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Let not the sun go down upon your wrath

In his wonderful book on Ephesians, Watchman Nee observes that the letter can be divided into three movements: “Sit, Walk, Stand.” We are seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:6) We then walk worthy of our calling in Christ. (Ephesians 4:1) And we stand against the assaults of the evil one. (Ephesians […]

Vengeance is mine

Belief in a God of vengeance will create vengeful people, right? On the other hand, if we want to pursue peace ourselves, we must dispense with the view of God as some Settler of scores, right? Actually the Apostle Paul argues precisely the opposite.  He begins by enjoining an incredible level of pacifism on the […]

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do

On Saturday I spoke with an atheist who made a repeated claim: “Jesus was a hypocrite.”  No matter how many times I asked him for evidence, he couldn’t point to any.  Plenty in me.  Plenty in himself.  Innumerable instances in Christian history.  But none in Christ Himself. That’s quite astonishing really.  Hypocrisy is almost the […]

The fatted calf

When the prodigal came home, they killed the fatted calf. From the father, it was the most lavish gesture of reconciliation.  He would publicly welcome, celebrate and eat with his lost son. For the younger son, it was the most incredible token of the father’s forgiveness.  The father from whom he had only taken, now […]

Safe and sound

Every story has a turning point?  What’s the turning point of the Prodigal Son? Perhaps we think it’s in the pigsty.  There he is, hungry and helpless, and the prodigal hatches a plan… “17 When he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and […]

Be of good cheer

It sounds like the sort of saying we should use at Christmas.  It has that ye olde yuletide ring to it: “Be of good cheer!”  But when Jesus used this phrase there was nothing cheery about the circumstances.  There was no earthly reason to ‘cheer up.’  Yet that didn’t stop Jesus from saying it. One […]

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors

Spot the common theme in all these sayings: —  I owe you an apology. —  How can I ever repay you? —  Give credit where it’s due. —  I’m forever in your debt. —  You robbed me of my dignity. —  You cost me my reputation. —  It’s pay-back time. All of these statements use […]