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An Interview with Ravi Zacharias

2 Apr

An Interview with Ravi Zacharias

Like C.S. Lewis, Ravi Zacharias brought deep thought and insight into 20th century Christianity.

Ravi continues in this new millennium.

Is he always right?  No, and we non-Catholics don’t have a doctrine of infallibility for anyone at anytime.

But he is always worth a listen (or a read).  My world is better for having known he was in it!

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Stagecoach: When a Woman of Bad Repute Finds God’s Love

4 Feb

When a Woman of Bad Repute Finds the Love of God

The other night I saw the movie Stagecoach for the first time. It was not only an action Western that served as the vehicle conveying a young John Wayne to stardom. It was also a complex character study of a cast of diverse people who end up sharing a stagecoach west through dangerous Apache country.

Writers and directors can do lots of wonderful things when they throw together diverse people who would not normally meet. This has been done in lots of movies (Bus Stop, Key Largo, etc.).

In this particular movie, John Wayne is Ringo Kid, a prisoner who has escaped but who has a heart of gold. He was imprisoned for being in the midst of a blood feud between two families. He has a year or so to go on his sentence and willingly goes back with the marshall who is on the stagecoach . . .

Meanwhile, he falls in love with a woman of ill repute who is on the stagecoach. His love, in a Hollywood way that comes very close to presenting Christ’s redemptive love, turns her around and makes her a woman who will be a good wife for him when his sentence is finished.

As the above blog post shows, when a sinner collides with the love of God, freedom ensues, just as it does when the sinful woman in the movie comes in contact with Ringo Kid’s love.

Love, God’s love, even as reflected in imperfect man, is the strongest force in the universe.

It is love, God’s love and God’s grace, that make us whole. What the law could not do for us, God did, by loving us through Jesus Christ.

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Sharing Jesus in Cheesy Ways

30 Jan

Sharing Jesus in Cheesy Ways

One thing I truly appreciate about most homeschooled kids is that they tend to understand and even treasure intergenerational relationships.

Not so much with public or even private schooled kids.

I often see their inability, when out walking, to even make eyecontact, let alone speak, when an older person greets them. Since I am pretty connected socially to many others, I have to assume the rolled eyes when two teens meet me on a sidewalk are more reflective of their lack of ability to conceive of a relationship with a person in her 50’s than of anything I have done to offend them by saying “hello.”

That said, my generation, by being two generations older than these teens, can come across as cheesy or hokey no matter what we do sometimes. Sometimes you are just not going to escape the mantra, no matter what.

Some of our old ways of sharing the Lord come across the same way. This post deals with a skywriter and the reactions he elicited at Disney World.

I totally agree with the final question. Are those who are rolling their eyes at skywriters actually sharing Jesus with others or just their cynicism?

Can terminal cynicism be deadly?

I actually do not buy off on the hipster mantra that you have to gain someone’s trust before you evangelize them. That would be limiting God to one evangelism tool in a box of tools that belong to Him, not us (He could still send an angel, after all. He doesn’t need us). If we don’t gain someone’s trust, He might gain it anyway!!!

I often challenge those who see my tract distribution as terminally uncool to tell me their methods that work better to reach others for Christ. Not surprisingly, not many answer that question with anything other than mumbled platitudes.

We need each other. We need to use every tool and every method God has out there.

And we don’t need to be blushing in embarrassment at our fellow Christians, plotting how to hide them in a broom closet so our cool friends don’t see them. Really!

The Sinner’s Prayer Does Not Save Us

11 Jun

http://www.jdgreear.com/sinnersprayer

I am just finishing up J.D. Greear’s book “Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart” and want to write a book recommendation to express how good it is.

There are two reasons:

1. He addresses people, like me, who spend years getting to a sound, Biblically-based assurance of faith because we get hung up on the Sinner’s Prayer, whether we said it right, and whether we meant it 100% at the time we said it. We are usually genuinely saved, but lack assurance of that fact.

2. He addresses people who said the Sinner’s Prayer once, like a magical incantation, then returned to their regularly scheduled life, excluding God from it. They are usually not genuinely saved, yet feel very assured that they are, from shaky, non-Biblical sources.

God promised in I John 5:13 that we can know for sure we are born again. We can count on the finished work of Christ.

