Tuesday, June 19, 2007

"For a fallen man to pick and choose how he will imitate Christ is treacherous territory indeed."

He's a bit high-falutin', but here's an excerpt from a doozy of a post on a "tough customer" Jesus by Doug Wilson:
I hope it is possible to say this with all reverence, but Jesus was a tough customer. Contrary to popular opinion, the Lord of the gospels was not the original flower child, and He did not come in order to make us all feel better about ourselves. The image that many have of the Lord’s personality and strength of character comes more from man-made traditions and saccharine portrait painters than it does from the Bible. One easily envisions the image of a genteel limpwrist standing outside the door of someone’s heart, gently tapping, because of course the doorknob is only on the inside. The only thing missing from this vision is the ribbon in his hair. I have sometimes thought that a far better picture of Jesus knocking at the door of my heart would be a commanding hand from offstage, two rows of angels with a battering ram, and a worried-looking troll peeking out over the wall of a castle.

Otto Scott put it well when he said that the God of the Bible is no buttercup. And when Jesus came He revealed all the attributes of the Father, and not just those things which we can easily interpret as comforting to ourselves. But the Lord’s words were simultaneously blunt and pointed, and as Chesterton put it, He did not hesitate to throw furniture down the front steps of the Temple. However, we like to hear all about love, and mercy, and comfort, and kindness. This is not bad in itself; these are all biblical revelations of God’s nature and character. But we present them out of context; we neglect the wrath, and holiness, and justice of God. We do not neglect these attributes because they are contradictions to the first set; we neglect them because we do not know how the Bible reconciles them. Notice how the apostle seats them at the table together, as though they were good friends. "Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness" (Rom. 11:22). We must constantly remember that a half-truth presented as the whole truth is an untruth. God is kind, and God is severe. Jesus reveals the nature of the Father to us; Jesus is kind, and Jesus is severe . . .

It's all good. If you can hack through the density of his prose, and the length of the post, it's worth the effort.


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