Last week, this blog addressed doing things now that we’ve thought about doing someday. One area I described for myself as beginning to pursue is writing, and sharing thoughts through blogging and other social media. Getting something out there for others to read has certainly added to the desire to write. An outlet for one’s creativity fuels more of the same.
I’ve also had the opportunity to “test the waters” by sharing in a writers’ forum with people who’ve been creating for public consumption much longer than I have. I’m beginning to see how other writers express themselves and how they deal with certain topics, including matters of faith. This is such a personal issue, and becomes inflammatory very quickly and easily, that it’s recommended by the best minds to leave it alone for the most part. There is a distinction suggested, of course, between authors whose work is in the vein of, say, science fiction or historical romance, and those who write in a genre that would cast them as “faith writers”.
After carefully weighing out what is appropriate for my postings, I’ve concluded that if I’m anything, I am a “faith writer”, though I hope what I produce is intriguing enough to be enjoyed by a wide range of readers. The novel that I am working on (my first) will certainly include a journey of faith: one that will take some unique twists. I guess in the essence, if I’m not at some level writing about this, then I feel I have nothing real to say. The brightest spark for writing comes in sharing truths directly from the scriptures that are not immediately obvious, and that challenge a second look at what for most people have been unquestioned ideas.
So, with that said, I share another dose of “thoughts to consider”:
There is a shelter – but how do you get in?
Wow, don’t we need a shelter nowadays? Things are getting totally extreme, from weather patterns to the new depths of depravity and violence that humans sink to. Crimes against children continue to appall, as well as the determined threats against free nations from those who broadcast their desire and ability to destroy.
All throughout Biblical history, the idea of a shelter or a refuge has been plain. Always with the shelter, God provided it and made a way to get in, but there was also a choice to be made — an action to be taken — in order to do so. Consider these:
The Ark built by Noah, as God’s provision for the faithful in the destruction that was about to come to all the earth; it had to be built, it had to be entered. (Genesis chapter 6)
During the “death of the firstborn “plague in Egypt: The Israelites’ firstborn sons could escape, if a lamb was slain and the blood applied to the doorposts of their homes (Exodus chapter 4); if obeyed, the Angel of Death would pass over them (this event was the first Passover).
Rahab, a harlot who helped Israelite spies escape the city of Jericho when God was about to destroy it by their armies, was offered the plan to escape the destruction. But for her and her family to escape, the scarlet cord used to help the spies escape had to be tied in her window, and her family had to come inside the house and stay there. (Joshua 2, 6)
The Old Testament covenant provided an escape from the penalty of sin, but the choice had to be made to offer a sacrifice, an animal slain on an altar when sin had been committed. ( Exodus 29, Leviticus 4)
So, what about now?
The spotless Lamb of God — Jesus, God in flesh — became the sacrifice for the sins of all, shedding his blood for remission of sins; but, as with the doorpost in Egypt, the blood’s being shed isn’t sufficient without it’s being applied. He became our Passover Lamb, but how do we apply his sacrifice? (John 1:29, 1 Corinthians 5:7)
Jesus told his disciplines that repentance and remission of sins must be preached in his name. Repentance is being sorry for, and turning from sin; remission is forgiveness or pardon, even the total forgiving of a debt we otherwise are responsible for. The disciples responded by teaching that remission comes through repentance first, then baptism in his name (Jesus), bringing a promise that the obedient believer would receive his Spirit (the Holy Ghost). (Acts 2, 8, 10, 19)
What else does the Word say about getting into the shelter?
- “so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death…”(Romans 6:3) It goes on to say that if “we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection…that henceforth we should not serve sin…Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him…” (Romans 6:4-8). A lot rides on being baptized into Christ’s death, doesn’t it?
- “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27) So we put on Christ by being baptized into him? Sounds that way.
Many today don’t observe this original command, but those who do find it brings with it the original power experienced by the early church.
Here’s where the “challenge” role comes in. When you review your own experience in relation to this teaching, what do you see? Is it possible there’s a restlessness you’ve felt that there should be more, but you’ve not known where to look for any direction about it? I encourage further digging in the Word of God, especially in the record of the acts and teachings of the men he sent to proclaim his gospel message: the Book of Acts.
Let me know what you think. Have you wondered about the teachings of the original church and how they compare to modern-day teaching? I’d love to hear your comments.