Eyes That See

“I Once Was Blind”

Abraham: The Father of 3 Religions?

Was Abraham the father of the three major religions in the world- Judaism, Christianity, and Islam? I would say that he was the father of only one modern religion, on the basis of two reasons. First, the Jewish Tanakh, which is the Christian Old Testament and mentioned in the Qur’an as the “Holy Scriptures,” is an incomplete work. Even with the addition of the Talmud, the other collection of writings that are central to Judaism, Judaism is an incomplete religion because it both awaits its promised Messiah and does not explain how God can be quick to forgive without leaving the guilty unpunished. Christianity piggy-backs off of Judaism by acknowledging the writings of the Tanakh, the Old Testament, as holy writings. Islam attempts to similarly piggy-back off of Christianity by acknowledging both the Old Testament and the New Testament as holy writings- calling them the “Holy Scriptures” and the “Gospels”- and by relegating Jesus Christ, who the New Testament claims is the Tanakh/Old Testament’s promised Messiah, to the status of a prophet.

Secondly, according to the apostle Paul only one of the three religions is based on the faith of Abraham. So, although he may be the physical ancestor of all three religions, on the basis of faith he can and should only be seen as the father of one.

Our questions are these: Is the Christian claim to being the fulfillment of Judaism valid? Is Christianity complete, unlike Judaism? Is the Islamic claim to being the fulfillment of Christianity valid? Which of the three major religions has the faith of Abraham, and therefore is truly the heir of “father Abraham?” Last and most importantly, was Jesus the Christ, the Messiah that was promised in the Tanakh/Old Testament?

As I said before, Judaism is incomplete because at the close of their holy writings there is no Messiah. And because, without the Messiah, there is no explanation as to how God can forgive without letting the guilty go unpunished. That forgiveness is necessary assumes the guilt of those needing forgiveness. This mystery, which I am stealing from Mark Dever’s book “The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made,” is very clear in Exodus 34:6-7:

“The LORD passed before him (Moses) and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.'”

As we see there, the LORD promises to forgive iniquity, transgression, and sin. However, He then says that He will “by no means clear the guilty.” I agree with Dever’s assessment that this can only be understood in connection with a Messiah who would take the guilt of God’s chosen people upon Himself. Just as the sacrificial system of the Old Testament allowed reconciliation between God’s chosen people who had faith in God, and by faith that God would forgive their sins on the basis of the animal without blemish that was sacrificed. The death and blood of the animal paid the debt that was brought on by the sin. Since animals and their blood can accomplish nothing without the willingness of the living God, who is loving, merciful, and gracious beyond measure, the sacrificial system was really about the faith of God’s people and His willingness to forgive. However, modern Jews no longer participate in the sacrificial system. And they believe that their Messiah has not yet come. This begs the question, whereby does reconciliation with God and forgiveness of their sins come, with no sacrifice and no Messiah? Just as the religious writings leave off incomplete, with no reconciliation or forgiveness the Jewish religion is similarly incomplete.

The Christian New Testament claims that Jesus of Nazareth was the fulfillment of the Tanakh/Old Testament’s promised Messiah, and that through Jesus alone can the mysterious mercy without excluding justice be possible. He took upon Himself the sins of God’s chosen people on the Cross. Therefore, they are no longer guilty before God and He is able to forgive without letting the guilty go unpunished.

Christianity does leave off with a few mysteries, but they are mysteries that are promised to be understood when Jesus the Messiah returns. Therefore Christianity is not incomplete and does not need fulfillment the way that Judaism is incomplete and wanting fulfillment. We do not know when the Messiah will return, but we know who He is and that He will come. However, Islam attempts to piggy-back off of Christianity anyways. Islam does not deny the holy writings that are known as the Old Testament and the New Testament within Christianity. Neither do they deny that there was a man named Jesus who had supernatural abilities and was an extraordinary teacher. They accredit the Christian holy writings as the “Holy Scriptures and the Gospels” and Jesus as a prophet, who the Qur’an says lived flawlessly. However, there are two main ways in which Islam and Christianity cannot be reconciled. First there are things in the Qur’an that are irreconcilable with the Christian writings. For example, the Qur’an instructs its followers to kill “infidels” (unbelievers) if they will not convert to Islam. Secondly, they relegate Jesus from Messiah to prophet. Jesus taught that He was the way, the truth, and the life, and that no man comes to the Father except by Him. Islam and this statement from the lips of Jesus cannot both be true. In order for Islam to be true, Jesus must be relegated, as they attempt to relegate Him, to merely a prophet. And the Cross, where Christians find the essence of meaning, must be relegated to a meaningless event. If Jesus is not the exclusive way to God, then the Cross was unnecessary.

