Monday, January 31, 2011

To the Cross Our Trespasses Are Nailed

“And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.”

~Colossians 2:13-15 (NRSV).

We have won a valuable prize, one not worth giving up... that is if we’re saved by the shed blood and broken body of the sinless Jesus; crucified for the sins of humankind!

But we can easily begin to forget these facts in rustle of everyday life. For that we’re to be forgiven but for the reminder that active worship of God is the only method that will protect us from such spiritual amnesia.

Resting in the Pedigree of Christ

The pedigree of Christ is first burial with him—killing off the ‘legal’ power of our transgressions—to be raised to new life “through faith in the power of God, who raised [Jesus] from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12)

The operative word in the passage at top is “when”when he forgave us all our trespasses.

The pedigree of Christ is no proud thing; it detests pride and boasting. Instead it is banishing the lasting stench and stain of reviling legal demands which could never be appeased!

Setting it aside, nailing it to the cross, so that we bear it no more (to paraphrase Horatio Spafford’s, It Is Well With My Soul) God has brought to pass a breeding that only God could achieve—a breeding available to the whole of humankind.

This pedigree is rest. It is peace against torment, rejection, condemnation, retribution, complaint, hypocrisy, genocide, and finally over the power of sin itself.

Vanquishing the Levitical Demands

Not many people apart from Christian Jews will recognise the power of the cross to annihilate the onerous demands of the Levitical code—which of itself seemed idolatrous as we look back now; meaning that the 613 laws explicit of this code—as they were—neither glorified God nor were based in truth. But these laws had a Divine purpose; they foreshadowed what was to come. They were godly order for the Jews. But Jesus’ obedience on the cross saved the Jews from this mode of spiritual degradation; the obedience of what had become myriad superstition.

This is lost on many a non-Jew from the period. Obeying ‘the Law’—from a living viewpoint—had not only become impossible, it was also meaningless from the aspect of grace.

But thankfully it’s not only the Jews who were freed...

For All Have Trespassed – And All Are Forgiven

The message of redemption is a universal message.

Though we are not saved from actively sinning we’re saved from the eternal consequences of that sin. The thankfulness that’s instilled in us because of the abundance of grace shown to us—erasing our records of sin—motivates us to hate our sin enough to cooperate with the power of the Holy Spirit to do something worthy about it.

The sweet irony is cognisance of our sin, and responses of repentance to turn from that sin, bends us forward on a trajectory of pleasing God by faith (Hebrews 11:6).

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

General Reference: John Phillips, Exploring Colossians & Philemon: An Expository Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 2002), pp. 124-28.

One Way All Must Come – Turn Away From Idols

“Turn to me and be saved,

all the ends of the earth!

For I am God, and there is no other.

By myself I have sworn,

from my mouth has gone forth righteousness

a word that shall not return:

‘To me every knee shall bow,

every tongue shall swear’.”

~Isaiah 45:22-23 (NRSV).

Has not humankind constantly insulted the Lord its God? Generation after generation it has gone its own way and sought after flights-of-fancy in attempts at the divine—and ‘all ways’ failing but for the intent of the search.

Such times—most often—have featured no turning to the Lord of glory. The turning has been toward idols that cannot save.

In Isaiah’s context (45:21a-b) it’s like being charged of a crime and going to an incompetent lawyer for a defence. As the case is prepared and the day at court comes little does the accused know that the lawyer will represent them in powerlessness. They’ll be found guilty as charged. Only a righteous Lawyer—One owning the right ways of the Law—can acquit.

Not Just Israel’s Saviour

The Lord, of course, is not just Israel’s Saviour—as if God was only interested (ultimately) in favouring one people. This is just another case of pre-Jesus Scripture that signals what is to come... a New Covenant to invitees of all nations.

This is surely old news to us. No, not for some. To the person who’s never had knowledge of God, through family or descendent, now is the time. God’s yours as much as the pastor’s kid whose family has a generations-old faith.

Such Absolute Truth ‘Shall Not Return’

Like a trusted emissary who goes out into a pilgrimage, not to return having an unfulfilled mission, this Word of the Lord resonates eternally.

