Thursday, February 21, 2013
It is easy to feel utterly discouraged as a Christian giving witness to a depraved generation of people such as our nation is filled with today. People no longer accept responsibility for their choices, neither on an individual basis nor on a national level. The theme of the day is “mental health” or “victim of circumstance”. Every evil is categorized as some sort of syndrome. The prisons are filled with victims who refuse to accept blame for their wrong. We debate issues such as gun control and mental health, while completely ignoring the discussion about moral agency. It seems the foundation has shifted so drastically that it's not possible to have a reasonable, intelligent discussion over such things as moral responsibility, even within the Christian community.
Enter…HOPE, in the form of Jesus Christ and in the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus used many parables relating to sowing seed and producing fruit. In John 4:35-38, Jesus told His disciples to “…lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this case the saying is true, 'One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor."
You see…Christians are called to sow the good seed of God’s word and His righteousness, in the heart of man. Christ has made the way open to reconciliation with God by way of the cross. Jesus Christ, God incarnate, is drawing (Barnes uses the words “will incline”) ALL of mankind to Himself. So there is the work of the Holy Spirit prompting us and using the moral law written on the heart of each human. God calls us to accurately teach truth and give witness to others of our relationship with God. In doing so, we are sowing seeds for the Kingdom of God and His gospel!
Charles Finney referred to this work as the outer and the inward witness of the law. Finney spoke of it as an upper and lower millstone. Perhaps you can visualize the old millstone - a huge piece of granite or other hard rock, which was chipped and shaped round, with a hole for the axle at the center. And then ridges would be cut, so that the grain could be ground. Now, the function of the millstone was to crush the grain. And so, the ridges on the lower millstone corresponded almost exactly to the ones on the upper millstone, the grain would be poured in the center and gradually worked its way to the outside, while being crushed. And so Finney said: When God made man; he put within him a lower millstone. This lower millstone we call “conscience”, or that knowledge with which we were endowed by the creative act of God. As Paris Reidhead put it…”God, in other words, wrote the Law upon the fleshly tables of the heart.” When we accurately handle truth and present it to others, the upper and lower millstones are working to bring about awakening and conviction in the heart of the sinner.So, Christian…be a good farmer and continue sowing seeds for the Kingdom. Be encouraged that the work is not all yours, but together with God…work together to promote His Gospel and His Kingdom. Written by Keith A. Dunlap
Mark 4:26-28: And He (Jesus) was saying, "The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows — how, he himself does not know. The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head.”