Friday, 31 December 2010

She wanted

She wanted to play
She wanted to dance
I looked in her eyes and
Said alright


She wanted to laugh
She wanted to cry
I said baby you
Better hold me tight


She wanted to live
She wanted to be seen
Baby you know
You are beautiful


Like the sunrise
You rose high
Like the sunrise
You gave me a blue sky x2


She wanted to leave
She wanted to run
Baby pack your bags
And lets go wild


She wanted it all
She wanted me more
Baby close your eyes
And lets be one


She wanted life
She didn’t wanna die
Baby, Jesus
Can make it alright


She wanted grace
She wanted to pray
Oh halleluiah
Halleluiah


Like the sunrise
You rose high
Like the sunrise
You gave me a blue sky x2


K.Oni





Thursday, 30 December 2010

What Jesus Didn’t Know


(Matthew 24)

Although He was fully God as well as fully man (John 1:114), Christ voluntarily restricted His use of certain divine attributes when He became flesh. “Although He existed in the form of God, [He] did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,” that is, to be held onto during His humanness (Phil. 2:6). It was not that He lost any divine attributes but that He voluntarily laid aside the use of some of them and would not manifest those attributes except as directed by His Father (John 4:345:306:38).

Jesus demonstrated His divine omniscience on many occasions. “He did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man for He Himself knew what was in man” (John 2:25). When, for example, Nicodemus came to Him at night, Jesus already knew what he was thinking and answered his question before it was asked (John 3:13).

But there were certain self-imposed restrictions in His human knowledge. He told the disciples, “All things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). Jesus obediently restricted His knowledge to those things that the Father wanted Him to know during His earthly days of humanity. The Father revealed certain things to the Son as He reveals them to all men-through the Scripture, through the Father’s working in and through His life, and through the physical manifestations of God’s power and glory (see Rom. 1:19–20). Jesus learned much of His earthly knowledge just as every human being learns, and it is for that reason that He was able to keep “increasing in wisdom” (Luke 2:52). In addition to those ways, some truths were revealed to the Son directly by the Father. But in every case Jesus’ human knowledge was limited to what His heavenly Father provided.

Therefore, even on this last day before His arrest, the Son did not know the precise day and hour He would return to earth at His second coming. During Christ’s incarnation, the Father alone exercised unrestricted divine omniscience.

It seems probable that Christ regained full divine knowledge after the resurrection, as implied in His introduction to the Great Commission: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18). Just prior to His ascension, He told the disciples, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority” (Acts 1:7). He repeats the truth that the disciples would not be told the time of His appearing, but He did not exclude His own knowledge, as He did in the Olivet discourse.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The Joy of confession 5

Sinner: Dear Sir, of late my mind has not been able to fend off the arrows of lust, it penetrates my chest and infects my mind with a callous disease. I am driven down avenues that I wish not to walk and my eyes behold horrid pictures on this path of destruction. I  am beside myself and the hammering nail of conscience pierces my soul if I wish to pray and lo, I am found to be numb. Those terrible passages of scriptures appear like an image upon my eye and I have no where to hide. I wish to flee this misery of iniquity but I find that my flesh is not willing. Oh I cry to sleep and less I have been of myself for I have no countenance or style.

Sir: My dear Son. It seems that you have met the demon of false satisfaction. Tell me, did you find her by the wayside? Did she call out to you? Her speech is smoother than oil and her lips drips honey. Was she dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent? She is unruly and defiant, her feet never stay at home. She lurks at every corner. She beholds the heart of men, she grips them and kisses them, then she whispers in their ears, ‘Today I will satisfy you; I saw you and made sure you found me. Come, for my bed is covered with linens, sprayed with perfume. I have wine for us to drink, lets drink till the morning, lets enjoy ourselves with love! My husband is not at home, he has gone on a long journey. And I see in your eyes a thirst and I can satisfy you’.

Sinner: That is her sir! With persuasive words she led me astray, she seduced me with her smooth talk.

Sir: Yes, that is her ways,  she leads her victims like an ox to the slaughter, like a bird darting into a snare. But in the end she is as bitter as gall, her feet go down to death. Many are the victims that she has brought down, many are the fools that have dwelt at her fountain, they drank and drank till their feet could run no more. They saw the gates of hell opened upon them but their feet were waxed to her house. There was no more an antidote to her poison and the pleasure of her gaze cost them their lives.

Sinner: I my such in a terrible state sir? My case is worsened; oh I do not want an eternity in the company of Hades. I am a ruined man, is there once again a path to the narrow way?

Sir: Many men have fallen prey to her charm, even that famous King but be of good cheer for you are under grace.

Sinner: What do mean Sir, that I should be of good cheer?

Sir: Have you forgotten that the One who rose from the dead has nullified her power over you, He has cut her chord and it is merely a string which binds you now of which you can easily cut by the Word He has spoken from His mouth. The saints of God have no appetite for her that is why when they are found in her company they cannot enjoy her like the heathens. You have victory over her and this is the season of Grace. She is more beautiful and her ways are righteous; she beholds the saints on the narrow path and adorns them with the oil of gladness and freshens them with the perfume of joy. God may hold upon you a discipline for your wayward path but it is a smiling face behind it. He loves you and wishes you to depart from her presence and to come and drink from His water; to come and dwell in the presence of grace. It is free and peace it will give to your soul. I know of your difficulty to pray so I bid you now to say the Lord’s prayer with me.

They said the Lord’s prayer together and the man left rejoicing knowing now that true satisfaction is only to be found in Jesus Christ, in the fountain of God.

K.Oni

What Is the Gospel?


There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the Gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the Gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the Gospel.
The Gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness – or lack of it – or the righteousness of another. The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.
The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the Gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith – and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him – and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.
by R.C. Sproul

Monday, 27 December 2010

A Prayer for my soul

Oh God How excellent is your name in all the earth
My soul longs for you, I long for your presence
I long for the countenance of your face to shine upon me
There is a burning in my heart, a fervent passion
that i cannot still my soul until I see your face.
It is dark and the sun has gone to its chamber
But I am awake, desperate for a drop of your water.
Oh God you are my satisfaction
You are the crown of my life
The jewel on my neck.
I am longing for your kiss
for I am your bride- I wait for my Bridegroom
Oh I wait oh Lord I wait for you and will turn to no other
Your passion is my passion and increase it as it is yours
Oh God my Lord how excellent is your name in all the earth and heaven above!