Paul says that by his faith righteousness was credited to Abraham, and Christians are to similarly trust the God of Abraham, who raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. Judaism and Islam are both works-based religions, whereby righteousness is a reward for living righteously. However, neither religion accounts for unrighteousness. Christianity is the only religion that calls for faith, like that of Abraham, by which Christians will both receive the necessary righteousness to stand justified before God and their unrighteousness will be accounted for, as by their faith their sins were paid for by Jesus on the Cross. Therefore, only Christianity can claim to be an heir of Abraham because it is the only religion that is based on the faith of “father Abraham.”

I chose to address this question last, although this changes the order in which I introduced them, because I wanted to save it for last. The true test of which of the three religions contains Truth is the identity of one Man. If Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, then Christianity and not Judaism contains Truth. If Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, and not merely a prophet as Islam contends, then Christianity and not Islam contains Truth. If Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, then the Truth of the Tanakh/Old Testament continues to the Christian New Testament. If Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, then the Truth of the Old and New Testaments stops there, and does not continue to the Qur’an.

Although the Cross is arguably the most significant event for Christians- for by the Cross alone can we be forgiven of sins and reconciled with God- the Resurrection of Jesus is the most significant here. Many men died by Roman crucifixion. The Resurrection proves that only one of those men was the Son of God. I argue for the resurrection here.

I believe with every fiber of my being that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead and that Jesus was the Tanakh’s promised Messiah. I believe that there is a God, and that He is holy and just. I believe that our sins against God have both angered Him and caused separation between mankind and God. I believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that no man comes to the Father but by Jesus. Jesus’ substitutionary death satisfied the righteous anger of God and paid the death penalty warranted by our sins, and by that death alone can we have eternal life.

Trust in Jesus, He is the Lord of the universe He created. Confess with your mouth that He is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead and you will be saved!

June 11, 2008 Posted by | Bible, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Faith, God, Islam, Jesus, Judaism, Religion | , , , , , | 4 Comments

My “Case for Christ”

Four convincing pieces evidence for Christianity, in my opionion:  the spread of the early Christian church on the basis of eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection in the face of brutal persecution, the willingness of all twelve of Jesus’ disciples to die for the belief that He was resurrected, the conversion of Saul/Paul, and the change in the life of Jesus’ brother James.
 
The founder and foundation of Christianity, Jesus Christ, was brutally murdered on the cross.  He was beaten to near death, forced to carry the crossbeam of His cross through town, had nails driven through His feet and wrists, the distance between the nails through His wrists would have forced His shoulders to be dislocated by the weight of His body, and His body weight would have eventually caused Him to suffocate when He could no longer push Himself up on the nail through His feet to be able to breathe.  I say that not to necessarily focus on the Cross, but to direct your attention to the people of that time.  This man claimed to be the Messiah of God.  There is historical evidence that He really lived and that He really performed super-natural feats, but this had to look like the end of His claims to be the Son of God.  His disciples were discouraged.
 
Add to that the fact that early Christians were persecuted by the Roman empire and others.  They were hung, crucified both right-side-up and upside-down, beheaded, and burnt at the stake.  And yet Christianity spread like wild fire in those days.  And the simple fact that there are still Christian churches almost 2000 years later, in spite of numerous efforts to nip Christianity in the bud, says a lot.  Early Christians had to simply renounce Christianity to save their lives, but they wouldn’t do it.  People who witnessed the murder of Christians became Christians.  Does that not defy all logic?  The man who was leading one of Jesus’ disciples to his execution professed Christianity and was beheaded with him.
 
