The Apostle Paul uses some strong and morbid language to describe how sinful we are. Can we really say that we are in a body of death? Can we really say that we are a wretch? What does this mean and why is the Gospel so marvelous?
We think that bearing a burden is something that is heavy. It is not something that is light nor is it something that we enjoy or want to lift. It is something that is associated with hard work. However, Christ speaks of us bearing his burden as something that is enjoyable, desirable, and light. How can a burden be light?
God is sovereign and He is the standard of mercy. If God is merciful and sovereign then why does Christ have to suffer the way that he did? How come God did not just overlook our offense? If God is that serious about justice then how can we be assured we stand a chance to enter glory?
The Apostle Paul tells us that living according to the flesh is a bad thing. It means we are either relying on ourselves or we are pursuing sin. So, Paul goes on to say that Christ took on the flesh. If the flesh is bad then how is Christ’s taking on the flesh a good thing? Is Paul contradicting himself or is there another usage of the flesh in Paul’s letters?
John’s mission was a very rich mission. John’s privilege is announcing the arrival of the messiah while looking in the face of the messiah. One would think that have such a mission would lead to an incredible amount of assurance believing in the one Christ. As John has his doubting moments what does Christ use to reassure John that Christ really is the Messiah?
We build on the notion that we are adopted as sons of the living God. You would think that if we are adopted as sons that we would be equal to Christ. How can we be called co-heirs with Christ Jesus, but still call Christ our Lord?
Christ has discussed and warned his disciples about the struggles and issues that the church will face in time as they go to carry out Christ’s mission. The temptation is not to go forward with Christ’s mission. I mean if this is a kingdom that only involves cross bearing plus suffering then why go? Christ gives the assurance that we go because we will receive the prophet’s reward. So, what is that prophet’s reward?
There are two motivations or orientations to consciously living out our faith. The first way is living as a slave which results in our being afraid of God. This is not necessarily far off the mark as the Apostle Paul does speak of us as being slaves of righteousness in Romans 6. Paul himself is a slave of Christ as he opens the book of Romans. However, the other way to live out the call of the Gospel is as a son. Why would Paul make a distinction between sonship and slavery if he identifies himself as a slave of Christ?
Christ’s disciples will face trials, struggles, and hardships. Christ has already mentioned the hardships that await us. However, Christ goes on to speak of other problems that tempt us beyond just the comforts of this world. Christ tells us that we might have to walk away from family to be incorporated into the kingdom of God. How can Christ talk about disrupting the family? Why would we want to give up these earthly comforts for Christ?
One would think that being a disciple of Christ would result in instant glory. It must have been an incredible privilege to be sent out by Christ himself, and the people would embrace the messengers of the kingdom with open arms. This is what we would think, but Christ exhorts us to exercise wisdom in a way that almost seems contradictory. On the one hand we are to be humble doves, but on the other hand we are be be slithering serpents. How do we reconcile these two concepts? What is Christ trying to communicate to us?