Category Archives: sin

Keller on the 2 ways sin plays out

Sin and evil are self-centredness and pride that lead to oppression against others, but there are two forms of this. One form is being very bad and breaking all the rules, and the other form is being very good and keeping all the rules and becoming self-righteous.
There are two ways to be your own Savior and Lord. The first is by saying, ‘I’m going to live the way I want.’ The second is described by Flannery O’Connor, who wrote about one of her characters, Hazel Motes, that “he knew the best way to avoid Jesus was to avoid sin.” If you are avoiding sin and living morally so that God will have to bless and save you, the ironically, you may be looking to Jesus as a teacher, model and helper but you are avoiding him as Savior. You are trusting in your own goodness rather than in Jesus for your standing with God. You are trying to save yourself by following Jesus.
That, ironically, is a rejection of the gospel of Jesus. It is a Christianized form of religion. It is possible to avoid Jesus as Savior as much by keeping all the biblical rules as by breaking them. Both religion (in which you build your identity on your moral achievements) and irreligion (in which you build your identity on some other secular pursuit or relationship) are, ultimately, spiritually identical courses to take. Both are “sin”.
Self-salvation through good works may produce a great deal of moral behaviour in your life, but inside you are filled with self-righteousness, cruelty and bigotry, and you are miserable. You are always comparing yourself to other people, and you are never sure you are being good enough. You cannot, therefore, deal with your hidesousness and self-absorption through the moral law, by trying to be a good person through an act of the will. You need a complete transformation of the very motives of your heart.
Tim Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (New York: Penguin, 2008), 177.

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God’s sovereignty and our sin

Fascinating post on John Piper’s blog, well worth a read and a ponder…

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total depravity

Sometimes when I read the papers, I just want to weep. I have 2 kids of my own, and they are a precious gift from God. I am well aware of the challenges of children with special needs. But I cannot fathom the heart that is capable of this:

Girl prisoner’s ‘torture’
from The Sydney Morning Herald News Headlines
Court papers reveal seven-year-old NSW girl’s “slow and torturous” death by starvation.

I read the details, and I want to be sick. I am filled with outrage. How can a human being do such a thing to another, essentially defenceless child? How do you go out at night, or sit down in front of the television, knowing that you have locked a little girl in a room for weeks on end with no food?

There are no answers to that question, it seems to me. No answers except revelation:

Rom 1:28-29 28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.

Some people have suggested that we Anglicans spend too much time talking about sin. My response is, how can you not, when this is what we read in the papers? We need to be real, talk about the world the way it really is. Only then can we fully fathom the real hope that is ours in the Gospel – that Jesus has stared this depravity full in the face, and defeated it, its lord and its enslaving power.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

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a new type of fasting

Some thought provoking comments from Mark Driscoll about the spiritual impact of the tyranny of technology:

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More right than he knows

I have loved cricket for a long time – ever since my dad first explained to me that when the ball hits the fence, its four.

I have also enjoyed the commentary provided by Peter Roebuck in the SMH. He is able to combine wit and insight with a broader reflection on life.

Last saturday, he wrote a piece about the death of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer. In it, he desparied of the human condition, that a game could become the stage for such a heinus act.

Read the article here.

He has correctly idenitified the symptoms, but his diagnosis and prescribed course of treatment are way out.

The disease is selfish ambition and pride, otherwise desribed by the Bible as sin. The cure is not turning to the words of some Indian spiritual guru about submitting yourself to the universals of love and kindness. The cure is grace & forgiveness won by Jesus on a cross 2000 years ago; and renewal brought by his Holy Spirit.

Close, but not close enough. My prayer is that this tragedy could somehow be used by God to turn some of those players to Jesus in their search for meaning in it all.

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