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Archive for the ‘Sin’ Category

Cheating and Morality

Boundless Line has an interesting post today:

According to this msnbc article, those who identify themselves as moral may become the worst cheats.

In the new study, detailed in the November issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology, researchers find that when this line between right and wrong is ambiguous among people who think of themselves as having high moral standards, the do-gooders can become the worst of cheaters.

The results recall the seeming disconnect between the words and actions of folks like televangelist and fraud convict Jim Bakker or admitted meth-buyer Ted Haggard, former president of the National Evangelical Association, an umbrella group representing some 45,000 churches.

“The principle we uncovered is that when faced with a moral decision, those with a strong moral identity choose their fate (for good or for bad) and then the moral identity drives them to pursue that fate to the extreme,” said researcher Scott Reynolds of the University of Washington Business School in Seattle. “So it makes sense that this principle would help explain what makes the greatest of saints and the foulest of hypocrites.”

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Hacking Agag to Pieces

Often I need reminders, and God knew from the very beginning that man is forgetful.  The Israelites place stones for remembrance and practiced the Passover.  Jesus commands us to take the bread and the cup in remembrance of Him.  Paul commands us to keep on considering ourselves dead to sin.

Very often in my life I become saddened and don’t know at first what to do.  But then I remember what the Word says, the clear commandments governing how to live, and the clear promises of comfort in God’s sovereignty, and the very words of strength and sustenance that is our daily bread.  I honestly don’t know what I would do without the Word.  And I praise the Lord for the people He has faithfully raised up to preach it.

One of the sermons that I can do to hear over and over is MacArthur’s “Hacking Agag to Pieces.”  I heard it first on Grace to You, and going through his book, The Vanishing Conscience, I see it again.  Here are some quotes:

In the introduction, some quotes from John Owen follow:

Mortification abates [sin’s] force, but doth not change its nature. Grace changeth the nature of man, but nothing can change the nature of sin.…  Destroyed it may be, it shall be, but cured it cannot be.… If it be not overcome and destroyed, it will overcome and destroy the soul.

And herein lies no small part of its power.… It is never quiet, [whether it is] conquering [or] conquered.

Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.

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To Harden a Heart

A quick concordant search of the ESV shows that the word “harden” in various forms is used 42 times, with 41 referring to the heart in some way. (Some references have God hardening the heart of man, which I understand to be as the ultimate cause, for we are responsible for our hardening as shown in the other instances). Taking only those twelve case-specific instances, this is what we can learn:

Exodus 4:21 – Pharaoh’s hard is heartened so he generally does not let the people go. In context, it is stubborness to give in to the request of Moses (and Yahweh whom he represents).
Exodus 7:3 – Despite signs and wonders, Pharaoh will not listen to Moses. Pharaoh will not believe the explanation and interpretation that Moses provides, nor accept as truth his words.

Exodus 14:4 – Pharaoh’s heart will be hardened and he will pursue Moses and the Israelites. Beyond disbelief, Pharaoh will be anger and incited to do harm to them.

Exodus 14:7 – The Egyptians’ hearts will be hardened and they will pursue the Israelites into the Red Sea, spurning the miracle and foolishly pursuing a course of action that is unreasonable.

Thus, in Exodus we can vividly see the effects of a hardened heart and its awful progression.

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Tripp on the Heart

This is the danger of earthbound treasure:

The person you met and mildly enjoyed becomes the person whose approval you cannot live without.  The work you undertook to support your family becomes the source of identity and achievement you can’t give up.  Thehouse you built for the shelter and comfort of your family becomes a temple for the worship of possessions.  A rightful attention to your own needs morphs into a self-absorbed existence.  Ministry has become more of an opportunity to seek power and approval than a life in the service of God.  The things we set our hearts on never remain under our control.  Instead, they capture, control and enslave us.  This is the danger of earth-bound treasure.

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Faith in Action: Driving

I do not admit to driving dangerously nor grieving other drivers.  In fact, I consider myself a very good driver.  Yet as I was commuting home this afternoon I realized the depth of my depravity as evidenced through my driving, and how our attitudes on the road are very much a litmus test of our personality and character.

Recently I’ve been convicted about driving much closer to the speed limit.  For this reason I make a conscious effort not to always catch up to the car in front of me.  It takes some discipline, but I remind myself not to be in a hurry and to budget sufficient time to get from place to place.  This afternoon I watched as a car began to draw near from behind me, signaled to the right, and began to accelerate in an clear attempt to pass.  (more…)

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It is my privilege to commend to you the blog of Jonathan Dodson called Creation Project.  Jonathan is the author of a wonderful article in the Journal of Biblical Counseling entitled Accountability Groups which I recently cited for my paper on Repentance vs. Penance, and it can be downloaded here. (pdf link)  There are some other edifying articles there that he has written for Boundless, and his blog interacts quite a bit with modern music if that is of interest to you.

Here are some quotes from the journal article:

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Rob Wilkerson has an excellent post at his blog, Miscellanies on the Gospel.  Here is an excerpt:

The lesson here is this: the motivation in telling is telling. In other words, perceiving one’s motivation for telling one someone else is 99% of the story they are telling. If they are telling to get someone in trouble, that’s sinful. If they are telling to help or protect, that’s serving. The tricky part is to be able to tell how much of each is in our depraved hearts at any given time. My tendency is to believe that more often than not, my motivation is probably to want to see someone get what I think is coming to them. So in caution against my heart, I try to pray long and hard before I ever talk about someone else’s problems.

Conclusion:

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