Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sin as Punishment

For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts. . . . For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. . . . And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.--Romans 1: 21-24a, 26a, 28 (ESV, emphasis added)

Sin is not the natural condition of man. God made mankind in His image and pronounced a judgment that man was "good."

Yet Adam and Eve chose not to "honor Him as God" and obeyed their own desires. That is the root of idolatry: not acknowledging God.

We all do the same thing. Though creation shows us God's hand, we close our eyes. When the sound of the waves pounds our ears, we shout "la la la la la" to drown it out. Then, we choose our idol and make that our god.

And God does not leave such idolatry unpunished.

Instead, He gives us over to more and more sin. Each sin that tempts us can in some respects be traced back to idolatry, the root sin of our flesh.

Non-Christians: the things you do and then later regret are not isolated flare-ups of some alien force exerting control over your body. Those sins are just the first step in God's eternal punishment. Don't let another day go buy without acknowledging Jesus as Lord and turning to Him.

Christians: have you gotten to the root of your sin? I still struggle with sin, and I'm beginning to suspect that I simply treat the symptoms without curing the disease. Let's strive to destroy our root sin of idolatry and then move on to the branches of sin.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

22 Words

Eliminating excess words without obscuring meaning is Abraham Piper's gift. Like this, his many posts are twenty-two words. Fun and edifying.

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Jobs

Well, folks, it's January twelfth and in Southern California, summer is making an early beginning. Even as I sit at the computer, drops of sweat are running down my face. But the heat can't dampen the good news I have to share: I have two new jobs!

I am leaving Domino's Pizza, where I've had a great work experience for the past eleven months, and moving to In-N-Out Burger in Tustin. It's a 25% raise in per hour wages and will give me more hours per week than Domino's, so I'm excited.

My second "job" is not really a job but an unpaid unofficial internship at Sovereign Grace Church of Orange County. I get the privilege of helping my pastor Mike Davis by doing, well, whatever is necessary. It will be fulfilling and hopefully make a positive eternal impact, so I'm thrilled at this opportunity.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Power of God

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith."--Romans 1:16-17 (ESV)

Do you feel too week to evangelize? I do sometimes. We are weak, flawed human beings, not God. To bring someone to Christ requires more power than we have. What do we do?

Thank God, we don't have to do anything. Why not? Because the gospel is God's power. His power is not found in a raging waterfall or a blazing supernova, but in the Word of Christ.

You have nothing to be ashamed of. Preach the gospel boldly and watch God's power work on the hearts of those around us.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

ANTHEM for a New Life

John Piper's acronym ANTHEM is the best tool I know of for guarding one's mind.

In an article he published in 2001, Piper gives his six-step plan for annihilating lustful thoughts. First, Avoid lustful temptations. Second, "Say No to every lustful thought within five seconds. And say it with the authority of Jesus Christ." Next, Turn your thoughts to Christ. Fourth, Hold thoughts of Christ in your head. Fifth, "Enjoy a superior satisfaction. Cultivate the capacities for pleasure in Christ." Sixth, "M into a useful activity."

I can testify from experience that ANTHEM is a helpful guide. Just last night, I fought back with its recommended defenses against temptation. It works. Read the whole thing and use it.