I am Peter

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Peter is the man who knows that Jesus is the promised messiah;

Peter is the person who confesses this Jesus as the Saviour of the world;

Peter is the one who denies this Jesus in the hour of witness,

In the moment of life.

 

Peter will hide this truth for a minute of peace.

He will conceal Christ’s lordship for Man’s favour.

 

Peter will sacrifice

truth for comfort,

faith for pleasure,

trouble for ease,

the cross for a bed,

shame for fame.

Peter is a string of contradictions –

 

Peter is the politician who worships on Sunday,

But manipulates the people on Monday.

 

He is the businessman who pays his tithe,

But abuses his workers.

 

He is the father who sings in the room,

But lies to his children.

 

Peter is the husband who prays fervently,

But assaults his wife.

 

He is the wife who dazzles in the choir,

But is a terror at home.

 

He is the craftsman who shares the gospel,

But builds a bad chair.

 

Peter is the employee who goes for a vigil on Wednesday,

And calls in sick on Thursday.

 

I am Peter;

Peter is a traitor.

 

For the approval of my kin,

I deny him.

 

For the esteem of my colleagues,

I reject his word,

 

For the acceptance of my community,

I refuse his Lordship.

 

For the nod of my nation,

I deny his relevance.

 

I am Peter –

We all are.

 

But Grace reached down to me;

Grace reaches down to me;

And It reaches down to you.

 

What will you do?

 

Of Rocks, Spirits, and Humans

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The traditional African believes in a universe in which the spiritual world is closely integrated with the physical. ‘Natural’ events are often not really natural but are the result of the activities of spirits and immaterial forces. Birth, agricultural harvest, road accidents, economic prosperity, are some of the diverse phenomena of life which the spiritual world can influence.

The secular or modern individual is apt to dismiss this system as sheer nonsense. Births are a purely biological process resulting from copulation; economic prosperity or otherwise is subject to human decisions with respect to a lot of factors like capital, innovation, time, opportunity, etc; accidents could simply be as a result of human error, mechanical faults, or environmental factors. Imbued with a naturalistic mindset, every incident or event in life is explained on purely natural grounds.

What would the Christian say to these? Or, better still, what does a worldview based on God’s revelation point toward? For one, the biblical worldview would not disparage the African worldview outrightly. The universe was created by God and He interacts constantly with it. In fact, the universe is sustained by God’s spirit and, as Paul said, it is in God that we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). The biblical worldview also admits of the existence of angels, who are spiritual beings acting as God’s messengers. Some of these have rebelled against God and, in league with their chief known as Satan, now actively oppose God (cf. Daniel 10:13).

A major point of departure for the Christian or biblical worldview is the structure of this spiritual world. The Christian’s creed begins with the assertion that there is only one God, and not a pantheon of gods and spirits. The affairs of our universe are in the hands of a wise, loving, and good God, and is not subject to the whims of good and evil spirits. He fills the universe with his presence. Of course, there is a host of evil angels who can exert influence on humans, but their power is limited and they must answer to the higher authority of God. Besides, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, Satan and all angels in league with him are a defeated lot awaiting their final destruction.

However, it is equally true that the physical universe is an orderly system which operates according to given laws. In other words, though God is able to intervene in any aspect of the universe at any time, things generally occur according to a given and regular pattern. Births follow a certain biological process, economic prosperity answers to certain principles, and even climate follows generally predictable patterns.

The truth, therefore, lies in acknowledging both the truths of divine providence (the guidance and control of human affairs by God) and that of a natural God-imposed order. We have a regular pattern of day and night each 24-hour period because God has structured the universe that way. And He remains free to intervene in this natural cycle if He so wills. Any worldview which holds to  one without acknowledging the other is false.

Christ our Mediator

A photo by Sujan Sundareswaran. unsplash.com/photos/TBQXwj3DEOY

 

Who is a Mediator?

A mediator is one who stands between two aggrieved parties. He works to reconcile them and establish peace.

