LentBlog 2015, Day 9: On the Creativity of God

But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ[a]—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

NRSV


Lots to say here about this passage… vv 8-9, for example, are one of the prominent passages succinctly defining salvation by grace in the New Testament.

What’s catching my attention tonight, though, is verse 10… we are what God has made us. And we are created (anew) in Christ Jesus for good works.  To me, on this night, the creativity of God comes tot the forefront. We serve a God who creates, and it turns out God is always creating something new. God is a creative God. He makes stuff. He creates something out of nothing.. all the time. And God is creating (and re-creating) us, in Christ, for good works. Elsewhere Paul says to be “in Christ” means there is a new creation.

Now, the thing about “new” is that “new” can be threatening. New means change. New means something was there that wasn’t there before, and it wiggles, moves, acts, makes weird noises and does different stuff than we’re used to. New can scare the begebers out of us. New pushes our boundaries, challenges our perceptions, calls out our laziness and apathy, and makes us uncomfortable. It forces our hand, really. New forces us to face the fact that we aren’t really our own, and neither is the work of our hands.  It’s not really mine… it’s God’s. We’ve simply been given stewardship of it for a while, to put it to use, partnering with God to create something…. well, new. God’s desire to create something new will bring to light very quickly how emotionally (and otherwise) tied we are to the “old” or the status quo.  The question then becomes, “has the status quo become so important to me that I actually find myself fearful of or even actively resisting the new thing God wants to create in and through me/us?

It seems to me Yoda was right at least on one thing: Fear is a path to the Dark Side.  And instead of living out of (and getting our butts kicked by) fear… in my personal life, our family, our church, and in the world… we could celebrate the new things God is doing and rejoice He’s not finished creating.

Blessings,

Mark

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LentBlog Day 9: Something from Nothing.

Romans 4:13-25

So, it’s late on Day 9. I’m quite tired tonight, but Romans is still kicking my tail. I like the discipline this blog is helping me develop. I don’t have much clue how many folks are reading this stuff and have even less of a clue if it’s helping anyone. I do know it’s helping me.  So far, Lent 2013 has been a good thing.

What’s really speaking to me this evening from this passage is this:

“in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.  Hoping against hope, he believed…” (vv. 17-18a)faith

Abraham believed God was a God who creates things that don’t yet exist.  The God who creates something from nothing. God promised him he would be the father of many nations, and all the peoples of the earth would be blessed through him. The fact he was an old man married to an old woman didn’t matter to him. Those facts did not cause him to “weaken in faith.”

 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,  being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. (vv. 20-21)

(The word translated “distrust” here is ἀπιστίᾳ, “a-faith” or “not-faith”)

What’s challenging me tonight is… Do I have anything close to that kind of faith? Here’s a man whose faith did not waiver when God promised him something impossible. He truly believed God could create something ex nihilo. It was that faith… faith that didn’t blink in the face of impossible circumstances… faith that believed God no-matter-what…  that faith was reckoned to him as righteousness.

I’m praying for that kind of faith. Because we are counting on God to create something out of nothing  (and we’re the nothing).