Unbribable

Paul reminded the Corinthians that one day they would judge the world.

Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! (1 Corinthians 6:2–3)

By asking do you not know” twice he signals that he had taught them this before, which means that it wasn’t a Christian 500 level course. While this judging was a future gig, it had present implications. Why would they keep embarrassing themselves by bickering in front of unbelieving judges? There was something about their future responsibility that wasn’t disconnected from their present relationships. They should judge better now because they will judge later.

It also seems to be true that it works in the other direction: judging now makes for better judging later. In Revelation 20 John sees some who are sitting on thrones, and part of their job is to judge (verse 4). There are others who are raised to reign with Christ, which includes authority to judge, who had refused to take the mark of the beast, even as it cost them their lives. This is exactly the kind of judge you want. These judges couldn’t be bribed or bought or canceled even if killed. They held fast to the truth. Ability to distinguish between right and liars was not just a glorification supplement.

As Christians, our future is one of being judges. Some of that should be demonstrated in our contracts and communication with one another. And a lot of it should be demonstrated in our consecration to the Lord and our confession of sin. When it comes to sin we should be unbribable.

As living sacrifices we discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). We abound in all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent” (Philippians 1:9-10). This faculty of judgment includes laying aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely” (Hebrews 12:1). Recognizing the standard of God’s Word and applying it accurately to our own behavior is a just practice, and we are going to get lots of practice.

April 29, 2021 confession

Comeford College Information Night

comeford

There are a lot of reasons for this project we started, and there are a lot of people who could benefit from it. That means you should come to our Comeford College Information Night next Wednesday, April 28, 7:00pm, at The Table building at Reclamation Church in Marysville.

I thought about including a bunch of links to various articles I’ve read recently about the state of most colleges and universities, which is to say, to show how ridiculous higher education” has become. These places are debt factories. They are immorality playgrounds. They are so liberal that you are not allowed to disagree. They are so scientific that you can identify as any gender you want; shoot, change as often as you change your major, more more!

We are trying to do something better, for cheaper, with actual flourishing for our students and our community. We want them to learn true and transcendent things and then have courage to live for the Lord of them.

Christian college graduates typically have commitment, but not confidence. They have ideals, but not vision. Except for those going into the professional ministry, no one has laid out for most of them either the possibilities or the responsibilities of penetrating every area of our society with the message of Christ.” (Robert Briner, Roaring Lambs)

We are four weeks away from finishing our first year of classes. Our students have taken Astronomy, Greek (see a Greek class” in the pic below), Old Testament Theology, Ancient Philosophy, Music Theory, and Great Books. We are making plans for classes to start again in the fall, and we have room for more students, including part-time students or auditors.

class

The Information Night is open to anyone who is curious, there’s no commitment. There’s also no required masks or distancing, but we will have some dessert. Check out the FB event page and then come see what we’re trying to do.


Want to read some more? Here’s a post on why we wanted to start a college, and here’s another on why we chose the name Comeford.

April 23, 2021 Comeford College

The Beginning and the End

Which is the most important meal of the day? Is it more important to give your body fuel before going out to work, or to replenish your body after a hard day of work? Is eating what you do first or last? Does breakfast commence or does dinner consummate?

This is a meditation exercise, not a push for the only answer. In addition to the reality that people’s bodies are different, and people have different preferences, the general question is not either/or. We do both.

Our communion at the Lord’s Table also works both ways, even as it reminds us to look both ways, back to Christ’s first coming and forward to His second coming. In our corporate worship, communion is toward the end in the liturgy, a crowning point. And though Sunday is the first day of the week, it is the end of the weekend, and we often come before Him spent, empty. We have not been working in order to earn our salvation, but we’ve been working because we love Christ and desire to please Him. The meal He provides satisfies and refills. He provides the food that endures for eternal life” (John 6:27).

But also in our liturgy communion precedes the commission, as we are charged and blessed back toward our responsibilities. The supper is faith-fuel.

Are you weary? Come to Christ. Are you eager? Start with Christ. He is the first and the last, the beginning and the end (Revelation 22:13), He is life and bread, He has accomplished our salvation and He is the author of our faith that hasn’t finished its course yet, and He will raise us up on the last day (John 6:54).

