snubnosed in alpha

Christian reflections on the way the world is and ways the world might be

Friday, October 06, 2006

Jesus was faithful like Abraham was

In Old Testament History and Theology I Doug Green has recently been talking about the Abraham narrative as the story of Abraham's waffling between fidelity and infidelity to the Lord, his finally proving to be a covenant keeper after all and his securing the Lord's promised blessing for his descendents by his faithfulness to the covenant. The idea is that the promises made to Abraham in Genesis 12 are conditional upon his obedience to the Lord's summons to leave home and hearth for the land He would show him and to "be a blessing" ("wehayeh berakah" is an imperative, not a prediction) (Gen 12:1-2). Of course, as the story goes along Abraham ends up with a spotty record as far as his trusting the Lord goes and it is always an open question as to whether he will utimately be faithful to the Lord or not. The Lord makes a covenant with him in chapter 17, again demanding obedience from Abraham, "I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly." The story reaches its climax and resolution in chapter 22, the Akedah. Abraham finally proves faithful to the Lord when put to the greatest test he had ever faced, the command to sacrifice Isaac. Having proven faithful, Abraham receives the Lord's guarantee of blessing for Abraham's seed, "By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice." (22:16-18) On account of Abraham's faithfulness, Israel's blessing is secured.
As we were talking about this in class I was reminded of Richard Hays's thesis in his book The Faith of Jesus Christ that Paul's argument in Galatians 3 and 4 is not intended to uphold Abraham as the prime example of an OT saint who was justified by his faith, the paradigm of Luther's doctrine of justification by faith alone, but rather that just as Abraham secured the promised blessings of the Lord for Israel through his faithfulness so also (or even moreso) did Jesus, by His faithfulness, secure the promise made to Abraham for eschatological Israel, "the Israel of God," in which the Gentiles are fully included. Of course Paul's argument revolves around how Christ, by His faithfulness, resolved the problem that the Law/Torah poses in that it cuts the Gentiles off from the blessing that was to come to them in Abraham and in that it places all who rely on the works thereof under a curse. But Jesus, the Messiah, resolves the problem of the Torah by taking its curse upon Himself and exhausting its power on the cross and inaugurating in Himself and in His people a new creation wherein the distinctions made by the Torah, distinctions between Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female, no longer apply (3:28) and where the people of God are governed not by Torah but by the Spirit (5:4-5).
Such an interpretation of Galatians requires reading the phrases "pisteos Iesou Xristou" (2:16; 3:22) and "pistei zoe tei tou Huiou tou Theou" (2:20) as subjective rather than objective genitives. So 2:16 ends up as "yet we know that a person is not justified/vindicated by works of the Torah but through the faithfulness of Jesus Messiah" and so on. Jesus, by His faithfulness to sacrifice, not His son but Himself, secures the promised blessings for those who are His, Jew and Gentile alike. Praise be to our faithful Messiah!


Blogger J. Byas said...

Excellent way to bring that around man, excellent.

10:33 PM  
Blogger snubnosed in alpha said...

Hey man, thank Doug Green and Richard Hays (and Tom Wright), not me. I don't think there's a single thought in that post original to me. These guys have just been so helpful in making the Scriptures come alive to me. I'm glad it's helping you too.

11:27 PM  
Blogger Courtney said...

AMEN . . . well said. The NT/OT connections are truly amazing. Our God is powerful, holy and soverign . . . and loves us beyond anything we can imagine. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us . . . that fact has been amazing me and humbling me lately!

6:40 PM  
Blogger snubnosed in alpha said...

Amen, Courtney. Amen.

8:37 PM  
Blogger cylon said...

