Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me. Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God’s messenger. Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.
Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.
Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.
Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.
No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.
Although so frequently and even evilly abused, perhaps the greatest beauty of Christian doctrine is its understanding approach to sin. It is a two-pronged approach. On the one hand, it insists upon our sinful human nature. Any genuine Christian, therefore, will consider himself or herself to be a sinner. The fact that many nominal and overtly devout “Christians” do not in their hearts consider themselves sinners should not be perceived as a failure of the doctrine but only a failure of hte individual to begin to live up to it. More will be said later about evil in Christian guise. On the other hand, Christian doctrine also insists that we are forgiven our sins–at least as long as we experience contrition for them. Fully realizing the extent of our sinfulness, we are likely to feel almost overwhelmed by hopelessness if we do not simultaneously believe in the merciful and forgiving nature of the Christian God. Thus the Church, when in its right mind, will also insist that to endlessly dwell on each and every smallest sin one has committed (a process known as “excessive scrupulosity”) is itself a sin. Since God forgives us, to fail to forgive ourselves is to hold ourselves higher than God–thereby indulging in the sin of a perverted form of pride.
As Narcissus bent down to drink from a river one day, he saw his reflection in the water and fell in love with…not himself, but a reflection of himself.
This is why it is so crucial that the water remain still.
The forbearing use of power does not only form a touchstone, but the manner in which an individual enjoys certain advantages over others is a test of a true gentleman.
The power which the strong have over the weak, the employer over the employed, the educated over the unlettered, the experienced over the confiding, even the clever over the silly — the forbearing or inoffensive use of all this power or authority, or a total abstinence from it when the case admits it, will show the gentleman in a plain light.
The gentleman does not needlessly and unnecessarily remind an offender of a wrong he may have committed against him. He can not only forgive, he can forget; and he strives for that nobleness of self and mildness of character which impart sufficient strength to let the past be but the past. A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others.
—Robert E. Lee
You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, “Do not murder.” I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother “idiot!” and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell “stupid!” at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire.
The simple moral fact is that words kill.
The belief that propitiatory sacrifices for sin require the intervention of a priest. That is, it is the belief that a special, segregated order of men, called the priesthood, are the only ones who can commune directly with God or the gods. This system of the priesthood is exemplified by the priests in the Old Testament.
The term sacerdotalism comes from the Latin sacerdos, priest, literally one who presents sacred offerings (from sacer, sacred), and dare, to give. The related Latin term sacerdotium refers to the earthly hierarchy (of priests, bishops, etc.) whose primary goal is the salvation of the soul.
Protestant denominations reject sacerdotalism. They hold that the New Testament presents only one atoning sacrifice, the Body of Christ offered once for all on the cross by Christ himself, who is both the sinless offering and the sinless priest. The Eucharistic sacrifices of prayer, praise, and thanksgiving are offered by all believers as spiritual priests. The Body of Christ in the Holy Supper is not offered by the ministry to God as a means of sheltering the communicants from the divine wrath, but it is offered by God through the ministry as representatives of the congregation, to individuals, as an assurance of his gracious will to forgive them their sins.
According to Lutherans, the office of the ministry in Christianity is not part of the priestly system of the Old Testament. It is not a self-perpetuating group that can be passed on to successors through ordination. Instead, Lutherans hold that the divinely instituted ministry continues the work of Christ by exercising on behalf of the laity the means of grace, which Christ gave to all Christian believers.