K.Oni

Saturday, 25 December 2010

My Christmas Day

After all of the excitement and waiting, Christmas day finally arrived. The sun blushed its way through the pretty night and awoke from its slumber like it has done since the beginning of its creation. The morning light caressed my open eyes and little voices echoed through my half open door. Today was a festive day, a food eating, chocolate mauling, excessive drinking, movie watching, games playing, present opening, facebook wishing and not to forget Jesus thanking day for afterall it is his incarnation. It is a day to be merry to get all fairy and no time to be airy. The atmosphere breeds cheerfulness and friends are soon to arrive with laughter to enrich the occasion. A Christmas cake we have to eat, no cooking for all the food have been prepared by a caterer. Such is the melody of today’s richness, a card presented through the neighbours door, things never change whereas a facial greeting would have appealed more than a Christmas wish.

Tis Christmas day and what has gone before has not been much. I read and read and listen to sermon talks, I sleep and wake and chat on facebook more. A privilege I did have to pick my two heavenly, playful, smiling cousins from the nursery and each time greeted with a sweet light hearted hug. I did trouble in strapping little Michael to his car seat but the beautiful nursery workers to my aid they came. All things were not as cheery as it seems but my joy remains intact. I did loose my reference list for my dissertation due to computer failure which means I have it all to do again. Spiritually has been up and down though no merit I have to be proud or sad. My feeling fluctuate as the wave but my salvation is firm as His Love for me. No money so little present I could buy but more will arrive as my pocket enlarge.

Tis the day to be merry, with family and friends but I know that many are lost and dead. The cold is what they have to behold but I know some churches will be there to embrace the misery of those not so at ease and tonight my prayer will be for those in need. I reflect that the king was not born in a fanciful house but a manger with straw for a bed. He can relate where I can bare to touch, He scratches places where I could dream to reach. Many of my brothers and sisters are today in prison but yet they rejoice and today is the cause of their joy being happy to suffer for Jesus. I remember them and my prayers are for them.

The day is nearly over, the moon returns and the shade fills the land once again. I could not help but melt and hope that next Christmas I may spend it with all of my family. The following days are looking promising as the 1st of Jan will witness my departure to a Christian conference and the 3rd my arrival back to Bristol. What will my resolution be? I do know but should I proceed with declaring it as my aim for the new year. I entertain lightly the thought of following the life of St Anthony by Athanasius but lo I’m called to a different path. This year I will carry my cross further to his cross until the day of my crucifixion for I am yet still on the Calvary road. I will choose those things which are difficult for me to naturally do and embrace them with a sweet smile. To love more, hospitality, discipline and prayer will be the corridors I aim to walk further through and no more to linger on the passing pleasures of this fleeting world.

Tis Christmas day and it will soon pass but the God who became flesh will never pass. His love for me and you will endure till he ceases to exist. Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, if you take away mas only CHRIST is left.

K.Oni

Friday, 24 December 2010

A Christmas ill

Sitting still beneath my ill
No tear nor sigh no sounding clang


Tis the eve before the Christmas soul
Tis the eve before her flesh did foul


Our two souls did once intwined
No ties so strong but death did part


The carols bells the children ring
Once did mine portray the swing


Tis the star that led the man
Tis the light that blind my eye


Sitting still beneath my ill
Tis Christmas pray my heart repair.




Here is a picture of a man to whom Christmas brings to his memory the tragedy of his family loss and his heart is so broken that he longs for restoration. 


K.Oni

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Rene and Poet part 4

Rene: Charming Poet, the Sun is soon to rise and we must go by the hill to arrest the cascade of the water fall. Arise from your rest.


Poet: The Morning is gentle, soft to my soul, yet I am awaken from my dream. I could cry Rene but my speech of it will release the pain of your insensitivity.


Rene: Oh Poet, you are indeed true to your fancy. Declare your speech to me.


Poet: I did dream that I saw her in a dress and wearing a stunted skirt than usual but with great modesty. I cannot abolish her from my reverie and desires and when she appears it is continuously with a superior taste. But I doubt Rene that she will ever be mine for I am most unworthy of her gaze and yet it is impossible for me to resist her. I did entertain the solemn thought that if I should remain an enuch for the rest of my days, that I would adopt a young child and raise her up according to her manners and call her her name, and if by grace I should posses a seed of my own her name will flourish my daughter's face. 


Rene: Ah Poet, I do wonder when your fancy will be yours; perhaps she entertains the same with her girls, (Rene laughs). Arise and let us wet our heads. (Poet wrestled him to the ground with delightful cheer and off they went to the hill).


K.Oni

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Students, we can trust the Bible - Reliability of the New Testament

Many articles have been published on the reliability of the new testament and it is widely accepted that among all of the ancient documents we possess, the new testament is the most reliable as it has far more manuscripts than any other ancient text. In this short paper I aim to present the reader with just some few comments regarding the trustworthiness of the new testament.

Some have never really questioned the reliability of the new testament and they just believe it blindly until a friend or a sceptic may ask the question, ‘why should we trust the bible?’ and then suddenly you are thrown into an agnostic sphere not knowing what to say and how to respond. There are a few comments you can make in such a situation which makes for a very compelling case for the reliability of the new testament.

The first case you may offer to your friend is to bring to his attention that the New Testament documents enjoy superior manuscripts evidence. Manuscripts are a book or texts written by hand before the invention of printing.  The New Testament is supported by more than 5500 copies, some in Greek and some in other languages, while most ancient classical Greek and Roman texts have fewer than ten each, (Gary R. Habermas). For example, Homer (The Iliad) was written 900 B.C. and the earliest copy we have is 400 B.C. that’s a 500 years time span with an overall 643 copies of surviving manuscripts. When this is compared with the New Testament, the New Testament is far superior as it was written 40-100 A.D. with over 2400 plus existing copies (this includes fragments of text), showing a time span of 25 years. There is also little variations between these manuscripts. The closer the manuscripts are to the initial events, the more reliable they are therefore the New Testament writers are in  a better position to detail what exactly happened than all other ancient writers.

The second case you may present to your friend on the reliability of the new testament is the internal evidence of the content presented that is that the writers accurately present reliable reports of current and reliable knowledge of first century Palestine. For example if you were detailing events that happened near the big Ben in London, and in your report you mentioned the big Ben but it was later suggested that the Big Ben was not built when your event took place, this will invalidate your report. It is the same with the bible. Certain places and buildings were mentioned in the Bible that some scholars have dismissed as never existed but recent archaeology findings have shown that the Biblical report was accurate. For example Lee Strobel notes that “Sceptics have been asserting for a long time that Nazareth never existed during the time when the New Testament says Jesus spent his childhood there.” However, Paul Barnett reports that “in 1961 a mosaic dated from the third century in which Nazareth appears was unearthed in Caesarea Maritima. Nazareth … is not mentioned in the Old Testament, nor in Josephus’s work. Questions as to its genuineness were resolved by this discovery.” There are many more examples of archaeological evidence that may be given, the source of the quotation above deals with many more findings if you wish to investigate. Here is the Link.

