In the last few months I have been really venturing out into new territory for me.
I have always put authority and then relationship with Christ in that order. But lately I have been seeing more and more that there seems to be a split or a difference in the two on how one approaches God.
I do give this disclaimer…none of this is set in stone…. though solidifying.
My friend Levi http://www.blogger.com/profile/2947372 who I have come to really enjoy our exchanges of ideas in the last few months has kind of put me on the spot…. that is cool. This forces me to be more diligent in developing this Authority vs. Relationship thought I have begun.
In his Blog he brought up Ephesians 5: 21 which I wrote about in my last Blog. The verse is “21. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
I believe as I said before this is core to the understanding of the relational aspect of Christ. But let’s back this whole chapter up a bit. At Verse 1,2 and 3.
1. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children
2. and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.
Be imitators of God…..as dearly loved children. Right off the bat Paul teaches this whole chapter will be about relationship. That we are to relate to God as His children.
My first child is six months old…I never thought at such a young age I would be such an influence on him…but even at this young age he will try to imitate me…one of the games we play is Incredible Hulk…. I take on the Hulk stances and go GRRRRRRR! Fischer laughs and squeals and in his own way goes grrrrr! It is more like gwierewber! But like any parent, we hear what we want to. Hahahahahaha.
My point is God wants us to be like Him…. not as the Serpent claimed, (bing equal with God) but in a loving relationship that gives us humans a model to grow into.
What is God’s character? Exodus 34:5-8
5. Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD.
6. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,
7. maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."
8. Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.
These words stand out…. compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love, and faithful, maintaining love to the thousands and forgiving...sin.
This is the Father character of God…but then we have the authority side.
But He does not leave the guilty unpunished…even to the point were because the wickedness which can go on for generations. God will give them all the authority they desire and sadly deserve.
Now here is the kicker…. I would venture to say this…. Moses had a relationship with the living God…Moses would argue and debate and challenge…. knowing full well who God was and is. Yet, He was allowed to do these things. Why? God loved him and he loved God.
Now here I will venture a bit out on a limb…this in a way goes contrary to all teachings I have been under…
I have read this but have not connected this verse in my mind to relationship with God.
22. If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow--to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways and to hold fast to him--
23. then the LORD will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you.
God tells the Hebrews to “love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways and to hold fast to him”
Love the LORD your God. Pretty simple command here…. but then He says this.
26. See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse--
27. the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; 28. the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.
The Blessings have always been connected to the ordinances of God…. but in the context we have the blessings connected to “love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways and to hold fast to him”.
But the curse comes if they disobeyed God “commands”.
First I see here the pattern of relationship vs. authority.
If they love God and have a relationship based on this love…. God is pleased and blessings will flow. NOT BASED ON JUST OBEDIENCE! BUT ON LOVE.
The Authority and curses kick in when there is no fellowship.
So God says, I am setting before you blessings and a curse.
Relationship or authority.
Back to Ephesians 5. A superficial reading would give one the impression Paul is then teaching “do’s and don’ts”, but in fact he is laying out that as a believers character is developed and one becomes more like our Father…the sinful things of the world become nothing in light of our relationship and become out of character with who we are and are becoming. This is much richer that having a list of don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t chew tobacco or date girls who do also.
Paul simply contrasts that we are to be like our Father… compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love, and faithful, maintaining love to the thousands and forgiving...sin.