Those counting on anything more, or less, than Christ’s finished work cannot claim I John 5:13 for assurance of salvation. We either accept the whole counsel of Scripture or reject it all. We don’t get to pick and choose.

Just as God does not often bless it when people open their Bible in the morning and stick a finger somewhere in it to choose a devotional passage, because God is to be approached with more reverence than a fortune teller, so it is not God’s plan that we base our eternal security in a recitation of the Sinner’s Prayer. Yes, many of us say that prayer when we get saved, but the prayer does not save us. Christ’s finished work on our behalf saves us, by grace through faith.

This book is a real treat, as it takes us through God’s Word, rightly dividing it as it teaches the doctrines of salvation and the perseverance of the saints.

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Are We Turning the Sinner’s Prayer Into a Magical Incantation?

30 May

20130530-120541.jpg

Controversy does sell, unfortunately.

I totally understand why J.D. Greear called his latest book “Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart”. He doesn’t mean to never ask Him in. He means to not obsessively ask Him in over and over again, claiming lack of assurance of your salvation.

As a person affected by a smattering of OCD, I recognize what he is trying to say.

There are those of us who have trouble arriving at an assurance of our salvation. I mean, God’s free gift does seem too good to be true sometimes!

On the other extreme are the people who ask Jesus into their hearts every once in a while as they live like the devil, with no relationship to Jesus or His law/commandments whatsoever!

Both extremes meet their solution in the gospel of Christ, the gospel of grace.

You see, salvation is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8,9). It is not due to baptism nor to joining a church. But it is also not due to saying the right prayer.

Two words apply, as J.D. Greear walks us through the Scriptures to see. “Repentance” and “faith”. And Ephesians 2:9 tells us God even gives us the faith.

So when we get obsessed with a prayer (the prayer for salvation is often called “The Sinner’s Prayer”) and whether we prayed it correctly, we make salvation about us and about our works.

It is really about Christ’s finished work on our behalf.

That is an important distinction, for, as J.D. Greear says, there are many people who have been saved but talk themselves out of assurance that the event took place. There are also many who have no relationship to Jesus at all, and do not care to have one, who are living in false assurance because they prayed the Sinner’s Prayer once long ago.

Repentance and faith. We can see them in an assurance that we are rightly related to God in Christ and in His finished work.

It is all about Christ. When we try to insert a worthy-enough prayer from our end, we end up making the Sinner’s Prayer into a magical incantation!

Then we Baptists become just like the people we criticize for thinking that a religious ritual saves them.

Let’s not make the Sinner’s Prayer into a religious ritual.

It really is all about Jesus. He bore our sin so we could claim salvation in Him. Hallelujah!

To My Non-Christian Readers

16 May

Good morning!

I have noticed an increasing tendency to have subscribers to Iconobaptist who are probably not only not Baptists, but not Christians either.  

Welcome!  I appreciate your input.

I occasionally run posts explaining the Christian gospel for those who have never heard it.  Whether Muslim, pagan, or atheist, you might have never had anyone explain to you about what is unique to Christianity.  You know it has something to do with Christ . . .

There is a whole historical body of work based on the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, that explains Who Christ is and what He has done.

But you would do best to just start with the Gospel of John, the fourth book of the New Testament, and let God, using Jesus’s best earthly friend John as a witness, explain the gospel to you.  

You see, we believe that Jesus was not only fully human, but also fully God.  

We believe that the Bible is also fully human (written by humans), but also fully God’s Word (God led those humans to write in such a way that every word is His).  

There is much historical evidence pointing to the accuracy of these beliefs, but the main issue is that you become a Christian because the Holy Spirit works in your heart to draw you to belief in Christ.  

Once that happens, you will rejoice in the historicity of Christ, but it will not be the basis on which you build your belief.  You will just know He is real because you have had a supernatural encounter with Him. 

That encounter will wipe away all your sins, past, present, and future, for we have all sinned.

That is the bad news.  We are born in original sin.

But the good news counters it.  Our God Himself entered the human race and lived on planet earth for somewhere around 33 years.  He lived the sinless life we could not live.  He pleased God, on our behalf, in doing so.  

He then died a painful death on a cross to atone for our sins.  He lived the life we could not live, then died the death that we could not die, for we could never pay for our own sins.  Jesus did that for us.  

