To Be Saved

The question of the ages: “What must I do to be saved?” (Ac 16:30) has a straightforward answer: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (31) Salvation isn’t complicated; little children can get this.

Yet, as simple as this is, we may miss it by changing believe on Jesus for something else. For example, we could say as Billy Graham did, believing on Jesus means repenting of our sins, asking Christ to come into our hearts and save us, and committing our lives to serve Him.

Just one little problem: no one in the Bible was saved like this, and in the end it didn’t even work for Dr. Graham himself (he had no assurance of Heaven). With the world ablaze in the wrath of God (Ro 1:18) and nowhere to hide (Re 20:11), we can’t afford to get this wrong.

To help us understand, God describes believing on Christ from multiple angles. It’s receiving Christ as He claimed to be (Jn 1:12a), believing on His name (b) … totally convinced He will do as He says He will do (Ro 4:21), that He’s trustworthy and perfectly good. (Ep 1:13) It means entering into His rest (He 4:3), ceasing from dependence upon our own works to gain acceptance with God (10), trusting implicitly in the finished work of Christ for our redemption (1Th 1:4-5a), the total payment of our sin debt to God. (Is 53:11)

God says we must be born again (Jn 3:7), conceived by God (Ja 1:18), quickened by the Holy Spirit (Ep 2:5), made a new creation. (Ga 6:15) We’re saved by grace through faith (Ep 2:8), supernatural confidence that only comes from the enabling power of God. This is a miracle, not a human work (Jn 1:13); only God can do this, with Man it’s impossible. (Mk 10:27)

So, if we don’t have supernatural assurance in the finished work of Christ, resting confidently in Him as our only hope of eternal salvation, trusting Him and believing in Him as He has called us to, knowing we are as safe from the wrath of God as Jesus Christ Himself, this then is our greatest need. Let us not go back to a memory of praying to receive Christ, or pray again to receive Him now, but let us look to the cross itself (1Co 2:2), asking God to reveal the Lamb of God to us (Jn 1:29), to give us faith in His blood. (Ro 3:25) Let us seek the Lord until we find Him (He 11:6), striving to enter the narrow gate, until we know He has borne our sins in His own body on the tree, and has set us eternally right with God. (1Pe 2:24)

Give diligence to make your calling and election sure – we cannot accept “not sure” for an answer. (2Pe 1:10) His death is available to us all (2Co 5:15) that we may know for certain that we have eternal life. (1Jn 5:13)

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The Wrath of Man

I’ve been considering what I’d do if faced with a BLM mob harassing a vulnerable person, an old man or a pregnant mother.

Honestly, my first instinct is to fly into a rage and tear into them, doing as much damage as humanly possible. Yet, clearly, something doesn’t feel right about this; it’s not what Father’s doing in me. There’s something ugly, intrinsically unholy about judgmental rage, especially when it’s hasty. (Ec 7:9)

The Word affirms the same: “the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” (Ja 1:20) We’re to put away all wrath and malice; it should find no place in us (Eph 4:31) since it’s triggered by a lie. (2Ti 2:25)

For me, the lie appears to be pride-related: when I esteem others better (Php 2:3), and recall that all bullies will be dealt with justly (Ro 2:5-6), the rage dissipates in my avatar immediately, telling me the intensity is rooted both in self-righteous indignation, and in unbelief in the justice of God: not good. This is my old man. (Ro 7:25)

The proper emotion in cases of injustice appears to be sorrow, for both victim and offenders (Ps 119:136); perhaps more for the offenders (53); they’ll be trodden down of God. (18) Knowing no one ever gets away with anything is at the root of this (Ro 2:2), and that I’d likely deserve worse if left to myself. (1Ti 1:15)

And what does my instinctive, judgmental rage reveal? That I’m guilty of the same thing (Ro 2:1): if I were deceived about white, capitalist America being racist enemy no. 1, I’d be on the front lines of BLM, doubtless among the worst of them. I’m reacting this way to cover for myself; the carnal mind loves to project its own sin onto others.

So, rage is out – but the law of love forbids hiding from injustice and doing nothing; if my well-being were threatened by such a mob I’d certainly want others to intervene. Passivity here is cowardly weakness and fear. This isn’t Christ (Php 1:21); we’re to be strong (1Co 16:13), bold as a lion. (Pr 28:1) Minimal necessary force to protect myself and others is required as I have opportunity.

