The Doctrine of the Fall

God made the world good. The sense we get in Genesis 1 is of “perfection.” By perfection we do not mean in the sense that it was complete but rather that it was fitting for its time. It was incomplete in the sense that humans still had the work of filling and subduing creation and of tending and caring for it.

We see here an eschatological trajectory. As a number of commentators over time have noted, the movement is from a Garden to Garden City. We look forward to a day and a place where God will dwell with all his people (see Rev 21-22). I believe that Revelation 21-22 was always the goal of Creation.

According to John Calvin, this means that sin was both a fall from where we were and a departure from where we are going. Continue reading

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Sin Treats Silence as permission – the #churchtoo problem

In the light of the recent sexual harassment scandal in Hollywood, the hashtag #metoo began to trend on twitter as people began to share their own stories of experiencing unwanted attention, persistent harassment and physical abuse. 

Sadly, very quickly in the wake of this another hashtag began to trend, #churchtoo. Now it may be tempting to sit back and say “This is just people with an axe to grind jumping on the bandwagon” and maybe some are but if even just a small percentage of the stories are true then this should disturb and sadden us. It should move us to sorrowful prayer and to action. Continue reading

Sin Seeks out friends

As I said in the talk on Sunday, we are so good at finding people to support and confirm what we want to do.

I usually have a good feeling for the type of advice people will give me.  I know who will tell me just to get on with something and who will tell me to wait patiently. I know who will be over harsh and who will be maybe too gentle.  So the comments a wise friend once made resonate with me. Continue reading

Sin starts in the heart and the mind

In my talk on “Scandal” from 2 Samuel 13 I highlighted 7 reasons why sin is serious and deadly.  In our next few posts I want to pick up on a few of these in a little more detail.

First of all, we said that Sin starts in the mind and the heart.  It starts here because this is the first response to temptation. We entertain the idea. Continue reading

Scandal (2 Samuel 13)

Q “How do I balance knowing that I am forgiven with not excusing my sin because I have eternal life as a free gift?”

A “You don’t. Instead we need to know the difference between excusing sin and knowing that we are justified. I excuse sin because I think I have still got to carry the burden of guilt and shame. So I am tempted to try and minimise it. The gospel tells me that I don’t need to. God forgives me and calls me righteous. Jesus takes the burden of my guilt and shame on himself. This means I can be and must be completely honest about the full weight of sin, guilt and shame I carry.

That’s why 2 Samuel doesn’t back off from the full horror of David’s sin and its awful consequences.  That’s why we can step into this story even though it will be challenging and painful as our own hearts are revealed. Continue reading

David’s judgement and the difficult matter of a child’s death

When David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband murdered, he thought he had got away with it but God saw and God was not pleased. In 2 Samuel 12, God sends the prophet Nathan to pronounce judgement. David repents (you can read his confession in Psalm 51).  God forgives David, his life is spared. However, he is told:

“You won’t die for this sin.  Nevertheless, because you have shown utter contempt for the word of the Lord by doing this, your child will die.”[1] Continue reading

Sex and power

What is power?[1]

Q asked at 21 CD youthclub last week

-Power = strength, might, force, dynamic. It’s to do with authority. It’s often linked to money.

-Power at play – Westminster, Hollywood

-Sin and power – who is in control …what kind of authority?

“God’s power is very different” – place your life within his power, authority and care.

Why? Continue reading