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Bob Slosser
Spiritual Life

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Listen to Peter Now! He Has a Word for You

By Bob Slosser Columnist - The deep sacrificial healing and powerful, forgiving love of Jesus Christ for you and me we saw revealed to the fullest extent by the amazing and somehow ugly, awful washing of the feet of the apostles. We poor mortals, still proud and choking on conceit, can't grasp such abasing sacrifice for common, crummy creatures. "Surely, we can't be talking about that depth of love!"

But, oh, dear Brother Bob, we are.

But how can we hope to love at that level -- the level that comes with the Lords promise to give Peter and the church the keys of the kingdom, to bind and to loose in heaven and on earth, acting as His representative? It is in study of the very human, very volatile life of Peter the Big Fisherman that we come to see the powerful expectation of the Lord for his glorious church and His plan for it, strong and majestic, real yet very holy because of Him and His Spirit.

Yes, the Spirit. There is the difference. The enabler. With the Spirit, the church can receive the power and the wisdom necessary for wielding the keys to the kingdom, the binding and the loosing, the requirements of the household of faith. In the view of the Reformers, such weighty and awful matters as censure, excommunication, and absolution were committed to the church folks like you and me. These, too, were to be used under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Please see the point, beloved, the Holy Spirit and His infilling of Christian believers are not wispy ideas; they are matters of pure faith, hope, and love. The Spirit, remember, is the power God that raised Jesus God from the dead. He is in us if you can dig it!

John Calvin, the Reformation Big Daddy, said this: "Whoever, after committing a crime, humbly confesses His fault and entreats the church to forgive him, is absolved not only by men, but by God Himself; and, on the other hand, whoever treats with ridicule the reproofs and threatenings of the church, if he is condemned by her, the decision which men have given will be ratified in heaven."

If this troubles you, Nervous Nellie (thats me), you might be soothed by one authority, a top one, who explains that the Greek tense of the verbs "will be bound" and "will be loosed" means "shall have been," which points to the expectation of moving in the Spirit, in the will of God. Which is the only way to go. Right?

At any rate, I trust we see together, with the idea of so proceeding, the importance and the power of the church, as revealed in the very real experiences of good, ol Peter. He was erratic, yes, but he was courageous, with a powerfully good heart, for God revealed the truth about His work on earth and in heaven through His church to and through Him.

Now comes the question: Are you living in the fullness of the Spirit? If so, move forward with confidence. If not, do something about it right now. Remember, John the Baptist said: "I baptize you with water. But One more powerful than I will come...He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Luke 3:16). Now is the time, for you are the church. You have work to do. Dont hang back. welcomes responses from readers, but will not always be able to reply.

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