Jumping Off Theological Roofs

Allright, last thing on that second temptation.

I think another facet to this desert trial is in the devil tempting Jesus to display to the world his special favor from God. Jesus is God’s Son. He is God’s anointed. God loves Jesus and approves of Jesus and is living in Jesus and doing his will through Jesus. And Satan tells Jesus to go ahead and jump off the temple roof to prove it. Show everybody just how special you are. Exhibit just how close you are to the Father. On the big stage, in front of all these people. Show ’em!

I think the temptation is very real for us, too, to display to the world what we may perceive as special favor from God. Nothing can hurt us. We belong to God. We’ve got baptism figured out. We know about acappella singing. We’re certain of when to take the Lord’s Supper. We’re invincible. We are truly God’s people. We’re in the right!

And we jump off theological roofs with nothing to hang on to but a couple of verses taken grossly out of context, completely ignoring the fact that the grace of God that covers us in our mistakes and misunderstandings covers other groups of disciples in their mistakes and misunderstandings.

But we don’t need his grace for everything. We’ve got this part figured out.

Talk about testing God! I wonder sometimes why he doesn’t just let us hit the bottom of the Kidron Valley floor.

Yes, we are special. But we’re no more special than any other group of Jesus followers who put their faith in our Christ.

Yes, our Father will guard us carefully. Yes, he will lift us up in his hands so that our feet will not strike a stone. We know that. But we never use it as a point of pride with others. The Jesus Way is one of great humility and dependence. We don’t test our God. We trust him.

Peace,

Allan

11 Comments

  1. Howard

    To achieve the humility to which you aspire, I suggest the following:

    In paragraph three take out the stuff about the COC “big three” and subsitute: “correct belief, correct doctrine”.

    In paragraph four, put and “s” on other and omit “groups of disciples”.

    In paragraph seven, put an “s” on other and omit the remainder of the sentence.

    If read that way, it tends to point the finger back rather than at others.

    Sorry, Allan, I try to resist, but cannot. My only solution would be to quit reading your stimulative remarks. 🙂

    Howard

  2. Allan

    With all due respect, removing those words and phrases would destroy the message of the Gospel, that our God is reconciling all of creation back to himself through his Son, the Christ, not some other way. Not ANY other Way.
    The fact that, yes, we are being saved does not make us better than other people who are being saved. So there’s nothing there in which to take pride.
    However, those who have put their trust in the Christ and put him on in baptism do have special status. We are sons of God.
    Still nothing to boast about. In fact, it ought to result in even more humility and dependence and gratitude in us. Doesn’t make it less true.

  3. Howard

    I must be missing something. I took your paragraph three as a criticism of the following thinking: 1)”special favor from God” 2) “we belong to God” 3) “we are TRULY God’s people” 4) “we are in the right”.

    In what way do the following claims in your reply differ from those you criticize: “we are being saved”, “special status”, “we are sons of God?”

    Happy Father’s Day
    Howard

  4. Allan

    The clear difference between those of us who have put our trust and faith in the Son of God and those of you who refuse. It’s not special favor, Howard, it’s special status: children of God, saved, righteous.
    God’s favor is the same for you and me. He doesn’t love me more than he loves you. In many ways, if I had to choose, I’d say he might have more reason to love you. Maybe. I’d never argue that. However, the status he gives me as his son is something I have that you don’t. Of course, it’s yours if you want it, anytime you want it. That special status is available to all.
    But it’s a limited time offer.
    Like a couple of the German army officers said in that recent Tom Cruise movie, “It won’t do us any good to surrender after the Allies storm Berlin.”

  5. Howard

    You argue that the “clear difference” between those who do and those who do not is a matter of “wanting.” It has nothing to do with wanting. Any one would “want” it if he believed it. The “difference” in us is in belief, not want.

  6. James Prather

    Allan, I couldn’t agree with you more. All too often we act like we’ve got it all right and in the process, we end up testing God. We end up focusing on minutia instead of bringing God’s peace (read: shalom) into the world. Excellent thoughts today.
    Peace to you,
    James

  7. Allan

    Howard, I’m afraid you’re right. I stand corrected. Salvation from God is exclusively for those who believe.

    James, grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus. And to all who read and contribute to this blog.

  8. Howard

    I always understood it to be your theology that salvation is only for believers. My point was that being a believer was not an option for me. One cannot make oneself believe. I could not believe even if I wanted to. Salavation, then, is not an option for me.

    Howard

  9. mom

    That is just about the saddest thing I have ever heard, Howard.

  10. Howard

    The point was not to elicit sympathy (especially since it is not sad to me). The point was to express a truth that believing is only an option for those who believe already. Suppose an Islamic cleric told you that you could have heaven simply by believing “Alah is God and Mohammed is his Prophet”. Now try to concieve of yourself believing this. You would be in the same predicament. You cannot conceive of making yourself believe it, because you do not think it is true. The same is true of those who do not believe in the Christian God. Your believing in Alah is “not an option” for you just like my believing in the Christian God is “not an option” for me. No one (NO ONE) can make themselves believe anything.

  11. Allan

    Allright, it looks like we’re one cross-dressing drug-dealer away from a Jerry Springer show here. Before somebody finds one, let’s please take this to email.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For spam filtering purposes, please copy the number 6177 to the field below: