Forgiveness utilizes the language of debt, payments, and IOUs. It’s the relationship between creditors and debtors. We’ve overspent our accounts with every act of rebellion against God and we have a bill that needs to be paid. And just like in the financial world, many of us utilize get-out-of-debt strategies in our spiritual lives.
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A couple weeks ago, my daughter interrupted our bedtime routine with an unusual statement, “I hope tomorrow’s not Christmas.”
The idea that we get what we deserve is an appealing way to look at the world. While some of us might not admit that we actually believe in Karma, many of us believe it without even realizing it.
Have you ever experienced a film that ended too soon? The credits roll but you wanted more. There were questions left unanswered. Issues unresolved.
We crave closure. We want neat and tidy packages. We need to know what happened.
Several months ago, I was having a conversation with my oldest son at bedtime that turned into a conversation about Jesus that I’ll never forget. Now, this is not the usual flow of our family devotions - most of the time it involves somersaults and arguing and hitting and an occasional prayer.
On Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem “gentle and riding on a donkey,” but on Monday morning, he was anything but gentle. The Monday after the triumphal entry was havoc. When Jesus showed up at the temple, his anger was boiling over. He flipped over the tables and threw out everybody who was buying and selling in the outer courts.
Sin, when we boil it down, is rooted in selfishness. Sin, in its essence, is the worship of self. It doesn’t look to the heart and desires of God; rather it seeks our own needs.
There is nothing worse than legos on the floor. Like a death trap in the night, they can destroy a perfectly good midnight snack. And if it were just legos, that'd be one thing - but our kids toys and snacks find their way into every nook and cranny of our house.
Jesus routinely crossed barriers that made the religious uncomfortable. Jesus ate with the wrong people, talked to the wrong people, and often did the wrong things.
It has only been a few days since the launch of Reading Romans with Luther and I am overwhelmed by the incredible support that I’ve gotten in the launch. I am excited to know that there will be so many people, some for the first time, studying the book of Romans and the theology of Martin Luther as he taught the book of Romans.
Wanting to be better, unfortunately, doesn't go very far in making you better. I wish it did. If self-determination and sheer will-power were enough, I'd rarely fail to love my neighbor, I'd be incredibly generous, and the world would fawn over my piety.
When John the Baptist sat in prison, hearing reports from his disciples about the work of Jesus, his unmet expectations led to an important question for Jesus.
We have no problem believing that we receive salvation through grace, but once we are saved we often believe the rest is up to us. We believe that the Christian life is about what we do more than what’s been done. We believe that our salvation was won on the cross, but that we can only keep hold of it through the daily grind of obedience.
There is perhaps no theologian throughout history more important than Martin Luther. 500 years ago, his theology sparked the reformation as he brought people back to the scandalous message of grace that was found in the Scriptures. And while his teaching is hundreds of years old, it's just as needed today as it was then.
The first homicide of the Bible was bred out of self-righteousness and the infuriating grace of God. It's a story about two brothers - Cain and Abel. They are two brothers with two different jobs who bring two different offerings to God. Despite coming from the same family and have similar upbringings, their offerings yield them very different results.