All twelve of the disciples were willing to die rather than renounce their belief that Jesus was the Messiah, based on His resurrected appearance to them three days after the Crucifixion.  If it was all a lie or a hoax, would you not expect at least one of them to renounce and tell the executioners what they wanted to hear in order to save his life?
 
Then you have the apostle Paul, who was previously called Saul.  Saul was a Pharisee, on the rise in the Jewish elite.  He had fame, status, and power, and he was on the rise in large part because of his relentless persecution of Christians.  Then on the road to Damascus, the Bible says that Jesus appeared to Saul, blinded him, and told him that he would go by the name Paul from then on.  So Saul/Paul is converted and goes from being the most prominent persecutor of Christians to becoming a Christian himself and suffering all kinds of persecution himself, and he wrote a large portion of the New Testament.
 
Then you have James, the brother of Jesus.  He did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah while Jesus was alive.  Then Jesus is brutally murdered, as I described already.  Then the Bible says that Jesus appeared to James, along with over 500 others including the twelve disciples.  Remember Jesus has just been brutally murdered, and a similar brutal murder is all but promised to anybody who is a follower of Jesus.  James then becomes a ‘pillar’ of the Christian church, and he was writing and teaching in Jerusalem, and he was responsible for the conversion of an enormous number of people. 
 
So the Jews, the Pharisees, and the Scribes who did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah saw James as a problem.  They decided to put him on the top of the temple while there were a multitude of people in Jerusalem for the passover feast one year, so that they could persuade him to renounce Christianity with all those witnesses.  Instead of renouncing, James affirmed that Jesus was the Messiah and said that He ‘sits at the right hand of the Power that is in Heaven.’  They decided to throw him off the temple so that the people would be afraid to believe as he believed.  The fall did not kill him, and he rose to his knees and prayed for the men who had just thrown him off of a temple.  They proceeded to stone him, and he was finally killed when a man struck him over the head with a club.
 
We all have the idea of God, but we have also all sinned and our sin causes a seperation between us and God.  It is not a matter of living as good as we can and hoping that the good outweighs the bad, as other religions propose.  Jesus was and is God, and His death on the cross provides the only path to be reconciled with God.  Jesus taught that we had to be perfect and have perfect righteousness in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.  But none of us can attain perfection or perfect righteousness.  ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’
 
Thats where Jesus comes in.  He lived a perfect life and had perfect righteousness.  He knew no sin, but died the death for our sin.  We know no righteousness, but through His death on the Cross we can have forgiveness for our sins, His perfection, and His righteousness.  Our sin for His righteousness.  His death for our life.  That is the Gospel, and that is Christianity.

December 7, 2007 Posted by | Atheism, Atheist, Christ crucified, Faith, Jesus, Messiah, Resurrection | 1 Comment

The Best News

What is the Best News that God, the Bible, and Christianity have to offer?

God created this world, and it is magnificent.  But is that the Best News?

Hell is more infinitely terrible than our simple brains can fathom, and in Jesus, God gives us a “get of hell free” card.  But is that the Best News?

Heaven is as infinitely great as hell is infinitely terrible and then some, and God tells us in His Word that by putting our faith in His Son we can spend eternity in heaven.  But is that the Best News?

God loves us and wants us to be happy, and as our Father He wants to bless us with every good thing and every perfect gift.  But is that the Best News?

Those are all included in the great news that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but John Piper would say that none of those things qualify as the Best News that God, the Bible, and Christianity have to offer.  Piper would say that the Best News is that, through Christ, we are able to have an intimate knowledge of God and enjoy Him forever.  And after listening to his two-part message called “Sex and the Supremacy of Christ”, I joyfully concur. 

What I love about John Piper is how Biblically solid he is and how he always strives to exult Jesus Christ.  Because he backs up what he says with the Word of God (and usually with multiple texts), it is often impossible to both accept that the Bible is the Word of God and logically disagree with Piper.  And because he strives to ceaselessly exult Jesus, I rarely leave his books or sermons without a desire to imitate him in that fashion.

 The “Sex and the Supremacy of Christ” messages were intended to give his audience the best way to Godly sexuality, but the Supremacy of Christ was indubitably the central theme.  And the Supremacy of Christ is essential to both living the Christian life and combatting the sins of this world.  Therefore, although the message was intended to encourage Godly sexuality, the messages can definitely be applied to all areas of the Christian life. 

