e hënë, 18 qershor 2007

James 1:12-15

Passage: "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God promised to those who love him.

When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death

Journal: The chief end of man is to give glory to God by enjoying Him forever. In man's pursuit of the glory of God, the path is overgrown with the evil of man. This evil is the residue of a fallen world, a world held together only because of God's great mercy. Yet, even this evil brings God glory. (God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose {Rom. 8:28}; You [Joseph's brothers, who sold him into slavery] meant evil against me; but God meant it for good {Gen. 50:20}; The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble {Prov. 16:4}; Surely the wrath of men shall praise you {Ps. 76:10}.)

Thus, since God is provident and even the evil of the world brings Him glory, is He therefore taking the blame for this evil? God is never to be blamed for evil, and the crucifixion of Christ is the perfect example of this truth. The crucifixion of Christ was the focal point of His ministry as the sacrificial lamb of God. It was predestined and ordained from the beginning of time. Yet, evil men carried out this unspeakable act and will pay an eternal price for their rebellion. Christ Himself mentioned this certainty (For the Son of man goes as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed {Luke 22:22}). This is an antinomy, two parallel truths that cannot necessarily be reconciled, but nonetheless each are absolutely true due to the veracity of God's word. That is, it is absolutely true God ordains all things, even the existence of evil. It is also absolutely true that man is held responsible for all things, even the conduct of evil. That is, while God ordains evil, He never does evil. In fact, as James points out in today's passage, God cannot be tempted by evil. Indeed, it would be difficult to serve a god that could be tempted by evil. Such capriciousness would be maddening. Our God is unable to sin, and it is the pursuit of His great and unending righteousness that steadies an unstable world.

Our temptation comes from within, for we live in an environment that is evil by its very nature. It is for this reason that a man is "blessed" when he "perseveres under trial." The persevering man is able to do that which does not come natural. Such a supernatural ability cannot be generated from within, but rather is a gift from above. It is Satan who tempts, by showing that which is natural. It is God who tests, by making available that which is unnatural. It is man who either perseveres, or who does not persevere. It is in this unnatural perseverance that the spiritual man "will receive the crown of life that God promised to those who love him." Not so the man who does not persevere in the face of temptation -- "Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death."

Heard 'Round the House:
Anna (age 7) seems to think that my breath smells like tacos. This has not generated great confidence on my part in public settings, but did bring about this father - daughter exchange for Father's Day --
Anna: Daddy, what did you get from your daddy?
[Note: My dad died about 25 years ago]
Daddy: What do you mean?
Anna: I mean, what is the main thing about him that is like you?
Daddy: I will have to think about that one.
Anna: I bet it is your taco breath.
Daddy: I'm thinking that he hopes it is something else.