Daily Encouragement: Day 259

From Handbook to Wisdom, Day 259


All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful
for teaching, for reproof, for correction,
for training in righteousness,
that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped
for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16–17)

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul.
The testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.
The commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.
The judgments of the Lord are true
and altogether righteous.
They are more desirable than gold, than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.
Moreover, by them is Your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
(Psalm 19:7–11)

Richard Niebuhr once described late-19th-century liberalism in these remarkably succinct words: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Jesus without a cross.”[note]A frequently cited quote from Niebuhr’s book The Kingdom of God in America.[/note] In recent decades, this distorted and emaciated gospel has also been seeping into the thinking and practice of popular Christendom. Terms like “wrath,” “sin,” “judgment,” and “cross” do not play well in a culture that has come to regard tolerance as more virtuous than truth. Through careful use of “text management,” we selectively focus on biblical images we want to hear and avoid the things in Scripture that seem harsh to our modern ears.

Notice how John the Baptist and our Lord in His early Galilean ministry both proclaimed the same disturbing message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2; 4:17). How well do you think these words would go over in the average church today? We would be wise to consider how tightly we have been gripped by the cultural agendas of our times and renew our minds by aligning our thinking with the whole counsel of Scripture.

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