[FT] How to please God

Lee Nichols Lee_Nichols at verizon.net
Fri Nov 3 09:49:57 PST 2006

John Boanerges Redman's comment: "Christ invited all to take up his cross 
and follow. I presume that means emulating Him in all possible ways."

Dear John, Thank you for sharing your position more completely. I think I 
see how my understanding differs from yours. If I misunderstood your 
position please excuse me and set me straight. You say Jesus represents the 
way a person must act to get God to accept, bless and maybe forgive him/her. 
There is no significant difference between a list of rules listed ,say one 
thru ten, and a list of behaviors that we can get from what we know of the 
life of Jesus. If so than Jesus did not introduce any new reality in the 
history of humankind. He is just one more of the many good examples that if 
people emulated them the world would be a better place. That in itself is a 
good thing, but I see the good news in Christ being something much more. The 
more is what makes it possible to begin to act like Jesus and definitely 
must come first before we can please God in any way. I look at the good news 
recorded by John the Apostle.

6:28They said therefore to him, "What must we do, that we may work the works 
of God?"
6:29Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him 
whom he has sent."
6:39This is the will of my Father who sent me, that of all he has given to 
me I should lose nothing, but should raise him up at the last day. 6:40This 
is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and 
believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the 
last day."

The reason we "believe in" Jesus is because he has power no other human ever 
had. He can give us life.

5:21For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son 
also gives life to whom he desires. 5:22For the Father judges no one, but he 
has given all judgment to the Son, 5:23that all may honor the Son, even as 
they honor the Father. He who doesn't honor the Son doesn't honor the Father 
who sent him.
5:25Most assuredly, I tell you, the hour comes, and now is, when the dead 
will hear the Son of God's voice; and those who hear will live. 5:26For as 
the Father has life in himself, even so he gave to the Son also to have life 
in himself.

One example of how the early church saw this working in our lives is 
described in Colossians . I see it saying rules no matter how good do not 
give us power to do good. The power to do good comes from joining with 
Christ and sharing in the power of God through Him.

2:16Let no man therefore judge you in eating, or in drinking, or with 
respect to a feast day or a new moon or a Sabbath day, 2:17which are a 
shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ's. 2:18Let no one rob 
you of your prize by a voluntary humility and worshipping of the angels, 
dwelling in the things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his 
fleshly mind, 2:19and not holding firmly to the Head, from whom all the 
body, being supplied and knit together through the joints and ligaments, 
grows with God's growth. 2:20If you died with Christ from the elements of 
the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to 
ordinances, 2:21"Don't handle, nor taste, nor touch" 2:22(all of which 
perish with use), according to the precepts and doctrines of men? 2:23Which 
things indeed appear like wisdom in self-imposed worship, and humility, and 
severity to the body; but aren't of any value against the indulgence of the 
3:1If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are 
above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. 3:2Set your mind on 
the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. 3:3For 
you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

John, I think this also gives us a way to disprove this idea.  If we can 
find rules that enable us to have power over our earthly pride, greed, 
desire for power and control or power to not misuse all the physical and 
social needs and desires; we have disproved verse 2:23, and we do not need 
the Christ of the Bible. I haven't found any rules other than the rule to 
focus on what brings me close to Christ.  If in Christ, I have life and 
power, it is very good news. 

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