When we come to Him in faith, we put off our own sinful nature and put on Christ and all that He did that we could not do.  

It is that complex, but that simple.  

We all need to come to Christ for salvation and everlasting life.  We cannot save ourselves.

In fact, although we are not all criminals, we are all every bit as warped by sin as Kermit Gosnell, the abortion doctor sentenced yesterday in the U.S. for murdering live infants.

There is no one who is almost good enough for heaven and just needs Jesus for a little boost to get in!  That is heresy.  

We are all desperately fallen, but Christ became our righteousness by living and dying for us.

We need to come to Christ, to cling to Him and tell Him that we know we can only find salvation in Him.

Then we will be saved and have a new life, both here and after we die.

Christ’s salvation is for everyone.  He is not just the Christian God.  He is not a territorial God.  He is the universal God.

If you find new life in Christ through my blog, would you please drop me a note and let me know?

Nothing would make me happier.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16  

Passover Lamb

31 Mar

Passover Lamb (written one day while contemplating what it would have felt like to be a Gentile watching on the sidelines as Christianity first came to the Jews, then was widened to include Gentile believers) 

John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:  I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” 

 

My Jewish friends rejoice today

Their joyful eyes I see

They say their Jesus lives again

I wish He’d come for me . . .

 

The Jewish part of Galilee

Shouts with Passover glee

The Lamb’s been slain, but lives again

I wish He’d come for me . . .

 

A stranger here I always dwell

In my nativity

I wish I knew Immanuel,
I wish He’d come for me!

 

The Jews say sin must ransom bring,

Someone to pay the fee

Or we’re always apart from God.

Oh, please, Sir, come for me!

 

I cannot bear the wrong I’ve done,

I’ll die eternally.

And yet the Jews have God’s own Son.

I wish He’d come for me . . .

 

Oh, Lovely Lamb, God’s only Son,

From Egypt I would flee

I’d leave my sin’s remembrance in

The depths of the Red Sea.

 

Yet my repentance falls far short—

Please hear a Gentile’s plea—

I so want to become a Jew,

So that You’d come for me . . .

 

But wait—they say You hear us call

You too would set us free.

Oh, Jesus, I give You my all!

Praise God, You came for me!

 

(30 July 2003, Tabernacle Baptist Church, after hearing Dr. Craig Hartman present his mission to God’s people, the Jews)

 

Isaiah 9:1,2:  Nevertheless, the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.  The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light:  they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.  

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Why I Believe in Total Depravity!

18 Mar

Why I Believe in Total Depravity!

When we lived in Germany, we had several German friends honest enough to say, “Of course, all Germans alive at the time of World War II knew what was going on with the Jews. They were disappearing from day to day. We just knew … But we also knew we could not ask questions and expect to be there to raise our own families!”

The Germans were no different from any other race. Hitler was not an anomaly among humans. We all have sin lodged deep in our hearts and need a desperate remedy.

What, short of our total depravity, would have put the Son of God on a cross to be tortured to death? Think about it.

He brings us very good news. There is a way out of our darkness. His name is Jesus Christ.

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We All Believe our own Child’s Flatulence Does Not Stink

16 Mar

We All Believe our own Child’s Flatulence Does Not Smell

Will you forgive me for comparing sin to flatulence? We all have it. And that is the point.

Without trying to be crude–in fact, I toned down the original saying when I wrote my title, due to the fact that it is probably too crude for WordPress, and is definitely too crude for me to publish in a post that goes out worldwide–there is much to ponder here.

Senator Rob Portman was against gay marriage until his own son came out as gay. There are two opposite ideas that oppose what he did.

The gay rights crowd asks what took him so long and why did it require someone in his family to be gay before he changed his mind?

I guess they forget that the president changed his mind only months ago. But he did it without a family epiphany, too . . .

On the other side, there are some of us who ask whether God’s unchanging standards get set aside due to the fact that someone we love/gave birth to is engaged in a particular sin?

It happens all the time, not only with finding out our child is gay.

Our child can be involved in promiscuous sex. Father a child when he is 18 with someone underage. Have three babies out-of-wedlock by three different fathers.

Suddenly, the Scriptures we have believed and upheld our entire lives are set aside, due to the fact that one of our children disobeyed them.

Is that helpful to our child? To not call him or her to obey God’s Word?

