Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Johnson: more faith

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
    When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.”
    —Matthew 8:16-17 (NIV)
    In a modern-day brand of Christianity devoted to good works, faith in the forgiveness of sin deteriorates, and the Golden Rule becomes a means of salvation rather than the fruit of salvation. An empty stomach is no way to a man’s heart, and racial justice is long overdue, but a cup of water can never replace the healing power of the Cross. In a country where famine and poverty have reduced the day’s ration to a bowl of rice and the domicile to one room, food and shelter are obviously important, but so is faith in God’s mercy. Faith is indispensable. Neither individual holiness nor social concern can be legislated... The fact is that the more seriously one takes the demands of God, the more conscious of his own need for mercy he becomes. But, fortunately, as Kierkegaard put it, “The opposite of sin is not ‘virtue’ but faith.”*
* from Kierkegaard, Sickness unto Death
    ... Paul G. Johnson (b. 1931), Buried Alive, Richmond: John Knox Press, 1968, p. 143 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 8:16-17; Rom. 6:3-8; 14:13; Gal. 3:21-22; Tit. 1:15; Heb. 11:6
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, I believe Your promise of forgiveness.
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