Aug 16

The Age of Tolerance and Hypocrisy posted by John Sorensen on Aug 16, 2017

We are at war.

We see the evidence of it everyday as we read the news.  We shout and bluster, riot and march, and scream at the top of our lungs. The only real problem is that we aren’t quite sure with whom we are at war.

Oh sure, we think we do.  We’ve come up with a set of ideas, or ideals, that we would expect others to obey.  Tolerance has become the word of the day (and yet something that is in so little supply).  But right on its heals would have to be “hypocrisy.” And while we seem to see that in others very clearly, we rarely admit that we have the same basic problem. We say one thing, but do another.

If we were to fairly examine our list of ideals, we would find that they contain most generally one or more key values from this list:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Unfortunately, we don’t focus on them in that form.  Instead, we see: hate, misery, unrest, resistance, animosity, corruption, disloyalty, harshness, and instability.  And we see these everywhere, except the one place that we most should look:  the mirror.

We don’t look because, deep down in our heart of hearts, we know what we would see:  we, in fact, possess all of those things. Thus, the word hypocrisy.  We shout it because it’s true.  The only problem is that it is true of us as well.  As Oliver Hazard Perry so eloquently stated, “We have met the enemy, and they are (us).”  The truth is that evil does, in fact, exist, but the real problem is within, not without.

Dr. D. James Kennedy, the founder of Evangelism Explosion, taught me to pray a few simple prayers. If you’ll allow, I’ll teach you one that is applicable to our topic today.

And if he were here, he would say that we should pray this every morning this week and every other week of our lives.  It’s very simple, really only two words long.  It may surprise you, but nevertheless I think you will see right away that it is scriptural, and that it is important.

So here it is: “God, slay me.”

Now sometimes people hear this and they are shocked. “God, slay me.”  As I hope you know, every one of us fell in Adam, and so we are born with a corrupt old nature. Unless we have been converted, it’s the only nature we have.  It is always contrary to the will of God.  If we are converted, regenerated, then we have a new nature implanted in us by Christ. This new nature continues to grow; at the same time, the old nature must diminish and die.

Romans 6:11 tell us that, “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This is a picture of these two natures.

Romans 8:13 says, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” The King James translates this phrase “put to death” as to “mortify” the deeds of the body, to slay the old nature. Because, you see, all of these problems that we’re talking about come from that old nature.

So, do you want to do away with the problems in your life? Pray that God would mortify, slay, the old nature, which causes us so many, many problems. “Lord, slay me, so that this new nature may grow.”

The great Dutch theologian, Abraham Kuyper, talked about our fallen nature:

“But in regeneration a change took place. By this divine act our person is in principle detached from his former ego in the old man. The root was notched and, by the constant action of storm and gravitation, the severed parts separated more and more. Our person is no longer identified with the old man, but opposes him. Even though he succeeds in enticing us again to sin, even in the yielding we do not what we will, but what we hate. Only hear what St. Paul says: ‘The good which I would I do not, but the evil which I would not that I do.’ (Romans 7:19)”

There is a constant lifelong conflict between the old and the new nature in a Christian, and we want to ask God to mortify that old nature so that we may become more and more vivified, renewed, in the new man.

This applies to our life from the moment of our conversion until the time we enter into Heaven, when we cross the river and are glorified and the remnants of the old nature are removed completely.  If we want to have a greater spiritual life, we need to get rid of the problem, and the root of the problem is that old nature.  And therefore, Paul says in Colossians: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth” (Colossians 3:5). Mortify means, again, to put to death. “Lord, slay me.” What a great place to start your day!

Perhaps you say, “OK John, I see what you’re saying.  But not everyone is a Christian!” There you go. That is the problem. And the only answer is to share your faith today with someone who needs to hear it.  May God bless you today as you do.

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