Monday, August 12, 2013

And this is what it looks like

While I was making oatmeal cookies this morning, I opened a new Costco-size package of raisins.  There was not a zip-lok on the top of the plastic bag to seal it, but a small tape attached to the side.  On the tape itself, it gave instructions on how to use it.  I vaguely understood the general idea, but then I saw the tiny sketch.  Oh, I understand now.  That is how to do it.  The words told me.  The picture showed me.


The Bible does not just provide basic instructions about life, as if to say, "Here is a list of what you need to know.  See you later."   The Bible is not full of impersonal advice from a departed and detached God, nor just another religious book, nor a mere compilation of printed words.  The Bible is the Word of God.   In His Word,  God tells us what we need to know.  And then in the stories of real people, He shows us "this is what it looks like."

That is why the Bible consists of biographies of actual individuals, heroes that mess up, great leaders who are scared to death, and ordinary stubborn people in everyday dilemmas, no air-brushing out the mistakes and flaws.  That is part of what authenticates Scripture for me.  It is not the intimate chronicle of these people's stellar performance, but God's incredible redemption in their lives.

And while the entire Old Testament tells about God's grace and steadfast love, the New Testament reveals "this is what it looks like."  God sent His Son.  God's Word tells us about grace and unconditional love.  Jesus shows us.

God never designed faith to be
mere words printed on an adhesive name tag,
      "Hi, I'm a Christ-follower,"
but His story lived out in me,
in the muddy places,
on the tight ropes,
and in the everydays.
"This is what grace looks like."

In this the love of God
was made manifest among us,
that God sent His only Son into the world,
so that we might live through Him.

                       1 John 4.9

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