Matthew 19 Verse by Verse

Matt photoJesus answers a question about divorce by explaining God’s design for marriage.  He also highlights the importance of children and points out the flaw in the rich young man’s religion.

Matthew 19.pdf

Matthew 19.mp3

Religion in Rome – nothing to do with the Pope

First put this put this up about 4 years ago, and got to thinking about it again.  The key point is the title has to do with “decline and fall.  Not hoping for that by any means, just noticing a similarity.”

I recently stumbled upon this and thought it sounded a lot like the USA.  It’s from Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. I, ch. II:

“The policy of the emperors and the senate, as far as it concerned religion, was happily seconded by the reflections of the enlightened, and by the habits of the superstitious, part of their subjects. The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful. And thus toleration produced not only mutual indulgence, but even religious concord.”  (Emphasis added.)

In the yet-to-be-written The History of the Decline and Fall of the American Empire, vol. I, ch. II, it will state:  

“The average American was vaguely religious believing that it didn’t matter what one believed as long as one was sincere.  The devotee of science was convinced that all religion would become unnecessary if only people knew better.  Most politicians identified themselves as, ‘Christians who support Israel’ (but didn’t always give convincing evidence of either), and knew that Islam was undeniably a ‘religion of peace’ (while uncertain that religious knowledge even existed).  These points of view (though on the face of it contradictory) actually harmonized well enough in the public mind that the most of the diverse population managed to somehow get along with itself.”

An excerpt from Marilynne Robinson’s *The Death of Adam*

“History is a nightmare, generally speaking, and the effect of religion, where its authority has been claimed, has been horrific as well as benign.  Even in saying this, however, we are judging history in terms religion has supplied.  The proof of this is that, in the twentieth century, “scientific” policies of extermination, undertaken in the case of Stalin to purge society of parasitic or degenerate or recalcitrant elements, and in the case of Hitler to purge it of the weak or defective or, racially speaking, marginally human, have taken horror to new extremes.  Their scale and relentlessness have been owed to the disarming of moral response by theories authorized by the word “science,” which, quite inappropriately, has been used as if it meant “truth.”  Surely it is fair to say that science is to the “science,” that inspired exterminations as Christianity is to the “Christianity” that inspired Crusades.  In both cases the human genius for finding pretexts seized upon the most prestigious institution of the culture and appropriated a great part of its language and resources and legitimacy.  In the case of religion, the best and worst of it have been discredited together.  In the case of science, neither has been discredited.  The failure in both instances to distinguish best from worst means that both science and religion are effetively lost to us in terms of disciplining or enlarging our thinking.

“These are not the worst consequences, however.  The modern fable is that science has exposed religion as a delusion and more or less supplanted it.  But science cannot serve in the place of religion because it cannot generate an ethics or a morality.  It can give us no reason to prefer a child to a dog, or to choose honorable poverty over fraudulent wealth.  It can give us no grounds for preferring what is excellent to what is sensationalistic.  And this is more or less where we are now.”

– Marilynne Robinson, “Darwinism” in The Death of Adam:
Essays on Modern Thought
(New York, Picador, 1998, 2005), 70-71

Find the book here on Amazon:
amazon.com/Death-Adam-Essays-Modern-Thought

Religion in Rome

I recently stumbled upon this and thought it sounded a lot like the USA.  It’s from Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. I, ch. II:

“The policy of the emperors and the senate, as far as it concerned religion, was happily seconded by the reflections of the enlightened, and by the habits of the superstitious, part of their subjects. The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful. And thus toleration produced not only mutual indulgence, but even religious concord.”  (Emphasis added.)

In the yet-to-be-written The History of the Decline and Fall of the American Empire, vol. I, ch. II, it will state:  

“The average American was vaguely religious believing that it didn’t matter what one believed as long as one was sincere.  The devotee of science was convinced that all religion would become unnecessary if only people knew better.  Most politicians identified themselves as, ‘Christians who support Israel’ (but didn’t always give convincing evidence of either), and knew that Islam was undeniably a ‘religion of peace’ (while uncertain that religious knowledge even existed).  These points of view (though on the face of it contradictory) actually harmonized well enough in the public mind that the diverse population managed to somehow get along with itself.”

Not Guilty

1 John 4:9-10 (NKJV) 9In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 

All of us know what it’s like to feel guilt, some of it unwarranted, some of it genuine.  As to the false guilt, it’s, well, false.  We never really had to worry about that at all.  In the case of false guilt, that sense of feeling guilty was always a lie. 

The beautiful thing that God has done for us, by the offering of Christ for our sins, is that He has removed our real guilt.  When we, in our hearts, reject our sin, turn to Him and ask for His forgiveness, He cleanses us.  He declares us not guilty in His eyes. 

Christ is the offering that removes our guilt.  He is the propitiation for our sins – the offering that reconciles us to God.  If God views us as not guilty, then we truly are not guilty; no higher standard is needed.  There is no higher court that we will ever be tried in.  So Christ takes care of our all-too-real guilt.  And that is the kind of Savior we truly need.