As emissaries ourselves, but perhaps with amnesia of our eternal identity, we have no source besides God—and we can’t even remember. Spiritual transactions of the eternal are impossible to reconcile with veracity in a physical world. It would be like shoving a VHS format tape into a DVD player. The copy is unrecognisable apart from God’s miraculous will.

This Word is reminding us of from where we came and to where we’re going.

At this place everyone falls to the knee and everyone confesses the greatness of God.

This is no more evident than by the manifestation of physical conception-to-birth and physical death. For where the spirit came and to where it goes is an utter mystery. Death speaks volumes for eternity... “Where have they gone?” To another world.

To this one way all must come. To this one way all must return. The Owner of spirits has ordained it. Turn away from idols and turn to the Lord.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

General Reference: J. Alec Moyter, The Prophesy of Isaiah: An Introduction and Commentary (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1993), pp. 366-67.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

God Knows Our Whole Sordid Story

“[The Samaritan woman] said to the people, ‘Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?’”

~John 4:28b-29 (NRSV).

The Samaritans weren’t in the same league as the Jews, yet Jesus elevates the lowest of them—a woman, one that had been divorced multiple times—to discourse in his presence.

Her testimony was important in the context of the purpose of Jesus’ trip to Samaria. Many believed in him because of it (John 4:39f). Jesus even stayed with them two days, living up to his reputation of ‘hanging with’ outcasts.

God is friend—most of all—to the outcast. The privileged among us perhaps do not want to recognise that fact, but the Bible is littered with examples and statements showing God Almighty siding with the weak, the despised; the lowly and soon-to-be repentant sinner.

‘You Know Me, You Are the Messiah and Still You Accept Me?’

Marvellous it is to think that this woman could begin to comprehend the matchless grace resplendent in and through Jesus... that he knew her whole sordid story, and even though he was to become the Messiah, he did not denigrate or shun her, but spoke candidly with her.

There is perhaps good reason why John selected this story to tell. It shows just how much compassion and courage Jesus had, as well as his approach to all humankind—everyone is equal in Jesus’ eyes. None are better than others.

Deliberate perhaps was Jesus in singling out such a lowly person in that contemporary society. He was making a point and these points continue to resound for us. God is raising up the lowest first.

Today’s Message

Who would be Jesus’ targets for this type of talk today?

Without proffering an opinion we can think of the many that are at the bottom of society’s pecking order. In God’s eyes they’re equal. The so-called ‘blessed’ are no better than the lowest of these. This is something for us to remember. We’re not blessed more than others; and certainly not less than others.

For us who’ve had (or got) sordid lives or pasts this is a fantastic fact to anchor to. Compared with God’s holy standard, everyone’s got a sordid past. The Lord is indiscriminate.

Jesus never changes (Hebrews 13:8).

He knows the whole story—our past, present and future—and still we’re not condemned one iota.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Psalm 48 – Consider the City of Our God

“Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised

in the city of our God.

His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation,

is the joy of all the earth,

Mount Zion, in the far north,

the city of the great King.”

~Psalm 48:1-2 (NRSV).

How majestic will the experience of residing in the City of God be? We’re fortunate that the psalmist opens up imagination to that end. And if use of the imagination interests us, God’s taking us on a journey here if we’ll meditate on this psalm.

There are four noticeable divisions to the psalm:

1. Praise for a “Sure Defense” in God (Verses 1-3)

As verse 3 is considered in all its majesty we surely know that this fortress of the Lord is impenetrable. Nothing gets through without God’s say so.

It is the experience of the people of God that catapults forth this swath of praise. Their confidence is not in a physical structure alone, but in the portents of God which enable and maintain such structures.

The Lord is a Sure Defense—and to be eternally praised—because that’s the Divine nature.

2. Excitement, Terror and Awe in the City (Verses 4-8)

This is a clue that the City of God is not just in the heavens, but all around us where the Presence of the Lord intercedes. In the case of these verses the liturgist takes us into the bowels of terror extant of the marauders who battle against God’s anointed.

This is great spiritual encouragement to us as we battle, fighting the good fight of faith in this life. The Lord is our avenger. We have no need to avenge, settling our disputes at arms. As just as our cases are, God will redeem us according to his will (see Deuteronomy 32:35).

