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Showing posts from April, 2014

Why Are Good People Tempted to Do Wrong? [4]

Ezekiel 37:1-14, Romans 8.1-11 Ezekiel offers a different metaphor for the situation we find ourselves in. People who think they are better than they really are resemble dry bones piled on a battlefield. That’s how things will end up for us unless something changes radically!
The nation of Israel thought they were good but on the day when they encountered a determined and ruthless foe they discovered how hollow their self belief had been. Their army was overrun at the Battle Of Megiddo and their king, Josiah - who had a reputation for being a jolly good king, was shot full of arrows. And each one of us risks the same sort of fate when we come up against the moral dilemmas of daily life. When it comes to the crunch, our goodness can turn out to be skin deep and in no time at all we can end up morally shredded, as worthless as dry bones. But all is not lost. The Psalmist is mistaken. God’s patience is never exhausted. Our hope is never lost and we are never completely cut off from his lov…

Why Are Good People Tempted to Do Wrong (3)

Psalm 95, Romans 5.1-11 The Bible has some hard things to say to good people who end up, for whatever reason, being drawn into wrong-doing. The Psalmist's view is that God is so creative and so wonderfully loving that we shouldn't allow anything to separate us from him. We are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. He cares personally for each one of us and you'd think that would make us grateful and determined to be good. My grandfather had a herd of sheep. To look at them, scattered around the field eating grass and watching over their lambs, they seemed like free agents who could do whatever they liked. But not a bit of it. The flock had a leader, whom my grandfather had kindly nicknamed Granny. When he came to the gate with a sack of feed she would walk to meet him and then she would follow him all the way to the feed trough. She never hurried, and she was never pushed or jostled by the rest of the flock, because she was the acknowledged leader of the floc…

Why Are Good People Tempted to Do Wrong? (2)

John 3.1-17, Romans 4:1-5 &13-17 The Bible has some hard things to say to good people who end up, for whatever reason, being drawn into wrong-doing. Nicodemus recognises that God is present in Jesus and yet he only dares to visit him at night. Is he reluctant to give Jesus the recognition he deserves as a fellow rabbi, or is he afraid of declaring his own allegiance to Jesus? Either way, Jesus feels there may be some cognitive dissonance at work here. Like other rabbis who have come to Jesus seeking answers, Nicodemus is reluctant to acknowledge the truth of what he's hearing so he convinces himself that part of the jigsaw puzzle is still missing. 'How can these things be?' he asks. 'And how can you call yourself a teacher,' Jesus counters, 'And yet claim not to understand these things? I'm telling it how it is, but you're not listening.' How often that happens, doesn't it? Otherwise good people, including ourselves of course, sometimes blank …