Yesterday I had every intention of posting my final blog post before the Christmas season but all the running around that I had to do left me short of time. I have just read three seemingly unrelated blog posts that I wanted to share. I also think that they do have a connection in that they lead one into another.
The first one is a posting by Kevin DeYoung on Hell and Satan. He sets out to answer some of life's toughest questions. Why is there so much suffering in the world?
He answers this through the book of Revelation:
[T]he devil hates the gospel and hates all those who love and obey the gospel. The passage above is the literal and symbolic center of the book of Revelation. For eleven chapters the Spirit shows us tempted churches, suffering churches, judgments on the earth, conflict in the world, and the call for God’s people to overcome. In chapter 12 the curtain gets pulled back so we can see what is going on behind the scenes. Why all this struggle and suffering? What is behind this war of the worlds? The answer is that the devil is hell bent on destroying the church.
I don't know that suffering ultimately makes sense outside of a very real devil. Yes we are a fallen and sinful people but we must also account for Satan in order to get a complete picture of all that comes into play.
So what can we do about it? If our adversary is very real then how can we deal with what we face? Simply put by my good friend from seminary, we can't. Brad Kautz examines the difference between looking with ourselves and looking to God for our answers:
In Advent we await a person, sent by God to serve not as “an” intermediary between the natural and supernatural, but as “the” intermediary. Jesus came as God’s only begotten, or “fathered by,” son, of whom Paul testifies in these words, “concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.” We don’t need to find some sort of “inner presence” and believe that we have a mediator because God has already provided us with the only mediator, a mediator who is also perfect in every way.
We find our hope and help in Christ Jesus alone.
Finally Trevin Wax shares the importance of not trying to rely on celebrity pastors. We cannot go it alone and merely listen to a disembodied voice. Christianity requires relationships; relationships with each other but most importantly we need to have a very real and close relationship with God the Father:
I remember reading Collin Hansen’s book on the “young, restless, and reformed” a few years ago and being disturbed by one woman’s description of John Piper as a “father” of sorts, even though they’d never met. Fathers image God. The fact that a young lady could express the concept of spiritual fatherhood in relation to Piper shows what her view of God the Father is. Far off. Transcendent. Powerful. Distant. If fatherhood can take place without ever meeting, then we must have missed something about the immanence of God that expresses itself in God’s condescension to us in Christ.
These three posts spell out our problem, our savior and our need for community. All three together speak to why we have Christmas.
Hope everyone has a very merry Christmas.