Joke of the week
Sometimes we need to see things in perspective.
A father passing by his son’s bedroom, was astonished to see the bed was nicely made, and everything was picked up. Then, he saw an envelope, propped up prominently on the pillow. It was addressed, “Dad.” With the worst premonition, he opened the envelope and read the letter, with trembling hands… “Dear, Dad. It is with great regret and sorrow that I’m writing you. I had to elope with my new girlfriend, because I wanted to avoid a scene with Mom and you. I’ve been finding real passion with Stacy, and she is so nice, but I knew you would not approve of her because of her piercings, tattoos, tight motorcycle clothes, and because she is so much older than I am. But it’s not only the passion, Dad. She’s pregnant. Stacy said that we will be very happy. She owns a trailer in the woods, and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. We share a dream of having many more children. Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn’t really hurt anyone. We’ll be growing it for ourselves, and trading it with the other people in the commune, for all the cocaine and ecstasy we want. In the meantime, we’ll pray that science will find a cure for AIDS, so Stacy can get better. She sure deserves it! Don’t worry, Dad. I’m 15, and I know how to take care of myself. Someday, I’m sure we’ll be back to visit, so you can get to know your many grandchildren. Love, your son, Joshua.P.S. Dad, none of the above is true. I’m over at Jason’s house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than the school report card that’s on the kitchen table.
TWO FOR ONE CHILDREN’S BOOK SALE
From now through March 18 I am holding a two for one sale on my two children’s books, The Crescent and the Cross: The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad, published by Saluda Press, and Pinocchio’s Quest, published by Christian Liberty Press. Buy The Crescent and the Cross at the regular price, $12.95 plus $4.00 shipping, and I will send you free a copy of Pinocchio’s Quest, a $12.50 value. Pinocchio’s Quest is based on the classic tale of a wooden boy who longs to be human. This action-packed adaptation of the Pinocchio story includes a message that is both morally uplifting and true to the message of the Gospel of Christ. Join Pinocchio in his trials and adventures as he searches for eternal life and eventually discovers the miracle of the new birth. For readers 7 to 12 years of age. See last week’s blog for a description of The Crescent and the Cross. Go to Buying my Books at the top of the page or to Amazon to buy The Crescent and the Cross and when I receive the order I will ship Pinocchio’s Quest with it.
“Faith is the child of grace and the mother of good works,” Phillip Schaff, an eminent church historian of the 19th century. Scripture says the same thing: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” Ephesians 2:8-9.
Luther’s 95 Theses for 21st Century Christians
4. As long as hatred of self abides (i.e. true inward penitence) the penalty of sin abides, viz., until we enter the kingdom of heaven.
The meaning of this thesis is not clear. It is certainly true that true inward penitence involves hatred of self, that is, of our sinful nature and our sinful actions. But what does Luther mean in saying that the penalty of sin abides in the penitent until we enter the kingdom of heaven?
Perhaps he means that repenting is not a “one and done” act. We don’t repent when we first come to Christ in faith and then cease to repent when we fall into sin again and again. As Luther points out in his first thesis (above), “the entire life of believers [is] one of repentance.” The penalty of sin abides—sins committed after we have come to Christ in repentance and faith still are worthy of death. But Christ paid the penalty for our sins past, present, and future by his sinless life and vicarious death.