Sin doesn’t change God. It changes our perception of God.
No matter how you feel. God says you are beautiful.
Everything hinges on how we approach text. Jesus IS the word of God. God speaks completely through His son.
Scripture MUST be interpreted through Jesus.
We must read the Bible through the lens of Jesus. Jesus instructs through community. See scripture as the beginning of learning not the final answer. It introduces more questions.
Scripture is meant to be read in community. If the Bible is an answer book we do not need each other.
The Old Testament:
How then do we read the ‘texts of terror?’ As Jesus revealing God. How do those texts reveal Jesus? Someone in scripture always represents Jesus.
In Sodom & Gomorrah: Abraham is ‘Jesus’ in this text. He asks God to forgive. He shows us righteousness. Moses also represents Jesus. He shows God is merciful. Jonah is more like Jesus than any other OT character. Jonah talking to God, ”I told you if I came here you would forgive them.” Moses and Aaron – their clan rebels. God goes from death to life because of Moses & Aaron’s intercession. You think you know what God is like…. ’but there is coming a day when A man will intercede and show you who I am. He will show you your false images of me.’ Joseph also represents Jesus. He forgave his brothers when they did not deserve it. God was not bullying Job. We should see it as 2 old friends ribbing each other. That changes how that text is absorbed. Wow!
From the OT we should come away with the idea that no form of violence fixes things. Violence does not bring change. Everything about the mercy of God is so counter cultural. When reading in the OT, figure out who in the text looks like Jesus….
How we read scripture says more about us than about God. How do you treat the outsider?? Jesus is constantly telling people how to read scripture. You can be deeply Biblical and satanic. The OT goes from a brother that kills (Cain & Able) to a brother that serves (Moses & Aaron). God does not elect and reject. God wants us to learn to be compassionate toward the ‘rejected’. That’s what Jesus did.
Texts (scripture) are self aware of the problem. It shows what’s in our hearts. Disciples asked Jesus, “Do you want to call fire down?” Some interpretations bring out the satan in us, others bring out the compassion in us. Compassion is the goal. We need to see how Jesus sees the world. Love your neighbor. What do you think about scripture? We need to see it through the eyes of Jesus.
The story of the Sheep & Goats is about ‘how the sheep treats the goats.’ Paul is no more Biblical after he meets Jesus than before. He just interprets later through the eyes of Jesus.
Paul killed Christians because he was Biblical. When he meets Jesus the text he used to kill is seen in a different light. God doesn’t want zeal to protect Israel; he wants faith to believe God does the impossible.
“Is there anything too hard for God?” Have faith to believe there is nothing too hard for God. That is being faithful to scripture.
Last judgement: it just exposes what’s in our hearts. How does the sheep feel about the goats? That’s a heart thing. What comes into your heart when you see your enemy? That’s the most important thing. Scripture should put that heart in us. If we read scripture any other way we are being satanic.
We acknowledge God with our lips, but we think we know who’s in and who’s out. That’s elevating us above God.
God is not mean & vindictive. God is Jesus. Jesus is God. Don’t interpret God to be like satan. God and Jesus is not good cop/bad cop.
Jesus came to reveal the Father. If you see Jesus, you see God. If your God doesn’t look like Jesus, you are satanic.
Scripture must speak Jesus to you. If all you hear is an abusive father, you are on the wrong path. Ask God to speak His truth to you.
Scripture is powerful. We must allow the text to shape us into Christ like people. Otherwise it destroys.
Anything horrible done in the name of scripture is not who God is. It’s satanic.
How do we respond to the stranger or outsider? Scripture is not to make us smart, but rather compassionate. Not to make us good, but to make us humble. Not to know who’s in or out. It wants to make us like Jesus. We should not be cutting off ears, but rather beating weapons into plowshares. That’s how people will open up and respond to Jesus.
The Bible is to help transform us into the image of Christ. If it is not doing that, your interpretation is wrong.
Ann Carole Tremain Smith
- The views expressed here are solely my own, are a work in process, will change over time, & don't necessarily reflect views of any specific person (husband, family, friends) or entity (employer, church, school) associated with me.
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