I’m not talking about sins that pets commit. Pets can be bad and do things that are mighty inconvenient, but they can’t sin as they have no soul. Sorry, Virginia, but all dogs don’t go to heaven.
I’m also not talking about those sins that are our favorite little secrets. That’s for another day.
I’m talking about the ones that are the favorite ones to bring up in church. The ones we can mention over and over because we don’t think we’ll be stepping on any toes in the process. We can talk about how horrible abortion is, because surely there isn’t anyone in our fellowship that has ever had an abortion, right?
Homosexuality is another favorite, for surely there are no homosexuals sitting in our congregations. So, lets just make examples of those two horrendous sins so we can all nod our heads in agreement while patting ourselves on the back. Of course, we can occasionally mention gossiping and envy because we all agree we are a little bit guilty, you know, like, everybody does it. And it’s okay sometimes to bring up drunkenness because drunks are just plain funny, you know?
Just don’t go talking about divorce or gluttony because you might just offend too many people.
J. Gresham Machen lived from 1881-1937. He was a Presbyterian churchman, a New Testament scholar, a Princeton Theological Seminary professor, founder of the Westminster Theological Seminary and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Machen is considered to be the last of the great Princeton theologians. The quotes in this series come from his book, “Christianity and Liberalism”.
“… since we know that God does all things for His own glory and the good of His people, His decision to leave Christians with many struggles with sin must also somehow serve to glorify Him and benefit His people. Sinless perfection and complete peace and joy must wait for heaven, but abundant joy here and now in Christ is your birthright and your inheritance, even when you sin and fail miserably to be a good Christian.”
These are two thoughts that I think tie together. As a Christian, I still struggle with sin. The only One who can help me overcome and the only One who can forgive that sin is God. Knowing I am weak makes me turn to Him, and His working through me glorifies Him. Though I fail and sin, yet I can have peace and joy knowing I am His. I do not sin just because I have forgiveness – that would not work. But, when I do fall short, I know I can go to Him. This is the same way a child should be able to go to their parents. There may be natural consequences, but there is also sweet forgiveness.
Extravagant Grace is a book written by Barbara Duguid. She uses John Newton’s teaching on sanctification to explain God’s sovereignty over sin. The quotes in this series come from her book.
“They (the weak in faith) are told they must run with all their strength, yet often find themselves barely able to lie on the ground facing the right direction.” “We must love them, bear their burdens gently and help them to carry their loads, because they belong to us. They are our family in the Lord.”
Have you ever felt like you had so little faith that you didn’t even know how to approach God? Did you know that it’s actually God who gives you faith, and that He already knows what you are struggling with? When I am struggling, this is the verse that comes to mind: Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” – Mark 9:24
As for loving our brothers and sisters in the Lord, this is a great verse to keep in mind – “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2
Some days you may be on one side of the fence and some days on the other. There will be times when your own faith is weak; there will also be times when you can lift up a weak one and help them to bear their burdens; and do it without judging.
…God speaks through His Word and says, ‘I will remember your sins no more.’ He does not say, ‘You will remember your sins no more.’ Only God can forgive and forget. Some things we’ve done will be in our memories as long as we live. The message of the gospel is not the erasure of memory, but rather the healing of our memories. – Steve Harper
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could forget? I would love to forget some of the memories that swim around in my mind and pop to the surface again when I think I’ve drowned them out.
Healing isn’t easy. There is no pill or supplement that erases memories. Only in science fiction, or in cases of amnesia, Alzheimer’s or dementia can a memory be truly lost. Since none of those choices are appealing to me, I need to figure out just how memories are healed but not eliminated. I need to be like the Bereans.
“…they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” – Acts 17:11
Last week’s lesson for my #capturetheham group was on editing. Our fearless leader (yes, the one willing to step into the road for a good photo op) gave us all kinds of tips and app recommendations for editing our photos right on our phones.
photo by Jamie Golden
I’ve downloaded one called TouchReTouch – I have an android and it was $1.99. Check out the before and after below:
before – Taken at Cahaba Lily Park
Jamie also applied the idea of editing to not just photos but to life. I think her take was on the idea of editing out unimportant things and keeping the important ones. Which to me means taking a look at my life and seeing what I need to edit out. There isn’t an app for that. There also isn’t an app that can edit our past to make it look better. Oh, I think we all often try to. And it would be wonderful to be able to edit out all the bloopers like I did in the photo.
The better thing is forgiveness. God can and does forgive sin. My job as a Christian is to work toward the goal of having less that needs editing, less that needs forgiving. I think that’s called growing in grace.
but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever 2 Peter 3:18