Wednesday, February 20, 2008

honeybuns and sour milk

36. Exodus 30, 31

A dozen years ago I was working with a bunch of students in Newport News who had put together a student led Bible study group at their school. The group was comprised of students from many different churches and backgrounds. The kid who was asked to lead the group was one of the kids from our youth group and he asked me to help him with the lessons he was putting together. Marty did a nice job teaching, but did get into some controversy when the lessons had to do with the details of becoming a christian. The controversy led to a meeting between one of the other student's and his dad. I went along to help Marty defend the Biblical position on salvation and to make sure they didn't gang up on him too much.

So we get there and begin this discussion about how one becomes a christian. Marty used scriptures to explain that the Bible teaches us that we are saved by grace, through faith, at baptism, for good works. (Ephesians 2, Acts 2, Romans 6, etc.) The response from this other kid's dad was classic. He told this story about how he used to be strung out on drugs and alcohol and one day as he was coming down from a night of binge drinking and drug use he had an encounter with God. So far I'm listening and glad to hear that this guy is seeing the error of his ways and sounds like he is searching for the only real remedy to the predicament that he has gotten himself into with these addictions and whatever other sins he might be guilty of. The guy goes on to say that he then finds a stale honeybun and some sour milk which he uses for a makeshift communion service during which he receives Jesus as his Savior and assures us that he is saved. He concludes his "come to Jesus" story with a stern rebuke for me saying that we should not limit how people might become Christians by teaching there is a certain way (biblical or not) that one becomes a Christian. "Everyone has their own path," I believe is what he was saying.

Now I am not God, which is quite obvious to anyone who knows me. And I do not presume to be the final authority of who gets into heaven and who does not. That job is one I do not want. Here is my point. For more than ten chapters in Exodus God gives Moses extreme details about how to set up the tabernacle and the other items associated with the priestly duties. And what do all these things have in common? They are all connected with the process for redemption for the people of Israel. They all have to do with atonement. From the ark of the covenant to the way that the priests were to wash before they could be annointed, God gives very specific details about how these things should happen and very specific details of what happens to those who do not follow these regulations. So according to my honeybun and milk friend, this God has changed his character. Now it doesn't matter. Redemption is based on each one's own path. God's annointed ones can make the decisions about how they become annointed. I'm not buying it. God is still God, he does not change. There are still specifics about redemption that we need to be very careful to follow or we could be in danger of death, spiritual death.


Aaron (Blog Moderator) said...

Nice post, Dave.
Twice in that text, God tells them, "Stick to the pattern." No frills, no innovative changes. Stick to the pattern. I feel some George Faull coming on...

Levi said...

Yeah I just went through Leviticus and was amazed at the orderliness that God desired for the Israelite worship. It made me reevaluate why Old Ford does what it does in corporate worship. Is it orderly? Is it chaotic? etc. I think we serve a God of order and He desires it of us.