Tuesday, July 31, 2012

He Made Himself Nothing

Reflections on Reflexive Verbs

Skeptics call Christianity child-abuse. They deride a God that would force his son to take the punishment for someone else's sin.

But no one forced Jesus to do anything.

Reading the "Kenosis" passage (aka Phil 2:5-11), I was struck by the many reflexive verbs — that is, verbs with the same subject and object.
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 appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death —
even death on a cross!
Jesus was not unceremoniously stripped of his glory and crammed into a human body. He wasn't forcibly sent off as a sacrifice.

He made himself nothing. He took on the nature of a servant. He humbled himself. He became obedient unto death.

We do not believe that the fall was a sudden shock that God had to recover from. Nor do we believe the cross was a scheme forced on the Son by an unloving Father. It was all part of the blueprint. God created us knowing the fall was coming. The Word spoke, seeing the cross on the horizon. And for the same reason, he made himself nothing — because he loved us.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

More than Alive

Survival is getting to be big business. Whether terrorism, 2012, or the economy is prompting it, people are putting a lot of money and energy into making sure they and theirs survive whatever happens.

I read a (fictional) story where a man desperate for his family to survive accidentally caused them to become cannibals. An extreme example, I know, but it highlights an important truth:

There are more important things than not dying. I want my kids to live to a ripe old age, to enjoy their children and their children. But I'm far more concerned with how they live the days they are given and, when the time comes, how they die.

After all, everyone dies. Not everyone makes a difference while they're here.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

How to Have a Lasting Marriage

Don't get divorced.

We recently celebrated our twelfth anniversary. It's sad that it's almost a big deal these days.

Why is that getting so rare when forty-year marriages were the norm not even a hundred years ago? What changed? It wasn't men. It wasn't women. We don't get along any worse than we did then. We haven't invented new problems for marriages, even if we have put our particular spin on them.

I think our attitude toward marriage changed. People get divorced more because divorce became an option.

Oh, we've always had divorce, but in the past it was a shameful thing. Everyone assumed (or knew) at least one of the broken couple had been sleeping around.

But now it's ok. You "don't have anything in common" anymore? Get a divorce. "Irreconcilable differences?" Get a divorce. Unhappy? Bored? Leave.

Our ancestors' marriages lasted because of a commitment to one particular philosophy: 'Til death do us part.

If divorce is off the table, you have to fix things. 'Til death do us part means when you have money problems, you soldier on through, together. It means when you seem to be growing apart, you do something about it. It means if your husband snores too loud, you get a new bedroom — in the same house.

These days we have so many more options than we have ever had before. We have second honeymoons, marriage counseling, and Dave Ramsey. If divorce is not an option, we'll be committed to making our marriages work and do whatever it takes.

This isn't a magic pill. It won't make all our problems go away. But it will make us face our problems and work on them together — or else the next thirty years are going to be mighty uncomfortable.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Truth on Sale

Why do we believe the Bible? Is it because it's tradition? Because "it works?" Or is it because it's a reliable collection of historical documents written by eye-witnesses to supernatural events that occurred in accordance with specific prophecies demonstrating that it's divine, rather than human, in origin?

The latter is from Voddie Baucham's The Ever-Loving Truth, a book I recommended on this site a few years ago.

Amazon is offering the Kindle version (good on Kindles or their free Kindle app for most smartphones and tablets) for $2.99. It is well worth that, and I suggest you take advantage of this if you don't already have the book.