In which we discover the love that creates hate and the peace that drives to war.
Not A Great Escape
It would be wrong though to think from earlier discussions that a Christian lives behind walls and somehow must stop interacting with other people all together. This would be to ignore that the majority of God’s laws are in fact there to command not only in how to interact but to demand that we have have to interact with people
Separated But Inseparable
Let us again turn to the cell. We have said that the cell has both an outside and an inside. The cell cannot exist without the wall that allows it to prevent its insides from spilling out to the outside. It is the wall that creates the outside and the inside. These two critical areas (outside and inside) define what the cell is going to be. In fact, even though the inside of the cell is different from outside the cell, the inside of the cell is still intimately connected with the outside. The reason is simple. Both the inside and the outside are mostly made of water.
Every cell in your body contains mostly water and is surrounded by mostly water. Too much water in and the cells swell up but too much water out and the cells shrink up. When the cell shrinks, we say that it has become dehydrated. Dehydration when severe enough can lead to death. This intimate relationship means that the cell needs what is outside itself as much as it needs what is inside itself. In addition to this, the cell is constantly secreting water outside of itself into the environment even as it takes up water from its environment. Some cells in your liver and kidneys use this property to help remove poisons from your blood and to help secrete important chemicals into your blood. So, so, what does any of this have to do with the Bible?
Re-Definition, Not Ob-Literation
What is true on the level of the cell is true for human society as a whole. Every person has an intimate connection with their inside and outside. We are connected to ourselves but also everyone around us. This intimate connection between the inside and the outside means that no human being can function well for long in the absence of community. In fact, it has been shown that babies that do not experience human stimulation are more likely to die. Unless imprisoned (and even then), a Christian cannot withdraw from other people as a means of living. Besides being impossible, he will die if he does this. What then is the Christian goal if it is not to escape the world? God’s goal through His Law and Sacrifice in the Bible is to help us redefine our relationship with Him, with ourselves and with other people. That is, you first have to have the right wall, the right inside and the right relationship with the outside.
The Double Danger
Our preceding discussion is about how we should make God our wall. We should make our relationship with Him the fundamental thing that defines who we are. Every other wall will fail and cause us to lose ourselves. Once we make God our wall by relating with Him, however, two critical things immediately happen. 1) Our identity, our insides and boundaries are instantly redefined. 2) We are instantly separated from from the world around us.
A New Man
1) This new identity through our relationship with God is both a life and a death. It is both a peace and a war. It is marriage that produces divorce. It is a love that produces hate. It for this reason that Jesus said, we abide alone unless we die
But this death is not easy and neither is it quick. This is why the Bible says that our flesh wars against our spirit
The Power To Be
This new identity causes us to declare by our words and actions by the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus is the Lord
At this point you think, this is niiice. I’m saved. No need to do anything. At this point you have taken Him for granted and also take it for granted that He has taken you for granted. So that you think the passion you feel now will always be there and will be status quo. But like every good relationship, there must be repetition. Like the covenant of the sun with the sky, there must be repetition. It is through repetition that the relationship is strengthened. For this reason, the husband constantly seeks for ways to show and reaffirm outwardly the love he feels inwardly. For this reason the husband feels inwardly what he has shown outwardly. Therefore, once covered, cleaned and empowered, the Lord then hands you a sword
How Peace Brings War
The Christian life is full of peace that passes understanding. It passes understanding for many reasons but among these is because it is a peace that creates war
This is not unusual even in human relationships. A husband learns to hate his selfishness more and more as he becomes practiced in loving his wife. So also then true peace with God reveals that there are wars we must fight. But we do not fight wars as the world often thinks to do. According to worldly understanding, wars are fought to bring or secure the peace. In the Kingdom of God, we fight wars only after the peace has been established. Our peace surpasses understanding because it precedes understanding. Our peace, mathematicians would say, is axiomatic not derivative. Our peace is the foundation and not the pinnacle. It is only after I am at peace with God that I am able to make war against my self. The war against my self does not secure the peace with God. Instead, it is the peace with God that secures the war against myself.
The Christian life then is one lived only through constant offense