A little over a year ago I was in central California with a friend of mine. Greg and I met in 1990 in Whitehall, Pennsylvania, where both our youth groups went for summer camp. A few years later we wound up in the same dorm for a semester at Liberty University. We lost contact for a bit over the last twenty-four years, but I love Greg and always enjoy our reunions.
Greg reads tohu va bohu. One afternoon while we were taking a break in our cabin, he mentioned—and that means, yes, it’s taken me a year to respond—that maybe I could write about more things than just exhortations to confess sin and thoughts about the Lord’s Supper. He couldn’t have been more encouraging with his input, even telling me that I have helpful answers when we chat. Maybe I could expand my posting horizons. I responded with three things.
First, I told Great that he should start a blog of his own. He did. It’s called Pastor Perk. I’m a subscriber.
Second, I explained that I’ve chosen to fill my weeks with a bunch of good things that challenge my intentions to write new things. To keep the blog going, I mostly (re)use material that I’ve prepared for our church’s Sunday morning service.
Part of the reason I’m writing out the answer now is because some of you don’t worship at our church. Maybe you also have wondered why I keep blogging about the same subjects. Every Lord’s Day morning, in addition to the sermon, we have an exhortation to confess sin as well as weekly communion preceded by a short meditation. It’s a great writing/speaking challenge to be biblical, fresh, and interesting week by week. I post those exhortations and meditations on my blog partly for our people to read what they heard (if they want), but also as an outlet for me to keep my pen moving.
Third, I agreed with him. I could write about some other things. Maybe I will. When I speak at our school assemblies or fundraisers, I usually post those notes under the Enculturation topic. But still, lots of liturgy pieces and occasional education articles and link posts here and there are most of what’s going onto the site.
I can’t make any promises for future posting. But Greg seemed to appreciate knowing more about why there are so many confession and communion tags. Like I said, I figured it might make it clear why there’s so much of that material.
Three final thoughts. One, check out Pastor Perk or at least his Twitter account. Two, I recently made some back end changes to the site and many old posts in the Mother archive aren’t up yet. I do plan to put them back eventually; they are not gone forever. And three, my wife was very concerned that I wasn’t going to allow comments. If you read this via RSS or e-mail only, you might not know that comments are available; they are also usually unnecessary since I’m rarely poking idealogical dogs as I pass by. Comment or no, thanks for reading.
On the first day of the week we worship because Christ rose from the dead. His resurrection, though only something that happened once, is also just the first of many in a different way. He will not rise from the dead again, but because He did many more will after Him.
Paul told the Corinthians,
in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:20–23, ESV)
On the first day of the week we remember the firstfruits. Firstfruits is one Greek word, ἀπαρχή, a word that refers to the initial sacrifice, the beginning that represented more. Paul also called Jesus the firstborn from the dead (Colossians 1:18), the firstborn among many brothers (Romans 8:29).
We are an army of new men. Supernatural life was breathed into us. We have hope not only in this life but in the life to come. We are no people to be pitied, we are a people purchased and raised and promised the glory of an imperishable body. Jesus is the firstfruits and we are the rest of the resurrection harvest.
Christians on earth are being sanctified and we are not done. We are still sinful enough that we can sin in how we fight sin, as well as how we don’t. God commands us to think about certain salvation realities and, if we don’t, then we disobey Him even though our definition of salvation doctrines may be on the mark.
Paul reminded the Romans of the gospel truth “that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God” (Romans 6:9–10, ESV). Those are objective, unchangeable truths whether we believe them or not.
For those who do believe these truths about Christ, our reality is changed. “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3–4, ESV).
What should we do when sin seems so strong? Instead of “Stop. Drop. And Roll” we ought to Know. Reckon. And Yield.
“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing” (Romans 6:6, ESV). “So you also must consider (reckon) yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11, ESV). And then “Do not present (yield) your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness” (Romans 6:13, ESV).
Know the gospel realities about Christ and what that means for those in Him. Reckon it so: you are alive to God in Him. Then yield to righteousness as those who have been brought from death to life. “It is finished” changes how we fight. If you’ve been fighting wrong, or not at all, that is sin. If you haven’t been knowing, reckoning, and yielding, then the appropriate thing to do would be to know, reckon, and yield now.