April 22, 2021 communion

Live Not by Lice

A couple things came together a week ago Monday that produced this exhortation. At our school a few students were identified as having some little bugs in their hair. At our men’s group meeting we had our first discussion on a new book. It led to Jonathan’s comment that we should live not by lice.

That is really funny.

Not everyone thinks that lice is funny, and neither is living in a culture that loves lies and is run by liars and is trying to control us with lies. Lice is usually some measure of disruptive, lies are always some type of destructive. But how are we going to respond, and how do we want others to respond?

Annoyed? Anxious? Aggravated? Aloof?

What if we thought of the troubles like wind, and our lives like boats. Wind could totally knock us off course. If we know how to manage the sail, though, we might catch the wind and make quicker progress, which is not to say it would be easy. (As one example, our church has grown greatly in the last 12 months, numerically and spiritually.) Or if the hull of our boat was deep and heavy enough, the wind wouldn’t matter quite as much, even if it made a mess for all the other boats in the water.

In Psalm 52 Doeg lied and killed a bunch of priests. David said that the righteous response is to see what’s happening, fear God, and then laugh at those attempting their course without God (Psalm 52:6-7).

If someone isn’t freaking out as much as you, it could mean that they are ignorant, it could mean that their fear of God runs deeper than yours. Fear not man or what man can do to you or man’s lies, or, lice. Trust in the steadfast love of God (Psalm 52:8), and laugh well.

April 21, 2021 confession

Our Marveling Mechanisms

There is a simple way to avoid becoming bird food (Revelation 19:17, 21). There is a clear way to avoid being thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). The way is the way of faith in the Lamb. He is the way and the truth and the life (John 14:6). Those who love the Lamb more than their own lives will conquer (Revelation 12:11), and cannot be captured or condemned.

This is not primarily a word of warning to fear the eternal torments of fire, though the threat is real. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about the day

when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, (2 Thessalonians 1:7–10)

What I am calling us as Christians to do is to be preparing our marveling mechanisms. We will marvel at the Rider. We will marvel at the Lamb. We will marvel at His wrath. We will marvel at the banquet table of His love for His Bride, for us.

At that table there will be redeemed kings, captains, mighty men, free and slave, small and great. There will be Jew and Greek, male and female (Galatians 3:28). Who knows if we will recognize each other as old and young. What we hold onto in common is Christ. We are not merely fugitives from hell but sons of our Heavenly Father (Galatians 3:26). As many as of who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Galatians 3:27). We will all be in His presence and astonished by the glory of His might.

April 13, 2021 communion

Hectic Fever

I had a moment of providential connection at our small group meeting last Friday that, I believe, has application on a few fronts, for wisdom and courage and holiness, which are distinguishable fronts but also share the same heart.

We were talking about our Christian responsibilities in a world of lies and trouble and tyrants. This is where wisdom is so necessary, for sake or recognizing our situation and knowing how to respond. It reminded me of a phrase and condition I had read about: hectic fever.

Niccolo Machiavelli described it in his book on statecraft, The Prince (AD 1532).

hectic fever…in its beginning it is easy to cure, but hard to recognize; whereas, after a time, not having been detected and treated at the first, it becomes easy to recognize but impossible to cure.

Machiavelli meant it as counsel to rulers to be wise in how they deal with disorder below them.

The same condition, however, was also referred to by Junius Brutus less than 50 years later in his Vindicia Contra Tyrannos (AD 1579).

For tyranny may be properly resembled unto a fever hectic, the which at the first is easy to be cured, but with much difficulty to be known; but after it is sufficiently known, it becomes incurable.

Machiavelli was looking down, Brutus was looking up, both ways could go bad. For leaders, and for those who would not be overrun by bad leaders, early wisdom and quick courage are advantageous.

But the image also applies regarding sin. The love of money is a root of all kinds of evils (1 Timothy 6:10), kill it quickly. There is a root of bitterness that springs up into great trouble (Hebrews 12:15), pluck it out. One too many glasses of wine? Too loose with your timecard, stealing from your employer? A small sin can grow into a devouring dragon. Be honest, be ruthless for your sake, for the body’s sake. As John Owen wrote, Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.”

April 12, 2021 confession