Reason for God – Part 12

Some excerpts from chapter 10 (pp. 159-173) Tim Keller’s, The Reason for God. The title of the chapter is “The Problem of Sin.” This chapter was profoundly helpful to me.

  • It is hard to avoid the conclusion that there is something fundamentally wrong with the world. According to Christianity our biggest problem is sin. Yet the concept of “sin” is offensive or ludicrous to many. This is often because we don’t understand what Christians mean by the term.
  • The Christian doctrine of sin, properly understood, can be a great resource for human hope, but what is that doctrine?
  • Sin is the despairing refusal to find your deepest identity in your relationship and service to God. Sin is seeking to become oneself, to get an identity apart from it.
  • Most people think sin primarily as “breaking divine rules,” but Kierkegaard knows that they very first of the Ten Commandments is to “have no other gods before me.” So, according to the Bible, the primary way to define sin is not just the doing of bad things, but the making of good things into ultimate things.
    • It is seeking to establish a sense of self by making something else more central to your significance, purpose, and happiness than your relationship to God.
  • A life not centered on God leads to emptiness.
    • Building our lives on something besides God not only hurts us if we don’t get the desires of our hearts, but also if we do.
    • Few of us get all of our wildest dreams fulfilled in life, and therefore it is easy to live in the illusion that if you were as successful, wealthy, popular, or beautiful as you wished, you’d finally be happy and at peace.
    • That just isn’t so.
  • The real culture war is taking place inside our own disordered hearts, wracked by inordinate desires for things that control us, that lead us to feel superior and exclude those without them, and that fail to satisfy us even when we get them.
  • Sin is not simply doing bad things, it is putting good things in the place of God. So the only solution is not simply to change our behavior, but to reorient and center the entire heart and life on God.
  • If Jesus is your center and Lord and you fail him, he will forgive you.
    • Your career can’t die for your sins.
    • You might say, “If I were a Christian I’d be going around pursued by guilt all the time!” But we all are being pursued by guilt because we must have an identity and there must be some standard to live up to by which we get that identity.
    • Whatever you base your life on–you have to live up to that.
    • Jesus is the one Lord you can live for who died for you–who breathed his last breath for you.
  • Even the most successful careers and families cannot give the significance, security, and affirmation that the author of glory and love can.
    • Everyone has to live for something. Whatever that something is becomes “Lord of your life,” whether you think of it that way or not.
    • Jesus is the only Lord who, if you receive him, will fulfill you completely, and, if you fail him, will forgive you eternally.
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~ by toddbumgarner on June 9, 2008 9:40 pm.

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