Joke of the Week
I posted this one about a year ago, but it seems particularly appropriate the day after Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day morning a wife told her husband, “I dreamed you bought me a lovely red ruby solitaire ring. What do you think the dream meant?” He replied, “You’ll know tonight,” and went off to work. That evening he returned with a package wrapped in red velvet paper and tied with a large crimson bow. She eagerly tore the paper off to find her Valentine’s Day gift: a book entitled, “The Meaning of Dreams.”
You didn’t think I’d let two weeks go by without a plug for Saluda Press, did you?
I plan to publish two other books this year, but I can’t let you forget what you’re missing if you haven’t bought the three Saluda Press has already published:
- The Crescent and the Cross: The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad. This action-packed fiction for readers 7 to 14 years old teaches as it entertains. As Sinbad and his young Christian friend Selassie lurch from one danger to another, Sinbad learns that the gospel of Christ offers freedom from sin and a relationship with God as his Father, something Islam doesn’t do. One 8 year old reader, Ann, in South Carolina, wrote, “Dear Mr. Rogland, Thank you for the Crescent and the Cross. I finished it in two days. It is so good. I recommend it to anyone.” (Boys like it too.) Only $12.95 + $4.00 shipping.
- James: A Study Guide: Practical Wisdom for Challenging Times. The Book of James is the New Testament’s wisdom literature, telling us how to live in a changing, confusing, stressful world. Contains 9 lessons with study questions, answers, and study notes. Only $9.95 + $4.00 shipping The Letters of Peter: A Study Guide: Hope and Truth For Troubled Times. Peter’s inspired words are as relevant and helpful today as they were when he wrote them in the first century.Sixteen lessons covering First and Second Peter, with study questions, answers, and study notes. $11.95 + $4.00 shipping.
All these books are available by going to the top of this page and clicking on Buy My Books; you can also buy them through Amazon.
Luther’s 95 Theses for 21st Century Christians
Here is Thesis 3.
- Yet it does not mean solely inner repentance; such inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortification of the flesh.
John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus. He called the people to repentance and he baptized them as a token of repentance (Mk. 3:4). But he warned those who came out to be baptized by him that baptism did not wash away their sins ex opera operato (a Latin phrase meaning “by the work done,” a phrase expressing the Roman Catholic view of the effect of water baptism.) Baptism was a token, or sign, of repentance. John made it clear that repentance is not simply sorrow for sin. Sorrow for sin, a hatred of our sin, must produce not only inward grief, but also show itself in a changed life.
[John] said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.” Luke 3:1-14
John was specific about repentance. He told tax collectors and soldiers to forsake sins for which their class was well known, and told all who came to him to be generous with their goods—to withhold help from those in need is a sin of which most of us are guilty. The acts John prescribed were representative of the “various outward mortification[s] of the flesh” Luther referred to.
What about you? Has your repentance consisted of going through rituals? Has it been sorrow or regret for sin that you nevertheless make no effort to forsake? If your repentance is only inner regret unaccompanied by suitable outward change, that is, action that speaks to your particular sins, then it is “worthless,” as Luther said. Charles Spurgeon, the 19th century Baptist preacher, put it well: “Remember, the man who