Renew Your Mind

Today’s reading: Genesis 31; Mark 2; Esther 7; Romans 2

January 30th, 2016

Renew Your Mind

From our past reading of the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant Jesus tells us the dynamics surrounding not forgiving our fellows having received forgiveness from God. When the King forgave the servant his debt it was obviously not about the money. If it were simply the money, what the servant owed the King, what the servant did after it had been forgiven would have no bearing on the matter. But what happened after the servant was forgiven did matter and so we know it was not about the money, the tangible, it was the principle of the matter, the intangible.

The King was giving the servant an intangible gift that unfortunately the servant did not really receive. The gift was meant to renew the servant’s mind. To change what he believed. But when the King found out the servant was collecting debts harshly, He knew the renewal of the servant’s mind had not taken place and so the tangible was gift was revoked and the penalty attached to it reinstated.

This link between the intangible and the tangible is the point today. Take Jesus’s sermon on the mount. It was all about the intangibles. You have heard [tangible], but I say [intangible]. You have heard “Thou shalt not kill” but I say “whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment”. Blessed are the meek (intangible) for they shall inherit the earth (tangible). Jesus makes it clear that it is now about the heart and He made it clear that He knows our hearts. And the people were amazed because the word had become flesh and the word is sharper than any two-edged sword able to separate the soul from the spirit and able to judge the intentions of the heart. Jesus shows up and it becomes a matter of the heart.

From today’s reading Apostle Paul warns and even rebukes the religious who are looking down on and judging others; if the intangible is not present, the tangible will neither be.

Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? -Romans 2:1-4

This word repentance here μετάνοια, means the changing of one’s mind. In my estimation Apostle Paul is basically saying; “If you truly understood and accepted God’s gift, your mind would be renewed and you would not judge others.”

But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. -Romans 2:5

God may we receive Your good gifts in truth and may they renew our minds in Christ Jesus. Would you bless us in this way God? Thank You God! You are good! Amen.

Try Again, Go Deeper


Today’s reading: Genesis 19; Matthew 18; Nehemiah 8; Acts 18

In Matthew 18 Jesus tells a story of a King who calls to account his people, finding among them a debtor. The debtor unable to pay. His sum too great to bear; he begs for mercy promising to pay all. The King moved, forgives all and sets him free. What a beautiful story.

Until one day some of the King’s servants bring report of a great atrocity. The debtor had been found giving no mercy to those who owed him little. Upon receiving this report the King seized the debtor and handed him over to the tormentors. What a shame.

Had the debtor not received mercy to extend on? Had his debts not been forgiven? Should not margin abound so that he could extend mercy too? It does not make sense to me why he would act this way. Perhaps, could he have had trouble receiving the freedom?  Could it have been because he didn’t really believe he’d been forgiven that he turned so ruthlessly in the shadow of his great grace to collect? How could this be? What a tragedy. He had it all!

I recall the first time I read the Parable of the Prodigal Son and realized who I was in the story. It hit me quite hard. So hard I had a defensive response to laugh at my grand oversight. I suppose it was one of those ‘laugh or cry moments’ and I took the weaker way, not wanting to face straight on to wretchedness deep in my heart.

The Bible is full of lessons for us that come through stories. When we read of a protagonist, let us not be too quick to say, ‘that’s me alright’, but instead might we say “how can I become more like them”? When we read through the proverbs let us not be too quick to give ourselves a pat on the back that could end up deep in our hearts. Let us be careful what we believe for out of our hearts’ come the issues of life. More still, when we read of an antagonist let us not be too quick to dismiss; asking from the outside looking in saying ‘how could they?’ Instead, let us look from the inside out and say ‘how could I have?’ Then we go deeper. What is God teaching us? Who are you in the today’s story?

Go Deeper in God's Word

Oh God please forgive me of my wickedness, would You? LORD that I would even notice offenses towards me from others, which are so little and insignificant, within the shadow of Your beautiful and perfect and steadfast forgiveness of my great wickedness, pains my soul. God if you leave me to myself I will continue in my wickedness. Oh God, would You please rescue me from myself? God would you please help me extend a measure of the Grace You afford me for Your Namesake? God would You please be gentle with me for I am weak? I ask this in Jesus Name. Thank You God! You are good and worthy of all praise! Amen.

From today’s reading, after the king receives the tragic report:

Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. – Matthew 18: 32-34

From Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount:

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. – Matthew 6:12

The first thing Jesus Says after the Sermon on the Mount:

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. -Matthew 6:14–15

On the benefit of believing and understanding the gravity of the truth; that we are who God says we are: sinners deserving of all tournament; and that God is who He says He is: our Redeemer; and that Jesus can do what He says he can do: save us.

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; -Ephesians 3:8

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