The challenge here is that Marxist activists are intent on goading others into aggression so they can both play the victim and counter-attack with public justification. They’re trained in provocation, almost as an art form, knowing precisely where their legal boundaries are and how to violate them with minimal risk to themselves. (Pr 25:8) Over-reacting is a mistake, especially in such a trap (Ps 119:110), and I’m evidently as likely as any to fall into it, unless God gives me repentance here. (2Ti 2:26)

We can be angry without sinning (Ep 4:26) if we love our enemies. (Mt 5:44) The servant of God has compassion both on the ignorant and deceived as well as on the rebellious, knowing he himself is also prone to sin. (He 5:2) It takes wisdom and grace to attack someone in love, in self-defense or in defense of another. We’re called to this at times, (Lk 22:36), but disarming and deescalating is always preferred. God help us prepare, as we train ourselves in holiness, and be up to the task as and when it falls to us.

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Puffed Up

How do I feel when I find myself in the right and others in the wrong, or in the know when others are ignorant? Do I feel superior, more important, more significant, more valued? Do I tend to get puffed up in my knowledge? (1Co 8:1b) This isn’t love (1Co 13:4); it’s rooted in pride, and tends toward alienation and division.

How does knowing more than others make me better? Why should this move God to love or value me more? It doesn’t; God loves each of us infinitely, because He’s made us each in His image: His love is truly unconditional. (Jn 3:16) I can’t do or be anything to get God to love or value me any more or less.

Yet false religion tries to use spirituality to make itself look better than others (Mt 23:5), to exalt itself (Lk 18:11) because it isn’t grounded in the love of God. (Ep 3:17-19) At it’s core, this is ugly and uninviting, and I think we all know it.

Love is concerned for others who are misinformed, deceived, carnal (Php 3:18) and disobedient (Ps 119:136); Love esteems other better than itself and humbly seeks to help. (2Ti 2:25) This is pure religion (Ja 1:28): without love, I am nothing. (1Co 13:2)

The love of God equalizes everyone, levels the playing field, so to speak. We all have the same invitation to come (Re 22:17), to be as close to God as we like, to partake of the divine nature (2Pe 1:4) and joy in Him. (1Pe 1:8) What we do with this amazing invitation, how we employ our skills, abilities and resources in going after God, is what defines success. (Mt 25:21)

As we pursue God we’ll come to know Him better (Php 3:8) and understand more of His Way. (He 11:6) We should be deeply thankful for such a precious privilege to know and walk with the living God (1Jn 1:3-4); it shouldn’t make us feel better about ourselves (Ep 3:8), or move us to devalue those who don’t get it.

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Lay Hold

Paul tells Timothy, an earnest Christian, to lay hold on eternal life (1Ti 6:12), and to encourage others to do the same. (vs 17-19) Why should we do this, lay hold on eternal life, if we know we already have eternal life? (1Jn 5:13) Why lay hold on what we can never lose? (2Ti 4:18)

For one, it’s exceedingly unwise to presume we have eternal salvation unless our lives are consistently reflecting this reality (He 6:9), proving it experientially (2Co 13:5), as we’re earnestly pursuing the living God (Php 3:12), to know Him more deeply, to obey Him more consistently, and to love Him more passionately. (2Pe 1:5-7) Those who are complacent in their walk with God, comfortable in this world and focused on it, are actually enemies of the cross, headed for destruction. (Php 3:18-19)

It’s good for us to intentionally and firmly grasp the salvation of God (Mt 11:12), to strive to enter the kingdom (Lk 13:24), to cleave to God and His redemption as our only hope, the precious anchor of our souls. (He 6:19) Our old man takes for granted the infinite mercy shown us in Christ, the incomprehensible price paid for our redemption (Ro 8:32), forgets we’ve been purged from our old sins, loses sight and perspective, and would pull us back into dullness and blindness. (2Pe 1:8-9)

Laying hold of eternal life is laying hold of Christ Himself: He is our life. (Col 3:4) It’s abiding in Him (Jn 15:4), partaking of Him (He 3:14), grounding ourselves in the promises and nature of God (Ep 3:17-19), continually reminding ourselves of His way and word. (Col 3:16) Those who won’t abide in Christ are trodden down (Ps 119:118) and cast away. (Jn 15:6)

Ultimately, laying hold of eternal life is letting go of everything else (Php 3:7-8) that we may know Him. (Jn 17:3)

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Knowledge of Sin

How do we know what sin is? How do we know what’s right and what’s wrong? We all respond as if some actions are good and some are evil, but why do we respond the way we do? How do we know?

