Sunday, April 14, 2013

Gospel Harmony Joy Note 9...

Am. Is. Are. Was. Were. Be. Being. Been. I can still recite those verb tense, just as I can recite all auxiliary verbs, all prepositions, all conjunctions, and all interjections (non-slang ones). Once a literacy girl always a literacy girl.

The verb To Be ... the state of being. I have struggled so much with understanding the Gospel as taught in the pure doctrine. So much has been upended in my mind, for so much of the sweet, sweet Gospel is twisted in the Church where the pure doctrine is not taught. Be verbs in the Bible. They are most troublesome to me.

The other day, Pastor Buetow posted: "'Do not be unbelieving but believing.' That's not a command. It's a promise." 

Huh? I asked what he meant. Pastor Brown responded:

“This not a matter of Jesus telling you what you must make yourself into - it is Jesus speaking -- and you are.
“Let there be light - and there was light.
Do not be unbelieving but believing - and there is belief.
“Because the Word of God is cool like that - living and active and all that.”

Wow! Really? Just as shocking to me ... still ... as when Pastor Cwirla once posted that the beatitudes are not instructions for Christian living. What???

You start reading the beatitudes and I no longer really hear what you are reading. What I hear is Wayne Watson’s song “Blessed Are”:
Blessed are the poor in spirit;

God has faithfully revealed 

that the riches of the kingdom

with their souls in Christ are sealed.

Blessed are the grieved, the weeping, 

those whose tears for others cry,

Selfless, giving, bearing sorrow
will be dancing by and by.

Those who hunger and are thirsty,

craving righteousness and life,

won't be filled by any other,

satisfied by none by Christ.

Blessed are the meek, the gentle,

no demands, no claims to rights,

In their patience, strong and mighty

confidence and faith in Christ.

And to those of tender mercy,

from them falls as gentle rain

Grace and Kindness, sweet compassion,

mercy given and mercy gained.

Blessed are the true peacemakers

with contentment for the fold.

They cling to promises of heaven,

working in the field of souls.

See the pattern? Blessed are these folk for what they *do.* Yet I here was this rather blithely written (yet rather shocking to me) statement from Pastor Cwirla. Then, I also asked, “What do you mean?” I cannot find his post, but the crux of what he wrote was that: The beatitudes are who we are in Christ. We are blessed. Are. The verb To Be. The state of being. Are you mourning? Even then, you are blessed, for you are in Christ.

No, I am not at the beatitudes yet, but I jumped ahead to read them because of Matthew 9:5; Mark 2:9; and Luke 5:23.

When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:1-12).

That does not really sound the same as the way I learned them from Wayne Watson’s song. Not instructions ... who we are in Christ....

Pastor Cwirla's little post truly turned my life upside down that day. So, surely the whole unbelieving/believing post should have been par for the course to me, right? But it was not.

So, back to Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Those verses fall within describing how Jesus healed the paralytic. Jesus’ question: “Is it easier for me to say, ‘your sins are forgiven’ or ‘to say arise, take up your [bed/pallet/stretcher], and go home’?”

Did you notice that? The question was not to ask if it was easier to say, “I forgive you,” but “your sins are forgiven.”


I lingered upon that word, that Word, for a long, long while. And I wonder ... how much of salvation, righteousness, forgiveness, sanctification in the New Testament is spoken/written with the verb To Be?

Before I came to the paralytic, I noticed the same in Matthew 8:3; Mark 1:41; and Luke 5:13, where Jesus says to the leper, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And the leper was. God spoke and it was.

Since I leapt ahead to Matthew 5, I should note that in verse 13 I read that we are salt and in verse 14 we are light. I learned those verses as instructions, too. Go out and do things to make yourself salty for others to see Jesus at work in your life. Go out and do things to make yourself a bright light to shine the way to Jesus so that others might be saved by your testimony of what He is doing in your life.

Is this the same? Am I salty because I am in Christ. Is it my being? Am I bright because I am in Christ?

Alas, I find myself back to the Psalter. Psalm 18 tells me that the Lord rescued me because He delighted in me. He recompenses me according to the cleanness of my hands and finds me blameless. And the Lord lights my lamp and illumines my darkness. Notice the doer of all those things and the doing is because of who I am to Him. Who I am in faith. The faith given to me. The faith of Jesus. The faith of Christ crucified.

I cannot call to mind any psalms about saltiness, but there are references to taste. References to honey, to sweetness. What is the taste? The Word of God. Not man, but the Word.

Am. Is. Are. Was. Were. Be. Being. Been.
How many more will I find? How many more are hidden within the translated Greek?

Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief!

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