 

Why do we need a mediator? Why can’t we just relate with God directly?

Well, the scriptures reveal that relating with God directly is actually the state in which God made us. After man was created, and the woman formed, God related directly with them.

There was no need for a mediator then because there was no rift between them. Humanity was exactly the way God had made them. Our first parents’ disobedience, however, disrupted this harmony. Humanity became estranged from their Maker[1]. And for this relationship to be restored, someone had to step in. According to scripture, this Person, Jesus Christ, is no other than God taking on human nature.

 

And how does Christ fulfil this task?

He does so by occupying 3 different but important roles. He acts as a Prophet, a Priest, and a King. The Westminster Shorter Catechism[2], a very popular teaching manual, highlights what each role involves. And we follow its basic outline below.

 

Christ our Prophet

As Prophet, Jesus reveals to us by his word and his spirit the will of God for our salvation. Like the Old Testament prophets who lived before him, Jesus communicates what God desires from humanity. This role is indicated in bible passages like Luke 4:18-19, 21; John 15:26-27;  Acts 1:1-2,8;   Hebrews 2:3; 1 Peter 1:11

 

Christ our Priest

As Priest, Jesus offered himself to God as a sacrifice in order to satisfy divine justice and reconcile us to God, and he continues to intercede for believers before God. Through his death, Christ fulfilled what the Old Testament sacrifices pointed to. He became the ‘Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29). Other passages which speak of this aspect of Christ’s work include Isaiah 53:1-12; Acts 8:32-35; Romans 5:10-11; Hebrews 9:26-28; and Hebrews 10:12.

 

Christ our King

Jesus is not only our prophet and priest; he is also our king. He stands as the fulfilment of the great defenders of God’s people in earlier ages such as King David. And what does he do as a king? He makes us his willing subjects, he rules and defends us, and he restrains and conquers his and our enemies. So under him, believers are safe for they know he will defend and protect them from any harm. We find this role in passages like Psalm 2:6-9; Matthew 28:18-20;   John 17:2; and Colossians 1:13.

God’s plan tends toward re-establishing the kind of relationship which existed between God and humanity at the beginning. Just as humanity fellowshipped with God in the garden, God will dwell with us forever in a renewed universe (John 14:23; Revelation 22:3-5). And Christ’s role as mediator will be concluded after the resurrection when he submits his kingdom to God the Father. As Paul wrote,

 

“Then comes the end, when he [Christ] delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).

Through the work of Christ as Mediator, therefore, God restores the harmony which existed between Him and humanity. Praise be to God for His wisdom and grace!


[1] The account of humanity’s fall into sin is found in the third chapter of the book of Genesis

[2] You can find this document online at http://www.ccel.org

Should I Trust God When I Can’t Find A Job?

“Failing to get a job after 1,000+ applications can only mean one thing: Never trust your work experience and education. They will definitely fail you. But above all, never put your hope in anything or anyone besides Jesus Christ.”

This post from Pew Theology is a helpful reminder that our help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.


Learn why you should trust in the Lord and lean not on your understanding even when you are unemployed and in debt. Discover the power of resting in Christ.

Source: Should I Trust God When I Can’t Find A Job?

Christ is the World’s true light

 

1. Christ is the world’s true light,

Its Captain of salvation,

The Day-star clear and bright

Of every man and nation;

New life, new hope awakes,

Where’er men own his sway;

Freedom her bondage breaks,

And night is turned to day.



2. In Christ all races meet,

Their ancient feuds forgetting,

The whole round world complete,

From sunrise to its setting:

When Christ is throned as Lord,

Men shall forsake their fear,

To ploughshare bear the sword,

To pruning-hook the spear.


3. One Lord, in one great Name

Unite us all who own thee;

Cast out our pride and shame

That hinder to enthrone thee;

The world has waited long,

Has travailed long in pain;

To heal its ancient wrong,

Come, Prince of Peace, and reign. Amen.


