Friday, September 19, 2008

Christ is All and in All

For the record, I did eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at Fresno's newest dining establishment. Rumor has it Trae and I made it on to one of the morning shows, as we joined Andy and Ashley who'd camped out all night becoming two of the first 100.

It's Friday and that means Football picks time. As I make these picks, I wonder if Billy Stewart's honeymoon is over?

Fresno State by 14 over Toledo (I'm trusting Toledo's defense is as bad as advertised).

Alabama by 17 over Arkansas (I know Arkansas is as bad as advertised).


One of my friends and a speaker at next week's Workshop, Allan Stanglin, had this insightful post on his blog earlier this week. Read it, be blessed, and chew on it this weekend. Better yet, act on it!

“Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all" (Colossians 3:11).

When we are joined to Christ, we are joined to one another. So we have absolutely no grounds, no basis, for any hatred toward others or feelings of superiority. All those feelings and attitudes are obliterated by our Redeemer. His Gospel completely opposes any use of human criteria to exclude others or reduce them to second class citizens. We dare not avoid others or belittle others on the basis of external and human distinctions that don’t matter to God—race, sex, class, education, geography, zip code, politics, culture, language, or economics.

We all, everyone of us, belong to each other.

Markus Barth writes: “Justification in Christ is not an individual miracle happening to this person or that person, which each new person may seek or possess for himself. Rather, justification by grace is a joining together of this and that person, of the near and the far, of the good and the bad, of the high and the low, liberal and fundamentalist. Salvation is a social event. No one is joined to Christ except together with a neighbor.”

Any person who shuts others out on the basis of human differences is not of God. To apply these differences in excluding people from salvation or labeling them as unworthy until they change their condition is to deny that God is impartial. That attitude denies that we are justified by faith alone and that Christ’s death and resurrection atones for our sins. This sort of outlook insists that God loves us because of who we are, not in spite of who we are.

Jesus treated the sinners, Samaritans, and Roman centurions the same as he treated the so-called righteous Jews. In fact, he treated the ones who were “different” or “outsiders” with more grace and love and mercy than he did the ones who “belonged.”

And so must we.