You can hear part 1 here:  http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/ConferenceMessages/ByDate/1657_Sex_and_the_Supremacy_of_Christ_Part_1/

And part 2 here:  http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/ConferenceMessages/ByDate/184_Sex_and_the_Supremacy_of_Christ_Part_2/

October 27, 2007 Posted by | Bible, Blessed, Blessings, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Delight, Desiring God, Doers of the Word, Faith, Father, Giver, God, Heart, Infinite, John Piper, Life, Lord, Pleasure, Prosperity, Religion, righteousness, Satisfaction, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, The Law of the Lord, The Resurrection, the Word of God | Leave a comment

A Possible Center of the Christian/Atheism debate?

I have a new pastime…

I joined an atheist/agnostic group on myspace:  http://groups.myspace.com/atheistsagnostics

and I posted some comments here:  http://friendlyatheist.com/2007/10/09/when-i-say-i-am-an-atheist/

both with the intention of striking up some possibly fruitful conversations.  At first, I had high hopes that things might go well with these conversations.  I quickly realized that I was just striking up debates that were not going to get anywhere.  I would argue with something that somebody else said and give my 2 cents, and unbelievers would argue with what I said and give their two cents.  We all were holding stubbornly to our beliefs and I saw that there was little or no chance of these conversations going anywhere. 

Then I thought of a new approach, and posted a comment stating that I was willing to accept, for argument’s sake, that everything that I had said was wrong, if we could change our direction and they would answer these questions:

 “Do you agree that the center of the issue is whether Jesus conquered death three days after dying on the cross? Do you agree that if you were convinced that Jesus conquered death three days after dying on the cross, your beliefs and your life would have to change? Do you agree that the ramifications of this are huge? Do you agree that if Jesus conquered death three days after dying on the cross, and you do not acknowledge Him as the King of this universe and put your faith in Him and treasure Him, you will sentance yourself to an eternity in hell?”

 Perhaps it would be wise to wait and see how this approach turns out before blogging about it, but I am willing to take a chance.  I hope that there will be a lot of comments here… I would love to hear the thoughts of both believers and unbelievers on these questions and whether they are central to Christianity.

Also, my thinking is that if the people I have been conversing with accept that these issues are central and are willing to at the very least not refuse information that opposes their beliefs from the start, I will encourage them to read “The Case for Christ.”

“The Case for Christ” cut the final threads of my unbelief, and I was convinced first that the Bible was credible and that Jesus really conquered death.  The end of my unbelief and beginning of my belief happened when I was convinced that Jesus conquered death, which is why I see it as the center point.  I have probably given “The Case for Christ” a little bit more credit than it deserves; although I still believe that it deserves a lot of credit and is a GREAT book.  But to give it as much credit as I did and sometimes still do, undermines other things that took place leading up to the time when the book cut those final threads of unbelief.  Without my amazing brother (http://jimhamilton.wordpress.com), Baptist Church of the Redeemer (http://www.bcredeemer.org), and some great Christian influences at my then-employer Texas State Bank and in the group of guys that I was playing church league basketball with, I never would have been in the position that I was to a) actually read the book, and b) give it the open mind that it must have to have any impact. 

So, due to those outside factors, I was in a position to say “yes” to those questions that I listed above.  Once I was in that position, “The Case for Christ” did the rest.  So, if you are an unbeliever, and you can answer “yes” to those questions, I would encourage you to read “The Case for Christ” with as much of an open mind as you can, as I did.  And if you are a believer, and you are having conversations with unbelievers or would like to have conversations with unbelievers about Christianity, I THINK this could be a good course to take.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions?

October 17, 2007 Posted by | Atheism, Christ, Christianity, Faith, God, Religion, The Resurrection | 11 Comments

Greetings From Paris/Polycarp

Turns out they have the internet over here in Paris, so I figure we might as well blog a little…

Paris is amazing!  I have pretty much seen everything that I wanted to see so far- and I’ve only been here for 4 days!  But, in seeing everything that I knew that I wanted to see ahead of time, I came across a few things that were added to the list.  So far I have been to the Luxembourg Garden- one of my favorites because I recently read Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables”- as well as The Tuileries Garden, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower (during the day, lit up at night, and sparkling during the first 10 minutes of every dark hour), Sacre Coeur, and today I spent about 7 hours in the Louvre- and barely put a dent in everything there is to see there!  I took about 5 zillion pictures- quite a few were paintings and sculptures of either the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus, Jesus, or John the Baptist’s head on a platter, which seem to be pretty common themes there.  I plan to get them posted soon, so hold your breath on those.

