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Innocent ...

Wednesday, April 10, 2019. Christians are called to live in a special way. They are called to BE different. Let us stay at this point for a moment, and understand what it means and how it can be achieved. We are reading in one of the letters of the New Testament, written by the apostles to the young churches in Greece and Italy and some towns in the area of modern Turkey. The letters are milestones of thought, milestones of ethics, milestones of philosophy and faith.

When I read this text from the letter to the church in Philippi, I usually have a lot of thoughts about the various ways the text can be and has been misused. But should I let the misuse of some people keep me from reading and understanding and believing biblical insight? Let us try to get close to what the text means and what it wants! And then let us see where we are and where God is in all of this …

Blameless …

Recall the words of Paul, talking about a life in faith, a life in trust:

14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me. (from Phil 2)

We can ask, in what way Paul was in the middle of a crooked and twisted generation. We can ask if we find this today, in our society and immediate environment. If you think carefully, you will soon discover a lot of difficulties in the way humans think and act. We are like fish swimming in a sea of lies. Can you trust people? Sometimes you can, sometimes you can not. Our society has many mechanism to deal with crime, lies, cheating. We need signatures. We have identity cards. We formulate contracts with the help of lawyers, just to protect us from others and their iterpretation of what they promised to do or to deliver.

We could go on and investigate any layer of social life. Take advertising. What is true, what is fact? Adverts try to generate positive feelings linked to some product. It is neither a balanced view nor does it lead us to a good comparision of strength and weaknesses of one product in contrast to others, nor of one way to do things compared to another. Take the daily news online or in printed media. How much can you trust what is written? The left-wing media have their interpretation of reality, the right-wing have another, and we fight about a balanced view, we fight about truth. This is not easy at all …

All these things have been introduced since people lie, cheat and hurt others in various ways. When Paul talks about a crooked and twisted generation, he does not talk alone about people in his lifetime. These are words which also fit our society today. And if you investigate yourself carefully, you will find many things in your own life, where it fits, where the words are right to the spot. But the text does not stay with this rather negative description of reality …

Glad and Recoice …

Paul wants his listeners to step out of the sea of lies. He calls you and me to be different. How can that be? It is faith which pulls us out. It is the power of the Holy Spirit through Christ Jesus, who makes the difference. Jesus' death at the cross is a new beginning. The old life, the life of lies, has been put to death. A new life starts, with the resurrection, with a new body, different from the old one.

Be blameless and innocent. You should tell the truth. You should be reliable. Do not hurt others. Be blameless. Do not swear - but when you say yes, your yes should be true. When you say no, your no should be the truth. When you are reliable, touching the ground of life, you are like a light. But how can you be like that? How is it possible? Who can do this type of miracle?

Holding on to the word of life, spoken in Christ Jesus, is the core of this path. We cannot do this from our own power and capabilities. We need the power of Christ coming into our life. We need his help, his guidance! This comes through the biblical word, when we read and understand and do. Then, there is joy coming into our life, the joy of being true and innocent. Being innocent is a process. It is like taking a shower in the word of Jesus day by day. His word and spirit is cleaning us, it is changing us. Listen, and see! There are great things to come, when you choose the path of Christ. (Roland Potthast) ... further texts

jn_en_2019_04_10.txt · Last modified: 2019/04/10 08:49 by potthast