Drawing Near

A Pastoral Perspective on Biblical, Theological, & Cultural Issues | The Personal Website of James B. Law, Ph.D.

Monthly Archive: December 2015



December 2015



Though He Was Rich, Yet For Our Sake He Became Poor

Written by , Posted in Devotional

Birth of ChristIn this Christmas season, once again the question of the ages is, “Who was the baby in the manger?” If he was in fact God in human flesh, and his life was lived in the monumental way in which it was lived, what are we supposed to do with that information? The Apostle John wrote his gospel to answer that question:“so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31,32).

God took on human flesh and dwelt among us and his glory was seen by a multitude of witnesses. The brief life of Jesus Christ was captured in four inspired and authoritative books named for the authors who penned them: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. From these four perspectives, we receive a composite of the life and work of Jesus Christ. These accounts were written not so we would remain neutral on the question of Jesus, but for the expressed purpose that we might believe that he was the long awaited Messiah, and that by believing we might have salvation and hope in his name.

Some years ago Philip Yancey, in his book The Jesus I Never Knew, contrasted the humility that characterized Jesus’ royal visit to planet earth with the prestigious image associated with world rulers today. Yancey wrote:

Queen Elizabeth II had recently visited the United States, and reporters delighted in spelling out the logistics involved: her four thousand pounds of luggage included two outfits for every occasion, a mourning outfit in case someone died, forty pints of plasma, and white kid-leather toilet seat covers. She brought along her own hairdresser, two valets, and a host of other attendants. A brief visit of royalty to a foreign country can easily cost twenty million dollars…

In meek contrast, God’s visit to earth took place in an animal shelter with no attendants present and nowhere to lay the newborn king but a feed trough. Indeed, the event that divided history, and even our calendars, into two parts may have had more animal than human witnesses. A mule could have stepped on him. (more…)



December 2015



Healthy Relationships in Church Life

Written by , Posted in Church Life, Leadership

Healthy Relationships in the BodyTimothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp  have written a helpful book entitled Relationships: A Mess Worth Making.  In one of their chapters, they ask the question, “Why bother?” Of course, they are asking “why bother” with relationships at all in light of how they are often painful and troubling. Lane and Tripp argue strongly, and biblically, that instead of calling for a détente on all relationships, we should see them from this perspective:

God wants to bring us to the end of ourselves so that we would see our need for a relationship with him as well as with others. Every painful thing we experience in relationships is meant to remind us of our need for him. And every good thing we experience is meant to be a metaphor of what we can only find in him. 

I mentioned in the first post of this series (Here) that there have been pains and struggles in the pastorate. Not only have I had to deal regularly with my own sinful attitudes and tendencies, which makes life hard, but I have had to work through painful relationships in the course of living my life as a Christian.

God’s plan is not to avoid problems, but to work through them by his grace and for his glory. The relationships in a local church become the training ground for all believers to learn to love as Christ loves us (Ephesians 4:31,32).  We are prone to speak in generalities about loving others. We prefer to love people from afar where they can’t mess up our comforts and preferences. Truth be known, the following describes us well,

To dwell above with the saints we love, Oh that will be glory;

But to dwell below with the saints we know, Well, that is another story! (more…)