Because we’re all made in God’s image, we can’t help but react as if good and evil exist; this is built right into our DNA. And it’s perfectly natural to make up our own definitions, to decide for ourselves what’s right and wrong.

But deciding for ourselves what’s good or evil actually contradicts the very concept of good and evil. Claiming something is good or evil means it is so regardless what anyone else thinks about it; we know this instinctively, it’s rooted in the very claim. But if we can decide for ourselves what good and evil are, then everyone else can too, and then it is all just a matter of opinion, contradicting the very essence of what we know intrinsically to be true.

So if good and evil really do exist, then it isn’t a matter of opinion, yours or mine or anyone else’s; not even governments can define morality. If an action is truly good or evil, then it can only be so because some divine Being says so. There can be no other basis for morality.

This is why Scripture says we can’t know what sin is apart from God’s Law: Torah. (Ro 7:7) It’s only through Torah that we can correctly identify sin (Ro 3:20); and any alteration of Torah corrupts the divine standard of righteousness, and thus the very definition of sin. (De 4:2)

Our old man understands Torah as God’s eternal law and rejects it (Ro 8:7), departing from the light of Torah (Is 8:20), loving darkness instead. (Jn 3:19) Those breaking any of God’s laws violate Torah as a whole (Ja 2:10), and are the least in God’s kingdom. (Mt 5:19) But our new man delights in Torah (Ro 7:22); it lights our way (Ps 119:105), for Torah is light. (Pr 6:23)

Who dares presume the right to decide which of God’s laws are no longer relevant? (Ps 119:6) What standard would they use to judge God’s Law like this? (Ja 4:11) How can a finite being prove any of God’s Laws aren’t eternally good? (Ps 119:152) Torah is timeless. (Ps 119:160)

To sin is to break Torah (1Jn 3:4a), for sin is defined as breaking Torah. (4b) We hide Torah in our heart that we might not sin against God (Ps 119:11), for all who err from Torah as a manner of life will be trodden down, exposed as deceitful and false. (Ps 119:118) The nature of God’s children is that we keep His commands. (1Jn 2:3)

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Put a Veil On?

In the midst of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, neglecting to wear a mask in public is to be labeled selfish, perhaps evil. Should we Christians esteem others better than ourselves here, deferring to public sentiment to show our love? (Ep 5:21) Would Jesus be wearing a mask? or the Apostles? Are we being prideful, disrespectful, and arrogant by not wearing them?

Or by wearing the mask are we conforming to the world (Ro 12:2), and exposing ourselves as menpleasers? (Ep 6:6)

Firstly, one should affirm the scientific facts: there is zero scientific consensus that wearing masks is meaningfully helpful in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in a general public setting: mask manufacturers state this plainly in their disclaimers, and the CDC initially affirmed the same. The primary indication we have that masks are helpful is the constant drone of media and politicians as they stoke fear in gullible citizens.

Given the contradiction between science and the cultural panic, one could easily see this as a weaker brother issue. (Ro 14:21) Those who’s consciences are weakened through propaganda and misinformation see the mask as a sign of charity. It certainly isn’t necessarily sinful to wear one: Moses actually did wear a face covering to accommodate societal fear (Ex 34:30,33), so the argument would be that we should give up our liberty for the sake of Christ to comfort others. Yeshua and the Apostles would all wear masks if this is a weaker-brother issue. (Ro 14:19)

On the other hand, wearing a mask in this toxic, politically charged context – while it is optional — suggests to others that we align with a false narrative designed to disrupt and fragment our society; like it or not, we’re then supporting a political agenda to enable societal control and manipulation through fear tactics and lies.

Further, wearing masks routinely may actually be somewhat harmful to us, capturing moisture and toxins, developing mold, trapping carbon dioxide, and restricting air flow. Additionally, masks severely restrict interpersonal communication, making it much more difficult to display a charitable demeanor, or even communicate effectively. If 70% of communication is non-verbal, what portion relates to facial expression, hidden by a mask? Personally, I have a much more difficult time reading mask wearers, or even understanding what they’re saying. This exacerbates cultural tension in an era of arbitrary lockdowns, rampant unemployment, depression and racial unrest, and is yet another way to divide and alienate us. In this case, we can be sure that neither Yeshua nor the Apostles would wear a mask, on principle of not conforming to this world. (Ro 12:2)

To decide which principle should apply in our personal case, perhaps it is good to define who we are.