- George Wallace Briggs (1875-1959)

 

Church Libraries as an Antidote to “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind”

Churches in Nigeria need to seriously consider this.

the way of improvement leads home

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God calls Christians to love Him with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind. (Luke 10:27).  Many Christians are pretty good at orienting their heart, soul, and strength toward their Creator, but few really know what it means to love God with their minds.  This problem, as many of the readers of The Way of Improvement Leads Home know, was addressed most forcefully by historian Mark Noll in his seminal 1994 book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind and its 2011 sequel, Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind.  I have written about this as well, both in Why Study History: A Historical Introduction and most recently in my May 2016 Religion News Service piece, “In Supporting Trump, Evangelicals Are Reaping What They’ve Sown.”

Noll diagnosed the problem of evangelical anti-intellectualism.  We are now faced with how deal with it.  What kind of practical…

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Book Review: The Dangerous Duty of Delight

I published this post back in 2012 and its message remains essential: Joy is not an add-on to the Christian life, it is at the core. We are called to joy – joy in God our Creator and Christ our Redeemer.


‘I write this little book because the truth and beauty of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, are breathtaking.’

John Piper argues in this little book that delight or joy is not an add-on to the Christian life; it is of the essence of biblical Christianity. God commands us to delight in Him (Psalm 37:4). We are to serve the Lord with joy and a glad heart (Deut. 28: 47-48). And we are to serve Him with gladness (Psalm 100:2). Jesus calls us to rejoice and be glad when we are insulted (Matt. 5:11-12). Paul instructed the Thessalonians to ‘be joyful always’ (I Thess. 5:16).

We are called to pursue our joy in God and to glorify Him by desiring Him. All men seek pleasure and joy, but we often seek it in all the wrong places – career, sex, drugs, fame, wealth, family, etc. The proper object is God himself and He invites us to pursue it with our whole being. The words of St. Augustine remind us of this: ‘ You made us for yourself and our hearts are restless till they find rest in you.’

After discussing the obligation of delight, Piper goes on to point out what this means for Worship, for Marriage, how it affects our use of Money, and its implication for Missions.

Writing on Worship, he reminds us: ‘ God is not honored when we celebrate the high days of our relationship out of a mere sense of duty. He is honored when those days are our delight!…Worship is nothing less than obedience to the command of God, “Delight yourself in the Lord”(Psalm 37:4).’

What does this imply for Marriage? ‘The reason there is so much misery in marriage is not that husbands and wives seek their own pleasure, but that they do not seek it in the pleasure of their spouses’ (p.54). The way to happiness in marriage is not to abandon one’s own pleasure, rather we should seek our joy in the happiness of our partner. And this was the path taken by Christ (Eph. 5:25-30). ‘For he who loves his wife loves himself’ (p.57).

How about money? If we are seeking to make many more find their joy in God, then we would focus on using our material resources to evangelize the unevangelized, educate the uneducated, and feed the unfed. We would spend less on ourselves, adopt a ‘wartime lifestyle’, and use the money that could have been spent on unsatisfying luxuries for improving the wellbeing of millions.

‘No matter which way the market is moving, God is always better than gold. His promises of help sever the cords of bondage to the love of money.’

Why do great missionaries like David Livingstone and William Carey give up material comfort in order to get the gospel to unreached tribes? It is because they were pursuing a satisfaction that material riches can never supply. ‘They have discovered a hundred times more joy and satisfaction in a life devoted to Christ and the gospel than in a life devoted to frivolous comforts and pleasures and worldly advancements’. Even when Jim Elliot, the missionary to the Indians of Ecuador was killed in 1956 by some of the very people he was trying to reach, his wife recalled that this was no tragedy. For her husband had always lived by a simple truth:

‘He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.’

This is the motto of a life in pursuit of lasting joy. Are you ready for the adventure? Get the book or, better still, get the fuller version titled, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist.

Above all,  prayerfully delve into God’s word and discover the joyful riches of his redeeming grace.