Tag Archives: confession

Repent For the Kingdom of Heaven Is At Hand: The Message of John the Baptist –Post by Michael J. Findley

david-and-nathan
When confronted about his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah, did David say this to Nathan the prophet? “I apologize to … for how distracting and divisive this has been.” Are these the words of Paul to Jesus on the road to Damascus? Yet this insult has been used in place of repentance several times recently.

First, true repentance requires understanding God’s holiness. There are books, even sets of books on the subject. It is the emphasis of the Law God gave to Israel on Sinai.

Leviticus 11:45 You are to be holy, because I am holy, is one of the most repeated phrases in the entire Bible.

Because we are sinners, our sin needs to be atoned for. That sin is the reason for the entire sacrificial system; the tabernacle, the temple, and the death of Christ on the cross.

Second, true repentance requires understanding what sin is. Sin separates us from God. Sin is far more than a “distraction,” or “divisive.” For the wages of sin is death.

It is usually easy to see what we might think is sin in someone else. But true repentance is not repenting of someone else’s sin. It is confessing our own sin. True repentance understands sin, confesses that sin, and forsakes that sin.

1 John 1:9
If we make it our habit to confess our sins, in his faithful righteousness he forgives us for those sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

Confess means to say the same thing about our sin that God says about our sin. It is neither just listing the sin, nor is it just doing penance. It means making the sin right. If something was stolen, then it must be returned. If you committed murder, then you must face the punishment for murder, up to and including your own death, if that is necessary to atone for that sin.

Whatever sin we committed, we must atone for that sin. Apologies which do not even acknowledge a sin put us in the same position as David when he attempted to cover up his sin. 2 Samuel 11:27 says, Meanwhile, what David had done grieved the Lord. God sent Nathan the prophet. The judgment for David’s sin was the death of the child. Later, when David sinned in numbering the people, 70,000 men died.

It is sad the others suffer the consequences of our unrepentant sin.

Hebrew 3:12-15
See to it, my brothers, that no evil, unbelieving heart is found in any of you, as shown by your turning away from the living God. Instead, continue to encourage one another every day, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, because we are the Messiah’s partners only if we hold on to our original confidence to the end. As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as they did when they provoked me.”

All Scripture quotes are from the ISV

Image Credit: Thou Art the Man. Artist: Peter Frederick Rothermel (1817-1895) Public Domain

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Mysteries, Characters and Distractions: A review of Allon by Shawn Lamb

Allon

Allon is the first in a fantasy/allegory series by Shawn Lamb. The biggest mystery is who you can and cannot trust. Lamb presents characters, some only briefly, but startles us with their motives and revelations of good or bad character, and the consequences of their actions. Beware of jumping to conclusions. Some things are predictable but details keep you guessing.

I think my favorite character is Erin. She tries seduction, changing herself, even a very risky personal sacrifice to earn Ellis’s love. Her changing character and motivations are worth the read. (By the way, this seduction is not at all explicit, nor is another seduction scene in the book. There is no objectionable sexual content.)

The writing style and vocabulary are awkward. Sometimes the vocabulary used is plainly, to me, wrong word choices.

One plot incident that I consider pivotal is the point where Ellis’s relationship with Shannan changes. It involves the trust issue I mentioned earlier, and has something to do with a wild boar. But it is only briefly talked about and does not even make it into the action of the book. Shouldn’t that be more important, if it changes their whole relationship?

My second serious objection is to the handling of the Guardians, and it is twofold. Guardians are supernatural beings similar to angels or demons, interesting characters, both the evil and the heroic ones. But this is an allegory about humans and their growth and preparation for service to God. Shannan’s interaction with the Guardians was frequently captivating but these things distracted from the story of Ellis and Shannan. The Guardians steal the focus from the human characters and the main plot time and again.

Some Guardians rebelled against Jor-el, the God-figure in the story, but who did and who didn’t rebel isn’t always clear. Why are Guardians horribly imprisoned, tortured, maimed, even killed in such frequency and detail? If they are not humans, the focus of the story, what is the spiritual purpose for this?

I am not against violence in books, even for younger readers, but I need to understand the reason for the gruesome description of one Guardian’s mutilation during his imprisonment, and the manner of his death. He is portrayed as defiant and heroic in the face of torture, but he confesses to something the author simply does not explain as rebellion. Quite the opposite. This Guardian says in his dying “confession” that he followed the orders of Jor-el. Are all these imprisoned Guardians guilty of rebellion? Can they repent and be “saved”? Other Guardians who become free don’t confess to wrongdoing, at least not clearly enough for me, and I am not a young reader.

I know of no theology that teaches Angels will torture other Angels, no evidence that they fight or die much as we do except for being a little stronger and faster. Lamb insists that they don’t “die,” but we see them wounded and dying over and over. What teaching is this? It’s worse than a distraction, it’s a kind of heresy skewing the whole redemption and growth and preparation for service storyline. What chance is there for these characters we’ve grown to admire and love, who’ve sacrificed and suffered just like the humans? One good stab and poof! They just disappear. Were they saved? Were they lost? We have no idea.

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