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:: Saturday, March 22, 2003 ::

Part 1 of 2:

I promised that I would start to post some talking points for ministry. I have a list of 90 on a paper I just turned in. Obviously, no one would read all 90 at once in a blog format, and I don't have the webspace to put it up whole right now.

So here's your deep thought for the evening: (this one is number 72) -

We should be willing to risk our own salvation for God’s sake and for the sake of the Gospel.

Let me re-word that: we should be willing to give up our own salvation for God's sake and for the sake of the good news of Jesus Christ.

Let me explain. I see this as the ultimate way of the cross. I'll walk you through my journey to this statement.

"I am speaking the truth in Christ - I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit - I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people..." (Romans 9:1 - 3, NRSV)

Paul, who argues that he is the example of Christlikeness to both the Corinthians and the Philippians, prefers his own demise to the loss of his people.

Next, there is Philippians 2:5 - 8. "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in apperance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!" (NIV)

We who are Christians all would acknowledge that Christ gave up his glory to become human - somehow still remaining fully God, and in so doing provided salvation for the world. Yet we rarely connect this with our own call. It seems that perhaps Paul connects these two ideas in his statement in Romans. Paul conformed to the likeness of Christ so closely that he was willing to give up what was his in Christ to save the people he loved.

Some might argue, "Of course - he's Paul! He can do this. That's not for us. He's one of those really super Christians." In so doing, such people argue that Paul is somehow more than the rest of us - more than human.

We are all called to have Paul's attitude. "If any want to become my followers," Jesus said, "let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it." (Mark 8:34 - 35, NRSV)

:: Matt 3/22/2003 11:30:00 PM :: permalink :: ::
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