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June 14, 2024 - Proverbs 4-7

There are two extremes we can fall prey to when thinking about God’s commandments:  one, the belief that we can pretty much do what we will because, after all, grace is grace, right? & two, Pharisaism in which we load people down with so many human made rules as to make lives miserable.  The genuine Christian life is lived with the confidence that, yes, when we do sin, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9).  But, also, it is lived with a strong desire and commitment to living as he would have us live.  And, sometimes, not in a Pharisaical way, a list is helpful.  Solomon tells us:  “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him:  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers” (6:16-19).  Of course, the danger is that we can take this counsel and either so tightly apply it so that we define certain sins outside these parameters and, so, allow them, or we can define the list in the other direction, walking around with a clip board and checking on every behavior and even creating a salvation by works.  Rather, let us look to Christ and live for him.

 

Christ the Way of life possess me,

            lift my heart to love and praise;

guide and keep, sustain and bless me,

            all my days.

 

Well of life, for ever flowing,

            make my barren soul and bare

like a watered garden growing

            fresh and fair.   -- Timothy Dudley-Smith (1999)

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