I think that too often scripture get "simplified" and turned into to bullet points. It is not that the facts are wrong, but we can easily miss the essence of what is being said if we ignore the way it was intended to be presented. The Bible is an amazing book filled with stories of people who need God. It has poetry and songs. It is told as a story. It is not a textbook to be studied. We cannot skim it for pertinent information. It is a book. It is all pertinent to the story.
I do believe in the sovereignty of God, and I think that the people who wrote scripture and who translated it were allowed to do so through God. I think that it is amazing truth, but it is a love letter. Christ is not a separate party in some boardroom negotiation, Christ is a man who has proposed to the Church, his Bride. We have accepted his offer, and we will enter a union with him. "The Word was God... the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." That is part of the beginning of John's Gospel. Think about the implications. The Word of God became flesh. Jesus is God made flesh. Jesus is the Word of God. The Bible message, the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is not about Christ; Jesus Christ is the living Word of God. So we need to read the Bible that way. We "accept Christ into our hearts" and that includes Christ's words. Our lives should look dramatically different with him than they did before him.
God has addressed the fact that we cannot earn salvation. We cannot purchase it. Christ paid the price, and when he did, and we accept that, we will love him for it. "If we love Christ, we will obey his commands." That is a paraphrase of Jesus's words to his disciples, the same disciples who radically lived and died for him. The early church apostles seemed to have access to something we don't. But in reality, we have just as much access to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God, the Spirit of Jesus. We have made ourselves deaf to his voice, and dead to his leading. We need to wake up and smell the mission.
"Go make disciples."
"Go make disciples."
"You will be my witnesses."
Christ's last words are the mission of the church. We are his body, the flesh of his flesh, the flesh which is the Word. We are walking down the aisle, engaged to Christ, loving and pleasing him for the sake of love, the unity made perfect in death. When we reach heaven, we will say "I do", and we will be on an eternal honeymoon with our true love. But until that day, which we should long for, we must prepare for it. That means rejecting everything which will not come with us. We must love our friends, love our family, even love our enemies, but not love "stuff" because how we loved is all we can bring with us.
A Christian has the rights and resources of royalty
But because he desires to follow Christ's example
He will sacrifice and serve as a slave.
Power is taken from us by our pride
But with humility comes our honor.
We must serve all people without
The expectation of earthly rewards
By our fellow man, be they Christian or not.
We are not owners
We are stewards
All we have is a gift.
Our service is neither obligation
Nor duty; it is, in fact,
The source of joy and peace
Which we have been promised.
The One who made us and loves us
Also is the Creator of everything.
I reject the notion that we should
Expect to be served even by
Our Christian brothers and sisters.
They serve God. I serve God.
God serves us.
We work for Him.
He works for us
We may safely assume God will always provide
But in His timing, in His way
Not however we believe it should be.
I should assmue that I am the lowliest of all
But not ever assume any other person assumes that
We are accountable for both the
Position of our hearts
And the actions which we take.
The ideal position of the heart is love
But if we fail to be loving
We should serve out of duty
Because the service may
Fill our hearts with love.
The ideal actions are service
But if we will not serve
We should ask for faith
When we have faith
We will begin to serve.
God is always faithful
Even when we turn from Him
He keeps his promises
And does so without fail.