Who’s bad?!

27 10 2006

Definitely no disrespect intended to John Piper (or Edwards, Calvin or Luther…) but this is funny, creative and true. Though I think John Piper and Michael Jackson would have different views on depravity and certainly on the meaning of ‘bad’.

So to be clear, the bad here is the Rom. 3.9-18 sinfully depraved, wickedly enslaved, workers and fountains of iniquity who can do nothing on their own accord to merit the favor of a holy and righteous God, but rather wholly and entirely enslaved to sin’s lusts and desires apart from the grace of God in Christ.

Valuing the image of God

19 10 2006

How does the reality of the image of God in mankind effect my view of other people? I know that as I read in Genesis 9.6 God imposed capital punishment upon those who committed murder. This was not done so much to comfort the grieving family as it was to vinidicate the insulted Creator, who’s very image had been insulted through the cold blooded selfish disregard.

Conversely, how does the fact that all people, whether believer or unbeliever, are created in the image of God, effect my relations with them? The image of God, perverted and distorted as it was in Genesis 9 is still valuable to God and so therefore should be to me as well.

The very fact that every human being is created in the image of God must motivate me to treat them with kindness and love. John Calvin put this quite well in The Institutes:

We are not to consider that men merit of themselves but to look upon the image of God in all men, to which we owe all honor and love….Therefore, whatever man you meet who needs your aid, you have no reason to refuse him….Say, ‘he is contemptible and worthless’; but the Lord shows him to be one to whom he as deigned to give the beauty of his image. Say that he des not deserve even your least effort for his sake; but the image of God, which recommends him to you, is worthy of your giving yourself and all your possessions.

The worldview and ability to do such things are really at the heart of the Christian message. The Christian, having a fallen, diseased, marred, perverted, retarded, etc… image is progressively being renewed into the image of God, even through conformity to Jesus (Rom. 8.29; Eph. 4.24).

So we are able to love our enemies because now we can rightly love God. Our love to our fellow image bearers, whether the image is being renewed or insulted, is primarily love towards the God who’s image we bear and who’s glory we value.


Hoekema quote on man’s dependence

18 10 2006

I came accross this quote studying for our weekend retreat and found it edifying and thought provoking:

Man is bound to God as a fish is bound to water. When a fish seeks to be free from the water, it loses both its freedom and its life. When we seek to be ‘free’ from God, we become slaves of sin. (Anthony Hoekema)

Introducing Rev. Raven

27 06 2006

raven.jpgI heard an impressive sermon this morning as I was running. The preacher was not in my MP3 but instead on top of the ledge at the bank around the corner from my house.

As I was providentially detoured by the wet sidewalks from the sprinklers, I cut through the bank parking lot, only to be encountered by a raging raven with much to say to me.

No doubt I startled the bird as he comfortably sat upon his ledge at o’dark thirty.


What followed was a terrific and timely reminder of the pervasive effects of the fall of man.

This bird squawked and flapped his wings with enough passionate urgency to make any ask, “man! what is that bird’s problem!?” But for the biblically literate his message is painfully relevant.

This bird freaked out because he knows something of the sinfulness of sin. He has an accurate and biblical harmartiology (the study of sin) and anthropology (the study of man).

It is as if this bird said, “Whoa, son of Adam! That is far enough! Don’t you come running up here on me with that evil, perverted, and contrary heart of yours! Do you not know that that which gives you life is the cause of death in all of the earth!! Your heart is more deceitful than anything else!!”

Why didn’t the bird just tip his beak and raise a feather to me in a similar manner to the elderly man who was walking his dog? It is because all of creation is groaning in eager anticipation of the redemption of this earth, having been subjected to a sub standard earth due to the pollution and plague of Adamic rebellion that has long since beset our world.

I love to explain sin to my children in this manner. It is so illustrative to instruct my 4 year old daughter to go over and pick up the bunny rabbit in the yard or the little robin on the driveway. So of course she, being the cutest 4 year old ever, runs over, pig-tails flying, calling the animal by some sweet name only to see the birds and rabbits flee like she was wielding a hatchet.

When my daughter asks why they run I can tell her that it is because she is a sinner. That God created the world good, with animals and humanity ‘playing together’ with man ruling (Gen. 1.28) them. But instead of ruling animals, we all wanted to rule God, we were not happy with the crown he gave us, we were only content with taking his crown.

There is a day coming when the animals will again trust man. This of course comes when the Second Adam reigns on the throne of David, in his glorious kingdom. It is on that day when Jesus Christ shall reign where the little boy may play with cobras and vipers without fear, for the righteous judge will reign! (cf. Is. 11)

It does not matter how cute or good we look on the outside the heart of man is more deceitful than all else (Jer. 17.9). Therefore, I wonder why I hear a better sermon on the sin and rebellion of man from a bird on a bank than I would if I walked into an average evangelical church today. Sin is downplayed, conciseness are comforted, and Christ’s powerful crosswork is, regrettably, devalued.

There is a day coming when sin will be dealt with finally and swiftly. And birds will be there feasting and watching as those who would never submit to the gospel of the Savior are destroyed and fed to the hungry birds (Rev. 19.17-18).

If you are a believer, remember that you would be bird feed if it were not for the grace of God, arresting your unwilling heart to make you a child of God to the praise and glory of divine grace in accordance with the kind intention of his will. If you are not a believer find comfort and grace in the pierced Savior who demonstrated God’s unwillingness to compromise over sin and instead punished Jesus in the place of sinners, so that he could justly forgive sinners like me and you.



Irish Stereotypes?

13 04 2006


Here in America an interesting thing happens each March 17th, millions of people come out of the closet to shamelessly perpetuate a negative stereotype (and by in large a false one!!) of Irish people.

Some of course are truly Irish, others are Americans with Irish ancestory, but by in large you have a day set aside annually where millions of non-Irish people join in a celebration of being Irish, where so many, under the pretense of borrowed Irish-ness get to guiltlessly drink themselves silly.

Let me just say up front, that I like being Irish and I like good beer.

However, I do not think that it is the pale skin and bland food that draws the folks in.

Instead I believe it is the common thread of locking arms to rebel against God. The caravans that go from bar to bar on this “holiday” serve to assuage consciences.

Being Irish and drunk is appealing to hearts that want to rebel against God and while being identified with a group, thus attempting to ease guilty consciences before their Creator.

guiness_sfw2.jpgSo I am out to promote a different type of Irish stereotype; one that fears God more than man, while enjoying delicious stout in a manner that honors and thanks God for his goodness in giving us such good gifts!

1 Corinthians 10:31 31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.