Skip to main content

Advent Reflections: Priest Above All Division

A couple of years ago, I wrote out a self-published e-book of Advent Devotions. You can still buy it from Amazon.com here: Advent Reflections. However, I’m going to re-use the whole thing for daily blog posts here on the blog this year.

Hymn numbers are from the 2008 Baptist Hymnal/Worship Hymnal from Lifeway.

Week Two Day Three: Priest Above All Division

“For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.” Ephesians 4:4-6

There are, unfortunately, divisions among those who claim the name of Christ. We tend to argue about things great and small. Where else can you find arguments so bitter that a person will not speak to someone five feet away?

Some of the arguments are necessary. It often happens that we take our eyes off the Cross and get greatly distracted. When that happens, wrong goals appear and wrong ideas are taught. Those times, the division is necessary. Sometimes, our vision gets blurry and we choose foolishness in our arguments.

This is sadly unavoidable because we are drawn to our self-interest more than anything else. We must remember that the debate should not be solved by our opinions or personal preferences. Rather, we must come back to our High Priest. We must come back to the manger.

Consider the manger: what division can we find in Bethlehem? The division between God and man is closing with the baby. He has come the greater difference, made the longer journey.

When we consider that, can we continue to bicker with one another? What distance are we refusing to cover?

The answer to our arguments must always come back to Him. Foremost in our mind must be this realization: Jesus is the standard of right. The follower of Christ recognizes that only Jesus has the authority to declare right from wrong. We can determine from His Word right from wrong, but it is not based on our own opinion.

As we have divisions within the family of believers, ask this: When the issue is presented to the High Priest, how will He see it?

This is not a question of unity ahead of truth: all unity among believers starts in three places: the Empty Tomb, the Cross, and the Manger. Unity without truth is more than an oxymoron: it is impossible. Rather, we should look at our divisions in light of Christ and the manger: where would be without Him at all?

We could not be divided about the time of His return, for we would not know it. We could not be divided about miracles and teachings, followers and successors, for there would be none of these things to discuss. If we start at the manger, start with remembering the relief that is finding God with us, many of those issues begin to fade in their importance.

Scripture passage for the day: Luke 2:17-18 (NIV)

“When they had seen him, they spread the word

concerning what had been told them about this child,

and all who heard it were amazed

at what the shepherds said to them.”

Hymn for the day: The First Noel #180

Prayer: Almighty God, I like to have my way. Even when “my way” is to avoid making decisions, that is what I want. This habit does not help many people, and it can bring harm and division. Yet when I gaze in wonder at the manger, I realize that I cannot embrace bitter divisions. I will not accept a false unity that denies You, but I want to live with joy alongside my fellow followers of Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray, Amen.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Abraham Lincoln Quoted by Jesus! Mark 3

Mark records a curious event in his third chapter (link). If you look at Mark 3:25, you'll see that Jesus quotes the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. After all, one of the highlights of the Lincoln years is his famous speech regarding slavery in the United States where he used the phrase that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This speech was given in 1858 when he accepted the nomination to run against Stephen A. Douglas for Senate, but is still remembered as the defining speech regarding slaveholding in the United States. I recall being taught in school how brilliant and groundbreaking the speech was, how Lincoln had used such wise words to convey his thought. Yet the idea was not original to Lincoln. Rather, it was embedded in Lincoln from his time reading the Bible. Now, I have read varying reports about Lincoln's personal religious beliefs: some place him as a nearly completely committed Christian while others have him somewh…

Book: The Gospel Call and True Conversion

A quick note: This book, The Gospel Call and True Conversion, is currently available on Kindle for $4.99. This is the second in a series of 3, and the first, The Gospel’s Power and Message, is available for $2.99.The Gospel Call and True Conversion. The title of this book alone sounds intimidating, and adding that it’s written by one of the heavyweights of American Reformed Christianity, Paul Washer, does not lessen the intimidation factor. Washer is known to be a straightforward preacher—for good or for ill.What did I find in The Gospel call and True Conversion? I found some things to like:1. Paul Washer is passionate for the truth. He wants to know the truth. He wants to proclaim the truth. He wants the truth heard. He wants you to know the truth. This is good. It is good to see someone not try to base theology on popularity or as a response to modern events, but to base it clearly on truth. 2. There is a strong emphasis on the reality that true conversion (from the title) will resu…