Archive for February, 2013

Free to choose?

English: Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvo...

English: Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir at Balzac Memorial Deutsch: Jean-Paul Sartre und Simone de Beauvoir am Denkmal von Balzac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is man free?  

Is he truly free to choose?  If man is not capable of not sinning does that mean that he is not free to not sin!

Jean-Paul Sartre holds the idea that if God exists, man can not be free.  That freedom is not true freedom unless it is absolute.  That anything less than full autonomy is not true freedom.  But must there be complete, unrestricted freedom in order to be free?

Just an illusion

Is anything short of absolute autonomy only an illusion of freedom?  In the movie of the same name a member of the Adjustment Bureau states to the hero of the story, “You don’t have free-will you have the appearance of free-will.”  The presupposition being that if we don’t have complete free-will then it is all just an illusion.  But is it?  Do we have to have complete free will versus having none? Are those the only two options?
What are your thoughts?  If you cannot choose not to sin does that mean you don’t have free will?
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Is there a win?

English: John the Baptist baptizing Christ

English: John the Baptist baptizing Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” Romans 15:1-3


As a Christian what is the ethic?

I have a responsibility to others to live a life that encourages.  Not that risks discouraging a brother in the faith.
Am I free to consume alcohol as I choose, providing I am not drunk?  Yes, I see no teaching or precept in the Bible that requires abstaining.  Nothing that says I can’t enjoy a cigar now and then.
But what about what is does to those around me?  What if someone around me can’t handle seeing me with a bourbon in my hand?  Should I care, or change my lifestyle because of what it might do?  How does this tie into the lifestyle of Jesus?
Jesus was reviled because he associated with publicans and drunks.  On the other hand people also took issue with John the Baptist who led a life of abstinence   So it is obvious that outsiders will find fault no matter what we do.

So what do we do?

The best we can.  If you have an issue with having a glass of wine then don’t.  If on the other hand it doesn’t prick your conscience then don’t worry about it.  Because trust me someone will find fault no matter what you do.  If it is your church leadership, then be willing to be humble and submit to their authority.  But otherwise use your mind, seek great council from the people around you.
And above all pray.
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Earned Grace

I hear so many confused answers on Christian ethics and obligations.  This morning I heard a man I deeply respect say we are no longer under the law.  And then he stopped there, Romans says “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
And that’s true but that is not all, it goes on to say in the very next verse “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.”

Can you earn a gift?

Can I earn God’s love and forgiveness?  Of course not.  I will never be good enough, there is nothing I can do to make myself good enough.  After all if I cut someone off on the freeway tomorrow, what do I do to make it right?  How about the lie I told my senior year of high school?(ok the LIES, plural). People I have hurt with my actions?  How would the scales ever balance out.
See grace can’t be earned, otherwise it is not grace.  Grace by one definition is unmerited favor.  It takes one of the hardest acts of man, to accept a gift.  We really want to make it on our own.  Our pride gets in the way, and we try to be good enough, strong enough, rich enough, wise enough.  But we can’t be anything enough to earn it.

 You can’t save yourself, and neither can I.

The law saves no one.  The law is God’s standard.  We don’t obey the law in order to earn Gods love.  We obey the law because we love God.

The resurrection was a sign from God that Jesus sacrifice, his shed blood, his death was sufficient.
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What is enough?

Who am I to expect more?

Ask – sure
Work for – of course
But expect?
How dare I. How presumptuous of me to expect anything beyond the grace of God.  Even expecting that seems, as I am writing this, to be the pinnacle of arrogance.
Max Lucado in his book “In the Grip of Grace.” Tells the story about praising God for saving his daughter from drowning.  “As clearly as if God himself were speaking, this question came to mind: Would I be less wonderful had I let her drown?”  I have to admit I probably would scream YES, yes you would be less wonderful.

What is the right perspective?

Right now I do not have the perspective to even really know what is good for me.  Yet I actually try to make that decision.  Should I keep working to build a business that is struggling?  What about being single, when not only do I not really want to be, after all didn’t God say “It is not good that the man should be alone.”  Yet if I was married I don’t see how I could work full-time(and then some), teach a couple of small-group classes, write this blog, study trying to better understand God, and love a wife as Christ loves the church.
My humanity, my desires, seem in conflict with my Christian ethics, my belief that God’s best is best.  Knowing that I just don’t have the wisdom to make the call, doesn’t necessarily make it easier, but it does make it do-able.
I may not have the answers, but I do know the one who does.
 Now if I would just be ok with that.
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