Temptation Vs Sin

Thoughts, Walking in the New Nature
One of the paradoxes I face in my own life and a source of discussion in our community of believers is how to reconcile my label of righteous and saintly with my experience with sin.  That is, if holiness is my new default mode, why is sin the first thing that crosses my mind when I face a moral situation?  Let me give you a small example, recently shared with me by a friend. My friend was in the produce section of the local grocery store when she noticed an unattended cart complete with an open purse and wallet sitting on top.  Her first thought was, "I could take that wallet and no one would know.  I think I could get away with it."  Her question to me was, "If my…
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The Pacesetters

Thoughts, Walking in the New Nature
When our children were young, Rhonda came up with a child training idea that was golden.  We took our older kids aside and said, "Look, you are the pacesetters for your brother and sisters.  They look up to you.  They imitate your good behavior.  So we need you to join us in being a good example to your younger siblings." Setting up this expectation for our children accomplished at least two things.  First, our older kids became our partners in training our younger children by their positive example. They felt the respect of being singled out for some degree of maturity above their siblings.  Second, it helped to lessen sibling rivalry.  Their younger brother and sisters were no longer competitors, they were younger teammates; teammates that needed their encouragement. Did…
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Righteous Expectations

Church Life, Thoughts, Walking in the New Nature
The New Testament writers often use the word picture of "walking" to describe living the Christian life.  Paul exhorts us to "walk in newness of life" (Rom 6:4), "walk according to the Spirit" (Rom 8:4), "walk in good works" (Eph 2:10), "walk in a manner worthy of our calling" (Eph 4:1), "walk in love" (Eph 5:2), "walk as children of Light" (Eph 5:8), "walk as wise men and women" (Eph 5:15), "walk in a manner worthy of the Lord" (Col 1:10), and finally, "walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory" (I Thess 2:12).  The Apostle John adds, "walk in the same manner as Christ walked" (I Jn 2:6) and "walk according to His commandments" (II Jn 1:6).  The Christian walk…
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Chief of Sinners

Thoughts, Walking in the New Nature
Whenever I teach on the topic of the provision and power of our new nature for living the Christian life, I usually encounter two objections which must be taken seriously.  First, how do we reconcile the New Testament teaching regarding the death of our old sin nature and our experience with besetting sins?  That is, if we have been set free from sin's power, why do we encounter sin issues in our lives on a _________ (daily, hourly, minutely, secondly, you fill in the blank) basis?  The second objection is more specific.  If the "sinner" label is to be removed from our believer vocabulary - as I have suggested many times in this blog - why does the Apostle Paul call himself the "chief of sinners" (I Tim 1:15 KJV)?…
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Costume Jewelry or Tarnished Silver

Analogies, Thoughts, Walking in the New Nature
How do we know "It's In There!" - the raw ingredients for living the victorious Christian life?  We know because the Bible tells us so.  The Bible says: You are holy and beloved. (Col 3:12) The seed of God lives in you. (I Jn 3:9) You have a new heart. (Ez 26:36)  Your old deceptively wicked heart has been removed. Your new self is created in the likeness of God; in righteousness and holiness. (Eph 4:24) When you look in the mirror, you see a representation of the glory of the Lord. (II Cor 3:18) He who has died with Christ has ceased from sin. (I Pet 4:1) The time for sin is in your past. (I Pet 4:3) God’s divine power has granted to you everything pertaining to life…
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It’s In There!

Thoughts, Walking in the New Nature
"But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit" (II Cor 3:18). When you looked in the mirror this morning, what did you see?  Or better yet, who did you see?  If you are a believer, you saw the glory of the Lord.  I can guarantee it and I was not even there beside you.  But I am not the only one to make that assessment.  The Apostle Paul did as well.  In the context of Paul's line of reasoning in II Corinthians chapter 3 comparing the old and new covenants, Paul says in his conclusion, "Unlike the children of Israel, who symbolically have a…
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Despising the Shame

Holidays, Thoughts
"Therefore since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb 12:1-2). Today we see the cross as a beautiful symbol of our Christian faith.  We wear it on necklaces, celebrate it in iconic art, and give it a prominent place in our church sanctuaries.  And this is as it should be.  The cross is a beautiful symbol of our rescue by Jesus, friend of…
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The Thrill of Discovery – Epilogue

Apologetics, Thoughts
As a follow up to Josh and William's comments on our last post, let me add this:  When I was in early elementary school, I dreamed of growing up to become an explorer like Christopher Columbus.  By about the fifth grade, I learned that the whole world had already been "discovered" so I changed my "what do you want to be when you grow up" to professional baseball player.  (That dream died as well when I didn't go out for the high school team.) The irony in my path to a career is that, in time, I did become exactly what my first dreams desired; an intrepid explorer.  My interest in geology and geophysics was never in identifying rocks and minerals or unraveling the geologic history of the earth or…
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