What are your 50,000 thoughts a day creating?
Our thoughts create our reality. This is a simple truth known by all people involved on the spiritual path. It is one of the most taught universal principles in the personal development field. Yet it is one of the most misunderstood!
People practice visualisation, affirmations, they use hypnosis, subliminal programming or countless other tools to transform their lives. However they fail to recognise one key area in their lives that hinder these wonderful techniques from being effective.
They sit day after day visualising their perfect scene and yet nothing happens. Why? They have followed all the instructions to the letter! They have chanted and imagined! They have formed a colourful, vibrant scene in their minds and affirmed that this is their reality. Then all of a sudden things get worse! What is going on?
Would you like to know the secret? Would you like to know why these people get no results? Would you like to hear one powerful statement that explains everything?
Good. I will tell you why these people get no results or even opposite results to those they are aiming for -simply because of the following truth. Consciously controlled thoughts such as visualisations do not materialise - ALL thoughts materialise!!!
Most people believe that if they visualise for 10 minutes a day their lives will magically transform. This is not the case. You must change your core thinking. You think approx. 50,000 thoughts a day. How many of those thoughts are working against your ten minute visualisation?
You can control the thoughts that enter your mind by changing the way you view the world. You can decide which thoughts you give energy to and which thoughts you discard.
The thoughts that you follow and give energy to become more dominant than the thoughts you discard. Your subconscious mind records these as your dominant picture on the issue at hand. You then move towards this picture because your subconscious mind starts making your outside world reflect the picture that you have stored internally.
Your mind should be on whatever you want. The picture you need to have is a positive vision of you already having achieved your goal. To realise this vision you need to focus and concentrate. Remember thoughts are real, they create your reality.
Let's say you have been visualising a new house. You spend your ten minutes in meditation picturing yourself living in your dream home. You finish your session and get up feeling positive that you will achieve your goal. Then during the day you get a heating bill through the post and exclaim "Oh no look how expensive this is I cannot afford to heat this house". Where is your focus in the present moment? What are you affirming? You are telling your subconscious mind that you cannot deal with what you have. You are affirming that your life is not how you want it to be. If you knew without doubt that within a week you would be moving to your new home would you honestly be worried about a heating bill? Perhaps other doubts creep in like "I should be happy with what I have", or "I will never get this house looking the way I want it" and so on and so on.
These thoughts that are not aligned with your goal. You are not giving complete attention to what you want. Whilst you are dealing with these other lines of thought your attention is not on your goal.
If you are aware of your thoughts you will suddenly realise that you have spent much more energy on counter productive thoughts than on creating a dominant picture of the goal you want.
Point your focus in the direction of you're the life you want. Think about what you want NOT what you don't want. It's that simple.
Your focus determines your reality. Change your focus and you change your life. lucid dreaming

6:24 AM  
Blogger cylon said...

Can you use hypnosis and self hypnosis to improve your health?

Well in 1958 the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association and The British Medical Association concluded that hypnosis was indeed a viable therapeutic tool and approved its medical use.

Although there are many theories, no-one really knows how or why hypnosis works. However, the benefits of its use are clear. It has been used successfully in all manner of treatments from IBS to pre-surgery relaxation and post-surgery pain relief.

Olympic athletes, footballers, basketball layers, golfers etc., have known about the power of the mind for some decades now (perhaps the elite knew even further back). It has been shown in medical studies that when you visualise yourself performing a task your muscles respond in exactly the same way as they would if you were actually doing the task. Sports psychologist have used this to their, and their clients, advantage for years now.

The power of the mind is becoming more evident to the medical establishment as well. Everyone knows about the beneficial effects of using a placebo. It seems that if the mind is convinced that something is true then it will make it true even if the situation appears to be the exact of opposite in the 'real world'!

It seems that the quickest way to get the mind to accept a new belief is through hypnosis and self hypnosis. Phobias can be eliminated in one session now and new beliefs planted in the same aount of time.
The use of hypnosis as a weight-loss tool is well written about as its effectiveness in quitting smoking! It has been used very effectively in non-surgical breast enhancement and treating erectile dysfunction. So it is not very hard to believe that it could be used to convince the mind that health is abundant or that a particular unhealthy situation is reversing itself.

Once the mind becomes convinced that an unhealthy situation no longer exists and that health is abundant then just like the visualiser who makes his/her muscles respond to a mental image the person in discomfort or dis-ease can make his/her body begin to repair itself. Makes sense right!
No-one can predict the scope of hypnosis for healing. However, everyone knows of miracle healings that have taken place when a sick person has visited a spiritual healer, bathed at Lourdes, prayed etc. If these healings can take place then I see no reason not to believe that hypnosis can have the same effect.

Unfortunately, no large scale studies have been undertaken, to my knowledge, that have tested the power of hypnosis to cure chronic or terminal illness but I do believe there is enough evidence to suggest it is a very beneficial tool in recovery. self hypnosis

6:51 AM  

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