Thursday, February 10, 2011

Four More "Of's" and the Face of God

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Cor 4:6 ESV
"Let there be light" was what God said in the beginning.  It dispelled the darkness.  The Creator, in the flesh, said  "let there be light" to those whose lives were shrouded in the darkness of sin. What is this 'light?' Knowledge. What kind of knowledge? Of glory.  Who's glory? God's. Where is this glory seen and known? The face of Jesus Christ.  

What's in a face? I surmised awhile back that Compassion International puts the faces of orphans in need on their advertisements because nothing is really compelling like another human being.  People will more likely come to the rescue of a face, than a number, a statistic, or even a verbal description.  Really, you can see this method at work in any good advertisement.  Faces- laughing, smiling, satisfied faces.  This is how you extol the qualities of a product- show the face of someone who has used it and is satisfied.  

This gets at something much deeper in the psyche- something fundamentally human- the need for connection with other humans. The need to been seen and accepted by others, and the need to pour out one's own love and acceptance out to others.  This is why the Gospel is human, not merely a method or a mechanism. 

I heard it again yesterday. A well-known, best-selling pastor got the Gospel wrong. Not only is he well-known, he's well-known for being smart, Biblically able, and conservative.  And he said that the Gospel is...and then he described something having to do with what an individual's faith should look like.  Faith is not the Gospel, Jesus is.  Not quite conservative after all, eh?

The Gospel is the human face of God, Jesus Christ, experiencing everything that humans experience, and then saving us by dying and rising.  In the flesh.  He did this so that we might know him, because we cannot "know" an interior posture(like 'relationship'), or an airy God-concept (like 'sovereignty').  His command is to know him and abide in him.  Yet this is not the Gospel.  The Gospel, the face of Jesus Christ, is what is before us when we are abiding.  There can be no mistake.  Neither do we abide in our relationship with him. 'Relationship' is merely a descriptor.  We only see people, not our relationships with them.  

Rest assured, what converted Paul, and what struck him blind, was the face of Jesus.  And when we go to be with him, we will see...not a list of statements, or the nature of true faith, but a human with a face looking back at us, one that has endured crucifixion so that we could be there. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Four "Of's"

The god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  2 Cor 4:4, ESV
Q: What's the Gospel like?  A: Light (blinding light, to some)
Q: What does the Gospel do? A: Give glory to Christ

Q: How does it do this? A: Makes Christ seen
Q: Who is Christ? A: The image of God

For what we proclaim is not our awesomeness...(v. 5)