A third case you may offer to your sceptic friend is that of extra biblical and non biblical sources which confirms many details from the life of Jesus and teachings as it is presented in the gospels and letters. For examples Early Christian writers like Clement of Rome, Ignatius, and Polycarp provide even more confirmation, writing just ten years or less after the completion of the New Testament, (Gary R. Habermas). Other non Christian sources which references to Jesus and the early Church are Tacitus who reports that Christians derived their name from a historical person called Christus. Other Non Christian sources are Pliny the Younger, Josephus and many more. You can read more on this link. This only confirms the reliability of the New Testament.

There are many more reasons that can be presented here, but as stated above that only a few comments will be made in this paper. If you seek to go beyond the general traditional view of arguing for the reliability of the New Testament, this link points you to Gary R. Habermas paper on Recent Perspectives on the Reliability of the Gospels.

Your friend and you yourself may have many more questions regarding the reliability of the gospels, the sources presented below should aid you in your quest. If you like to listen rather than read then here is a live presentation on the reliability of the New Testament text by James White. http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=2992

K.Oni


http://www.bethinking.org/bible-jesus/intermediate/recent-perspectives-on-the-reliability-of-the-gospels.htm
http://www.bethinking.org/bible-jesus/introductory/bible-and-church-conference-the-reliability-of-the-new-testament.htm
http://www.bethinking.org/bible-jesus/introductory/who-chose-the-books-of-the-bible.htm
http://www.bethinking.org/bible-jesus/advanced/archaeology-and-the-historical-reliability-of-the-new-testament.htm
http://www.bethinking.org/bible-jesus/intermediate/ancient-evidence-for-jesus-from-non-christian-sources.htm
http://www.gospeloutreach.net/bible.html
http://www.bethinking.org/bible-jesus
http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3317

Psalm 7- An Exposition

This Psalm is a plea for the Justice of God to take its proper cause to protect the innocent and condemn the wicked. We have seen that God is a lover of Justice in the previous expositions and this psalm pleads to that character of God. The word Shiggaion suggested in the title probably refers to the poetic form of the Psalm as being wild and ecstatic, (KirkPatrick). It may also be a literary term as this Psalm David sang to the LORD concerning Cush, a Benjamite.

Vs.1 LORD my God. David opens his case to YAHWEH who is his God. By covenant YAHWEH is Israel’s God and David understands the personal implications of this and calls YAHWEH my God. There are many foreigners to the intimacy nature of God but David is a citizen, God is personal to Him, God is dear to Him and there is no situation where His God is not concerned. I take refuge in you. This is a personal address and David immediately establishes where his confidence lies. He takes refuge in God, not in money, or in the ability of the earthly judges but in God. How many saints are troubled here below but first they take refuge in the security of the law and are not first to be found to take refuge in the Lord. First take refuge in God, come to the cross of Christ and there awaits you the safest abode of all where comforting arms shall caress you and your soul weaned as that of a child. Save and deliver me from all who pursue me. David is an hunted man, a man whom men are after his blood and he flees to the camp of the LORD in order to be delivered and saved from his treacherous accusers. Are you chased by the hostility of your sins and do you wish them depart from you. Run to the camp of Jesus and run as fast as possible vs. 2 or they will tear me apart like a lion. Sin devours the soul of a man and brings it into a greater depravity than when it first encounter it. Foolish men will not run from sin but they sit and play with it, they feel that sin is their friend but they have not eyes like the saints who has seen the repulsive repugnant nature of that obsessive ogre. But in time fools find out that sin rips to pieces with no one to rescue. David pleas to His God for deliverance because he does not want his enemies to catch him, to destroy and kill him for he would be made like a torn rag if ever his pursuers should over take him.  Let sin not overtake you, but run to the camp of Christ.

Vs 3-5 is a protest of innocence. He enters into the divine tribunal, knowing the Judge is righteous and his eternal inheritance, knowing with full confidence that only Justice is ever served in this house. David presents his defence; LORD my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands. There is a charge against David, a false accusation that demanded his life, but he has been wrongfully accused, he has been slandered. David is ready to meet the divine sword if there is actual guilt to be stained on his hands. Here is the mark of a true heart, for who could comprehend a liar bringing such a statement before the eyes of Him who sees all and hears all; surely liars will not reason in this way but rather their plea will be with those who are as corrupt as they. David continues, If I have repaid my ally with evil or without cause have robbed my foe; this are the slanders that has been propagated against David and he himself feels the weight if such injustice that if these were actually to be done then rightly God would be perfectly just in letting my enemies pursue and overtake me and to trample my life to the ground. Such punishment is just for the guilty but David is no guilty man but righteous in his case. If I am to be found guilty let my enemies make me sleep in the dust.