  1. Are we a weaker brother / sister who genuinely feels like we’re sinning against others, or encouraging others to sin, by not wearing a mask, and therefore putting the spiritual and/or physical health of others at risk, independently of how others view us with or without a mask?
  2. Or are we men-pleasers who simply fear being seen as unloving by those who wish to re-define love and impose their arbitrary definition on everyone else?

For a weaker brother / sister, doing our homework until we’re assured by reputable scientific authority that we aren’t endangering others without a mask, and are convinced that this evidence is sufficient to persuade those who are open to considering it, wearing a mask in public in the interim, would be most appropriate.

The man-pleaser is encouraged to repent. (Ja 4:4a)

As in most of life, our motive here makes all the difference. (1Co 3:13) If we’re actually wearing the mask because we see Christ Himself doing so, knowing Christ only does what He sees the Father doing (Jn 5:19), then we’re wearing the mask as unto the Lord and it’s a good work. Otherwise, we’re serving man instead of God (Ga 1:10), seeking to appease the world and gain its approval, thus acting like God’s enemy. (Ja 4:4b)

To our own master we stand our fall; let’s walk worthy of God, and encourage one another do the same.

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The Carnal Mind

If we think of our mind as the engine through which the totality of our thoughts are produced, the source from which our willful contemplation springs, we understand this is a mysterious, marvelous thing. (Ps 139:14)

In the physical, our mind is evidently our brain, the organ or vessel through which our soul expresses and reveals itself in thoughts, ideas, and imaginations: an incredibly complex, biological machine comprising chemicals and electricity through which the metaphysical and physical interact; it’s how our souls engage the universe, at least for now.

As with any organ or vessel, it’s designed for a purpose (Mt 22:37), so there’s an ideal state which enables it to fulfill this purpose.

It follows then that a mind may be sound and healthy (2Ti 1:7), or it may be corrupt (1Ti 6:5), reprobate (Ro 1:28), broken and twisted such that it cannot rightly fulfill its purpose.

A mind may also be inconsistent, holding contrary beliefs and opinions, we might say double-minded, resulting in a pattern of instability and unpredictability (Jas 1:8); or a mind might be defiled (Tit 1:15), dirty and polluted with things that ought not to be within it. A mind might also be weak, feeble (1Th 5:14), untrained and incapable of strenuous activity, or simply blind (2Co 4:4), unable to rightly perceive reality at all.

In particular, our mind might be carnal, at enmity with God (Ro 8:7a), as opposed to a spiritual mind, rightly engaging and integrating metaphysical reality with the physical. (Ro 8:6) The difference between a carnal and a spiritual mind is exposed by attitudes or beliefs with respect to Torah, God’s Law: the carnal mind always resists some aspect of Torah; it cannot submit to the whole of Torah (Ro 8:7) — rather, it relentlessly insists on having its own way, in some way. This is the only means whereby we may reliably distinguish the carnal mind from the spiritual. (He 4:12)

Each time we willfully choose a path contrary to God’s definition of moral reality in Torah, we literally corrupt the physiological, neurological circuits of our own brains; we build in patterns of pathology into the very wiring of our own nervous systems, making it more and more difficult for us to reason and think clearly.* (Pr 5:22)

As with any notion of health, mental pathology is a matter of degree. So, no matter what state we find ourselves in, there’s something we can do to move to a better place — and we should. (Is 55:7)

God calls us to be renewed in the spirit of our minds (Ep 4:23-24), transformed by a continuous retraining of our thought patterns so that we might prove God’s will (Ro 12:2), such that we might have the mind of Christ (Php 2:5), to have His thought patterns flowing freely and regularly through ours. This happens as we hide God’s laws in our hearts, meditate on them, and take heed to our ways to ensure that every thought pattern aligns with Torah. (Ps 119:9-11) As we abide in Him like this we actually do have His mind at work within. (1Co 2:16)

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* See first comment below

Set a Watch

When we speak, we have a reason for doing so, a goal, a motive. We’ll be judged by what we say, and for why we say it, so we should be careful whenever our mouth is open, and set up a kind of gate keeper, a watch, a guard, to check every syllable coming out. (Ps 141:3) What should we be checking for?

