Showing posts with label sin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sin. Show all posts

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thorny Soil

Mark 4:1-9 records Jesus' parable of the sower who casts his seed indiscriminately upon various soils. Some seeds are snatched up by the birds. Some take root but wither and die because they are malnourished. Some are choked out by thorns and fail to produce fruit. Other seeds fall on good soil and produce lots of fruit.

In the next passage in Mark (4:10-20), Jesus explains this parable to his disciples. The seed is the gospel and the soils are human hearts of various condition. Some hearts are hard and the gospel does not penetrate their lives. Neither does Satan let the gospel remain on their minds long enough to have an effect. Some hearts are shallow, and the gospel seems to impact their lives, but their faith withers at the first sign of sacrifice; their faith is not deeply rooted in the truth.

And then Jesus explains the soil with the thorns. In my devotion time this morning, I was reading this passage and I was convicted by these words:

"They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful."

Don't we all risk being choked out by "the cares of the world"? What about "the deceitfulness of riches"? Are you distracted by "the desires for other things"? I think this is a clarion call for us to sacrifice the things of this world that may be good for the things of God that are better. I struggle with this every day. I want to see and do and smell and taste and touch and drive and play and experience stuff that gets in the way of my wanting to follow Christ with all my heart.

Do you have a hobby? Does it hinder you from producing fruit? Do you have a passion? Does it hinder you from producing fruit? Do you have a pet worry (or lots of pet worries!), or a pet sin, or a pet habit that interferes with your fruit production?

Hobbies are not wrong. Recreation is a blessing from God that can restore our mental and physical health. Rest and relaxation are sometimes a great benefit to the weary. But do we risk eternity for the light pleasures of this world?

Let us evaluate everything in the light of eternity.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Not the Way It's Supposed to Be

You should read this book.

You don't understand sin like you might think you do.

Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., brother to Alvin Plantinga (recent guest at SBTS for the Norton Lectures), wrote Not the Way It's Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin in 1995 in an attempt to revive an awareness of sin that has been all but lost.

In this book, Plantinga makes a case that the Jewish notion of shalom is not simply an idea of peace, but a much fuller and all-encompassing idea of "the way it's supposed to be." And in this book, Plantinga does a masterful job of showing many of the different ways things aren't.

You will be convicted and enabled to guard your heart in new ways. Promise.


Monday, October 22, 2007

The Depths of Sin

How far would you go to have a baby? Today, a Kansas woman was found guilty for strangling an expectant mother and using a kitchen knife to extract the baby, which she kept for her own. The woman was pretending to be nine months pregnant at the time of the murder, and she even attempted to convince her husband that she had delivered the baby unexpectedly while on a shopping trip.

Do you realize that we are restrained from depravity like this, or even worse, only by God's magnificent grace? We are kidnappers and murderers straining against God's restraining grace.

I am horrified by our sin, both the actual sin that people commit and the potential sin within my heart, and I pray that God will be pleased to move in a massive work of grace on the ever darkening continent of North America.

May God forgive us.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Case in Point: The Law Magnifies Our Sin

I just received an email about a journalist in N.Y., A. J. Jacobs, who attempted for one year to live up to the Law as written in the Old Testament. He was featured on the Today Show this week (Q&A/video). While many aspects of his "attempt" smack of trivializing the Bible, one exchange from the video stuck out in my head: Matt Lauer asks, "Think fast; when's the last time you broke one of the ten commandments?" and Jacobs replies, "Probably during this interview." Lauer laughs and asks, "Which one?" to which Jacobs answers, "I don't know, it's hard to keep track."

This is an incredible testimony of how God accomplishes his purpose in the Law! Romans 3:19 says, "Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God." Romans 7:7-8 says, "if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, 'You shall not covet.' But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness." The purpose of the Law was to stop every mouth! Would Jacobs deny his sin before God after encountering the law?

Jacobs now calls himself a reverent agnostic. He obviously understands his sinful nature, but he is blind to the fact that the only hope for sinners is the cross of Jesus Christ.

We must recognize that Jesus Christ is our only hope!


UPDATE: Keith pointed out that Way of the Master Radio also interviewed Jacobs in an attempt to share the gospel. You can find the podcast here. Thanks Keith!