3. Further Praise – A Celebratory Liturgy (Verses 9-11)

The judgments of God are wholly reliable and this is what’s lauded by the liturgists in this section. The Sure Defender has made his Divine will known and the Presence of the Lord came through to establish what is now—for the people—peace (in their) today.

To “ponder your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple” (v. 9) is the overwhelming sense that not only is the peace of victory celebrated, but the place of God’s Presence with them is also too.

4. Consider This City (Verses 12-14)

This is where we can hit our meditative stride. The towers, ramparts and citadels of the City are beyond comprehension as we survey what eyes have never before clapped on. The mind can paint beautiful pictures.

This City, beyond eternal dwelling, is most certainly the visitation of victory—and that fact must ensue through the coming generations. Our cherished task is to pass the baton of the Lord’s faithfulness so younger ones will know, look for, and trust in it.

Local Meaning

As we live and breathe in a world that is so different to the City of God we’re forgiven for not taking time to consider it. This psalm, however, compels us to take up a worshipful mood, seriously pondering what this vision of God’s eternal dwelling looks, feels and tastes like—remembering that spiritual sense in the quest of eternity may not be like physical sense, perhaps realms better.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

General Reference: Craig C. Broyles, Psalms – New International Biblical Commentary (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1999), pp. 217-20.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Spiritual Poverty – Precursor to Blessed Repentance

Quizzed about small groups at a church function Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend were asked, “What difference do you see between groups for people with problems and groups for normal people?”

Like, what?

Spiritual poverty is acute sight of our condition in the basis of reality—we are all fallible, broken and needy “problem” people, even to the heads of government, psychologists, super-pastors, princes and princesses, and child prodigies.

The obvious answer to the abovementioned question was bemusement... “Who exactly is ‘normal’?” might have been the response.

Seeing – Then Applying – the Truth

The moment a person sees this reality, bridging with it the humility to not be overwhelmed by it, is the time when repentance (a turning before God) is about to take place. The heavenly host rejoice over one sinner repenting! (Luke 15:7, 10)

The moment of beheld truth is the instance of spiritual poverty, confusing as that might sound.

The trouble for most people is we commonly see the problems of others whilst being blind to ours. Others, though they are relatively few, can’t see others’ problems for their own. These accentuate their difficulties to the point of insanity at the extremes.

The spiritually impoverished straddle these two above.

They see their personal lack in the sight of God but they aren’t overwhelmed in misery because of the fact. Grace’s truth ushers in and over their spirits. They’ll see the truth and use that as a platform for applying truth to all facets of their lives, as far as they’re able.

The Paradoxical Blessedness of Repentance

The false apostles are known most visibly for their abnegation of the penitent way. Indeed, they’re dropping any semblance of their own (and others’) lack... after all—in their false minds—Christ has delivered them from all this. (We’re delivered of the eternal cost of our sin, but the sin remains.)

This is a lie that Satan propagates, not God. The ‘prosperity gospel’ has much to answer for.

Jesus’ first beatitude was, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3 [NRSV])

He did not say, “Blessed are the rich in spirit.”

And the point is riches don’t get us reliant on God or anyone or anything other than ourselves. An attitude of richness is pride and that contends with the humility that would better serve us. There are still too many proud Christians—they laud ‘the victory,’ worshipping proudly, without remembering the actual basis of faith.

Our Saviour went to the cross to redeem us from our sin... yes, that word “sin” again.

The proud are known by their aberrant denial of the sin problem. Jesus went to the cross because it was the only way to reconcile the issue of sin from eternity’s perspective. Day by day, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we’re made new, but we still have this sinfulness to deal with.

Repentant people are driven headlong to God because of their need. They cannot live without the Lord. This is the believer who is most blessed of God, for they’ve turned hard toward the heart of God and that is a situation the Lord cannot resist. Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Graphic Credit: Sound Gospel Baptist Church, Baltimore, MD. Website:

Journeying to Salvation – Hosea 14

“I will heal their disloyalty;

I will love them freely,

for my anger has turned from them...

They shall again live beneath my shadow,

they shall flourish as a garden.”

