“Presumptuous Sin & God’s Grace” September 15

 

fingers crossedHave you ever heard someone say, or perhaps thought it yourself, “I know this is wrong, but I’m going to do it anyway. Afterwards, I’ll ask God to forgive me.” David called this presumptuous sin, presuming on God’s grace when we don’t have a truly repentant heart.

 

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 21 & 22
Psalm 107.1-9
Proverbs 25.14-16
2 Corinthians 7.1-16

 

Presumptuous Sin & God’s Grace

 

2 Corinthians 7.1-16:

Are you willing to make someone “sorry”?

 

In a previous letter Paul had rebuked the Corinthians for their unbiblical behavior. In verses 8-12 Paul followed up and revealed the reason he was willing to say things that were hard to say and hard to hear:

8 For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. 9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner. What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. 12 Therefore, although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you.

Sometimes we must be willing to speak the truth in love even if it means offending someone, risking our friendship with them, or not being liked. No one wants to do so unnecessarily, but when we see a pattern of sin in someone’s life, Galatians 6 tells us:

1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Notice that even when we must speak to someone who is caught in a pattern of sin, we are to do it in a spirit of gentleness, examining ourselves first and continually, lest we fall into sin ourselves in the process.

 

Presumptuous Sins

 

On another note, as I reread today’s reading I started contemplating MacArthur’s notes on verse 1. In reference to the phrase “let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit,” he says, “False religion panders to the human appetites represented by both ‘flesh and spirit’.”

I believe that is the reason men and women can appear religious on the outside, even being priests or pastors or involved in ministry in some other way, while excusing drunkenness, sexual immorality, theft, or other sins. Their religious activity sometimes causes them to believe they have somehow earned a little favor or collateral with God.

On other occasions, they excuse immoral sexual appetites like adultery, fornication, homosexuality, or child molestation by rationalizing about “all the good they do.”

But perhaps the most pernicious way, religion keeps us bound up in sin is by seeing it as a system that cancels out or appeases God. Have you ever heard someone say, or perhaps thought it yourself, “I know this is wrong, but I’m going to do it anyway. And, afterwards, I’ll ask God to forgive me.”  Continue reading

“A Dangerous Downward Spiral” July 30

 

A Dangerous Downward Spiral - Unwillingness to accept and believe the truth can start an individual or a society on a downward spiral of sin. Sadly, it's not a lack of truth, instead people suppress the truth because they just don’t want to hear it.Unwillingness to accept and believe the truth can start an individual or a society on a downward spiral of sin. Sadly, it’s not a lack of truth, instead people suppress the truth because they just don’t want to hear it. The result and its consequences are much of what we see in our nation today.

 

Today’s Readings:
Nehemiah 12 & 13
Psalm 89.30-37
Proverbs 22.3-4
Romans 1.1-32

 

Well, here we are finishing up the book of Nehemiah. Do you realize we have finished well over half of the Old Testament, 16 books in total and a good portion of Psalms and Proverbs? We’ve finished the four gospels and the book of Acts, the historical books of the New Testament.

bible on a chairNow we are starting the Epistles of Paul in the New Testament, beginning with the book of Romans and tomorrow we’ll start the book of Esther in the Old Testament. It’s exciting to see the progress we’re making.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Well, on to the word …

 

A Dangerous Downward Spiral

 

Romans 1.1-32:

An Overview

 

As we start the book of Romans, it might be helpful to consider a couple of things. Romans is primarily a book of doctrine, but don’t be put off by that. It doesn’t mean it’s a dry book with no relevance to our lives, quite the contrary! This epistle (letter) contains some of the most important truths for us to understand in our Christian lives. In his Study Bible, John MacArthur says:

“The overarching theme of Romans is the righteousness that comes from God: the glorious truth that God justifies guilty, condemned sinners by grace alone through faith in Christ alone.”

That is the foundation of our faith. If you are a newcomer to reading through the Bible or you’re new here, you might find it confusing that at the end of Acts, Paul is in Rome and here in Romans he is expressing his desire to go to Rome. It’s important to remember that the books of the Bible are not always arranged in chronological order.

In the New Testament the first four books are the Gospels, the four accounts of Christ’s life and ministry. Acts is the historical overview of the first three decades of the Church, ending its account in about 60-62 A.D.

quill pen scroll parchmentThe remainder of the New Testament, except for the book of Revelation is a series of letters written by various church leaders to churches and individuals meant to be circulated to others within the church. They’re not in chronological order, but are grouped by author. Romans through Philemon, and possibly Hebrews, were written by the Apostle Paul. Romans was written about 56 A.D. before his imprisonment and journey to Rome.

 

The Joy of Christian Fellowship

 

So here we are in chapter one and there’s so much in this chapter. I love verses 11-12 where Paul is expressing his desire to visit Rome:

“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established—that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.”

What a picture of the joy of Christian fellowship and one anothering (Rom. 15.14; Gal. 6.2; Col. 3.16; 1 Thess. 4.18, 5.11; Heb. 10.24-25; Jas. 5.16; 1 Pet. 4.9).

 

Not Ashamed

 

Then verses 16-17:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

Are you tempted to be ashamed of the gospel? In the workplace? Or with your unsaved family? Are you afraid to share the truth because someone might make fun of you or think you’re simple-minded? Even after being beaten, stoned, ridiculed, and all the rest, Paul was “not ashamed of the Gospel”!

 

The Downward Spiral of Sin

 

downward spiralThen beginning in verse 18, we have what can be called “the downward spiral of sin.” You’ll see this in individual lives and in nations and societies, as well. It starts with “suppressing the truth.” It’s not that most people don’t know the truth, they just don’t want to hear it. Sound familiar? Verses 21-22 say:

“…because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools …”

Our schools, colleges and universities, as well as other arenas, are full of people who think they are so wise, with all their science and knowledge, but God says they’re fools!

The downward spiral and its consequences don’t come from a moody God who is just taking out His annoyance on people. This is the result of a purposeful rejection of the truth by the people involved. Continue reading