Unconfessed Sin – A Thief of Joy

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When sin invades our lives it robs us of joy in the Lord. David knew what it was to experience the darkness and depressiveness of unconfessed sin. On one occasion, David had noticed a beautiful woman named Bathsheba bathing. He lusted after her and like all acts of sin; a number of sinful thoughts went unchecked in his life. These thoughts and desires produced the physical actions of adultery () and even murder (). For a time, he kept silent. Before David confessed his sin to Lord he described his unrepentant condition by saying, Continue reading Unconfessed Sin – A Thief of Joy

It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”

14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die.” 16 And as Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant men. 17 And the men of the city came out and fought with Joab, and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uriah the Hittite also died. 18 Then Joab sent and told David all the news about the fighting. 19 And he instructed the messenger, “When you have finished telling all the news about the fighting to the king, 20 then, if the king’s anger rises, and if he says to you, ‘Why did you go so near the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? 21 Who killed Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Did not a woman cast an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?’ then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.’”

The Thieves of Joy

thieves

There are things in our lives that rob us of joy and we can call them the killjoys of the Christian life. These killjoys are strategic and scheming thieves. They are relentless in their attempted robbery and they are masters of disguise. Seeing that it is our duty to be a people that rejoice (; ), it must be our mission to recognize these thieves and do what we can to make sure they don’t rob us of the blessedness of our joy. Continue reading The Thieves of Joy

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

16 Rejoice always,

Passing Greatness or Permanent Glory?

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In preparation of the construction of the Tower of Babel, the people declared, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth” (). This people had departed from God’s original command for humanity. God commanded Adam to be “fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” () Continue reading Passing Greatness or Permanent Glory?

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Would you be holy? Advice from J C Ryle*

JC Ryle

Would you be holy? Would you become a new creature? Then you must begin with Christ. You will do just nothing at all, and make no progress — until you feel your sin and weakness, and flee to Him. He is the root and beginning of all holiness — and the way to be holy, is to come to Him by faith and be joined to Him. Christ is not wisdom and righteousness only to His people — but sanctification also. Men sometimes try to make themselves holy first of all — and sad work they make of it. They toil and labor and turn over many new leaves, and make many changes; and yet, like the woman with the issue of blood, before she came to Christ, they feel “nothing bettered — but rather worse” (). They run in vain and labor in vain, and little wonder — for they are beginning at the wrong end. They are building up a wall of sand; their work runs down — as fast as they throw it up. They are baling water out of a leaky vessel; the leak gains on them — not they on the leak. Continue reading Would you be holy? Advice from J C Ryle*

26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.

Sinful Culture vs. Holy Bible

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or Why the crafty serpent is winning the argument again

Two of the most hotly contested topics in the church today are homosexuality, and the role of men and women in the church. The two issues have two things in common. Firstly, they arguably cause more disagreement and controversy than any other topic within Evangelical and wider Protestant circles. Secondly, on both of these issues, pastors, lay people and theologians are essentially reinterpreting what scripture says. It’s the second of these two that I will focus on here.

My focus is how Christians are reinterpreting scripture, though homosexuality and gender roles will be used as illustrations of how it is occurring. Readers may disagree with me on those issues, but that merely serves as an illustration of the controversy surrounding them. In attempting to make sense of the biblical texts which speak of these issues, you hear people say things like, “Oh, but that text is for that particular church at that particular time.” Scholars are translating the original Greek in entirely new ways, showing that Paul didn’t really mean that homosexual practice is sinful when he wrote Romans (see , for example). Paul also couldn’t have meant that women are not to teach the bible when he wrote to Timothy (see ). Even if he did, they might say, it doesn’t apply to us today. In other words, people are starting to say that Paul didn’t really mean what we’ve always thought. Continue reading Sinful Culture vs. Holy Bible

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 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. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,

who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

Life and Temptation

Temptation

Life is filled with temptations. These temptations can be small and they can be substantial. Temptation that you experience may be a real trial for you, but for others it may be merely trivial, and vice versa. What is it that causes such a struggle within us when it comes to temptation? It would be easy a natural tendency of people is to shift the blame away from themselves. We may blame the environment we are in, the upbringing we had or even our personality type. The problem with doing this is that we are wrongly diagnosing the problem therefore don’t receive the biblical solution. The reality is that there is a deeper and more potent source causing the lure to temptation. What is it? Before we consider some specific strategies on fighting temptation, I want to briefly consider the source and sequence of temptation from . 