That does not mean to rail at our child. But to calmly point out that God’s design is a whole lot better than what man comes up with. We won’t do that, why?

Because we want to be friends with our child and think that friends never challenge each other to a higher standard?

And that, my friends, is the genesis of the statement that we all believe our own child’s flatulence does not stink.

We may challenge other people’s children to a higher standard but with our own children, we are tempted to change the standard.

Problem is, we can change every law on the books and make gay marriage, promiscuity, sex with underage people, and babies by multiple fathers not only legal but even normal. Still we will not change God’s standard.

We may confuse a whole generation, or several of them.

But they will still stand before a holy God someday and be asked to account for the decisions they made in this life.

And God won’t be grading on a curve.

There is a great mystery here. We will either get into heaven or not based on whether we had a relationship with Jesus and allowed Him to be our sin bearer.

But the Bible is clear that in both situations, those who go to heaven (rewards) and those who do not (punishments) will stand morally responsible for their actions, or lack thereof, in this world.

It is not helpful to encourage our child to think that, of seven billion people on this planet, he alone possesses flatulence that does not stink. Ya know!!??

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Patriotic and Beautiful Song!

9 Mar

Patriotic and Beautiful Song!

The WordPress software has changed, allowing me to link into Youtube videos, not just my own personal videos.

That is great news. I will not flood your inboxes with videos, but there are some that should not be missed.

This one, my new favorite song, sung by my new favorite singer (Katherine Jenkins of Great Britain) is one of them.

In the midst of all this patriotism (this is the theme song to the HBO series “Band of Brothers” based in World War II), there is one serious theological error that would preclude me ever singing this song in a patriotic festival.

Where is it?

In verse 2: “In fields of sacrifice/heroes pay the price. Young men who die for old men’s wars/go to Paradise.”

Yup, this song teaches salvation by way of a good death. And that is a Muslim doctrine, not a Christian one.

Our Bible says, “As it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment . . .” (Hebrews 9:27). Our eternal salvation is settled before we die, based on whether we have received Jesus Christ in faith.

It is wisdom, however, to realize that America, at large, does believe in the doctrine of a good death. More than that, some teach the doctrine of salvation by way of any death. That suffering the pains of death purifies us and frees us to be saved, regardless of our previous life and choices. That would be a Buddhist doctrine.

As has been said by wiser people than me, Americans are all about religious syncretism nowadays. There are not many who don’t roll a few Muslim and Buddhist beliefs into their Christianity.

And those of us who believe in sola scriptura (Bible alone) would be wise to be aware that our fellow countrymen believe that way!

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Downton Abbey as a Morality Play, Part III: O’Brien’s and Thomas’s Murderous Impulses

10 Feb

Downton Abbey as a Morality Play, Part III: O’Brien’s and Thomas’s Murderous Impulses

I wrote in the above link, Part II of this series, about the part O’Brien played in the miscarriage of Lord Grantham’s only son in Season One of Downton Abbey.

In Part I of this series, I wrote about Thomas, described by Mrs. Patmore as a tortured soul, but known to everyone else as the show’s main villain and schemer.

I actually think it would be the most fun of all, as an actor or actress, to play Thomas or O’Brien.  The sheer evil of their actions sometimes must make it very challenging to play them, and rewarding when the performances are top drawer, as they always are.

Their value to us, as I started to point out yesterday, is that they confront us with the heart of evil in us all.  Not all of us break the law and not all of us do things that lead to someone’s death.  But all of us have broken God’s law and all of us did things that led to the death of the Holy Son of God.

So, if we are truthful, we have to move away from the idea that Thomas and O’Brien are “over there outside of us” and realize that we have some of their same murderous impulses inhabiting our own hearts.

But for the grace of God, we would be hopeless.

What else do you think is inside the person who tailgates you at 50 mph on the interstate onramp?  That person is not so stupid as to be unaware that you might have to suddenly brake in an onramp, which would lead to a rear-end collision and could lead to your death.

Truly, there is often not much of a difference between the impulses that lead to assault with a deadly weapon charges and the impulses that lead to vehicular manslaughter charges.

When we are running late and weave perilously in and out of traffic at speeds 25 mph higher than what is written, are we not coldly stating that our schedule and our convenience matter more to us than the lives we are possibly endangering?  We have done the risk assessment and have decided that it is worth the risk of ending a life or two in order for us to get to where we want to be in a quicker fashion.

