Good morning Ollies
Our readings for today are Psalm 32 and Chapter Three in Prodigal God.
Psalm 32 begins:
How joyful is the one
whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered!
2 How joyful is the man
the Lord does not charge with sin
and in whose spirit is no deceit!
A spirit that knows God is forgiven and joyful. It doesn't know deceit.
In Chapter 3 of the Prodigal God, Keller states that Jesus redefines sin. It is not the legal definition of the Pharisees, nor is it the cultural definition of the rebels.
Sin is being on outs with God, unforgiving and unforgiven, not loving God. Instead, we barter with God. Our intent is deceit. WE don't want to walk with God. We want to turn from Him as soon as possible. Either we endure His rules and regulations for a profit or we despise His rules and regulations for our own better way. Jesus teaches us that neither way leads to God, but instead tries to make our own salvation for us.
David gives two examples, the one who did not confess his sins as in Psalm 32:3 and the one who needs a bit and bridle; Psalm 32:9.
Keller quotes Flannery O'Connor from Wise Blood. Hazel Motes states "the way to avoid Jesus is to avoid sin." What a knock out punch! How many of us subscribe to this notion? I haven't sinned today Lord so I don't really need You out in front. I'll save You for later, just in case. As if salvation is limited or only for those that need it or maybe we could just circumvent the whole sin thing and allow our own comfortable notions of self-salvation in the mix.
By Keller's examination, Jesus' definition of sin cuts against the grain. As Christians we know that we must do certain things. We must be good. We must not sin. We must obey God. WE end up with a boat-load of could'a, would'a, should'a's; a lot of knowing about God, inside knowing very little of Him.
In Micah 6:8 the Lord tells us all that we have to do and make our own salvation is not one of those things. We are to seek justice. This doesn't mean we go on a rampage against our own definition of the oppressor, but to actually consider God in our definition of justice. Jesus said let the one without sin cast the first stone. Condemnation is not what God asks of us, but justice in our own actions that we may seek His will for us and the others around us.
Micah goes on to say that we should love mercy. Again that is not to say our own mercy for others which is not true mercy, but that we should love to forgive as we also have been forgiven. In loving mercy we love God's ways, we seek His will, not our will. It is no credit to us that we forgive, but rather the glory, magic and joy are of God. We merely reflect His mercy for us.
Finally, in the rules that Micah sets before us, we are to walk humbly with the Lord our God. Neither brother in the story of the Prodigal Son is humble, or, for that matter, walking with God. One is rebellious and only humbles himself to return. The other is haughty and proud, demanding condemnation for the younger brother. His trust in his father revolves around a conviction of self-righteousness. "I have made this deal with you now see it through, Father. I have kept my end of the bargain." He does not love mercy.
David ends Psalm 32 with these words:
Many pains come to the wicked,
but the one who trusts in the Lord
will have faithful love surrounding him.
11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice,
you righteous ones;
shout for joy,
all you upright in heart.
Micah too counsels us to trust in the Lord and walk with Him. In redefining sin, Keller teaches that we should trust in the Lord not our own ways.
Thanks for reading, blessing and joy to you and Happy Thanksgiving.
Also posted in Ollie Mc Neil Devotions