He provides an eternal redemption, and he promises an eternal inheritance. If Jesus is your priest, nobody can take these things away. Your redemption. Your inheritance. And these two things will have a profoundly cleansing effect on your conscience.
A person’s conscience is a funny thing.
My earliest memory of what I would consider my “conscience” involves a little orange newt I found when I was 6 or 7 years old. I picked it up and thought it would be fun to throw it as hard as I could into a brick wall at point blank range.
Far from being fun, it made me feel sick to my stomach.
A little voice in my head informed me that I was a poor excuse for a human being. And that voice was right.
I tried to cover my tracks, so nobody would know of my dark deeds. But I still just couldn’t stand the time spent waiting for others to return to my location, and potentially catch me red-handed.
What about you? What sort of run-ins have you had with your conscience?
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By Tim Challies — 2 years ago
What we may need to be reminded of is that we will be held to account for our words—for all our words. There will be a reckoning not only for the words we intentionally used poorly or that we deliberately used to hurt others, but also for the words we used carelessly. We will be responsible before God for not only what was fully malicious, but also for what was merely negligent, apathetic, irresponsible, reckless, or impetuous.
A technician for an airline neglected to check the logs from previous flights and therefore failed to take action on a control problem that had recurred multiple times over the past days. His carelessness was one of the factors that led to the plane crashing on a subsequent flight.
An engineer failed to set the brakes on parked tanker cars which soon begin to roll of their own accord until, out of control, they skipped the tracks and exploded. His carelessness led to widespread death and destruction.
A truck driver became distracted by a problem with his trailer, failed to notice a stop sign, and sailed through an intersection at high speed, putting it immediately in the path of a fast-moving bus. His carelessness claimed the lives of many passengers and earned him a long sentence in prison.
Each of these people was called upon to account for his carelessness, for his neglect, and for all the devastation that came from it. And rightly so, for carelessness is no small matter. Carelessness is a moral issue that can have severe consequences.
Carelessness was on Jesus’ mind on a day when the religious authorities confronted him about his failure to keep their interpretation of the religious law. He remarked that their words were evil because their hearts were evil. “How can you speak good, when you are evil?” he asked.
By Peter Gentry — 4 months ago
What, one may ask legitimately, is the relation of Genesis 1–11 to Genesis 12–50, to the rest of the Torah, to the rest of the Old Testament, or to the rest of the Bible? The latter questions assume, of course, the existence or possibility of a single plot structure running through the assorted collection of books we call the Bible. Is Genesis 1–11 just the “primeval history” that we have to get out of the way before the real story starts with Abraham in Genesis 12? Some Christians approach putting the Bible together this way.
My thesis in this brief piece is that all of our foundations for life and living are found in the biblical teaching on creation, especially as delineated in Genesis 1–3. From the account of creation, we see that God rules sovereignly over all his works as King. He establishes his rule, moreover, in a bond or relationship of love, loyalty, spirit, and trust with humans. Not surprisingly, then, one of the central themes of the Old Testament is kingdom through covenant.
The Image of God as a King in Covenant with God
The foundation for kingdom through covenant is laid by the creation of humans as the image of God. Genesis 1:27–28 actually deals with two topics by means of a chiasm or literary sandwich:
(A) in the image of God he created him
(B) male and female he created them
(B´) be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth
(A´) and subdue it and rule over the fish/birds/animals
After the general statement in verse 27a that God created humanity in his image, we have in verse 27b a couple of important footnotes. The fact that humanity is constituted as male and female prepares us for the command to be fruitful, and the fact that humanity is the divine image prepares us for the command to rule over the creatures. Thus, while binary sexual differentiation is the basis for procreation enabling humans to increase in number (the B elements in the chiasm), our status as God’s image is expressed in subduing and ruling (the A elements). Note that our identity as God’s image is expressed as we rule creation on God’s behalf. This identity does not require bearing children, nor is biological gender a necessary aspect of our ability to function as God’s image. Rather, the image of God correlates to men and women ruling over creation.