Those are only a couple of examples.  Any thinking person can come up with myriads more.  I shared yesterday how, even at age seven, I could exhibit coldness toward a person who needed my help to keep from falling.  Coldness that regarded its own convenience as much more important than the safety of another person.  That, my friends, is original sin and it is in us all.

Now here I will end with the good news, of the world of Downton Abbey and of this modern world we inhabit:  Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

God knew we were hopelessly broken and provided His Own Son to redeem us from sin and from ourselves.  By putting our faith in Christ, we can be made a new creation and begin growing to be more like Christ.  Praise God for making a way!

God is God; I am Not

4 Jan

Romans 9:16, “So then [it is] not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”

In studying about God’s sovereignty, not as an empty study to make myself seem edu-ma-cated, but rather so I will know and relate to my God aright, I constantly bump up against God’s sovereignty.

Definition from OED (Oxford English Dictionary, yeah, I’m Anglophile like that):  “possessing supreme or ultimate power.”

It seems simple to me:  either God knows the beginning from the end, as the Bible clearly says He does, or He does not (open theism is the new way of expressing the idea that He does not know, but that idea has been around in various forms forever.  Open theists say that even God does not know the end of the game, that even God can’t say who will be saved in the end).

Okay, so then if God knows, He has created a universe in which certain outcomes are going to happen.  So somehow, while God created us with choice, which is apparent from Genesis 3 (the story of man choosing to eat the forbidden fruit) onward, He also created a world in which He has chosen us.  

The great debate of the ages is who chooses first, God or us?  If we say He chooses first, then we are said to believe in “predestination.”  Calvin, and lots of other theologians, have taught on this topic.  Volumes have been written on it.

You have seen that I am studying the topic, slowly but surely.  I may never know, for myself, precisely what I believe about God’s choice vs. my choice.  It is a very complex topic.  It may also be one that is nearly impossible to put into human words, being something heavenly that has to do with the very attributes of God Himself.  

And, if so, I am okay with that. 

I know He has chosen me and I have responded, in my human capacities, to His choice.  I know His love and the blessedness of dwelling in Him.

And that makes for a really great life here, and the hope of life eternal!

   

 

 

 

Anna and the Christmas Story

24 Dec

Luke 2:36-38, “And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher:  she was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.  And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. ”

Anna, seemingly a minor character in the Christmas drama, spoke of the Lord Jesus to all the people who were in Jerusalem looking for redemption.  How she managed to do that was by being at the place where they would come looking for redemption, the temple.

Several facts about Anna and her valiant witness for the Lord jump out.  First of all, we have all heard that there were rooms constructed around the perimeter of the temple that could function as storerooms or as chambers for priests who were sleeping at the temple before or during their obligation to perform duties there.  I have never heard of a woman using one of those rooms.  Yet it seems Anna pretty much lived at the temple.  She was either 88 years old or 88 years widowed (the interpretation isn’t solid there, according to Bible scholars) and she was using her advanced years to serve God in His House.  In fact, she was the original elderly volunteer, wasn’t she?  And this one didn’t even need a ride to get there!!!

Something that also jumps out at me. What was Anna even doing in Jerusalem in the first place? Where were her relatives?

Since I love history, I am conscious of the ten Northern tribes of Israel going into Assyrian captivity about 700 years before Christ, and never coming back from it (that is what we refer to as the “ten lost tribes of Israel”). Anna was not only a descendant of the tribe of Asher (one of those ten tribes), but she knew that. How did she get to Jerusalem from that backstory?

God is a God of individual relationships and redemption.  Even if a whole tribe pretty much went into captivity and never returned, there were still remnants of that tribe who individually served God in some pretty profound ways.  He is like that.  He does deal with nations and groups, but He delights to deal with people individually. And He somehow got Anna to the temple in Jerusalem to wait for His Son while the rest of her tribe got lost!

What a wealth of relationship God shows us here.  He used this daughter of Asher, a lost tribe, in her elderly years, to point lost people to Him.  As her life was slowing down, God’s call to relationship was stepping up, via His Son.  God, Who had always delighted in fellowship with people, was invading history to ensure that millions of us could live forever with Him.