We saw in the previous Psalm that David pleads to the LORD not to rebuke Him in His anger but here in prayer he pleads with God to vs 6 arise O LORD, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. David rightly sees himself innocent and the rage of his enemies towards him are not grounded on just principles but unjust. Awake, my God; decree justice. Many souls who love righteousness and detest wickedness to high degrees are often found with these words on their lips, that God should decree justice. The wicked seems to prosper and their ways seems to flourish, unjust principles are reigning the terrain of Africa and it seems that the LORD is asleep; but we know that YAHWEH never slumbers. Longsuffering is at a call for the saints, to bear for a season with the wicked but each moment their hearts are to the LORD waiting eagerly for the day of Justice, the day of recompense or to the morning when the wicked will repent and turn to the cross. Vs. 7 Let the assembled people gather round you. A multitude of people is here in sight, many with cases against their rulers and shepherds, many who were oppressed without a cause, many who disdained and shut out from the inheritance of the land. Here they have brought their case to the LORD while you sit enthroned over them on high. Vs. 8 Let the LORD judge the peoples. While the people gather round the throne, there is only one suitable judge, only one who is righteous in his decrees and we know that God has committed all judgement to Jesus. If you are a saint and you belong to Christ, what have you to fear on the day of judgement? Nothing at all, for if you are with him then He is for you. Your judgement has already been declared and you will be found not to be guilty for he has already taken the guilt upon himself. Jesus will judge the peoples and since he knows all that is in a man, no man will be dealt with unjustly but all will receive the righteous hand of justice. David, knowing that the LORD will judge the peoples, he pleads for his vindication. Vindicate me, LORD, according to my righteousness.  His enemies have no grounds for their accusations against him, their accusations are false and David is sure of his own righteousness in this situation; he has not offended anyone nor done wrong to his enemies. According to my integrity, O Most High. David is a man of firm principles and He keeps by them, although no man is perfect except one, the God-man, yet there are many men in the world who posses deep integrity and their ways are found to be just and honest in their dealings with their fellow creature. The righteous man and the man with integrity detest the fruits of the wicked especially when they flourish and pollute the land with their wickedness. The righteous man will soon declare to His God like David to vs. 9 bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure. A terrible crime is found in the earth that the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer. It is nonsensical and if there be no eternal judge to give at last wicked men their portions then all men may forsake their pursuit of righteousness and turn to the way of the wicked where carnal vices may role. But there is a righteous God who probes minds and hearts. Such is YAHWEH that he knows the depths of a soul, he searches their minds and calculates their motives, he is never mocked nor can he be fooled. It is a most stupid act when hypocrites come to the sacrifice of the LORD with hidden motives; delighting in their hearts that they have fooled men and their cheer affirms them that they have deceived God also. What fools and lawless citizens; they will not escape the piercing eyes of the saviour who will cut them down with his whet sword. The saints look towards that day when the chaff will be separated from the wheat, the elect gathered together and the rest thrown into the lake of fire because of their surpassing wickedness.

Vs 10 My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart. Although this life may see the wicked flourish in the land, those who are righteous will take refuge in God who is for the cause of the righteous for He himself is righteous.  The righteous are determined that their dwelling place is of another place, they are but pilgrims and sojourners passing a most desolate abode and during their short stay they are keen to advance the cause of YAHWEH and flourish the land with the waters of righteousness. Vs. 11 God is a righteous judge and a God who feels indignation every day. Some have questioned the attitude of God against injustice and some have taken the position that God is indifferent or not too caring about it. This verse makes it plain to us that God is angry with injustice everyday. Where is injustice to be found, where is sin to be discovered, God absolutely hates it and no hour passes by where his indignation is lifted but He is angry at it everyday and with those who commit it. The only refuge from his wrath is under the spreading arms of the crucified saviour.

VS. 12 If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; the bible declares that today is the day of salvation! Men are but a vapour and at any moment their feet may slide into everlasting hell if they are found not to have repented. God at any moment without warning sharpens his sword and sees the wicked in their wickedness, he takes no pity on them for they have not yet repented and their time is due. He whets his sword and cuts the thread of their life and sends them to that everlasting pit which was reserved for the devil and fallen angels. God not only whets his sword but He also bents and ready his bow; vs. 13 he has prepared for the wicked his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts. It is evidence by the picture portray here that God takes sin seriously and he deals with those who indulge in it with severity. He takes to the task of the executioner and strikes them with the blow of justice so that the righteous in the land may rest in peace. God is totally just in his actions because he is righteous and only does what is righteous and good.

The traits of the wicked man is spoken of in the following verses.  Vs. 14 Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies.  Out of the heart of a man comes evil thoughts and it is true of the wicked that evil is present in his thoughts and the fruit of his labour is the lies and deceits that descent from his lips. Let us be wise to forsake all evil thoughts and only give time to those things which are pure, righteous and holy. Let us depart from lies and be bearers of truth. Let us be known not by idle words but by the sincerity of our words. The works of the wicked are not always fruitful for the wicked man vs. 15 makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made. vs. 16 His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends. This is the eventual end of all wicked men who have not repented and fled to the cross of Christ. Their wickedness will in the end serve to their own destruction, while they do their wicked deeds, they are acquiring judgements upon their heads and digging holes in which they will be buried with the serpent. If you find yourself to be without Christ today, flee to the cross and turn to the way of righteousness, turn to Jesus and live.

After knowing the righteous character of God, the righteous will joyfully declare vs. 17 I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praises to the name of the LORD, the Most High. Such praises are not to be found in the mouths of the wicked but it is to be found in the mouth of the saints. God is holy and righteous and their mouths never go tired from declaring it. They dance as if to have gained a treasure and the comfort in the righteousness of God encourages the saints to rise up in the morning amidst a barren land to go forth once again for the cause of justice and righteousness so that the flowers may flourish yet again.

K.Oni

Monday, 20 December 2010

The fictional stories in the Bible

The Bible is a book that is full of stories that ranges from actual historical accounts to narratives that expresses the author’s invention. So, when addressing the narratives in scripture, it is wise for one to consider what type of literature is being presented here and to treat it as such. Some scholars allege that the historical narratives in the bible are full of falsehoods and thus cannot be trusted as historically reliable and such is the opinion of many in our modern society.  Daniel Estes in his essay titled ‘Fiction and truth in the Old testament wisdom literature’, comments in light of the previous criticism of the historical narratives in the bible ‘that it is understandable that evangelicals who hold to the truthfulness of the bible could be prone to consider the idea of biblical fiction an oxymoron’. Perhaps you are one of those evangelicals but a little more consideration on the context of fictional text in the bible will prove that fictional narratives in the bible do not serve to falsify historical accounts but to heighten conviction in the hearer/reader like Nathan did with David in 2 Samuel 12:1-4.


Fiction to some refer to what is false but a more acute definition of fiction in terms of literary works according to Microsoft work dictionary is ‘novels and stories that describe imaginary people and events’. Fiction belongs to imaginative literature and has its own purpose in communicating the story of the author to a desired end. This mode of communication as been alive since the ancient times and thrives in our present day. The bible is not foreign to using fiction to communicate certain messages to its audience, e.g. Nathan to David in 2 Samuels 12, the parables of Jesus, the stories in proverbs 7:6-23 and etc.  Fictional narratives are thus present in the bible and should be acknowledged as such.


