GNB 2.63

March 16, 2023


For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ Jesus. It is the power of God to bring salvation to everyone who believes; first to the Jew and then to the Greek [read ‘to the rest of the world].” (Romans 1.16)

They [the believers in the resurrected Jesus of Nazareth who is the Son of God and Messiah] devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. All the believers were together and had everything in common.” (Acts 2.42,44)


We must bear in mind that in the call to minister to “this people” first and then “this people” and then “this people” and so on and so forth, one does not exclude the other but seeks to unite them. The exclusion does not come from God but humankind. Exclusion and exclusivity is the province of Satan who desires to “steal, kill and destroy.” To put it into the terms I mentioned above, Satan’s desire is to alienate, isolate and eliminate. If we think for one moment that Satan is concerned about people on the earth, then we forget the first rule of identity. The first rule of identity is, and will never change regardless of what the current culture and climate espouses, “In the beginning God…” To the Hebrew writer and thinker, there was no serious contemplation about “before time began” as if there was anything in existence before God. It is a concept beyond our imagination to think that God always existed. We strive to control the concept, perception and existence of God by making Him a creation instead of accepting Him as the Creator. I pray, mighty ones of God, that you will see that type of thinking is demonic, satanic and evil. In Job, what many scholars believe is the first book written apart from the books of Moses, we are presented the struggle to overcome the dialectic between dualism and monotheism. Job is a testament of the age old question of “blame or claim.”

In a dualistic world, good and evil are seen as equal entities who exert all effort to be in control. Such modern classics such as Star Wars, Lord of the Ring and even The Last Starfighter speak of existence as a battle between good and evil, light and dark, faith and doubt. And while there is no question as to the existences of such realities revealed in blessings and tragedies, Job affirms that ultimately he is without doubt and thus consumed by faith. The moral of Job’s story is that God is responsible not for the evil that exists but for the opportunity to bring an “overcoming of evil with good” in our life. God is not merely good but good. God is most certainly not evil but aware of its existence as it is in opposition to what is good. But, in and over all things, God’s existence supercedes and oversees it all. His righteousness maintains the creative dynamic which these “opposite” forces work against each other and with each other to bring about what exists. My example has always been proposed with the question “How do you simply define what light is?” The simplest explanation or answer is “the opposite of dark.” We can see it in the Creation Story presented by Moses as well as in the Messianic Prophecy of Isaiah. There is dark and in the midst of the darkness comes a spark of light which is the “life of all living.” John’s gospel introduction of Jesus (as he pens to oppose the heresy of the Gnostics) tells the reader/hearer that “this light is the light of the world and in it is life; it is light and life which the darkness cannot comprehend fully nor overcome completely.” You see, this “light” defines everything that exists whether we can “see it or not.” So, you may ask “Is there complete darkness where no light exists?” I will answer that question with a fact of science we all know the answer to. That question is this “When will be the time when the sun never shines?” See, even when “darkness” falls it is only relative to “less light” and not “no light.” Whether in the time between sunset and sunrise, which is relational to time and space, or whether it is partly cloudy or clear or overcast, which is a meteorlogical description, the sun still shines until the sun no longer exists. Even the “dark matter” which scientists propose “hold the universe” together is dark only because it “cannot be seen.” Sounds a lot like Paul’s description of faith, does it not? He proposes in Hebrews 11.1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” While we may not see it, the evidence exists that “it” exists. We will not debate the existence of something. We will debate, however, if that “something” is in control or not. For Job, God is in control of all things: good and bad, right and wrong, tragic or triumphant. Regardless of the circumstances, Job’s faith in God never wavers and the blessing of God will prevail and overcome. Jesus will tell His disciples the same thought when He declares, “Don’t be in fear of the things of this world for I am overcoming the world and, in fact (or is it faith) have overcome it already.”

So, as a people of faith we know that God is inclusive as His power, dominion and authority is over all things. Because He allows some latitude in creation, i.e. freewill, does not mean that God has relinquished control or never had control of any given situation. No, indeed, we know in faith, “God works all things together for good in or with or by or through those who believe in Him and live according to His purposes.” And His purposes are never for death and darkness but always for light and life.

And so, while the construct of God’s choosing to redeem the world (the people who dwell on earth) may be “first” to the Jew and “then” to the rest of the world, it is without question to all people. And the purpose of such presentation is “regiving” the opportunity for all people to “see the light” and choose to believe in and follow that light which is God. Now, let me give you one such inclusive synthesis of thought to contemplate until we speak again. Take the phrase which has been our watchword for these past reflections on Jesus’ new command “love one another.” I see it in the same way as I express communion as the synthesis of common union. In the sacrament of communion we share this common union of “bread and wine,” the emblematic “body and blood” of Jesus the Christ. In them, we affirm are the testaments of old and new, life and death. In them we are lead to a new life where death is no longer the threat of sin but a passionate and momentary state of life. That life is determined by two great commands which even the Jewish leadership affirmed. Those commands are “love God” and “love the other.” Now I present to you this phrasing for “love one another” as “love One and the other.” In Christ, the two shall be as one and as One.


Father, thank You for seeking us, calling us and making us One with You through the witness and the opportunity to know, believe and receive Jesus as the Christ, Your Son as our Savior. AMEN.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: