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Coming Attractions

For future post.


Trusting God

What do we do when faced with an seemingly overwhelming enemy? What do we do when the situation seems black? Do we trust God or trust ourselves? Christianity in the United States has for some time been going through a crisis. There have been various ways of responding to this crisis. Some good and many not so good. Some Christians have responded with extremes of accommodation, even though Scripture warns against this (1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4; Romans 12:1,2). Others have reacted with extremes of hostility, even though Scripture also forbids this (2 Timothy 2:24-26; 1 Peter 3:15; Colossians 4:5,6). Still others have tended to trust in their own organization and methods to carry the day (Psalms 127:1,2; 1 Corinthians 2:1,2; Isaiah 31:1). How then should we approach this?


Unfaithfulness to God

One of the great dangers of life is complacency. If we have the symptoms of cancer and refuse to see a doctor, it can spread until it is extremely difficult to treat. But even more dangerous is spiritual complacency. We can think we are good people. But it is the sick who realize they need a physician (Matthew 9:10-13; Luke 7:36-50; 18:9-14). And if we think we are well, we will not seek Christ for a cure. Even Christians can fall into complacency, thinking we are acceptable to God because we are good people.


God's Plan for Israel

One question that people, even many Christian people, have today is, why does God allow suffering in the world? While this is a difficult philosophical question, I believe it is greatly aggravated by a problem in our current perspective. As C. S. Lewis points out, we live in a culture that tries to evade all responsibility for sin. We have taken ourselves out of the dock and tried to put God in the dock, blaming Him for the existence of suffering. Now Scripture speaks firmly against the idea that all suffering is a judgment against specific sin in the life of the sufferer. (Job 1,2; John 9:1-3; Hebrews 11:35-40). But the existence of suffering is justified because we are sinners who deserve it (Romans 3:23; Jeremiah 17:9; Isaiah 64:6). And God does use suffering in our lives for our benefit (2 Corinthians 4:17,18; James 1:2-4; Romans 8:28).


The Failings of a Good Man

All of us have blind spots. And even those who honestly try to follow God can fall into them. Jehoshaphat was a good king (2 Chronicles 17:3-6; 19:3; 1 Kings 22:43). He sent officials to teach the people the Law of God and judge disputes (2 Chronicles 17:7-9; 19:4-11). He trusted God in times of trouble (2 Chronicles 20:5-25; 18:31; 2 Kings 3:11-20). But he allied with King Ahab, and he married his son to Ahab’s and Jezebel’s daughter (2 Chronicles 18:1; 19:2; 1 Kings 22:44). He joined Ahab and his sons in many questionable ventures (2 Chronicles 18:2,3; 20:35-37; 2 Kings 3:7). This resulted in great evil for the kingdom of Judah (2 Chronicles 21:4-7; 22:1-4; 2 Kings 11:1-3). How then do we avoid our blind spots?


Change from the Heart

What’s in your heart? Sometimes we can look good on the outside, but the inside is something else. The Pharisees were experts at this, polishing up the outside to hide the inside (Mark 12:41-44; Matthew 23:23-28; 6:1-18). In the final analysis, though, I suppose I am also good at this, and I suspect most of us are. But God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7; Romans 2:16; Hebrews 4:12,13). And what is naturally inside us is sin (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 7:14; Isaiah 64:6). The problem is, it is not easy to change the heart. Simply gritting one’s teeth and trying harder does not work. A detailed knowledge of the rules does not do it. Self-help schemes fail. And just faking it is not good enough. We need the gospel.


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