The Sin Closet

Analogies, Thoughts, Walking in the New Nature
"As those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on [clothe yourselves with] a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience" (Col 3:12).  In both Ephesians 4 and Colossians 3, the apostle Paul tells us more than once to "put on" the new self along with its character attributes, and to "throw off" the old self with its sinful traits.  We often view lists of character traits to aspire to and those to avoid as somehow equal choices for the believer.  But based on the promises of Scripture, this is not the case. The bad choices we face are not equals that we have to drum up the moral energy to resist.  They are simply clothes that do not fit our new identity.  They are clothes that don't…
Read More

The Sin Cow

Analogies, Thoughts, Walking in the New Nature
I grew up in a farming community in northern Indiana surrounded by the idyllic landscape of contented milk cows grazing in fields of green.  These cows looked pretty happy munching away on grasses of all kinds.  Cows eat grass.  Cows like grass.  It is in a cow's nature to eat and enjoy grass. But cows aren't the only rural residents who eat grass.  Sometimes kids eat grass.  I remember lying in the grass of our front lawn on a summer afternoon thinking, "My, this grass looks tasty."  So I did what every kid has done sometime in their life.  I grabbed a handful and began to chew it up.  The chewing was soon replaced by spitting as the taste settled on my tongue.  Soon I was spitting out everything I…
Read More

The Sin Dog

Analogies, Thoughts, Walking in the New Nature
One of the amazing things that happened to you and me when we embraced the gospel message of Jesus Christ was the beginning of a new relationship with sin.  In short, sin no longer has dominion over us.  Sin is no longer our master.  We are no longer slaves to sin (Rom 6).  (For a 7-page pdf commentary by Jay on Romans chapters 5-8 explaining the biblical basis for this concept click here.) As for this post, let me summarize our new relationship with sin with this illustration.  Prior to our conversion, sin was the Great Dane in our life that bowls us over and flattens us every time we come home.  We hear him on the other side of the door and sure enough everytime we open it, he…
Read More

A Curious Life

Thoughts, Walking in the New Nature
When Rhonda and I teach on the topic of marriage, we often say, "Make your marriage a curiosity."  What we mean by this is that when you practice marriage as God intended, your love for each other will manifest itself in ways that make your marriage appear pretty unique.  The desire for love, acceptance, and forgiveness is universal and when we practice these to the fullest in our marriage, we demonstrate to a watching world what new life in Christ looks like. In our own journey, God took two fiercely independent souls who each view the world through different colored glasses (and thick ones at that) and forged a love that is deep and abiding.  When that love is on display, it is truly revolutionary. But the revolution for us has not been painless…
Read More

A New Freedom

Thoughts, Walking in the New Nature
When the world thinks of the word "Christian", is the word "new" the first thing that pops into their mind?  Is there something new going on here; something fresh, something better, something I would like to get in on?  Unfortunately, the response is often just the opposite.  Christianity is associated with old, narrow, conservative...words that carry a negative connotation in today's marketplace of ideas.  We like to say that being misunderstood is just the cost of following Jesus, but could it be we who have misunderstood our own message? The world will never paint Christianity in a positive light as it operates under the influence of the Evil One (II Cor 4:4).  However, all too often we conclude that there is some nefarious plot on the part of the media,…
Read More

Something New

Thoughts, Walking in the New Nature
A short, but compelling, word found throughout the New Testament is the word "new".  It is right there in the title and appropriately so.  After all, the essence of the New Testament message is a description of and invitation to join a new covenant, a new arrangement, a new agreement between God and us. In the gospels, Jesus ushered in a new covenant, and with it a new kingdom.  In the parable of the wine and wineskins, Jesus referred to His ministry as "new wine" (Mk 2:22), indicating that it is not just an add-on to the old covenant, but something new and as we will see, nothing short of revolutionary.  From the outset, the crowds who followed Jesus were "amazed, saying, 'what in the world is this?  A new…
Read More