~Hosea 14:4, 7a, b (NRSV).

As false hope (in this case, in Assyria) is swapped for true, salvation—the real deal—is to be made fully known. Healing will take place.

Hosea 14 has a simple yet powerful twofold structure, completing the work of the Minor Prophet succinctly. Hosea speaks out in the first section (14:1-3) and Yahweh speaks in the second (14:4-9).

Plea for Repentance

Always primary to salvation experience—deliverance for the moment and for eternity—is repentance. It’s the only condition that God places on the flock of his creation. “Return to Me,” is the Divine bellow from the bowels of eternity.

Hosea, in this section, is denouncing the false hope laid at Assyria and leading Israel in a sort of sinner’s prayer. The close-to-home allusion was his wife, Gomer, running off to whoredom, but redeemed at a price by Hosea at the behest of the Lord.

Israel’s unfaithfulness to Yahweh was a macrocosm of Hosea’s life. In chapter 3, Hosea sets the standard of repentance; the restitution for sins not repented.

In many ways Hosea (the book, not the prophet) is a portrait of redeeming his wife and (Yahweh) the people, pre-repentance—or in anticipation of repentance; the willingness of the Lord to succour his vulnerable lambs, beyond a help they were capable of—the false hope of idol worship in Assyria.

This is likened to the sense of abrupt salvation we experience after a mini-season out in the spiritual wilderness. God does not delay the slightest vestige of grace.

Assurance of Redemption

Here in the second part, Hosea writes the words of the Lord. Again, the promise of redemption is secondary to the premise of repentance. How can we accept our own bloodguilt without feeling appropriately sorry for it? The feeling of salvation amid repentance is a very personal one.

God shows himself to us at the concept of repentance through visceral, intimate contact.

Guilt and relief coexist for the instant of repentant transaction—the healing is immediate in the moment; then worked out over ensuing life to the discreet level of the forgiven-for sin.

It’s interesting to note that Hosea’s theology of hope in the Eighth Century B.C.E. was distant. The hope was beyond the coming captivity. From a personal viewpoint, it can be necessary to endure more storms before the weather subsides. Healing can still be part of the storms.

But a bright future is extant for the believers of God, according to their hope; one not ultimately disappointed. This place of salvation is a garden, full of growth and vitality; one with a bold tap root, sending strength and security as bywords into the deeper reaches of the founded soil.

“For the ways of the Lord are right,

and the upright walk in them,

but transgressors stumble in them.”

~Hosea 14:9 (c-e) (NRSV).

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

General Reference: Thomas E. McComiskey, The Minor Prophets: Hosea – An Exegetical & Expository Commentary (Vol. 1) (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1992), pp. 228-34.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Denouncing the False Gospel – Proclaiming the True

Writing to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul after greeting them launches into a tirade:

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.”

~Galatians 1:6-7 (NRSV).

This is not a welcome message or one desirable to please; but it’s necessary. How is it that the discipleship to which all Christians are called falls on so many deaf ears? Is ‘Christ and him crucified,’ and the grace set forth, really at the centre of most believer’s lives?

We can suppose that many infant believers are led astray or never learned to challenge the spiritual status quo.

The tension that many find impossible to bridge between works righteousness and cheap grace is common—some ever guilty for their past, not feeling saved; others taking far too much liberty with their new birth status.

Paul was “astonished” at just how “quickly” these Galatians had departed from the Gospel—the only one. It’s as if they’d been converted again, but to something entirely different.

Who can hear the message of grace and then turn asunder to a typology of Christianity that fits perfect the individual’s frame? Many, many is the answer. The Gospel is not about that type of freedom.

Signs of True Belief

Everything about true belief is emergent from the cross. It’s the centre of the Gospel.

Out of that basis comes a true theology that vanquishes falsity and expands the imagination to God’s character, greatness, goodness and grace.

Grace is neither insufficient in its scope or power nor is it so magnanimous that it covers wanton sin. It is power for new life, beyond to the shattering of insidious realms, but it’s not a license to break God’s law. True belief fully respects grace and rivers of living water issue from within, the flow of which sees righteous intent convert to fruit.

