Trust the Great Logos: Avoid Impure Religion
By Mike Robinson
So it may be best to think of theology and philosophy in terms of the historical notion of principia. The word principium at least historically, is the Latin translation of the Greek word arche, which means “source” or “cause” or “foundation.” It is that which gives something its reason to be, or its justification for existence. Under this rubric distinctions have been made between a principium essendi and a principium cognoscendi. There are essential principles, reasons, or sources, and there are epistemological principles, reasons, or source (K. Scott Oliphint).
In the beginning was the Logos and the Logos was with God, and God was the Logos (John 1:1).
The plainest reason why the Son of God is called the Word, seems to be, that as our words explain our minds to others, so was the Son of God sent in order to reveal his Father's mind to the world (Matthew Henry).
Jesus Christ is the Word (logos) and as the Word supplies and upholds the rational environment required for reason as well as all features of reality. Not only is Christianity reasonable, but Christian theism underwrites the ontic necessities required for reason. Additionally, the Logos furnishes the truth conditions utilized by propositions.
The eternal Logos is a necessary condition ... of human knowledge about anything (Ronald Nash).
When the Greek philosophers considered the question of truth, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and more, they began to use the word logos to describe the ultimate reality they were pursuing. The logos was the organizing principle, that which gives life and meaning to the universe. To the apostle John, the logos was personal … and became incarnate as a human being. The logos is God himself … the One who was there in the beginning before all things (Burk Parsons).
Jesus’ ontology (His being and essence) is an essential element of Christianity, for He is the great Logos (John 1:1), and logic is an element of His being and nature. Christians are the community that can account for reason, since reason comes from the mind and the nature of God. The true God is the God of reason. Reason cannot be held over His head in a type of Eurythro Dilemma, since it is a reflection of His thoughts and nature; consequently, we must espouse our use of human reason in submission to His revelation in the Bible.
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world (James 1:22-27).
How to avoid defiled religion:
1. Worship God daily and focus your week on the coming Lord’s Day: plan, pray, and focus on the goodness of Jesus. Yes, many times we do not feel like we are sincere and that feeling may bother us. Nonetheless, all Christians, at times, feel we are just mouthing words and it bothers us.
When you feel insincere in your devotion to Jesus:
a. Always remember the reason it bothers you: God put in your heart to be open and honest and sincere before Him. Accordingly, in one sense, it’s a good sign that your insincerity troubles you.
Around the period when I first came to Jesus, a friend invited me to a false church and I did not participate in its ceremonies; my lack of involvement did not disturb me because it was not a godly service. On the other hand, within Christian worship, Christians will not feel right when they lack sincerity and focus.
b. When you feel bad, a bit troubled, by a lack of heartfelt worship; pause and then focus on Jesus: His person, His attributes, and His work. Soon you will regain a genuineness and zest for worship.
c. Do not base your faith on your feelings; your feelings change and can often flow from sinful dispositions.
2. Reach out to others (especially widows, orphans, and the needy): be a servant for King Jesus. James the half-brother of Jesus named himself a servant of Christ.
3. Guard your tongue. Disavow ungodly speech and gossip.
4. Keep yourself unspotted from the world. Turn away from the sinful ways of the world.
5. Obey God’s Word. Jesus said in John 14:15: “If you love me, keep my commandments.”
6. Always focus on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2): Ponder how good He is to you and how he saved you by grace through the cross and His resurrection.
All for Jesus
Xerxes the king of Persia once boarded a boat. Later it began to sink because there were too many men aboard. The ship started sinking; sinking more and more; it appeared that all aboard would drown. But an officer called out to the shipmen: “Are you not willing to sacrifice and die for your king?” Suddenly almost all the men leaped out of the boat into the water and drowned in order to save their king.
The question for Christians: How much will you sacrifice for your King? Most Christians will not be called to forfeit their life for their faith, but how much will you sacrifice in order to serve others for your King?
We should aim to serve King Jesus and love others since James calls an undefiled and pure religion one that helps the widows and the poor.
Jesus Came and Gave Himself for His People
Jesus comes to His sheep by His glorious grace through His Word and Spirit to save us. Jesus “gave Himself for me” (Titus 3).
Christians ought to ponder:
· Trouble comes—but Jesus came.
· Failure comes—but Jesus came.
· Problems and pain come—but Jesus came.
And Jesus Christ comes to bring peace, joy, hope, and cheerfulness to all who trust Him (Romans 5:1 & 15:13). Today give Jesus full swing of your heart as He declares to you that He will pardon every sin; heal every wound; and overcome every trouble. Christ comes, swiftly, in a full gallop upon His victory horse to triumph for His people. Yearn for Him and you will find peace for your soul no matter how things unfold.
As the deer pants for the water, so my soul pants for you, O God (Psalm 42:1).
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