When addressing fictional text in the bible some ‘insist that texts composed in the genre of fiction (i.e., imaginative literature) must be read as records of literal fact is to literalize them’. This approach is wayward as it fails to recognize the distinctiveness of the bible literary genres.  If a text appears to be fictional then it should be treated as such but if historical it should ‘be read as reliable records of what actually happened in time and space, but biblical fictions must be read as the imaginative texts that they are’. An author in the bible may employ to use fiction instead of a factual records to structure and focus perceptions because the writer is not constrained by the historical events but is able with fiction ‘to structure perception in ways that communicate their messages with optimal force’. Fokkelman in his analyses of the scene between David and Nathan highlights why fiction is at times better employed than historical events, he comments:


As a message to David, the parable is true, fictional, and fictitious. The king has positively perceived the report’s fictional character, i.e. its literary and sometimes even poetic make-up, but has not been misled by this knowing that a prophet in action is a poet in action. its fictitious aspect, on the contrary, remains completely hidden to him, and this is how the truth can penetrate him deeply and engage him. while david imagines the story to have really occurred, the truth is already working on him. From Nathan’s point of view, fiction, made functional and attractive by literary devices, is the ideal vehicle for the truth and, as theologians say, for revelation.


So, as students approaching fictional stories in the bible we should be aware of its literary genre and approach it as such. If it is taught as a story, we should present it as a story and perhaps communicate it in a fresh way but yet remain at its central the message that the story was meant to communicate.


K.Oni


Quotations are taking from  Daniel J. Estes essay titled ‘Fiction and truth in the old testament wisdom Literature’.
Here is a link to his essay and what I’ve written are derived from his essay and he deals with it to a fuller extent and succinctly.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Upward call to Heaven

This is my poor attempt to imitate the wonderful book called ‘Stepping Heavenward’. The book is written in a journal style format and it details the story of a girl as she lives her life and grow in godliness. Its worth a read for all girls and boys perhaps may learn from it as well. I am currently reading it and it has inspired me to imitate Prentiss style and write one of my own, titled, ‘Upward call to heaven’. I will be writing it and posting it up in parts. You can download and read Stepping heavenward from this link: Stepping Heavenward.


Upward Call to Heaven (2)

I woke up this morning with a light hearted sickness on my chest. I was sure to say my prayers that perhaps God would make me better. I remember the stories of instant healing where Christ would lay His hands on the sick like He did with Peter’s mother and the fever left her. Perhaps mama could be that to me this morning but she would only say rest a while and my prayers would always be for you.

I staggered out of bed and stumbled to the door, my stature was weak and mama would notice for I wanted to go to class today because there we would learn how to write poetry and poetry was my favourite literature. The Psalms of David were my best in the bible but I am nothing like him. He was handsome and faithful, my manner is quite different and I don’t suppose a preacher is at hand to walk in and anoint me to be the next apostle of this town.

Slowly I drifted downstairs, and there was Mother, prettier than all the flowers of the field, a sparkle in her mellow eyes to greet me with the arms of love and immediately she sat me on the chair. She covered me with all the garments of the house to keep me warm and I knew that poetry would be for another day. She made me a most delightful breakfast and provided me with all the necessities of my day for she was a worker. Her job was at the church, the minister’s assistant and the carer of the sick. Her soul was so given to others that I feel that she has many children but I am her alone offspring. It was clear from her eyes that she didn’t want to leave me but I assured her of my comfort and with a warm kiss she touched my head.

Alone now but not for long as Amelia burst through the door repetitively calling my name not knowing of my sickness for I had made her late. She saw me on the chair, wrapped and covered, and because of her sharp nature she knew immediately that I was a sick creature. Her eyes watered for her heart was the same as my Mother. She came closer and offered to make me a hot drink. ‘You will be late’, I told her. ‘Hurry your legs to school so that you don’t miss class, for you have a good reputation’.  Then she said, ‘I will come by after school and come to you for the weekend to be your nurse; I know of your sweet taste to poetry and I shall teach you all that I’ve learnt. Be well soon, I shall pray for you with all of my whole heart’. she hurried of to class but her words brightened my day. All of my excitement are now stored up in the moment when she shall be my teacher and nurse. I would do the same for her.

I thought of what to do with my day, reading my bible would impress mother. I began in the first chapter of Romans but my disposition was to weak to digest any complicated assortments. I retired to rest and therein my day consisted.

K.Oni

Saturday, 18 December 2010

The Joy of confession 4

Sinner: Dear Sir, I am heavily convicted of my sin, I feel it deep in the breast of my chest. My dreams have been lacking lately because I could not sleep. The guilt of my sins beats me constantly leaving me no room to shut my eyes. At times I have sought comfort in the hands of inflicted pain but it does not alleviate. WOE is me Sir. What words have you for me?

Sir: Come closer to me child, come. For your situation is that of confession, confession and accountability. Tell me, do you have any close a kin to tell of your misery?

Sinner: I am an alone soul Sir. I have none, no one but my dog but he speaks not nor can he understand. I am shut up in my prison and have no friends, no one to love me back and no one to speak to. I heard of this place from another sinner and he told me of your gentle words and that you refuse no one even though they be such as have committed the unforgivable sin.

Sir: You have done well my child to come here, and because of the nature of your case I shall have you stay with me for a while. Bring your dog also for a dog alone goes mad more than a Son of Adam. I shall make a space for you and your dining shall be with me. There will be time for you to lay all your sorrows down and there will be the ONE who will knock the door of your heart, who is a more friendlier soul than I could ever be; he carries the burden of the downcast and takes their guilt. Yea, He shall take your guilt and replace it with love; the comfort of forgiveness shall come upon you and His truth shall set you free. He will knock on your heart as I tell you of how He saved you from your sins. And when He knocks, it shall be upon you to open the door for Him and He will come in and play with us and dine with us.

Sinner: What is the name of the ONE? I am now excited to meet him. You have encouraged me dearly Sir and I shall now run swiftly to bring my dog and dine with you.

Sir: His name is Jesus Christ!

K.Oni

Do We Believe the Whole Gospel?


