Lord's Day Liturgy

The Umpire over Rogue Responses

In order to please God we must have perfect emotions. God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Jesus punctuated His sermon with it. “You therefore must be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). This was after taking aim at feelings of anger and irritation, passions of lust, overconfident emotion, as well as resentment and bitterness. Temptations to these are not sin, but there is a line that can be crossed where the heart sins before the parts sin.

Disciples of Jesus not only should develop emotional control, they must, when necessary, confess some of their emotions as sin. This is a much higher standard than some of us prefer to consider.

But that means that what we really prefer is to need less grace than God offers.

We ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

In other words, our hearts pumped bad blood. We were controlled by our sinful emotions.

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:3-7)

Here are two points. We ought to mourn our sinful hearts rather than justify sinful hearts, and when God justifies us by faith then we must “let the peace of Christ rule in [our] hearts” (Colossians 3:15).

It is worse than we often admit, but in Christ it is also better then we often apply. Do you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead? Then you are justified by faith and have peace with God (Romans 5:1). You are under blood-bought, Spirit-enabled obligation to let the peace of Christ umpire all the rogue responses in your heart.

May false guilt be damned. May memories of previous sins and the attendant sorrows be constantly brought back to your identity as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved.