No Excuses

After man’s Fall, his first words to God were excuses. Adam blamed Eve; Eve blamed the serpent. On it went; still it goes. Name a behavioral decision or sin, and someone with a degree will slap a label on it. Gluttony and drunkenness? No, food disorder and alcoholism. Cutting back to live within personal or national means? No, that would be austerity measures, and we must keep the money machines going and consumer confidence high. The more guilt man feels the more excuses he makes. Excuses are guilt’s cracked shield before the Holy God.

Follow Me

Down through the centuries his call comes. One of his first recorded commands: “Follow me” (Matt. 4:19). To men hesitating, held back by worldly concerns: “Follow me” (Matt. 8:22). To men who would become first his disciples, then his apostles: “Follow me” (Matt. 9:9). To all: “Follow me” (Matt. 16:24). To the rich young man, whom Jesus loved and must have eventually answered the call: “Sell all you have; and come, follow me” (Mark 10:21). To Philip, creating faith in him: “Follow me” (John 1:43). To the Greeks who sought him out in Jerusalem: “Follow me” (John 12:26).

Christ Transforming

In times of perceived decay or crisis, men crave the new. If something is new, it must be better. If the old had worked, we would not need the new. Thus, we have various emergent-isms, the “new Calvinism” (which is really not new and not really Calvinism), and new ways of worship. Novelty’s parade will not, however, reduce the weight of the disciple’s cross, make unbelieving men any friendlier to the gospel, or better enable us to overcome sin. New spirituality is like a new model year for automobiles.

The Wonder of Being a Christian

Our Lord often did and said the unexpected. He went through Samaria to seek out one woman; the disciples marveled that he talked with her (John 4:27). He told his disciples to feed a multitude with a couple of fish and a loaf of bread. The day after, when this multitude knowingly rejected him as the bread of life, he did not try to make the truth easier for them to accept but twice said: “No man can come unto me unless the Father who sent me draw him” (John 6:44,65). Nor would he directly answer Nicodemus’ query but pressed him with the necessity of the new birth (John 3:1-12).

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