Thursday, November 26, 2015

Who Is Guilty?

According to a radio broadcast I heard last year, “Amazing Grace” is no longer the most popular song at funerals. The most popular funeral song is now “I Did It My Way.” 

This underlines a fact that we should have already noticed. People are not interested in being saved because they do not believe that they are lost.

As far as the world is concerned, God owes us a place in heaven. This is based on the assumption that we have not done much wrong, and what wrong we have done is usually someone else’s fault – mostly God’s fault. Yes, we have our flaws. But, we claim, those flaws are really God’s fault. He made us this way. He gave us these desires, so it must be okay to fulfill these desires.

To most people today, that seems like sound reasoning. Sadly, I even hear people in the church talk like that. Let me warn you, such reasoning will not be tolerated at the throne of judgment. 

God did not make us what we are. We, by our sin, perverted what he made us. We by our weakness in the face of our own warped desires are making ourselves worse on a daily basis.

This faulty reasoning is not new. It is as old as the human race. Adam tried to blame God. He said, “The woman that you gave me … (Gen 3:12). Cain tried to play the weakling, the victim of his circumstances. God acknowledged that Cain was being tempted, but he also stated that Cain was able to master sin, if he chose to do so. “The Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen?  If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it’” (Genesis 4:6-7, ESV).

Yes, we have desires; but no, God did not give the current form of these desires to us. We, by our sin, have warped and perverted what God has given us. Thus we are tempted. But there is still hope. We can master the situation, not by continuing to do things our way but by accepting his amazing grace and living by his power rather than our own.

We can whimper and whine and claim that we cannot help it. But it is a lie. It is self-deception. God has enabled us to overcome sin, and he demands that we do so. He is not guilty. We are.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Pardon Me

It was one of those conversations where the two people talking were not communicating clearly. My wife was trying to explain to a young widow the importance of clean water to maintaining the health of her children. My wife had never been to this widow’s home. I had; and I soon realized that they did not understand one another.

Chery asked this sister if she had a good source of clean water near her home. She answered “Yes.” She was so thankful that she had a good source of water near her house.
I wanted to cry. I sometimes do cry when I think of that moment.

Here was a young mother, whose husband had died of AIDS and whose son also had AIDS, giving thanks that she only had to walk a mile to get water for her family. Here was a woman thankful that the stream ran so close to her house; and thankful that, as streams go, this one was fairly clean.

Pardon me if I have trouble understanding why people buy a new refrigerator because they do not like the color of the old one. Pardon me if I have trouble understanding why we discard many items that work fine, thinking we simply must have the new style. Pardon me if I do not understand the need for multiple televisions in a household.

Pardon me if I think that this Thursday ought to be a day of repentance, confession, and worship, instead of a day of gluttony and sports.