First, is what we’re saying true? Is it aligned with reality, as best we know? If it isn’t, we shouldn’t say it; only speak truth. (Pr 8:7) Lying isn’t an option. (Ps 119:163)

Yet even if something’s true, that doesn’t mean we should say it. (Jn 16:12) We need to be thinking about our audience, and considering how our words will impact them. Speaking truth is insufficient in itself; we must speak the truth in love. (Ep 4:15)

We should speak to heal and build up (Ro 14:19), and this requires discernment. (Pr 15:28) Pushing truth on those who aren’t willing to obey deepens their condemnation (2Pe 2:21), and there are deeper truths that only the mature can digest. (1Co 3:2)

How often am I trying to impress someone, showing off? or just thinking out loud, sorting through my own confusion, and simply filling the air with my words? or trying to manipulate someone into doing what I want, focused inward, on myself? Am I ever actually trying to harm someone? (Pr 12:18)

Do I listen to others, trying to understand where they’re coming from? How can I edify you if I don’t know you, without any sense of what you’re struggling with, where you’ve been wounded, how you’ve been lied to?

We’re doctors in a pandemic, amid the sick and dying. We have a cure, a balm, a surgical knife, but most folk don’t want to be well, only to be at ease in their diseases. (Jn 3:19) We can only help those who sense their need and want to be whole (Mk 2:17), and even these we cannot rightly help unless we understand their need. We must ask and listen, observe and ponder, diagnosing our patient first. (Php 2:4) What does the Great Physician in us see? What do we we see Him doing?

Pray before speaking (Ja 1:19); let God Himself be the watchman of our lips. (Ps 19:14)

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No Difference

Black Lives Matter is on the march again, insisting we defund our police, claiming police brutality and racism as their righteous cause.

It sounds good; black lives do matter, but what are the numbers? Three unarmed (non-attacking) blacks killed by police so far in 2020 (by 5/26); ten in 2019; 14 in 2018, in some 375 million police interactions annually, as scores of police are killed yearly by blacks. Unjust police killing is microscopic in light of the real issues, and de-funding police will definitely make things much worse; BLM must be up to something else.

Don’t look at what they’re saying – look at what they’re doing: leveraging resentment to destroy american businesses and destabilize our society, while further endangering inner-city, black communities and increasing poverty, division and suffering, all in the midst of another election cycle. This is then their goal: undermine free-enterprise and an incumbent presidential candidate who doesn’t support their marxist agenda.

So few are aware of the facts, or even interested; leftist leaders cower to appease the mob, conceding the racism narrative, while inner city business districts are thrashed and even more blacks are killed in riots; whites are kneeling in public self-abasement, apologizing for white privilege, and anti-unconscious bias training is suddenly being imposed at my work.

It’s difficult to engage in honest dialogue about the real problems, at least between opposing sides. Speaking out against the insanity and violence, or even being related to someone who dares to, is suddenly cause to be fired. It’s craziness on an epic scale, and it’s evidently not up for debate – that might expose the real issues and lead to real solutions. But this isn’t the intent of those who are rioting, or of those supporting them.

So, do black lives matter? Of course they do, as much as any lives. (Ro 10:12) But no one of interest is saying otherwise, so why are we rioting about it?

This isn’t the right question, because racism isn’t the real issue. What are the right questions?

Is it wrong to resist police? Yes, it’s immoral to fight civic authority – always. (Ro 13:2) This concept is fundamental to our way of life, dear to Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement. Without this we cannot live in peace, yet open contempt for police is being excused in the name of justice, making it even more difficult to police our streets and endangering us all. Simply teaching our children to respect authority solves a lot of problems, all by itself.

And what about responsibility? What part do life choices play in our success? (Pr 13:23)

In 1965, with civil rights in place, one in four (25%) black children were born out of wedlock. By 2015, half a century later, (77%) it was 3 out of 4!

Fatherlessness is now rampant in the US, and this isn’t due to racism or police brutality; it’s massive social pathology – no culture can defy basic moral reality on such a scale and survive. (Ma 4:6) Some ethnic groups do much worse than others, but it’s unrelated to skin color; it lies in our mindset, our world view. Imagining we’re powerless victims promotes irresponsibility, resentment and hatred, in a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. (Pr 22:13)

Taking personal responsibility for our own welfare is how we escape poverty, and it’s independent of race: apply yourself in school, prepare for the work force, and get a job before starting a family. (Pr 24:27) When low income children follow this path, the odds they’ll end up back in poverty are only 6%.* It’s the American way – how our society works. So, how do we empower more of the poor to get on board?

