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Lord's Day Liturgy

Bolognology

Men lie. Christians of all people should know this, or at least stop believing what everyone says. Men lie. They’re lying if they say they aren’t.

By “men” I mean human beings, male and female, young and old, from every tribe and language and people and nation. This nationality piece is especially significant, because it extends to all peoples. By “lie” I mean to present an untrue statement as true with the intent to deceive.

There are all kinds of specific lies in the world, but one of the most obvious, yet accepted, lies today is that men don’t know what is right and wrong. This is Bolognology, the study of bologna.

For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. (Romans 2:14)

The Gentiles didn’t have the Mosaic Law, God’s revealed law, even if they had societal laws. Paul isn’t saying that they always did what is right, but “by nature” they know that there is right and wrong. This “nature” is something God gave.

They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them…. (Romans 2:15)

They know that there is right and they judge how they behave according to that standard.

Of course they could wrongly apply the standard. Having your feet on the ground doesn’t mean you’re standing in the right place. Natural law and the consciences of men are not without error, but it’s enough to call them on. Christians should both not believe the worldly when they say that law is something socially relative nor should we receive the accusations of the world that say we are the ones who make them feel guilty. The know that they’re guilty by nature.

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Lord's Day Liturgy

The Taste of Truth

Eve was deceived by the deceiver of the world. Sin in the heart deceives the sinner. Riches deceive from what is truly valuable. God is never deceived; He sees straight through. And we must put deceit away if we want to receive the word of truth.

I’ve observed before that we’re never commanded to read the Scripture. We’re commanded to hear it, to meditate on it night and day, and to do it. But listening or, for those of us with our own copies, reading is only a necessary step in the process. From the inside we’re to “long for the pure spiritual milk (of the word).” Crave it like a newborn craves milk. It’s one of the few things worth getting fussy about. “I need the Word now!”

The Word is good. The Word of the Lord tastes good (1 Peter 2:3), which we know from the Word. The Word gives our spiritual lives energy and nourishes growth in salvation (1 Peter 2:2). We believe that man lives by the Word of God, and we must get rid of some things before we come to eat it.

“Put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander” (1 Peter 2:1). In English this sounds like an imperative, and it is necessary. But in Greek the verb in verse 1 is a participle that depends on the main verb, the imperative in verse 2, “desire.” “Having put away” in verse 1 is the condition.

We’re instructed to get rid of every kind of lying, and we could also see the irony. Are we coming to receive truth while full of falsehood? Do we have duplicity in our hearts and yet want something pure? Jacob wanted God’s blessing through the word of his father, but he had to deceive his father to get it? It ought not be so.

Let us not be deceived by sin, or sin by deceiving. Instead let us taste and talk about the truth.

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Lord's Day Liturgy

Which One Looks the Most Shady

As Paul described the “old self” in Ephesians chapter 4 he compared it to the life of the Gentiles. Unbelievers are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, hard-hearted, calloused, and greedy for impurity. Then he said:

But that is not the way you learned Christ…to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, (Ephesians 4:20–22)

The last phrase is striking: “deceitful desires” (ESV) or “lusts of deceit” (NAS). This doesn’t mean that non-Christians want to deceive others, though that is true many times. Instead it means that sinful desires deceive the desirer. Such a person believes his own press; he’s also happens to be the author, editor, printer, and delivery boy.

The worst villains aren’t those who know their own evil, those who try on multiple black hats to see which one looks the most shady. The worst villains believe that they do no evil; they might even wear white lab coats. They allege that others misunderstand what they call “serving the greater good” or “helping mankind.” For example, Planned Parenthood advertises its abortion services as a way that they save lives.

On the individual level, and it is true of individual Christians as well, sin lies to us. Sin hides from others, but it is most dangerous because it hides from us. It’s why we must keep looking at the mirror of God’s Word. It’s also why we need to listen to others who know us and won’t accept our bull.

If people–such as your parents, disciplers, other counselors you’ve had previous reason to trust–persistently tell you that you want something that is wrong, maybe they finally cracked and now only want to make your life hell. Or maybe your desires have deceived you. The new self lives in true righteousness and holiness. Keeping sin around will keep you from seeing that clearly.