THE SOURCE OF TEMPTATION
James makes it clear that God is not the source of our temptation. He cannot be tempted because He has no capacity or vulnerability to temptation (; ; ) and therefore He does not tempt (). So then, where does temptation come from? says, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire“. He illustrates the source of temptation with fishing metaphors. Like a fish that is enticed by the bait and then lured away, we fall into temptation when our “own desire” drags us to the bait. The problem is within us (cf. ). Again, notice that the text says, “his own desire“. We all have different tendencies, which come from our different upbringings and personal choices in life. One person’s temptation isn’t always the same as an others. Nonetheless they are still real.

THE SEQUENCE OF TEMPTATION
Consider the sequence of temptation. In , James changes metaphors from fishing to gestation (“Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death“). “Desire” represents the mother and its child is “sin“. The gestation period of a human is nine months, whereas the gestation process of temptation instantaneous. Once mother “desire” has given birth to her child “sin“, it grows, and if allowed to become mature it “brings forth death“. The apostle Paul said on the same lines, “the wages of sin is death” (). Sin should not become the object of our entertainment. The results of allowing our desires to conceive are devastating, and must be avoided.

James concludes this section with a firm yet pastoral warning, “do not be deceived, my beloved brothers” (). It is not God who brings such evils in our life; the problem is with our own desires. Though we may find ourselves in a difficult and trying situation, we are to inform our desires so as to trust God. In the words of the great puritan pastor-theologian John Owen,

Temptations and occasions put nothing into a man, but only draw out what was in him before”.

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil may not dwell with you.

And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

Why do you make me see iniquity,
and why do you idly look at wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.

14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.

19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

15 But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.”

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.

Down, But Not Out

Opportunity

How many times have you disobeyed the Lord and not received what you deserved? I am sure that if we all think long and hard, we will be amazed that we are still here! Why is that? God is merciful and gracious. There are many things that we have done that removed us from the pathway of obedience. We know what His Word says, but we selfishly reject it. Such acts of rebellion (both private or public) against God’s Word are damaging and can cause great devastation. When we deviate from God’s will it robs us of joy in the Lord and opportunity to be faithful and glorify His magnificence.

If we have miserably failed in living according to God’s will, what should our next steps be? Instead of becoming despondent or moving in a direction of deeper depravity, as children of God we must confess our sin to the Lord, seek His forgiveness and repent from our sin. It is then we will know the joy and freedom that repentance brings (cf. ). The fact that the Lord has provided you an opportunity to know the seriousness of your sin and the occasion to seek His forgiveness reveals His wondrous grace and mercy toward you! He would be just in simply punishing us on the spot if he so desired.

This reminds me of Jonah. In an earlier post we learnt that due to his reluctance, Jonah ran away from God’s will. Despite his selfish and rebellious act of running away from God, the Lord chased him and got his attention. The Lord sovereignly prepared a great fish to swallow him up (). It was in the depths of the sea creature’s belly that Jonah saw the error of his way. He confessed his sin and repented.Despite his disobedience, in a merciful and miraculous way “the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land” (). God then provided Jonah with another opportunity to obey Him (cf. ). This says a lot concerning the character of God. What mercy and grace on display!

Perhaps you are down and despondent as a result of your sin. Don’t despair, instead look unto the Lord God and seek His forgiveness. Be thankful to Him that He has provided you with an opportunity to do this! As He grants you occasion, seek His grace to be faithful and fervent in your service to Him. You may be down, but by His grace you don’t have to be out.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

17  And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

10 And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.

3:1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.”

Running Away from God

Running Away

A game many children are good at is “Hide and Seek”. The thrill of running away while the person who is seeking has their eyes closed. You look for a safe haven in which you will be able to remain while the seeker is searching hard. Sometimes a child thinks they are in great hiding spot, but the reality is they aren’t. Other times, they are and the seeker will never find them. Continue reading Running Away from God

What is Repentance?

Wrong Way Imagine the horrifying experience of driving on the wrong side of a busy road, and then to be confronted with a sign, “Wrong Way, Go Back”. The sign is designed to warn you of the potential danger ahead and the necessary action to be done so as to avoid the potential harm. Though such a sign may be startling, it is actually very gracious and helpful. Continue reading What is Repentance?