“. . . he upholds the universe by the word of his power.”  Hebrews 1:3

John Calvin comments, “To ‘uphold’ is used in the sense of to care for and to keep all creation in its proper state.  He sees that everything will quickly disintegrate, if it is not upheld by His goodness.”

In this part of the world, the American South, many people don’t mind God-talk.  They don’t even mind Jesus-talk.  But “Jesus” must be defined, or we might be defrauded.

Is our Jesus the real Jesus?  We should not assume he is.  We should assume that, to some extent, he is not.  Then we can turn to the Bible with honesty, with openness, and start rediscovering his true greatness and glory.  Then, only then, do we live.

Step one is getting rid of the “Jesus” we thought was real.  Can we part with him?

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Ray Ortlund


Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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