In a world where science tells us that everything is deteriorating and we’re all one day closer to our physical death it’s nice to think that there might be something we are getting better at. The ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, taught that this is in fact the essence of ethics; to find purpose through habitual improvement.
Many say Balaam was a prophet, but this was not so. Balaam was no prophet. At least, not a prophet of Yahweh. He was definitely a false prophet, a prophet for hire. He was a thief and a trickster who meddled with powers beyond his comprehension. For lack of a better term, he was a warlock or sorcerer.
When the apostle Paul writes to the Corinthian church, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?", he's not imagining some new way of worship. He's drawing a direct line from Israel's history to the present tense.
When one preaches the law the way the Bible does (unattainably high for the sinner), it doesn’t leave one shred of hope that we’re somehow going to cut the mustard. It strips away any illusions that our obedience or lack thereof is what will make us acceptable before a holy God.
No Christian can boast that his own efforts have made him a member of Christ, with other Christians, in the common faith. Nor can he by any work constitute himself a Christian. He performs good works by virtue of having become a Christian, in the new birth, through faith, regardless of any merit of his own.
I grew up playing baseball – mostly “street” baseball, with a bunch of friends. It was one of my passions in life. I remember one day, I think I was around 11 years old, in Korea. My friends and I, as usual, went out to play baseball, right in our apartment complex in Seoul. I was in the batter’s box, ready to hit, and the pitcher threw the ball.
God's Word, water, and the Spirit. Always when God creates and recreates, God's Word, water, and the Spirit are in play. Whether at the beginning of it all, or in the days of Noah, in the wilderness during the Exodus, or at Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River, and at the font today