Arriving home you find the flashing light of your answering machine (the antique collector that you are) informing you that there is a new message awaiting your auditory perusal. You apply appropriate pressure to the “play” button activating the cassette tape (the antique collector that you are) to produce an electromagnetic pulse sounding much like the voice of the individual who left the message. As sound proceeds from the speaker, your attention is drawn away to a letter topping the bundle of mail you currently clutch. In the background, the message continues playing without registering in your mind. Eventually free from the distraction the mail had created, you return your attention to the words pressing their way through the speaker grid of your machine only to hear, “You won a random lottery and have become a millionaire.” With this news, excitement courses through your emotional system resulting in a powerful blast of neuronal activity. You drop into your chair in disbelief as your thoughts begin to jog about between financial possibilities.
As I prepare to offer the rest of this account, I would like you to take a moment to imagine what might happen if you were to take your credit card and checkbook and spend an extended period of time living according to the information you gathered from this message.
Okay, are you done?
After a period of living as though you are a millionaire, you decide that it might be a good idea if you were to listen to the previous portion of the message that you missed while scanning the letter topping the bundle of mail in order to get the details related to this financial windfall. Once again, activating the cassette tape, you carefully collect the information communicated. “My name is Dick Tater. You can reach me at 111-1111. I’m an author and a friend of your cousin Bob Frapples. He’s told me a lot about you, and I decided to base a character in my next novel on some of what he’s told me. So, because of something that happens in my story, I need to talk to you to find out how you would react if you heard that you won a random lottery and have become a millionaire.”
At this point, you would likely receive revelation of the importance of attaching the first portion of the message with the second portion of the message if accuracy of understanding is to occur, preventing one from launching out into a lifestyle that is inconsistent with reality.
There have been versions of Christianity, ways of understanding the gospel, conversion, the church, etc. that have suffered because we have separated the second half from the first.
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” (Mt.5:17)