him. It is the Beatific Vision: the direct, immediate (not mediated) presence of God in and to the soul.

In Heaven, we shall be like Christ. Continue reading “Heaven: To See the Face of God in Christ and Be Like Him”

Ask Not About Assurance: Know the Son (Thoughts on 1st John)

“God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son… this is the testimony He has given us concerning His Son: whoever has the Son has eternal life. Whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. Little children, I am writing these things to you who believe in the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

It is all about the Son. It is all in the Son, the Son who is the All in All. There is not and never shall nor can be any assurance of salvation that is separable from assurance of Christ: assurance that God’s testimony is truth, that His Son is who He claimed to be, the Savior of the world.

When the Apostle John wrote that he wanted us to know that we have eternal life, this is what he meant: not some test to determine whether we are in fact “saved” Continue reading “Ask Not About Assurance: Know the Son (Thoughts on 1st John)”

Loving Soldiers and All Men and Why Christians Cannot Go to War

We are made to love the Lord God with all our hearts, and to love our neighbors as our own selves. That means all of our neighbors – all fellow human beings are our neighbors, the children of Adam and Eve and our brothers and sisters, created in the image and likeness of God Himself, each one’s name known specially to God before the creation of the world.

Indeed, we are to love our neighbors as Jesus Christ Himself has loved us. He laid down His life for us.

We do not get to pick and choose who is our neighbor, whom we must love as we love ourselves, love as Jesus loved us. Continue reading “Loving Soldiers and All Men and Why Christians Cannot Go to War”

What It Really Means to Take the Name of the Lord in Vain

“You shall not take the name of YHWH your God in vain.”

“Father, hallowed be Your Name.”

God is Holy. His Greatness – His Truth – His Love – His Goodness, all these call us to approach Him and to speak His Name with reverence and with joy, not flippantly, not carelessly, but meaning what we say as nearly as we can, knowing that He of Whom we speak is so real and true we cannot grasp Him, so high and loving and beautiful we stand in awe of His supreme goodness. Continue reading “What It Really Means to Take the Name of the Lord in Vain”

Love’s Choice: A Story

I am Lavinnia. Somehow I found myself near the front of the crowd as all of us moving through the streets made way for the soldiers coming down the street. I saw the captive they dragged with them in irons. In a moment, I loved her. She was a fellow human being, and I saw and felt that in my heart, and loved her. It would not have mattered of what she was accused. I loved her. It would not have even mattered whether the accusations were true or not. I loved her. Continue reading “Love’s Choice: A Story”

Do You Want to Know Goodness and Love?

How many of you who deny or reject God would want, if it were possible, to know, love, and serve a Being who not only loves but was the very incarnation of Love, a Person who not only was good but was goodness itself?

If you’ve read other writings of mine, most of the time when I use the word ‘God’ I do not mean an exceptionally powerful creature with an ego problem or anything like that. Perhaps, it will make things clearer if, in this post, I don’t use the word ‘God’ or any words associated with that word at all to describe the thing of which I am thinking and which I am putting forward for your consideration, but I’m not sure how to do that. There’s only so many words in the world, or at least in any given language. Continue reading “Do You Want to Know Goodness and Love?”

The Wrath of the Love of God

God is Love.

The wrath of God is what His Love looks like from the vantage point of evil, of that which would threaten or destroy the beloved. Thus, there is no conflict at all between the wrath of God and the Love of God. God’s wrath demands nothing other than what His love demands. Justice demands the very thing which mercy demands. Indeed, one might say that the wrath of God is the demand and judgment of His Love that His beloved must be rescued, must be kept or re-made good and whole and perfect, the demand and judgment of His Love that all the imperfections and evils which threaten or mar His beloved must be destroyed. Continue reading “The Wrath of the Love of God”