This is a continuation of my previous blog regarding a book recommended at our last Synod, by our Canon Theologian Henry Jansma. If you want a general overview of the book, go back to the previous blog, which is titled Review #1. This review is going to cover Part 1 of the book. In this review I will be sharing four quotes from the book, in the hope that these gems will inspire you to find even greater treasures in the book.
Here is the first quote. “Run no risk when your soul is at stake.” Page 7
How often do we risk sinning? It is just a little lie? You might think, How bad can it be? Well, it doesn’t take a big leak to completely destroy a dam. The water may start off as a small trickle, but erosion will break it down slowly over time. Likewise with sin, it does not take much sin to ruin your life. Sin left unchecked often leads to something even worse. Listen to what Paul says.
1 Corinthians 5:6 English Standard Version (ESV) Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
In Jewish life they would need to make unleavened bread for Passover. Any yeast would ruin the bread and it could not be used. Likewise, in community, we cannot tolerate even a little bit of sin or the rest of the community might think that openly sinning is allowed. In a similar fashion, we have to be careful with our own thought life, what we say, and what we do. A little sin, eventually becomes habitual and that certainly leads to spiritual death. Let’s move on to our next gemstone.
“Think not you can live with Esau and then die with Jacob.” Page 9
J.C. Ryle has a great way with words. This is one of those phrases to commit to memory. This essentially reinforces what I said about the previous quote. If you think that you can continue to sin and repent later, then you are deluding yourself. I remember hearing that in the ancient past, people would put off repenting because they did not want to mess up and sin afterwards and so ruin their chance of getting in Heaven. They planned on repenting on their deathbed. Maybe you recall this story from the bible.
Luke 23:39-43 English Standard Version (ESV) 39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
That particular passage should give you hope that it is possible to repent at the last minute. However, that is still taking a HUGE risk. The longer you live in sin, as in living with Esau, the less likely you are to repent before it is too late. It is more likely that you will dive deeper and deeper into your favorite sin and possibly add new sins along the way. Let’s move on to the third quote.
”Habits, like trees are strengthened by age. A boy may bend an oak, when it is a sapling, -a hundred men cannot root it up, when it is a full-grown tree. Page 11
Talk to anyone in recovery. Talk to the former alcoholic. Ask them if they could go back to when they first started down the road to sin, would they like the opportunity to talk some sense into themselves. Many that are in recovery know what it is like to deal with a bad habit. Take care of the habit while it is a sapling, because by the time it becomes an oak, you will need God’s help to break it. This leads into the fourth quote from Part 1.
“Go and ask believers now, and I think many a one will tell you much the same. "Oh that I could live my young days over again"; he will most probably say. "Oh that I had spent the beginning of my life in a better fashion! Oh that I had not laid the foundation of evil habits strongly in the springtime of my course!” Page 16
If you have not heard the song Dear Younger Me by MercyMe let me share one verse. “Dear younger me
I cannot decide Do I give some speech about how to get the most out of your life Or do I go deep And try to change The choices that you'll make cuz they're choices that made me Even though I love this crazy life Sometimes I wish it was a smoother ride Dear younger me, dear younger me ‘Dear Younger Me lyrics © Essential Music Publishing, Capitol Christian Music Group, Music Services, Inc
There have been times in my life that I wish I could have a do-over, I would like to go back and give myself some better advice. However, time travel is not an option that God gives us. Fortunately, he knew that we would be in this predicament and so sent his son Jesus to die for us and save us from the sin that would otherwise plague our lives.
I hope that this has encouraged you and if it has sparked your desire to read more of the book then that is even better. Stay tuned for the next installation where I will cover Part 2 of the book.