All the doctrine of the Bible is made personal is Jesus. God’s wisdom is Jesus. Our righteousness is Jesus. Our holiness is Jesus. Our redemption is Jesus. Our resurrection is made personal and real in Jesus. Everything we need, and indeed have, for salvation and a right relationship with God is in Jesus.
When you’re down two scores in the fourth quarter you need a Pro Bowl quarterback, not a good playbook. When you’re being sued you need a good lawyer, not a comprehensive law encyclopedia. When you’re sick you need a good doctor, not a user-friendly medical website. And when you’re facing your greatest enemies — sin, death, Satan — you need the Savior of the World!
God’s wisdom and righteousness and holiness and redemption are gifts to you from him. They are benefits, yes. But they’re more than that. They are actually aspects of a relationship with Jesus. It is him in you. For all of us who were baptized into Christ have clothed ourselves with Christ.
When you belong to Christ Jesus you have all you’ll ever need in life and death, in time and space, and for eternity.
A look back at Thomas Campbell’s Declaration and Address which he began writing in August 1809, 200 years ago this week inspires the reader to carefully and prayerfully consider our Lord’s call to Christian unity. Scripture’s picture of unity. Our God’s will for unity.
The opening lines — one sentence with tons of commas — goes like this:
“That it is the grand design, and native tendency, of our holy religion, to reconcile and unite men to God, and to each other, in truth and love, to the glory of God, and their own present and eternal good, will not, we presume, be denied, by any of the genuine subjects of christianity.”
The whole thing is a call to unity. Reconciliation. The kind of reconciliation Paul writes about in 2 Corinthians 5. Reconciliation between God and man. Between man and man. The kind of reconciliation that drives God’s eternal plans. The very ministry he’s given those of us who’ve professed our faith in him and put his Holy Son on in baptism. Campbell’s words in this document are bold. Aggressive. And they ring with beautiful and undeniable truth. The Declaration and Address, the charter document of our Churches of Christ, calls for a swift end to all divisions among those who claim to be followers of Jesus.
“Has the Captain of Salvation sounded a desist from pursuing, or proclaimed a truce with, this deadly enemy that is sheathing its sword in the very bowels of the church, rending and mangling his mystical body into pieces. Has he said to his servants, let it alone? If not, where is the warrant for a cessation of endeavors to have it removed?”
Campbell claims that tearing down the walls and uniting again with our brothers and sisters in Christ is a “matter of universal right, a duty belonging to every citizen of Zion, to seek her good.” And while the work will be difficult and the opposition will come mainly from within the church establishment, Campbell says it is God’s will. It is the Church’s will. It is the will of those who’ve gone before us. And our efforts will be divinely rewarded.
“…both the mighty and the many are with us. The Lord himself, and all that are truly his people, are declaredly on our side. The prayers of all the churches, nay, the prayers of Christ himself, John 17:20-23, and of all that have ascended to his heavenly kingdom, are with us.”
I thank God for the Campbells and the Stones and other giants of the faith who latched onto God’s holy will as revealed to us in Scripture and. would. not. let. it. go. They lived to obey God rather than man. They swore to use only the Bible as their guide. And they vowed that, despite the opposition, they would remain loyal to their King and his Kingdom. We owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude. We owe them the effort to carry on the difficult work they started 200 years ago.
24 days until the Dallas Cowboys kick off their historic 50th NFL football season. 24 days from now they’ll be battling the Bucs down in Tampa. And we’re counting down the days with the Red Ribbon Review, a look at the second-best players in Cowboys history, according to jersey number. (This countdown becomes much more important with every Rangers loss. If they lose tonight, I’m blaming it on Lewin’s “1999-ish” comments on Tuesday.)
The second-best ever #24 in Cowboys history is a Super Bowl MVP, cornerback Larry Brown. The Cowboys stole him with a 12th round pick in 1991 and got a starting right corner for five straight seasons, three of them Super Bowl championship seasons. Brown is best known for picking off two Neil O’Donnell passes in the second half of Super Bowl XXX which led directly to the points the Cowboys needed to win their third title in four years. Yes, the balls hit Brown right in the chest. Yes, it looked like one of them would have to be surgically removed after the game, O’Donnell threw them right at him so hard. But a lot of people forget what a great ’95 season Brown had leading up to that game.
The former TCU star collected six picks that season, racked up 124 return yards, and ran two of them back for TDs. All of this just a few months following the tragic death of his young son. It was a great story that year. But most people have already forgotten.
Brown used his three rings and his MVP trophy to cash a huge paycheck in Oakland with the Raiders. That only lasted two years. He came back to Dallas in ’98 and played just parts of four games for the Cowboys before hanging it up for good. He finished his Cowboys career with 13 total picks and 279 total tackles. He played in 13 playoff games, four NFC Championship Games, and three Super Bowls as a Cowboy. And he’s the second-best #24 in Cowboys history.