Unbelief. This one word expresses the judgment Emil Brunner, the Swiss “crisis theologian,” used to describe nineteenth-century liberal theology. The rise of such liberalism was a conscious synthesis between naturalism in the world of philosophy and historic Christianity. Liberalism sought to de-supernaturalize the Christian faith and to restrict the modern significance of Jesus and the New Testament to ethical considerations, particularly with respect to the needs of human beings, and especially with respect to their material needs.
This provoked a significant dilemma for the organized church, first in Europe and then in America. If an institution repudiates the very foundation upon which it is built and for which it exists, what happens to the billions of dollars worth of church property and its numerous ordained professionals? The clergy were left with nothing to preach except social concerns. In order to maintain a reason for the continued existence of Christianity as an organized religion, nineteenth-century liberalism turned to a new gospel, dubbed the “social gospel.” This was a gospel that focused on considerations of humanitarianism and had at the core of its agenda a commitment to “social justice.”
The use of the term “social justice” involved an ironic twisting of words. What was in view in this philosophy was basically the redistribution of wealth, following the template of socialism. The false assumption of this so-called social justice was that material wealth can be gained only by means of the exploitation of the poor. Ergo, for a society to be just, the wealth must be redistributed by government authority. In reality, this so-called social justice degenerated into social injustice, where penalties were levied on those who were legitimately productive and non-productivity was rewarded — a bizarre concept of justice indeed.
The rise in importance of the social gospel provoked a controversy known in church history as the “modernist-fundamentalist controversy,” which raged in the early years of the twentieth century. This controversy witnessed an unholy dichotomy between two poles of Christian concern. On the one hand, there was the classic concern of personal redemption accomplished by Christ through His atoning death on the cross, which brought reconciliation for those who put their trust in Jesus. On the other hand there was the consideration of the material well-being of human beings in this world right now. It included the consideration of clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, giving shelter to the homeless, and caring for the poor.
Many evangelicals at this period in history, in order to preserve the central significance of the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, gave renewed emphasis to evangelism. In many cases, this emphasis upon evangelism was done to the exclusion of the other pole of biblical concern, namely, mercy ministry to those who were poor, afflicted, and suffering. So glaring was the dichotomy between liberal and evangelical concerns that, sadly, many evangelicals began to distance themselves from any involvement in mercy ministries, lest their activities be construed as a surrender to liberalism.
The fallacy of the false dilemma takes two important truths and forces one to choose between them. The assumption of the either/or fallacy is that of two particular matters, only one is true while the other is false; therefore, one is required to choose between the true and the false. The either/or fallacy that stood before the church in this period was either the gospel of personal redemption or the gospel of social concern for the material welfare of human beings.
Even a cursory reading of the New Testament, however, makes it clear that the concerns of Jesus and of the New Testament writers cannot be reduced to an either/or dilemma. The problem with this fallacy, as with all fallacies, is that truth becomes severely distorted. The New Testament does not allow for this false dilemma. The choice that the church has is never between personal salvation and mercy ministry. It is rather a both/and proposition. Neither pole can be properly swallowed by the other. To reduce Christianity either to a program of social welfare or to a program of personal redemption results in a truncated gospel that is a profound distortion.
Historically, before the outbreak of nineteenth-century liberalism, the church did not seem to struggle with this false dichotomy. For centuries, the church understood her task as both to proclaim the saving gospel of the atoning work of Christ and, at the same time, to follow Jesus’ example of ministry to the blind, to the deaf, to the imprisoned, to the hungry, to the homeless, and to the poor. The ministry of the church, if it is to be healthy, must always be firmly committed to both dimensions of the biblical mandate, that we may be faithful to Christ Himself. If we reject either the ministry of personal redemption or of mercy to the afflicted, we express “unbelief.”

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25?

December 25 is the traditional anniversary of the birth of Christ, but most scholars are unsure about the true date for Christ's birth.
The decision to celebrate Christmas on December 25 was made sometime during the fourth century by church bishops in Rome. They had a specific reason for doing so.
Having turned long ago from worshiping the one true God and creator of all things, many early cultures in the Roman empire had fallen into sun worship. Recognizing their dependence on the sun's yearly course in the heavens, they held feasts around the winter solstice in December when the days are shortest. As part of their festivals, they built bonfires to give the sun god strength and bring him back to life again. When it became apparent that the days were growing longer, there would be great rejoicing.
The church leaders in Rome decided to celebrate Christ's birth during the winter solstice in an attempt to Christianize these popular pagan celebrations. For the most part their efforts failed to make the people conform, and the heathen festivities continued. Today we find ourselves left with a bizarre marriage of pagan and Christian elements that characterizes our modern celebration of Christmas.
Regardless of the pagan background of so many December traditions, and whether or not Jesus was born on December 25th, our goal is still to turn the eyes of all men upon the true Creator and Christ of Christmas. The light of the world has come. And the Christmas season and celebration presents the church with a wonderful opportunity to preach the good news--that men can be made righteous and have peace with God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.
By John Macarthur

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

A Resolution- depart from the path of the hypocrite

Here is a public cry of a sincere resolution of which I aim to adhere to. For my soul has been unease by the dissolution of many a confession to Christ and his Kingdom. I find those principles of Romans 2 at work, that many who perhaps may denounce sin in the public and proclaim to love righteousness are found in the secret of their isolation with those very principles in which their public face denounce. It is an outcry, a silencing of the Holy Spirit in the church for He sees the hypocrisy of many a foul soul and in the eyes of men, they aim to appeal to Him to demonstrate His power but He shows not because they are not willing to repent. Their hearts are as hardened as stone, their mouths sing of the praises of the LORD but their minds are far from him. These are the way of true hypocrites and some who walk in this path are not to much aware of it for their hearts have become dull to sin. It is a terrible principle and the name of the LORD is blasphemed because of it and my heart ruptures when I see this horrific principles in me. It is a sad thing when the people of God, called to be holy and blameless are not giving to their service in great earnestness and delight but instead are comfortable to sit in the seats of the hypocrites. We have a way to follow and a path to choose, there is a pilgrim journey and the road is narrow. Will you adhere to the call of holiness and truly repent of your sins taking delight in the things of God or will you continue with those weak principles and march according to the dictates of your heart.

I with a solemn declaration will aim with all of my soul and heart to depart from the ways of the hypocrites and truly be filled with an unwavering passion for Christ and his kingdom. If there are those hellish principles in me, I lay them all down and follow this day the way of righteousness. I am constantly prone to trials from the devil, a constant thorn in my flesh but in Christ I have the victory. My sins are of yesterday, nailed to the cross forgiven and cleanse and today as it is eternal I stand righteous and blameless, Holy and beautiful in the sight of my God. My resolution is to live in such a manner worthy of the gospel, to walk according to my nature and my calling. Amen

K.Oni

Monday, 13 December 2010

Such ferocity

I cannot be strained with such ferocity of affection
Freedom cries aloof the barren sensitivity of my bastion zeal.
I’m tranquil to her attention like the wind propels the leaves
And yet my feet eschew a dance in her company!
For I am conflicted  with a stiff strangeness
That only pays a visiting at her attendance.
But once before my feet did dance,
                                                        till my fancy did mature.
To neglect her mellow visage is now my only poise
For time I’ve learnt erodes away the sentimental amity I adored.  


