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Communion Meditations (2023)

 

Faith and Knowledge

Originally scheduled for October 15

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God's elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness--a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time,
(Titus 1:1-2 NIV)
 
Paul, in his preface to his letter to young Titus, highlights a problem common to most intellectual Christians. More than once such a Christian hears something like, “we don’t want any intellectual Christians in our church. We want Christians of faith.” The idea is that faith and knowledge are contradictory. Paul implicitly assumes that they are not; they are complementary. This is why we are commanded to have a ready defense of the faith; we need both faith and knowledge.
 
Faith looks forward to what is to come. It seems a mighty leap of faith to believe that we will be raised from the dead. To someone with no experience with Christianity this would seem absolutely absurd. Yet Christians by the billions believe it. As Paul says here, it is our hope. In the original Greek, the word used for hope means “utmost confidence.” We depend upon this hope, and we defend it.
 
With what knowledge do we defend it? There are two hinted at here.
·        One is the character of God. Aquinas taught us that God is his attributes. We say that God is love, not just that he is loving. God is also truth. If you tell me that an animal is a bear, I know it’s not a aardvark. If God is truth, he cannot lie. And he has promised the resurrection since the beginning of the ages.
·        The other is the resurrection of Christ. Sin must be atoned for; and ours was atoned for at the Cross. This was the necessary predecessor of the resurrection of Christ. He rose from the dead; therefore God can raise us from the dead. This is exactly what he promised.
Communion celebrates the death and burial of Christ, the atonement. We are told to do this until He returns. The bread that we take symbolizes his body, on the cross for us. The cup symbolizes his blood, shed for us in accordance with the ancient law that tells us there is no remission of sins without blood. We will do this until he returns to judge the living and the dead. Therefore, prepare yourself to receive his body and his blood in a worthy manner. We are all sinners; we should all be repentant sinners. Then accept his grace and forgiveness with glad hearts.

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