Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday Prayer

O Savior of the world, who by Your cross and precious blood has redeemed us: save us and help us, we humbly ask You, O Lord. Forbid, O God, that we should forget, amid our earthly comforts, the pains and mortal anguish that our Lord Jesus endured for our salvation. Grant us this day a true vision of all that He suffered, in his betrayal, His lonely agony, His false trial, His mocking and scourging, and the torture of death upon the cross. As you have graciously given yourself utterly for us, may we give ourselves entirely to you, O Jesus Christ, our only Lord and Savior. AMEN

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Husbands and Lovers (4)

It is often true that our own views of a subject are shaped by a variety of sources e.g., family, friends, media, school, pop culture, church, the Bible, etc. We cannot easily sort through all these influences and separate them. In fact, they are likely blurred in our own minds. Therefore, if we are to learn to think more biblically, we must begin a winnowing process by which we evaluate our views in light of a sound theology. Inevitably, we will find that we have to adjust our views, casting off many erroneous ideas, and adopting new and sometimes radical views in their place. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for us to make minor adjustments and yet to perceive them as major. We have often gone one mile in the right direction, when, in fact, we need to go 100 miles.

God created man in knowledge, righteousness and holiness, with dominion over the creatures. Man forfeited all of that in his rebellion. A perverted man was the result. All kinds of difficulty and misery ensued, with conflicts in the family, the community and the broader culture continuing and expanding. In the midst of this chaos, God sent His Son—the firstborn of a new humanity—the second Adam. This new man, who also had knowledge, righteousness and holiness, with dominion over the creatures, is the Redeemer of fallen man. He is the model of a Great Lover. He is a man’s man. It is to Him that we are being conformed (Rom. 8:29). Our transformation is our restoration to true manhood, and that true manhood does not look like the popular images of manhood. In fact, it is likely contrary to much of what we have picked up along the way.

We tend to defend what we know, or at least what we think we know. “It’s my opinion and it at least as good as yours.” Yet, in clinging to a notion simply because it is “our” notion, we are stifled in our growth as Christian men. Jesus came to set us free by giving us the truth, and yet we find our old prisons to be the places we know and therefore, they feel like home. It’s hard to break out of our patterns. Even when we try, it’s unfamiliar territory and soon we are sitting back in the security of our old cell.

Redeemed men are men of peace, but first they are men of war. They are faithful, courageous men who are valiant for the truth, even swearing to their own hurt. Jesus sacrificed for “the joy that was set before Him.” Yet the object of His sacrifice was His bride. He purchased, or redeemed the Church with His own blood. So too, as new men in Christ, we give our lives for the sake of our beloved. We do so for the joy that is set before us.