On the flight over I read some Eusebius, and I am very much drawn to the stories of the martyrs of the early Christian church.  One such Eusebius early Christian church martyr story was about a guy named Polycarp who was the leader of the church in Smyrna.  Eusebius only says Smyrna is in Asia, but I have since learned that it is in Turkey.  His story was very inspirational (and I think would make a great movie), and his martyrdom led to an end of the persecutions for a period of time in Asia.  So I thought I would post a couple excerpts from the story here (and I decided to go ahead and change all of the thee’s and thou’s to you’s and so forth).

Chapter XV- Under Verus, Polycarp with Others suffered Martyrdom at Smyrna

(I cut out part of the beginning of the story- there were other martyrs in Smyrna, and Polycarp is being sought after.)  “But the most admirable Polycarp, when he first heard of these things, continued undisturbed, preserved a quiet and unshaken mind, and determined to remain in the city. But being persuaded by his friends who entreated and exhorted him to retire secretly, he went out to a farm not far distant from the city and abode there with a few companions, night and day doing nothing but wrestle with the Lord in prayer, beseeching and imploring, and asking peace for the churches throughout the whole world. For this was always his custom. And three days before his arrest, while he was praying, he saw in a vision at night the pillow under his head suddenly seized by fire and consumed; and upon this awakening he immediately interpreted the vision to those that were present, almost foretelling that which was about to hapen, and declaring plainly to those that were with him that it would be necessary for him for Christ’s sake to die by fire.”

(Polycarp moves once more to a second farm, but refuses to move again and says, “The will of God be done.”  His pursuers find him at the second farm…)

“But he did not hesitate, but immediately gave orders that a table should be spread for them. Then he invited them to partake of a bounteous meal, and asked of them one hour that he might pray undisturbed. And when they had given permission, he stood up and prayed, being full of the grace of the Lord, so that those who were present and heard him praying were amazed, and many of them now repented that such a venerable and godly old man was about to be put to death.”

(Polycarp is brougt to the city, and the captain of the police and the captain’s father try to persuade him to recant, but he does not.  Fast forward to when Polycarp is led into the stadium)

“Finally when he came up, the proconsul asked if he were Polycarp. And when he confessed that he was, he endeavored to persuade him to deny, saying, ‘Have regard for your age,’ and other like things, which it is their custom to say: ‘Swear by the genius of Caesar; repent and say, Away with the Atheists.’ (They called Christians “atheists” because they would not worship the rulers, i.e. Caesar, as their gods)  But Polycarp, looking with dignified countenance upon the whole crowd that was gathered in the stadium, waved his hand to them, and groaned, and raising his eyes toward heaven, said, ‘Away with the Atheists.’ But when the magistrate pressed him, and said, ‘Swear, and I will release thee; revile Christ,'”

“Polycarp said, ‘Fourscore and six years have I been serving him, and he has done me no wrong; how then can I blaspheme my king who saved me?'”

“But when he again persisted, and said, ‘Swear by the genius of Caesar,’ Polycarp replied, ‘If you vainly suppose that I will swear by the genius of Caesar, as you say, feigning to be ignorant who I am, hear plainly: I am a Christian…”

“But the proconsul said, ‘I have wild beasts; I will throw you to them unless you repent.’ But he said, ‘Call them; for repentance from better to worse is a change we cannot make. But it is a noble thing to turn from wickedness to righteousness.’ But he again said to him, ‘If you despise the wild beasts, I will cause you to be consumed by fire, unless you repent.’  But Polycarp said, ‘You threaten a fire which burns for an hour, and after a little is quenched; for you know not the fire of the future judgment and of the eternal punishment which is reserved for the impious. But why do you delay? Do what you will.’