Careful analysis of the terms “likeness” and “image” in the Hebrew scriptures shows that these words speak of kinship and kingship. Likeness focuses on our relation to God as his obedient sons and daughters while image focuses on the way we represent God to the rest of his creation. These would have been understood as covenantal relationships since family language is invoked to describe covenants in the Bible and ancient Near East. Note as well that according to the grammar of the original text, ruling over the creatures in v. 26b is a result of creating man in the divine image. So, the image has to do with the core of our being and status and is not only or simply functional.
Most occurrences of the word “image” denote a physical statue. Accordingly, mankind is set in the midst of creation as God’s statue. He is evidence that God is the Lord of creation. Mankind exerts his rule not in arbitrary despotism but as a responsible agent, as God’s steward. His duty to rule is not autonomous; it is a copy of the divine king who sits in glory. Hence the concept of the kingdom of God is found on the first page of the Bible.
From the First Adam to the Second
Adam begins to rule the world under God by naming everything created on the earth just as God ruled by naming everything created in the heavens. This understanding of the divine image fits the background of the ancient Near East where the setting up of the king’s statue was the equivalent to the proclamation of his domination over the area in which the statue was erected.
When the descendants of the first man and woman fill the earth with chaos and social violence flowing from the breaking of the covenant by Adam and Eve, God destroys all creatures by a flood and preserves a pair of each kind. God makes a new start with Noah and he is given Adam’s covenant and mandate (comp. Genesis 1:27–29 with 9:1–7). When the family of Noah ends up confused and scattered over the face of the earth because of the curse of Babel in Genesis 11, God chooses Abraham and his family in Genesis 12 to inherit the role of Adam and Eve.
By Derrick Brite — 1 week ago
On June 6, 1882, George Matheson sat alone a day before his sister’s wedding and penned “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.” Though delighted for his sister, the Scottish minister felt sorrow mixed in with joy before the wedding festivities. At age 20, Matheson lost his eyesight, and his fiancé at the time decided that she could not be married to a blind man. His sister had taken him in to care for him, and through her love and support of him, Matheson became an effective preacher and minister of the gospel.
Despite being absent of any real musical ability, I have always been fascinated with the hymn lyrics and the history behind them. Some of these stories are legendary among Christians. For example, who can forget the tragic events that precipitated the writing of “It Is Well” by Horatio Spafford? In God’s providence, the hymn born out of Spafford’s tragedy has provided great comfort for Christians for well over a century.
However, it is a lesser-known hymn with a tragic story that I want to highlight today, as it too has provided me with great comfort. On June 6, 1882, George Matheson sat alone a day before his sister’s wedding and penned “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.” Though delighted for his sister, the Scottish minister felt sorrow mixed in with joy before the wedding festivities. At age 20, Matheson lost his eyesight, and his fiancé at the time decided that she could not be married to a blind man. His sister had taken him in to care for him, and through her love and support of him, Matheson became an effective preacher and minister of the gospel. His sister learned Greek and Hebrew, and she helped Matheson study the biblical text every day. Some have reported that he knew the biblical text so well – and was such a gifted preacher – that unless you knew he was blind, you would not have suspected such to be the case.
Now with his sister to be married, Matheson found himself alone again. It was out of this moment of bittersweetness – even deep despondency – that Matheson wrote such comforting lyrics: “O Love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee. I give Thee back the life I owe, that in Thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.” Matheson later shared that it took him all of five minutes to write the lyrics, saying that it was almost as if it the words were dictated to him. Of his own admission, he said that he was not gifted with a natural sense of rhythm – again, something I can certainly relate to!
O Love That Will Not Let Me Go – (Tune: St. Margaret)
O Love That Will Not Let Me Go (Indelible Grace)
O Love That Will Not Let Me Go – Wide Open Spaces by The Sound of Wales