A true believer is separated from one that’s stunted in his or her growth by what they produce—by how they’re being transformed day after day. Can a true believer—one clung hard to the foot of the cross—really not grow?

A.W. Tozer denounced in his day the ‘static Christian’ and he saw far too much of it. It made him sick, and it should make us sick too. Still, many of these are close to us, and we’re positioned so as to learn tolerance, not getting conceited, but we’re warned not to go their way of superficial belief. Least of all do we judge, but our eyes cannot lie; wisdom is advised upon evidence en masse.

The ever-changing life is a constant challenge—the wish of which is to become so used to change and growth that change and growth becomes a necessary constant.

Broaching Hypocrisy

Certainly as I write these words I’m compelled by the Spirit residing within to be searched and found wanting. The grace that saves reminds us—without a hint of condemnation—of our place in this world: take the high ground and be prepared to be knocked down.

So be it. What cost is it to laud the Jesus of the gospels—and his Spirit that lives on in me—and have the flesh crushed? That event is welcomed.

Cases against hypocrisy stand at the fruit shown of the life lived. That will be everyone’s final test; that, the judgment ground. In the meantime, let the Gospel be preached without interference!

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Spirituality of Blessing in the Heavenly Realms

The “heavenly realms” are eternally set and contrastive:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

~Ephesians 1:3 (NIV, 2010).

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

~Ephesians 6:12 (NIV, 2010).

The “heavenly realms” are hence deep in their concept—not only good and evil, but they’re dynamically based, even beyond our humble understanding. Spiritual blessing is derived from the heavenly realms, even in the midst of these dark powers which surround us and our world.

Conditioned by Transcendence – A Believer’s Reality

How is it that mainly Christians are the only ones seeing the heavenly realms at work in their lives? There are New Agers and others who speak in these terms but hardly at truth apart from Christ.

That we can be conscious of the blessings enfolded in the heavenlies as they combine to give us transcendent power in the Spirit is the manifestation of God—the difference the Holy Spirit makes. There’s a heaven-realm-blessed connection between us, the Spirit that resides within, the ether between us and heaven, and the place of heaven itself.

This is something we feel but don’t understand; we call it the experience of the blessings and Presence of God but we can’t define it better than it. It just is.

Trusted to the Heavenly Realms

Due to the repentance to engage in routine return to God, the believer’s advantage is they’re blessed of a fine reality. They’re seated in these heavenly realms (places) at the premise of Jesus (Ephesians 2:6). This is no short order. It’s the gift above all gifts, even though it doesn’t feel like we’re gifted most of the time.

We have been entrusted into the heavenly realm, and though the dark forces of the heavenly realm conspire over all, we—per our active, repentant belief—have recourse to the blessings of the Spirit and the heavenly host in seeing us through life.

The one counteracts the other and it’s when we know and accept God that the legion of Divine angels is compelled to operate active in our lives.

Apart from our acts of faithfulness to Divine law—the obedience to God’s Word—the help of Divine spirits is our only chance at blessing, apart from the underpinning blessing of the Lord in the eternal instant.

It’s good to appreciate this additional blessing; an inexplicable help to fight the good fight against evil we do not see.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

General Reference: Harold W. Hoehner, Ephesians – An Exegetical Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2002), pp. 168-72, 829-30.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The One Who Had to Die for All Israel

Read John 11:45-50.

“[Caiaphas] did not say this on his own, but being the high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was about to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on they planned to put him to death.”

~John 11:51-53 (NRSV).

These are astounding words. The high priest, Caiaphas, a very influential man and an enemy (typically) of the true will of God, has prophesied—without knowing—that Jesus is to be the Messiah, remembering that the Jews commonly thought they were getting a military or political leader as a Messiah.

The ruling Jews were growing very afraid of Jesus by this point. They’d witnessed his miracles—the raising of dead Lazarus (John 11:1-44) and the healing of the man born blind (John 9)—and they feared for what this would mean for their ‘place’ and their nation. So, something had to be done about this Jesus fellow; they not only thought this, they enacted a Sanhedrin-session to formally consider and rubber stamp the matter.

