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The Great Throbbing Verbs

The Christian faith is comprised of both nouns and verbs. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that the content of the Christian faith is comprised of both nouns and verbs. Michael Horton says it well:

All of our faith and practice arise out of the drama of Scripture, the ‘big story’ that traces the plot of history from creation to consummation, with Christ as its Alpha and Omega, beginning and end. And out of the throbbing verbs of this unfolding drama God reveals stable nouns—doctrines. From what God does in history we are taught certain things about who he is and what it means to be created in his image, [what it means to be] fallen, and redeemed, renewed, and glorified in union with Christ.

So drama describes the actions, the verbs, or what God is doing. Doctrine describes the facts, the nouns, of who God is and what it means that he made us in his image. If you put the two together, you have the content of the Christian faith. I was thinking recently about the great “throbbing verbs of this unfolding drama,” and about this universe as the stage in which God is displaying himself and his glory. I was convicted that I think of the world this way too seldom, and was convicted that there is a lot of value in making this shift in thinking. After all, if this world is a stage, there are many implications. Here are 4 of them:

First, if there is a story, there is a play-wright or story-teller. This means that when events happen, when good things or bad things unfold around us, we do not look to fate or chance as if they are responsible. Instead we look to the play-wright, the story-teller, to see what he means to accomplish. Think of the great words of Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” That only makes sense if there is authorship, if someone is scripting and controlling the story.

If there is a story, there is purpose. If history is unfolding in a deliberate and controlled way, we know that what happens in the world is not just a series of isolated, disconnected, purposeless events. We know there is a purpose for everything. There is even a purpose behind even those events we would never have chosen. This story never runs off-script, but continues deliberately and perfectly toward its closing scene.

If there is a story, there is a plot, a storyline. This means there is a plot to our lives. Our lives are not meaningless. Instead, we are actors in this story. We are making real decisions and taking significant actions, and through it all, playing a role in this great drama.

Finally, if there is a story, and if we understand that story, we realize our proper place. The world is not about us. We are not the heroes of the story. We are not the writers of the story. We are merely actors in it. We are important to the story, but we are not indispensable since it really isn’t about us at all.

There really is a drama unfolding around us, and as Christians we get to see what it is all about, we get to interpret what is happening around us, and we get to see how we fit in. This is an immeasurable blessing.

Image credit: Shutterstock


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