Posts Tagged ‘Sin’


April 15, 2017 Leave a comment

Jared Wilson at The Gospel Coalition has a post on the things that Christ does with our sin. Worth your time.

Mark 16:3–6 (ESV)
3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.

Have a blessed Easter.


The Thief on the Cross

November 1, 2008 Leave a comment

Last Sunday our Pastor, in his continuing series (4+ years) on Luke, came to the Thief on the Cross (Luke 23:39-43).

As our Pastor mentioned, the Thief brought nothing to the table. He was nailed to a cross, no more than a matter of hours from his own death. He couldn’t join a church, or a “community of Christ-followers”. He couldn’t serve on any boards or committees. He wouldn’t be baptized, nor would he take Communion. No one would ask him whether or not he was a Calvinist or an Arminian. The Pre-Trib/Post-Trib argument wouldn’t be a factor.

What was a factor, the only factor, was that he was a sinner in need of a Savior, and he came face to face with the Savior. The accounts in Matthew and Mark indicate that both of the thieves joined in with the throng hurling insults and abuse at Jesus (Matthew 27:44, Mark 15:32).

Luke’s account, however, indicates that one of the criminals came face to face with his own sin, as well as the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It was at the cross did this penitent criminal recognize his fear of the Lord. As Proverbs 9:10 says, “”The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom (NIV)”.

Why is it that today, even in the most apparently solid Evangelical churches, we’re overwhelmed with blather about “Making Connections” and “building community”, but not the essential message that our sin will keep us separated from God forever? At best, we hear how that God loves us and has a wonderful plan for us, which is true, but hardly the entire picture. We need to have preachers preach the entire Gospel– that we’re hopeless sinners with but one way to salvation— Grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Instead, we have more Moralism, of things that we need to do as we’re in our “journey of faith”. Instead of focusing on Grace and Mercy, it seems more man-centered. Again, these are the Evangelicals that are watering down the message of Salvation!

Alistair Begg of Cleveland’s Parkside Church and Truth for Life, attributes this to a lack of confidence in the Gospel on behalf of these Preachers of the Gospel. If that’s the case, it’s both sad and frightening.

To me, a desperate sinner, the story of the Thief on the Cross fills me with hope. Because of the price Christ paid for my sins, when I leave this vale of tears I’ll be with Him in Paradise.

Does your church present the full gospel? Or are your services based upon your wonderful programming? It doesn’t matter how spectacular the Worship Band is if the message isn’t based upon the need for salvation.

The Failure of Psychology

I’ve been an ardent baseball fan since my youth. A much better fan than player, by the way. I’m still a devotee of the game, and follow the Local Nine with great interest. However, as I grow older, I watch my own kids’ participation in the game with greater enthusiasm than I follow the elites of Major League Baseball. Last year, for instance, the Arizona Diamondbacks were in the NLCS. Obviously a tremendous year, but to me I hadn’t but a dim idea of who most of their players were. Oh, sure, I knew Eric Byrnes, Brandon Webb, Livan Hernandez, and Tony Clark were. However, I probably knew more players in my #1 son’s American League, or certainly knew more players on my #2 Son’s A’s team.

Way back when I was in college (back before the dawn of time, or at least when the world was entirely in Black and White, if you listen to my smart-aleck offspring), I became aware of Bill James’ work. It became a rite of spring: Bill James would publish his Baseball Abstract, and I would trot on over to a B. Dalton Bookseller and shell out my hard-earned money for his latest edition. I would start read it on my way home (even while driving), and would finish that night. I still have every edition of the Abstract from 1982 to its final in 1988 on my bookshelves, and also have some of the Bill James Baseball Books that followed the Abstracts.
One of the things that I appreciated about Bill James’ writings is that while they were about baseball, he covered many other topics along the way. One paragraph that I distinctly recall was on the title of this post, “The Failure of Psychology”. I searched in vain for the salient paragraph through the books, but the gist of it was that modern psychology was that psychology was a great disappointment in solving our problems. I did find this quote in the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract: “…but I think professionalism ranks with socialism, psychology, and twice-baked potatoes as the worst ideas of the twentieth century.” I’m not sure if James was going where I’m about to go, but I’m using his ideas as a point of departure for my own.
The problem with psychology is that while it is the science of mind and behavior, all too often the concept of sin and estrangement from God is missing from the equation. I’m not negating the value, in certain instances, of psychological help. However, all too often bad behavior or sin has been misdiagnosed in our society as a psychological issue.

This post is nowhere near as elegant as I envisioned. It’s getting late, and perhaps I could have put together a more thorough critique of psychology. The problem with psychology, other than its inherent squishiness, is that it fails to get to the heart of man’s problem: He’s a desperate sinner, estranged from God, and destined to spend eternity in Hell unless he repents of his sins and places his faith and trust in the Grace provided by Christ and the Atonement for our sins that he provided through His death on the cross.

That is a much higher order of magnitude than the relatively trivial matters with which psychologists wrestle. So is everything else in life, of course.