A Fatal Connection Proves the Prophesy of the Messiah

It’s interesting reading these three abovementioned verses. We can connect two concepts: that Jesus was prophesied as the one who would “gather into one” not only the nation but all the dispersion of God—over all known regions—but he would necessarily need to die to do it.

They had no idea they were pawns for God. That God orchestrated this admission by the instrument of Satan is incredible—but it’s true!

Gathering ‘the Flock’ – Both Jews and Gentiles

This prophetic word was Gentile-friendly. It is not too wild an assertion that God has put the words of religious treason (for a Jew) into Caiaphas’ mouth, recalling that the Gentiles were an unclean and blasphemous kind in the eyes of the Jews.

How amazing that the high priest would say such a thing; a comment most congruent with the Old Testament prophets. Even further astonishing that no one listening picked it up either.

The Importance of Jesus’ Death to Stop the Groundswell of Support for ‘The Way’

To say that the ruling Jews were threatened by Jesus would be a cataclysmic understatement.

For someone to not only be doing these signs and wonders, but also to be teaching so winsomely—a rollicking threat to the status of the Jews in Roman eyes—was a massive peril staring their destinies down into the dirt. If anyone was feared in Jewish eyes it was the ruling Roman force. Jesus threatened to upset all that.

What This Means for Us

The Gospel of John is chock full of evidence that Jesus is the Incarnation of God; the Messiah who’d come into the world to save it through his death. This account of Caiaphas’ prophesy propounds with resolute force into our minds the fact that he didn’t know that God had in mind to use him as an instrument of God’s revelation.

Like Satan, Caiaphas had double-crossed himself. Their plans were thwarted because God’s redemptive plan was anticipated before creation. No one wicked expects someone to sacrifice themselves and win. That is unthinkable.

We can not only cling to the truth of God’s grace—a truth so indelible none can escape it—we can also master understanding of the prototype of Jesus; that a sacrificial love will never fail.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Graphic Credit:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Unity, The Gifts, Truth and Love

“But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.”

~Ephesians 4:15-16 (NRSV).

Abundant strength in all departments, any team has few (if any) weak links. It is not a complement of stars, but a star complement.

The giver of gifts—the Lord Jesus—has apportioned a gift for each one in the Body of Christ: an entity for the glorification of God here on earth and the worship of God in heaven. Those individual gifts must complement the overall sortie or God’s not glorified and the mission of the Church is diminished.

Awkwardness of Maintaining a Functioning Body

The older I get the more I realise the aches and pains of the physical body, though my lower back was much worse twenty years ago than it is now.

Notwithstanding, we injure ourselves and deal with niggles all the time. If it’s not a sore neck then we have a digestive problem, or we’re depressed, or have no use of another part of our bodies. It can seem a massive task just getting the body to the starting line at times.

At any one time there is at least one thing wrong with my body; no sooner do I ‘welcome’ the newest ailment, the old one gone I’m thankful for, praying it won’t revisit me.

In much the same way issues and contentions mount up against the Body of Christ.

The Body’s Growth to/in Maturity

Just like the physical body—which is governed in certain ways by the mind (beyond external limitations)—the Body of Christ is governed by the Spirit of God.

The purpose of both bodies is to function—efficiently and with effect.

Through the select and grace-apportioned use of gifts the Body of Christ is honed and hopefully poised to glorify God here on earth to the very heights of the will of God. Per the physical body setting itself to run life’s race, everything is prepared and all risks are mitigated. Both are wisdom activities... like running in machine-like unison.

Maturity is the hope for the realisation of optimisation. In other words, when serious games are played we want a body fit for duty—one that can attend to both the diversity of the task (using all the body parts or gifts required) and task specifics. The body serves us (and the Body, the Lord) and not the other way around. Additionally, the individual body part serves the overall body, and the disciple with their gift serves the Body of Christ, not the other way around. (But there are times when the larger part [the body/Body] ministers to the smaller as a parent helps a child.)

Speaking the truth in love is the very manifestation of the mature Body’s modus operandi. It’s a key sign that the Body is fit for the task God gives it.

It is most important that the Church attains and maintains the fullness of Christ these very ways. Each of us has a key role; to exercise our gifts and our overall way, maturely.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.