Humble Dogs

That they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts. Matthew 13:15b

Archive for the tag “sin”

What Is the Standard?

Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Pet 1:16 KJV)

"Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." (1 Pet 1:16 KJV)

“Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
(1 Pet 1:16 KJV)

What is the standard of Christian perfection?

In a series titled; “Interactive Gospel” by Paul and Sue Hazelden, one section “No-one is Too Bad” contains the following statement:

The Standard is Perfection

The only moral standard which makes sense is absolute perfection. Once you say that sin – breaking the moral code – is acceptable sometimes, you have to start explaining which sins are acceptable in which situations, and justifying why this sin is acceptable, while that very similar sin is not. The question of what is acceptable becomes a subject for discussion and modification. You are left not with a moral standard but a more-or-less useful set of guidelines for living in a generally moral way.

This standard of perfection, of course, needs to cover every aspect of our lives. It is not enough to reel off a list of sins you don’t commit – the things you don’t do don’t make up for the things you do do. If the nice policeman catches you speeding down the road and pulls you over, he will not be too impressed if you say it doesn’t matter because you keep to the speed limit most of the time.

The point is this: the law is not something where you aim for a ‘pass mark’. It is no defense to tell the court you did not commit fraud 80% of the time, or 90%, or 99%. With the law, you either keep it perfectly, or you are guilty. It’s as simple as that.
So you may not commit murder – that’s good. But if you hurt people by the way you speak, you fall short of being morally perfect. Harming people – or failing to help them – because of greed, selfishness, insensitivity or ambition – that is the kind of thing the Bible means when it says we all fail to meet God’s standard of perfection.

And this standard – God’s moral standard – is not the target we are supposed to aim for. It is the minimum acceptable, the starting point. God wants us to be good, creative, loving and happy people. Not sinning is not the objective, it is simply what is required if we are not to destroy the good He wishes to build. Not sinning means not going backwards: what He wants for us is that we go forward with Him. We could meet the standard of never sinning, and still only be ‘unprofitable servants’ – not actually contributing anything positive.

“Harming people – or failing to help them – because of greed, selfishness, insensitivity or ambition – ”

The Law as given to Israel set a standard of conviction, to let us know that we all are sinners in the eyes of God. Jesus set the standard that much higher. It is now not just what we have done but, those things which we have left undone. We are to set our hearts and minds on perfection – Holiness.

(1 Th 4:3 KJV) ” For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, ….. To live, no longer for ourselves but for Him…” Then we will bear abundant and lasting fruit.”

(2 Cor 5:15 KJV)  “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

That we might live, no longer for ourselves but for others. God sent the Holy Spirit as his first gift to those who believe, so that we may complete his work on earth, and to bring us the fullness of His grace! The Holy Spirit, our creative helper, will give us many opportunities daily to express our love for needy humanity in our homes, our neighbourhoods, our places of work, our churches and the whole of God’s world.

I am a rich man I am a very rich man. Although my income places me in the bottom 20% in North American living standards, I am in the top 11% incomes in the world.

Widow's Mite

Lepton –
Widow’s mite

“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
– Mark 12:41-44

Was Jesus setting a standard by drawing attention to the widow’s offering?

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Question on Gambling

This is Christmas, day 3 in the Church calendar. Yesterday my topic was Of Jesus Birth, where I was attempting to explain by scripture of Christ Jesus being the first and last, The Alpha and Omega, of creation, Revelation 1:8:
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

We know by the prologue that this is Christ speaking Rev: 1 v1, “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place.” There can be no confusion over Christ and God Himself being one and the same.

Aramaic Bible, translated says:
“I am The Alap and The Tau, says THE LORD JEHOVAH God, he who is and has been and is coming, The Almighty”.

We are told that Christ came into the world to save sinners, 1 Timothy 1:15. I alluded to that perhaps the reason that the last act of creation was to create a new world because mankind has failed God, to be blunt – un-repentantly sinned against God. I read an excellent analogy of sin and our attitudes toward sin posted by a reader called; Playing With Killer Whales.

I wonder, what is the church’s attitudes toward sin? How many pastors are willing to preach frankly on sin?

Let’s look at Gambling. While there is no passage that states directly, “Thou shalt not gamble”, is not gambling covetousness? The Tenth Commandment admonishes us not to covet. Coveting, greed, and selfishness are the base emotions that entice people, including many Christians, to gamble. Does not gambling distract us from the lesson in Jesus preaching to trust in the Father for all our needs? If gambling were a sin, how many pastors would refuse a gift of monies obtained from the proceeds of gambling?

The question becomes: Is gambling sin? Can a Christian gamble and not sin/covet? Why then is he gambling? Is casino gambling different from playing the lottery?

Let us say then, hypothetically, that a church condemns gambling and its members refrain from doing so. Knowing that the proceeds from gambling support many institutions within the community, do the members of the church continue to avail themselves of those services supported by gambling; children’s hospitals, sports for kids, cancer research, art foundations, etc.?

Knowing that the proceeds from gambling go to support many worthwhile institutions that otherwise would not receive funding and in knowledge that an individuals chances of winning a lottery is infinitesimally small, is not playing the lottery then in reality just a voluntary tax?

Should we be thankful for those who do play the lottery because by doing so they support the many institutions within the community that otherwise would receive less funding?

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