K.Oni

Sunday, 12 December 2010

She dances like a rosemary

She dances like a rosemary


She looked like a rose.


Her smell as the sweet fragrance 
                                                that the coloured flower yields!


I still my breath and pant to her smile


Her happiness I fancied, my feet are fit to dwell.


Lessons of love I learnt from her touch


And round me lie the traces of her flowers ardour.


She dances like a rosemary
                                        budding allure!


K.Oni

Friday, 10 December 2010

Jesus, save yourself!

Beaten, crushed, blood dripping from his head, the one who had worked miracles and wonders in the open is now hanged naked on a cross. The Roman guards are dividing his clothes and all of Jerusalem watched this man scream "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabacthani?"- which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me". Despite his physical agony, they also hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! come down from the cross if you are the Son of God!" The chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders did not pass by the opportunity to mock him for they also insulted him saying, "He saved others, but He can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, 'I am the Son of God'".

The mockers are enjoying their entertaining sneering and the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders are delighting in their victory and affirmation that this man is not the Saviour because he saved others but can't save himself. What kind of saviour is this they all must have thought but little did they know that they are speaking better than they know. For if they had read the scriptures, if they had known God, then they would have known that if Jesus was to save others He cannot save himself. If Jesus was to purchase redemption for his people and fulfil Isaiah 53, it was only through the cross. If they were present at the announcement of the angel to Joseph who told Joseph in a dream, "Joseph Son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins". The mockers would have realised that this is the Saviour of the world.

But in irony they taunt him that he cannot save himself but that he saved others, they bid him to come down from the cross but their words are concerned with the things of men and not of God. Those who bid Jesus to save himself from the cross are in the camp of Satan for Jesus rebuked Peter when he tried to deter him from dying by saying to Peter, 'Get behind me Satan!' Just as the Muslim is greatly insulted that a prophet of God should die in such a way and the Jew disgusted at the thought of their Messiah being crucified, this indeed was the only way by which Jesus will save his people. While the Muslim may cringe and deny the cross and the Jew retract from such a Messiah, yet the Christian rejoices because it is precisely through Jesus staying on the cross in abject powerlessness that he achieves a tremendous salvation for all who believes in His name.

Jesus came to save his people from their sins and it is the reason why he is hanging on this damnable cross. Jesus knew this would happen to him for he spoke of his suffering many times and did he not inaugurate it at the Last supper when he uttered to his disciples, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins". Jesus willingly stayed on that cross, on that shameful cross because if He were to come down and listen to the demands of the mockers, no one would have been saved. Men would still be dead in their sins and trespasses and a fiery hell would await all humanity.

"He saved others but He can't save himself", was their sneer but their sneer was true. But it wasn't the nails or the presence of the Roman guards that held him captive but it was his unwavering disposition to His Father's will that held him on that cross for it was unthinkable for Him to disobey His loving Father. Jesus surrendered His life on the cross, not willing to save himself so that He could save you.

So, the man whose face is marred, who saved others did not give it a second thought to release himself from his damnable cross; for three days later He would rise from the dead; silencing his mockers and raising a new brand of believers who feared not but spoke of the Christ and His crucifixion. The cross is where the Saviour reigns from and if you are to be saved today from your sins, it is by the man who did not save Himself but has saved others.

K.Oni

Praying on the cold street of Clifton

On Wednesday afternoon, a couple of ordinary Jesus lovers took to the cold streets of Clifton to pray for those who are walking by to share with them the Love of God and also perhaps an opportunity to share with them the delightful news of Christmas.

Praying on the streets is fun, I find it rather exciting but at the same time, my disposition is naturally to present people with the gospel, to tell them about the marvellous message of reconciliation and challenge them to seriously consider the God-man Jesus Christ. But I found that offering to pray for people is indeed another way to share God's love and to also demonstrate the power of God. Prayer is indeed powerful and God is able to bless non-Christians through our intercessions for them and God can use such an opportunity to bring his lost sons and daughters back to him.

Although the afternoon was cold, the faithful saints were determined not to be deterred so we began our mission in prayer. It was pure delight to my soul to witness passionate cries to the Lord from the mouth of ordinary believers. They sought for a revelation from the Lord, that is, that God should reveal signs to those whom He would like us to pray for. And God did not disappoint but through His Spirit encouraged us, and made us ready to face the cold hardened street of safe Clifton.

We stepped out in faith and the passers began to walk by; some were filled with curiosity and some had the face of 'dont approach me' expression which was beaming from their eyes. Some kindly rejected and some stopped to receive prayer. In my mind I knew of the Soveringty of God and knew His will this afternoon will be done. All the prayers we offered to his sweet ears, I know by faith that He heard us and He may reply with positive answers to them all or He may delay according to the goodness of His merciful heart.

My heart's prayer is a revival, a revival among our generation of which I see some of the seeds off; and evangelism (if we can call it that) is not restricted to prayer on the streets but we live and speak for Jesus with our whole life. Love is at the forefront of our affections and through more ordinary saints, dreaming dreams and visions for Christ and His kingdom, then I believe with all sincerity of heart that an awakening like it was in Whitfield and Wesley's day will come about because where the Spirit of God is even a materialistic sensual culture is forced to take a bow.

K.Oni

Thursday, 9 December 2010

To the Monastery

I fell in love with a girl that didn’t love me back
So now I’ll be a monk
To contemplate on the beauty of My Lord.

I never asked
But I saw it in her eyes
I’m going today and never coming back.

Couldn’t be swayed by another charming eyes
She was the one
But not as beautiful as the ONE.

Il be a scholastic like Anselm with Joy
St Aquinas the OX is not so dumb!

I fell in love but now I’m 61
Heretics defeated, fought and slained!

Now I go to sleep
From my monastic life
To see the splendour of the ONE who Loved me Back

K.Oni

Monday, 6 December 2010

Jesus. The Only Saviour of the world

They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” John 4:42

Here is a universal absolute truth claim for Christ’s scandalous distinctiveness.  Jesus Christ is the saviour of the world and that is for everybody and it is not restricted to the me and us of today’s post-modernist but Jesus is the saviour of the whole world regardless of religion, philosophy, tribe or race.  Absolute truth is what Francis Schaeffer used to call ‘true Truth’. It is true for everyone irrespective of whether they believe it or not. This is the Truth in a pluralistic society where the idea of an absolute truth is bitterly frowned upon. but if Christians are to be faithful to their Lord, then we would have to agree with the Samaritans, that Jesus is the saviour of the world.  But Jesus the saviour of the world from what?

