Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Bible is not a sequel....

where the first part tells one story but the second part tells something completely new, as though the writers decided they needed to jazz up the story to keep the viewers' attention. I really react to the movie sequel idea that so many people have today regarding the Old and New Testaments. The minute I hear someone say, "Well, that's only in the ____ Testament", all sorts of warning bells sound off.

I'm not skirting the obvious differences of Old Testament revelation giving signs, types and shadows and New Testament revelation giving fulfillments and parables. I also agree to the statement that the Old Testament reveals the old covenant, and the New Testament reveals the new covenant (Heb 8:6).

However, believing that the Bible is the whole counsel of God revealing all things essential for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life; and believing that God is changeless, the same yesterday, today and forever, means to me that His revelation has the same changeless authority.

It's just not what we want. We are the fruit of a movie culture--fast action, thin heroes, and lots of cartoons. For the lovers of sequels, it seems that the first part relates a tough, strict, exacting and judgmental God. He's frightening and standoffish, in giving laws and prohibiting that anyone would come too close to His mountain (Ex 19:12).

So it's in the sequel, we think that God has become gentler and more approachable in the person of Jesus Christ. We cite how this Lord heals and feeds thousands, still having time to call little children to Himself. He's nice to His mother. He endures tirelessly the crowds of needy people and those bumbling disciples.

He certainly is all of these things and more. However, my question is, how does anyone think that watering God down, to an image of our own liking or in any way at all for that matter, make Him more able to save? The fact is that it doesn't.

The God who sent thunder, lightning and hail to shake Pharaoh to his core, is the same Lord who has His enemies placed under His feet. The God who struck down Sodom and Gomorrah is the same Lord who struck Saul with blindness. The God who scattered the tribes of Israel for disobedience is the same Lord who scattered the money-changers in the temple.

I'm tired of Christians looking for a way to make God more palatable in His "hard" decrees or in His difficult purposes. That type of God is of the paperdoll variety--flimsy, yielding to chubby, childish hands, quickly grimed up by dirty hands, and just as easily wadded up to be tossed away when interest wanes or attention shifts.

I want a God who unyieldingly decrees His eternal purposes, without the counsel of man. I want a God who sits enthroned in the heavens, holding no counsel but His own. I want a God who is Lord over all the earth, righteous and just in His judgments, faithful and everlasting in His plans.

This is the God of the Old and New Testaments. I'll take nothing less, and neither should you.


  1. Julie said...I don't remember how I found you, I think it was through Everyday Mommy. Anyways, I have been reading through your blog on my down times the past few days and I have enjoyed it. I loved this post as it says so exactly what I have been spouting for awhile now. Except you say it so much better. I tell my kids that I want them to understand a loving and merciful God, but they also need to know that same God is just and mighty. He is not some santa in the sky waiting on us hand and foot. Thanks for a great post!

  2. Rabbit said...Another good one, Elle! In the past I've been guilty of thinking that the OT wasn't so relevant, but I'm purposefully working to remedy that error. The OT so beautifully points to Christ.

    5:09 PM

  3. Amen, sister! I have a problem with portraits which make Jesus Christ look wimpy and effeminate. If the Bible says: Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? (1 Corinthians 11:14), then why is he always pictured with long hair? He was a carpenter and physically able to overthrow the moneychangers' tables (pretty sturdy, I'm sure). I think a carpenter would be a very physically powerful man, but Jesus is always portrayed as weak-looking.

    If you combine what we're both saying, it's as if people want to water down His strength and power.

  4. This post leaves me worshipping Him with my heart, soul, mind and strength. Beautiful my Friend.

  5. In our effort to proclaim a God of love and mercy, we sometimes minimize or, worse, forget He is also a God of justice and holiness. In doing so, our tendency becomes to rationalize and ignore and excuse our sin. But that only serves to minimize the measure of grace He has poured out! To understand a God of unfathomable grace we must also understand He is a God of justice. His justice demands punishment for sin; His grace provides the way through His Son, Jesus Christ. Amazing Grace!