Our primary obstacle isn’t actually the poor – corrupt politicians subvert all that would be helpful: wholesome values, charter schools, safe streets, job-rich economies. Pretending to align with the poor by promising handouts, they’re empowered by dependency, division and fear. When they do obtain power they don’t actually fix anything. Why would they? Once the poor find their own way, who needs socialist politicians?

All this hullabaloo isn’t about racism, or the poor; it’s about power.

We must be so much more careful who we put in office. We can no longer afford to vote sentimentally, based on on how we feel; scrutinize candidates for a track record of solving complex, real-world problems. Seldom will any politician actually be good; the right choice will be the lesser of two evils.

And what about white privilege? The term itself is racist: attributing characteristics to an individual because of their race. There’s no other reasonable way to define racism, and we must have no part of it.

Should anyone apologize for some perceived advantage? being white, or male, or healthy, or beautiful, or American, or having parents who didn’t divorce or abuse them? No – it’s irrational to feel guilty for what we don’t control, something we didn’t personally do. This does no one any good. We should be thankful for every privilege, and diligently make the best of every honest opportunity; this is good for everyone.

We don’t love by bowing to unreasonable demands, but by speaking truth to those who are seeking it, and by helping those in need who are doing what they can to help themselves. (Ga 2:10)

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Speak Truth

Being able to take someone at their word is the foundation of every healthy relationship; believing we’re each speaking the truth enables us to understand and trust each other. Without this, no working relationship is even possible. Lying thus strikes at the very heart of friendship, and even of civilization itself.

Jordan Peterson challenges us to try to stop lying for 30 days, just to see what happens. Perhaps it’s striking … that we’re so accustomed to lying we need to be dared to stop; but it shouldn’t be a surprise – this is the default human condition. (Jn 3:19) But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try; God can help us choose truthful speech as a pattern of life. (Ps 119:29)

Lying doesn’t just harm friendships and society, it rewires our own brains, distorting our very own nervous systems such that we can no longer properly orient ourselves in the world and recognize reality as it is. (Pr 1:28)

Deception is aligning our very own behavior contrary to the way we ourselves perceive reality, which signals our brains and bodies that reality isn’t what our senses are telling us; this actually corrupts and fractures our own ability to accurately perceive reality. (Pr 5:22) We deceive ourselves when we don’t act out the truth we already know (Ja 1:22), and self-imposed deception is the most dreadful kind of deception. (Mt 6:23)

Yet just because something’s true doesn’t necessarily mean we should volunteer it in conversation with others (Ep 4:15); there are dimensions of truth that others are not ready to hear. (Jn 16:12) Spewing truth with the wrong motive can be very destructive (Pr 12:18a); we must carefully consider whether our speech will tend to the general health and well-being of both ourselves and others (18b), and only speak in love. (Ep 4:15)

The real challenge comes when we feel pressed to speak truth that’s harmful or destructive. We might think we have no choice but to lie or let the truth do its harm, yet violating the law of Love isn’t an option (Ep 5:2); if our words won’t edify and help the overall situation, they’re forbidden. (Ep 4:29) Rather than letting others dictate our choices, we’re obligated in such cases to wisely re-focus the conversation on what’s truly edifying.

Consider the example of Christ, when those He’d miraculously fed were trying to forcibly make Him king. (Jn 6:15) After He evaded them by walking across a lake at night (18-19), they sought after Him and caught up with Him (24), asking how He’d managed to slip away. (25) Rather than telling them about the miracle, or offering them a little white lie in its place, Christ turned the attention on their true need. (26-27)

We’re made in the image of God as co-creators in eternity, and it’s primarily through our speech that we create. Whenever we open our mouths to speak, we fashion metaphysical reality from the void before us, bringing an eternal work into being which shall ultimately be on display before the entire universe for inspection and evaluation (Lk 12:3): we’ll give an account to God for every idle word we utter. (Mt 12:36) Let all the reality we create be true and right and good, for it’s by our words that we’ll either be justified or condemned. (37)

Speak truth to everyone, all the time (Ep 4:25), yet only speak prayerfully, as Christ Himself would speak (Col 3:17), seeking God for the ability to glorify Him and edify others. (Col 4:6) It’s wisdom to know when to speak and when to keep quiet (Ec 3:7), and as a rule, less is better. (Pr 10:19) As we speak, let’s remember the power of words (Pr 18:21), and speak appropriately. (Pr 15:23) While some truth cannot be spoken in love (1Co 3:2), there’s never a good time to lie. (Ps 119:163)

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