Jesonian–Troubling (Part 6)… August 5th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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It is troubling.

Yet I must profess to you that no one has greater joy and regard for the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross than I do. It is my salvation and it rattles my consciousness to a sensibility of my own sinful nature and the grace of God.

That being said, I fear that the church has become “atone-deaf.”

Nearly desperate to land on a universal message for Christianity which can be compactly shared at a moment’s notice, we have placed too much attention on a hill called Golgotha, and not nearly enough tender loving care with a Sermon shared from a Mount. In doing this, we have contradicted things we know about the nature of God in order to fulfill the doctrine of the propitiation of sin.

For instance, God ordained free will for humans. Yet we’re led to believe that “from the foundations of the world” it was pre-destined that Jesus would be killed on a cross.

When God spoke through the Old Testament prophets, He declared that He wanted mercy, not sacrifice. Yet for some reason we decide that He changed His mind and adopted human sacrifice as the symbol of His covenant.

As a writer, the first thing you learn is to be faithful to your characters. You can’t manipulate the plotline by causing your character to do something completely beyond the scope of his or her nature, just so you can advance your story.

God gave us free will. We chose to kill Jesus.

God hates sacrifice. He took the death of Jesus and transformed it into our salvation.

What was meant for evil, He made good.

Atonement should be a central theme in the Christian message. It is powerful. It is priceless. But by no means should it be preached so loudly that it makes us deaf to the greater matters of the kingdom–tenderness, responsibility, excellence, consolation and tolerance.

What can we do to keep the death of Jesus in perspective?

I have always received the gift of Calvary as my salvation and a license for me to go out and salvage. How? First, deal with my own appetites and also multiply my talents. Once I become the salvager–the “light of the world” and “the salt of the earth”–I have the ability to transfuse the energy of salvation, pass it along to others and see them reborn.

The conclusion? As a saved soul who has become salvaged and a saver, I fulfill the purpose of me being rescued.

We’ve got to start listening again. We have to stop trying to fulfill denominational doctrine and instead, emphasize the character of God.

Jesus lived for thirty-three years to give the human race a chance to accept his message. He used stories; he used confrontation. He used healing; he used mercy.

And at the end of it all, we used crucifixion.

God, in His infinite grace, chose to take the blood that we shed and make it a symbol of our salvation rather than a further curse of our rebellion. It’s remarkable.

But if we want to find the heart of Jesus, it is not at Calvary.

It is in the words, deeds, actions and anointing of his life.

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Good News and Better News… December 19th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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“Jesus was born to die.”

That’s what the preacher said.

He seemed pretty sure of it, too, because he kept repeating it over and over again during his “sermonic” pursuit.

I listened carefully. Here was the premise for the assertion–the best I understood it:

God, who created the universe, decided on His own, from the foundation of the world, that He would save the human race (which was not yet placed in the Garden of Eden) from their sinful nature, which they had not yet manifested.

It seems that since God made these creatures called humans, He placed within them a self-destruct switch, which is triggered and causes them to pull up lame, inept and basically evil.

So God put Himself in charge of them and each of their destinies, plotting their lives, and moved them about like fleshy chess pieces, understanding that in the long run, the end result of the game would be “checkmate.” In other words, they would need a Savior, and such an individual would have to come to the world as one of them, but be secretly enhanced with the dynamic advantage of knowing that his preaching, healing, conversations, or even established relationships were basically doomed, and that ultimately, his purpose for arriving on the planet was to slowly bleed out on a cross and die for the irreconcilable imperfections of humankind.

Although there are many scriptures from this God which inform us that He completely disapproved of animal sacrifice and found it gross, we are led to believe that He ignored those sentiments and killed a human being to prove that His initial idea of “original sin” was correct.

We are to ignore the birth of this son named Jesus in deference to his death.

We are to consider his teachings, but understand that basically, because of our faulted and feeble frame, we are incapable of living out his ideas.

Motivation to aspire, dream and grow is removed from us because basically without this “saving plasma,” we are completely lost and without remedy.

We are never to look on the cross as something that happened to Jesus, but rather, for some mysterious reason, something that Jesus caused to happen.

Even though we tout that human beings have free will, we quietly negate such a notion in favor of destiny, God’s will and a pre-formed path for each and every human unit.

Then we stand back and wonder why these human beings that were created seem vacant of expressing passion or goodness, but are constantly weeping over their failures in an attempt to be worthy of their salvation, and therefore feel a need, to some degree, to constantly re-start their appreciation for the blood atonement.

We just can’t wait to get the baby to the cross.

We have a lapse in our theology because we do not understand that God, being God, is completely able to give us choice while simultaneously having insight on where things might be going.

We do it with our own children. We have fears and apprehensions that they will struggle in certain areas, but we never take away the opportunity for them to surprise us. In other words, a disobedient five-year-old who breaks a lamp and giggles about it is not immediately sent to jail.

No, we give him another chance.

So during this blessed season, I wanted to offer a counter-view to this preacher who was so positive that Baby Jesus is just a prop on the way to Calvary.

For here’s the good news. It’s found in John 3:16:

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son.”

But the better news is in the next verse, where it’s made clear why Jesus came. It states:

“God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world.”

 

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