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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Wild or Profane

Three events in the last few days have conspired to shed a different light on disobedience for me.  First there was an anonymous comment on a March post, “Accountability”.  Second, we had a discussion this morning on 1 Timothy 2 – 3 that covered what the text says about leadership in the church and the reality that many churches and denominations are ignoring what Paul wrote.  Lastly, the Moroccan pastor with whom I meet each Thursday and I were in Jeremiah 34 this morning.
Wild or Profane
The background of the comment and the discussion on leadership is what perhaps what made Jeremiah 34:16 nearly leap off the page.  Through Jeremiah God is telling Judah that their commitment to obey God and their subsequent ignoring of what He commanded profaned His name.

I do not think I have ever taken disobedience that seriously.  Yeah, pretty much I haven’t.

I have been reading a short book by D. A. Carson, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God.  There is an extended quote that fits well here…
I recall meeting a young and articulate French West African when I was studying in Germany more than twenty years ago. We were both working diligently to improve our German, but once a week or so we had had enough, so we went out for a meal together and retreated to French, a language we both knew well. In the course of those meals we got to know each other. I learned that his wife was in London training to be a medical doctor. He himself was an engineer who needed fluency in German in order to pursue doctoral studies in engineering in Germany. 
Pretty soon I discovered that once or twice a week he disappeared into the red light district of town. Obviously he went to pay his money and have his woman. Eventually I got to know him well enough that I asked him what he would do if he discovered that his wife were doing something similar in London. 
“Oh,” he said, “I’d kill her.” 
“That’s a bit of a double standard, isn’t it?” I replied. 
“You don’t understand. Where I come from in Africa, the husband has the right to sleep with many women, but if a wife does it, she must be killed.” 
“But you told me that you were raised in a mission school. You know that the God of the Bible does not have double standards like that.” 
He gave me a bright smile and replied, “Ah, le bon Dieu; il doit nous pardonner; c’est son m├ętier [Ah, God is good; he’s bound to forgive us; that’s his job].” 
D. A. Carson, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2000), 65–66.
There it is.  That cavalier attitude that, quite frankly, I think too often I have toward my disobedience.  I know God will forgive, after all 1 John 1:9, right?

But God declared that disobedience was profaning His name.

I am due for a serious attitude adjustment.


  1. Broadcaster Todd of "Wretched radio" posted a short video message reporting on a survey that measured 68% of evangelicals and 50% of evangelical pastors in the US admitted to regularly viewing porn. Clearly preaching and living it out messages are not cutting through to the people who should know who and what the Standard is. The love of most will grow cold...
    Don't become that stat! Rise-up expose the works of darkness.

    1. That is incredibly sad. However I know it is true. Hotels have reported that porn is viewed at the same or increased rates when the building is filled with a pastor's conference.

  2. This morning before I read Mike’s blog, I was reading Galatians 5 which discusses our freedom given to us by Christ’s fulfillment of the law. Paul, in the previous chapters, has been talking about why we no longer under the law and how we are free from it. But as we all know someone who uses the first part of Galatians 5:13, “For you were called to freedom, brethren;” to justify their actions. The rest of the verse gives us the rest of the story, “only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

    Paul then goes on to address this attitude and pretty much states that if you live that way, you have not been redeemed by Christ’s salvation.

    Galatians 16 – 25 (NASB)
    16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

    When Paul talks about people who live by the flesh, I believe he is describing people with the same attitude as the French West African. Even though the Jewish people Jerimiah was describing, were indeed under the law and would be judged by the law, they demonstrated that they were living by the flesh and had the same attitude of living for themselves and not for God.

    Having said all that, we need to live and walk by the Spirit and realize that our whole sanctification will not occur until we have our new bodies in Christ.

    1. Good word Chuck, sorry it took so long to acknowledge,

  3. Good comments, friends, helpful and challenging. I just finished for now (I will never finish through all eternity) studying Mark 14 and 15, Jesus in the Garden and on the Cross. May the gracious God of Heaven not let me so despise the infinite suffering of His Holy Son by deliberately and knowingly trampling that sacred blood-soaked ground at the foot of His cross!

    How sad that young African could have such a pitiful relationship with his covenant wife! I would give anything for another chance to cherish my own beloved angel.

    1. He obviously does not view her as a covenant wife...