“[The crowd] cried out and asked the [president of the games] Philip to let a lion loose upon Polycarp. But he said that it was not lawful for him, since he had closed the games. Then they thought fit to cry out with one accord that Polycarp should be burned alive. For it was necessary that the vision should be fulfilled which had been shown him concerning his pillow, when he saw it burning while he was praying, and turned and said prophetically to the faithful that were with him, ‘I must needs be burned alive.'”

“…then the materials prepared for the pile were placed about him; and as they were also about to nail him to the stake, he said, ‘Leave me thus; for he who has given me strength to endure the fire, will also grant me strength to remain in the fire unmoved without being secured by you with nails.’ So they did not nail him, but bound him. And he, with his hands behind him, and bound like a noble ram taken from a great flock, an acceptable burnt offering unto God omnipitent, said, ‘Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have received the knowledge of you, the God of angels and of powers and of the whole creation and of the entire race of the righteous who live in your presence, I bless you that you have deemed me worthy of this day and hour, that I might receive a portion in the number of the martyrs, in the cup of Christ, unto resurrection of eternal life, both of soul and of body, in the immortality of the Holy Spirit.  Among these may I be received before you this day, in a rich and acceptable sacrifice, as you, the faithful and true God, have beforehand prepared and revealed, and have fulfilled. Wherefore I praise you also for everything; I bless you, I glorify you, through the eternal high priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom, with him, in the Holy Spirit, be glory unto you, both now and for the ages to come, Amen.’

“When he had offered up his Amen and had finished his prayer, the firemen lighted the fire; and as a great flame blazed out, we, to whom it was given to see, saw a wonder, and we were preserved that we might relate what happened to the others. For the fire presented the appearance of a vault, like the sail of a vessel filled by the wind, and made a wall about the body of the martyr, and it was in the midst not like flesh burning, but like gold and silver refined in a furnace. For we perceived such a fragrant odor, as of the fumes of frankincense or of some other precious spices. So at length the lawless men, when they saw that the body could not be consumed by the fire, commanded an executioner to approach and pierce him with the sword. And when he had done this there came forth a quantity of blood so that it extinguished the fire…”

September 12, 2007 Posted by | Christian, Church History, Eusebius, Faith, Life, Martyr, Polycarp, Religion | 2 Comments

Doers of the Word?

Psalm 1

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!  But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.  He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.

The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.  For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish.”

James 1:22 – “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”

According to Blaise Pascal, by way of John Piper’s “Desiring God,” all men seek their own happiness.  He does not divide men into two categories the way that Psalm 1 does.  Therefore, both wicked men and righteous men seek their own happiness.  The difference is found in the means to the end; the end being their own happiness.

So how are the means of the righteous and the means of the wicked different as they seek their own happiness?  “[The righteous man’s] delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.”

The difference in whether your way will perish or prosper is whether or not you delight in the Lord and His law and meditate on it day and night.  By that measure I am wicked far more often than I am righteous.

I am studying “Desiring God” with my good friend and hero Travis Cardwell, and Piper’s thoughts in his book are obvious and Biblically solid.  But, they are difficult to put into practice.  I see the magnificence of God everywhere in this world.  I see the unthinkable mercy that God showed to me even though I turned my back on Him for years and sought to live my life without Him.  I see that just as hell is overwhelmingly terrible, God is infinitely glorious because He gave me a way to avoid hell- even though hell is the only thing I deserve from Him.

And I love Him when I am thinking about Him and when I do meditate on Him, His law, His creations, and all of His blessings.  Those are times when “desiring God” comes easily. 

And yet how quickly my simple mind forgets.  And how my simple heart seeks satisfaction in the simple pleasures of His creations and His gifts, all the while ignoring the infinite blessings, prosperity, and pleasures of the Giver.  And so my question is, “How do I put Piper’s theories into practice all the time, rather than only when it comes easily?”

The answer, I believe, is found by combining Psalm 1 with James 1:22.  My delight must be in the law of the Lord.  And I must meditate in it day and night.  And, I must be a doer of the word, and not merely a hearer who deludes myself.

August 25, 2007 Posted by | Bible, Doers of the Word, Faith, God, Heart, James, Psalm 1, Religion, righteousness | 4 Comments