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July 2019

          “There is one question I'd really love to ask;

          is there a place for the hopeless sinner;
          who has hurt all mankind just to save his own?
                    Bob Marley –One Love
 
          “…he (Jesus) had to be made like his brothers,
          fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful
          high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of
          the people.”  (Hebrews 2:17)
 
 
Dear Friends,
 
You do not have to be paying close attention to our current social climate to determine it is extremely unforgiving and condemning.  God has been replaced with the self; and since no one is like us, we know best; we are supreme.  As a result, the bible’s word on what it means to be human is tabled; hatred and division are common place.

This isn’t new.  A good example is the Corinthian church.  Paul writes to a church which is divided, judgmental and angry.  The root cause is pride.

Author and Pastor Tim Keller recently suggested there was a time when traditional views held the root cause of evil in the world as too high of a view of self (pride).  However, modern, western cultures (ours) follows the opposite.  We tend to say people misbehave because they have too low of a view of self. 

The later part of chapters three and beginning of chapter four in First Corinthians gives reasons that show the biblical approach to seeing ourselves differently from traditional and modern views.

You see, the word Paul uses to describe the natural condition of the ego is pride, meaning something that is overinflated and beyond its proper size.

Spiritual pride is the illusion that we are big enough to have meaning in life without Christ.  One by- product of this is our ego is always drawing attention to itself because there is something wrong with it.  Things typically do not draw attention to themselves unless something is wrong with them.

Therefore the ego, by nature, is always busy drawing attention to itself by comparing itself to other people, busy building a resume of its own accomplishments, mindsets, skills, possessions etc.

Egos are by nature competitive, fragile and therefore hostile and incredibly self protective.  It continuously feels the danger of being deflated therein it is incessantly dependent on what it is doing or not doing; succeeding or not succeeding in, winning or losing for it’s value.  No surprise that we have such a difficult time realizing the great blessing of self-forgetfulness along with relating to everyone (including our own view of ourselves) and everything through the finished work of Christ on the cross.

We are so fallen, and we have been so fallen for so long, we think we are the measure of what it means to be truly human.  Which is why are so prone to judge others.  We think we are the standard which we compare others to.  Even though we still say things like, “To err is human”, we never realize that we are defining human-ness in terms of our fallen-ness; in terms of our broken-ness and incomplete-ness; because of our egos (pride).

However, if we define what it means to be human in those terms what are we to do with Jesus?  Jesus who took upon himself our humanity, and yet was without err? What we see in Jesus (and this is important to keep before ourselves continuously) is what it means to be truly human.  In the incarnation and his earthly life is what humanity was meant to be. What Adam was created to be, but ruined in his sin, Jesus Christ was.  This is nothing short of remarkable.

Christ as the perfect human, supplies perfect righteousness on our behalf.  All of the righteousness we will ever need is in Christ, who took on himself our flesh, our likeness, our nature and on the cross our sin.  He dies to pay what is God’s due and therefore there is no more hostility between God and his people at all.  This is how a person builds a proper view of self.  If we are in Christ, we have nothing to prove to anyone!

Consequently, we do not have to build our resumes to prove we have value.  Nor do we have to walk around with the spiritual equivalent of dirty, sad faces to prove to people we are very humble.

This is why the message of the Gospel is the meat, drink and melody line of the church.  It is her lessons, her prayers, her songs, her mind, her mission and her behavior.

When Bob Marley asked, “Is there a place for the hopeless sinner who has hurt all mankind just to save his own?”  The answer is yes, yes, a thousand times yes.  It is at the cross; where our merciful and great high priest defeated sin.

          “For though you know all my ways, yet your love for me endures.
          when I think about all these things, It makes me love you more.”
                            From the Hymn--I Praise You For Your Faithfulness
 
This letter comes with all my love in the Lord Jesus Christ,


Joe Franzone

Copyright © 2019 West Cohasset Chapel, All rights reserved.


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