This sweet old lady played a huge part in that, and in doing so, gained mention in three verses of the Christmas story.  May we, too, be motivated all life long to serve the One who loved us unto death.

Addendum to Controversial Tuesday: I’m Okay, You’re Okay . . .

5 Dec

Back in the 1970’s there was a popular self-help book out that used very simple language to get us all to say that we were okay and so was everybody else.  “I’m Okay, You’re Okay” was everyone’s mantra for a while.

When dealing with the topic of total depravity, this little book from the ’70’s can help me write a useful outline.  There are four responses we can make about total depravity or “not okay-ness.”

As the book writer, Thomas A. Harris, MD, put it back then, we can say:

1) I’m okay, you’re okay (for us, that would be “neither one of us is totally depraved”)

2) I’m okay, you’re not okay (that would be “I’m not totally depraved, but you are.”  That would also be the height of  arrogance!)

3) I’m not okay, you’re okay (that would be “I am totally depraved, but you are not.”  While that initially looks like a truly humble statement, it is actually a statement of inverted pride.  Humble people don’t call attention to themselves, even negative attention.  The people who are constantly telling us how they are losers compared to everyone else are still disobeying God’s command to not compare themselves with others.  And, frankly, their statements are prideful, just in a different way).

4) I’m not okay, you’re not okay (that would be “both of us are totally depraved.”  And, while the writer of the 1970’s book would be sad to hear me say it, this is where I think our default position lies.  Even after we are saved, we must be aware that all of our righteousness is imputed to us in Christ.  So there is no reason to be proud of ourselves.  We can be justifiably proud of Him!!!).

Just wanted to clarify that.  I was reading today how sometimes people will misunderstand the term “total depravity” when applied to Christians and think that it means there is no difference in behavior, values, goals, etc. between a Christian and a non-Christian.

There is a huge difference.  Even the fact that we can see ourselves as totally depraved sinners is a realization that comes from the Holy Spirit.  I can guarantee you that non-Christians don’t see that part of themselves accurately.  It is a fallen world.  So much easier to blame everything bad that happens on someone else.

And, as I said in my post on total depravity, the best news of all is that Jesus came to save sinners and that, when we realize our total need of Him, we can reach out in prayer and invite Him into our needful places!  That is far beyond being okay!  That is glory!

Shhhhh, Don’t Tell Anyone We are Lepers

13 Nov

Isa 64:6 “But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

I was at the Santa Barbara Zoo in California yesterday. As my friend and I walked around in the avian displays, we stopped at one point and said, “Wow, toucans really stink, don’t they? Who knew.”

Problem was, we didn’t know either. Because toucans don’t stink.

We were still about four displays away from the vultures, and they do stink.

Horribly! They stink horribly. Even when they are not being fed dead things they smell of decomposed flesh. They must exude the smell through their pores. And it almost made me throw up.

It also made me think of the above passage from Isaiah. You see, the filthy rags in that verse are the rags that lepers used in Bible times to bind their wounds. And lepers didn’t have neat little wounds.

Not at all. Lepers used rags to bind up oozing wounds on decomposing flesh. That was what their disease did to them.

We don’t get that because leprosy is almost cured in our day.

But the smell of decomposing flesh that hangs over vultures would be similar to the smell that hung over lepers, back in the day.

And God always used leprosy as an analogy for sin.

Not that lepers were greater sinners than the rest of us.

No, leprosy was an analogy for the sinful condition we all face. That verse says that our most righteous acts are like rags cast off by lepers.

Not very flattering, is it?

But very necessary for us to face. None of us is “95% good and only needing for God to give us a little boost into heaven.”

No, we are all abject, hellbound creatures without Christ, reeking of the leprosy of our own sin. If God didn’t love us unconditionally, He would not love us at all.

Our sin is very, very bad news.

But our Saviour is very, very good news.

God sent Christ to bear our sin penalty, to die and rise again from the grave in our place, that we might be forgiven of our sin. Forgiven of the reeking leprosy of our sin.

And that, in Him, we might live forever with God.

To God, our sin is putrid, like the smell of a vulture or the smell of a leprous rag. But, in Christ, we can be restored to God, and be in relationship to Him forever.

All we have to do is ask Him, in prayer.

Please consider asking Him to enter your life, today.

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