There are many texts in scripture that elucidates that the world is corrupt and is in need of saving but staying in the Johannine text, I draw your attention to the passage which is repulsive to those who reject the idea of absolute truth. Jesus clearly states in John 14:6, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’. No one comes to the Father except through me’. Here is a universal declaration of absolute monopoly, that Jesus is the only way/hados/path  to the Father, also implying that this is the only way that Men can know God and be delivered from their sins and have reconciliation with God. Jesus is the truth; any system which claims to know God but does not have Jesus at the centre is a lie because Jesus is truth and He has come to save the world from error, bringing them from death to life for Jesus is the life.

The three fold claim of Jesus being the way the truth and life can be seen in view of him as being the saviour of the world, as reconciler (the way), revealer (the truth) and redeemer (the life)*. Jesus is the universal reconciler, the universal revealer and the universal redeemer and therefore Jesus is the absolute saviour. Jesus is the Incarnate Word, sent by His Father to redeem mankind and creation, he is not relative but universal. God has chosen one way to reconcile this alienated world and that His through His Son, the Incarnate Word. God has chosen to reveal His truth through Jesus Christ, He is the ultimate revealer of who God is. Because Jesus is the universal reconciler achieved through his death on the cross, and the universal revealer of who God is, He is also the universal redeemer of all men. If any one is to be redeemed and to have eternal life, it is to be found in the person of Jesus Christ. For there is no other name in heaven or on earth where men can be saved.  This is the exclusive claim of Christ and as we live in a more pluralistic society, this view may become harder to hold but despite the torrent of modern culture, Christians are called to believe that Jesus is the only Saviour of the world.

The benefits of holding to the biblical view that Jesus is the Saviour of the world means that we have one unifying message to proclaim to mankind. Although it is exclusive it is also inclusive in the sense that anyone is welcomed to partake in its blessings despite background or creed. For all men are sinners and all men only have one Saviour, Jesus Christ. It is this truth that has won the world over and influenced the western society in many good ways. Also because of the unchanging nature of Christ we can be sure that He will remain as Loving and has just as He is found in scripture.

K.Oni

* Gabriel Fackre 'Claiming Jesus as Savior in a Religiously Plural World'. Journal for Christian Theological Research 8 (2003) 1–17

Sunday, 5 December 2010

You are the LIGHT and the SALT

Within 150 years of the start of Christianity, Tertullian who was a major theologian in early Christianity is able to taunt the Roman Emperor with these words ‘We are but of yesterday, and yet we have filled all the places that belong to you — cities, islands, forts, towns, exchanges; the military camps themselves, tribes, town councils, the palace, the senate, the market-place; we have left you nothing but your temples’. One characteristics that marked the early believers was their willing desire to die for one another, to share in community, and to live in holiness as against the culture of its day. To put it simply, they where salt and light abiding in the principles of the sermon on the mount.

Jesus said to his followers in Mathew 5:13-16, ‘You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost it tastes, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled upon under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to the whole house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven’ .

Despite the increase in technology and the optimism of the 19th century writers, humanity today is still morally corrupt and its only remedy lies in those whom it has been given the charge to be salt and light. History is full of examples of Christians who have influenced social change in a degrading society and despite being a minority the ‘Clapham sect’, led by Wilberforce where able to turn the tide of slavery to become eventually outlawed in the British society.  Jesus, in the text above has called his followers to be salt and light, to permeate society and influence it for good and for God. But what does it mean to be salt and light?

Salt and light is found in almost every household and thus will be familiar to all. Most would have known of their practical usefulness and these were the images that Jesus chose to use to elucidate the influence He wanted his disciples to have in the world. Light is to shine into darkness and salt to prevent decay. Jesus implies that 1. The world is dark. ‘This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil’, John 3:19. And 2. The world is decaying. ‘But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—  having a form of godliness but denying its power’ 2 Timothy 3:1-5.

Although the world is dark and decaying, Jesus charges his disciples that they are to be its light and salt. The pronouns in the text are emphatic; if you are a believer in Jesus, you are the light and salt of the earth, there is no two ways about it, either you are or you are not. Jesus has said to you that you are to be salt and light but what good is salt if it has lost its tastes? It is good for nothing, in fact it becomes a pollution, it corrupts the food and it is to be thrown out. So it is with Christians who have lost their saltiness, who have lost the distinctiveness of their true nature and now they cause the name of Christ to be blasphemed. Also what good is a light if it is hidden? It is no good at all, for the room still remains in darkness and those inside who need the light will continue to stumble and fall.

Therefore, it is no good for us to complain about the darkness in the world, to complain about the poverty, the injustice, degrading morality, poor health, breakdowns in families, isolation, homosexuality, and etc… Jesus did not call us to complain about the darkness but to permeate it with salt and light as a church and as individuals. We are to let our light shine so that the society may see it, or those in our vicinity and cause them to give glory to our heavenly Father. You may be one, like me, who feels the distress of the degrading society and wishes to permeate it with light and salt but knows not how. The preceding verses of the beatitudes defines the character of the Christian in the world and the Christian who lives accordingly will be salt and light to the world.

For example, if your Christian life is marked with mercy, purity and righteousness, these traits will not go unseen but many will see your light and wonder how remarkably different it is from the rest. Or if your life is marked by a thirst for righteousness, that is by every thing right, then you will look at the poor in your society and not neglect them, you will fight injustice and mourn for those are lonely or bereaved and seek to comfort them. The following verses after vs. 13-16 also displays how the Christian ought to live. The Christian is to love their enemies. Who are the despised in your community, the outlaws, the hated and those whom people love to hate. How remarkable it would be for the Christian to declare their love for them and thus your light will be as that on a hill.

So, if society is tasteless in the sight of God, to us is given  as Calvin puts it ‘the salt which imparts a relish to them but if we have lost our saltiness where will we find the salt to cure the situation’.  Although it may not be easy to be light and salt it is also not complicated for all it takes is for Jesus’ people to be like Jesus.

To conclude, here is a quote from Nikolai Berdyaev, ‎"the sinfulness of human nature does not mean that social reforms and improvements are impossible. it only means that there can be no perfect and absolute social order..before the transfiguration of the world". There's therefore no room for Christian pessimism but Jesus optimism. The early Christians transformed their society by permeating every aspect of it, the same goes for us in the 21st century if we are to see the light shine in the decaying darkness.

K.Oni