The Apostle Paul said: “Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.” (Romans 3:31)
Many people mistakenly think that the New Testament in some way depreciates the significance of the law written in the Old Testament. Some say that the doctrine of justification by faith alone supports this. The Apostle says, “By no means!” Why?
Messages regarding racism surround us. Many claim to have the answer that will help resolve racial divisions and prejudices. Only time will tell whether these novel solutions will deliver what they promise. But what if the answer exists tucked securely in the pages of the Bible? What if our racial divisions need not something new but something that has always been there though underused?
Over the last two weeks, I have asked one of the key questions of our time, “how do you detoxify a situation that you do not have the power to change on your own? I answered that question by saying, “you align yourself with someone more powerful who can” (1 John 4:4). I then gave some basic practical tips that could help those who trust in Christ shine his light into darkness and season society with his flavoring (Matthew 5:13-16).
These practical tips included: greet those you meet, return wrongs with rights, beautify your tongue – by which I meant speak words of blessing and not of cursing, kill with kindness, don’t say everything you think needs saying on every topic, take your cues from Christ and not the world, and finally leave room for God’s vengeance.
These seven tips represent a sampling of the Bible’s teaching on Christian living. While many hail the teachings of Christ in these regards, anyone who has taken them seriously will tell you they are near impossible. How did Jesus himself practice what he preached?
How do you detoxify a situation that you do not have the power on your own to change? You align yourself with someone more powerful who can (1 John 4:4). These basic practical tips continue the list offered in last week’s article.
Don’t say everything you think needs saying on every topic.” Jesus cautioned his disciples about sharing wisdom. While we ought never to shrink back from speaking the truth (Ephesians 4:15), we ought to realize that some people are not ready for the truth. Give those around you just enough truth and wisdom as they can endure and no more. “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you (Matthew 7:6).”
How do you detoxify a situation that you do not have the power on your own to change? You align yourself with someone more powerful who can (1 John 4:4). These basic practical tips can help you shine Christ’s light into darkness and season society with Christ’s flavoring (Matthew 5:13-16).
God gave us our bodies with purpose and meaning. Take for example the human tongue. Jesus’ brother James said of the tongue, “It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:8-10) Johaness Benz, who helped lead the reformation in Germany, said something similar of our whole body: “Our whole body was created so that it might offer itself in obedience to the Word of God. For which reason, if it passes over to the service of Satan in obedience to sins, the whole body is dishonored. Therefore, nobody, no matter how powerful an enemy they might be, can dishonor us as much as we ourselves do by the abuse of our own bodies.” The Apostle Paul gives another example of dishonoring the body. Though it has become culturally controversial, you can read about it in Romans 1:26-27.
We live in one of the most advanced societies of all time. However, morally speaking, things have not really changed. In the first century, the Apostle Paul said, “They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.” (Romans 1:29-31) He was painting a painful picture of what happens when the human race refuses to acknowledge God.
Trying to help a family member or dear friend who has gone off the rails can be one of the most difficult things in life. They habitually make poor decisions, and you do everything in your power to try to help them. Yet, no matter how much you try, they keep making the same harmful decisions. You will always be there for them. You will wait for them like the father of the prodigal son, longing for the day of their return. But, also, like the father of the prodigal, you will let them go. You will give them what they want, to be left alone to do what they want to do, hoping that just maybe they will finally come to their senses, see their errors, and come home.
The real reason people refuse to believe in God is not logical, rational, or scientific. People simply refuse to open their eyes and see the fingerprints of God all around them. This was caused by humanity’s thinking becoming futile at the fall. Apart from God’s grace, humans no longer use their God given intellect for what it was made for – glorifying God – but instead use it to prop themselves up. Instead of giving God glory for the works he has done, they live as if God can be molded into their liking.
The truth about God has been made plain to even the most devout atheist. The invisible God has made himself visible through what you can see. You can think of this as the wind of a tornado. You cannot see the wind of a tornado, but when you see the cone-like shape touch the ground and cloud and debris circling around, you know to run. We can say something similar about God. You cannot see him directly – he transcends creation – yet you can see his fingerprints on his handiwork all around you.