The Lamb of God Who Takes Away the Sins of the World

The words of this song by Twila Paris, combined with the haunting beauty of the melody, have always affected me greatly. While some may think this is more appropriate for Good Friday, I think it is a proper Easter offering as well, as we consider the new life Jesus promises through His sacrifice. Easter celebrates what He did two days before. Please read these words carefully, meditatively, then play the short video of this song that follows. It should lead you from deep grief over sin to an even deeper appreciation of what God has done for you. May this be your most blessed Easter ever.

Your only Son, no sin to hide
But You have sent Him from Your side
To walk upon this guilty sod
And to become the Lamb of God

Your gift of love, they crucified
They laughed and scorned Him as He died
The humble King, they named a fraud
And sacrificed the Lamb of God

Oh, Lamb of God, sweet Lamb of God
I love the holy Lamb of God
Oh, wash me in His precious blood
My Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God

I was so lost, I should have died
But You have brought me to Your side
To be led by Your staff and rod
And to be called a lamb of God

Oh, Lamb of God, sweet Lamb of God
I love the holy Lamb of God
Oh, wash me in His precious blood
My Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God

Oh, wash me in His precious blood
My Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God

Lewis: Flippancy vs. Humor

There’s a world of difference between real humor and cocky snarkiness. I think C. S. Lewis caught that distinction well in The Screwtape Letters as senior devil Screwtape instructs junior devil Wormwood on how to twist the character of the human he is trying to drag into hell:

C. S. Lewis on TimeFlippancy is the best of all. In the first place it is very economical. Only a clever human can make a real Joke about virtue, or indeed about anything else; any of them can be trained to talk as if virtue were funny.

Among flippant people the Joke is always assumed to have been made. No one actually makes it; but every serious subject is discussed in a manner which implies that they have already found a ridiculous side to it.

If prolonged, the habit of Flippancy builds up around a man the finest armour plating against the Enemy that I know, and it is quite free from the dangers inherent in the other sources of laughter.

It is a thousand miles away from joy; it deadens, instead of sharpening, the intellect; and it excites no affection between those who practise it.

We are surrounded by flippancy in our society, but genuine humor seems to be in short supply. There’s nothing wrong with humor; in fact, God created it. We just need to be sure our humor isn’t tinged with the sad trait Lewis describes here.

Good Friday

Crucifixion & Resurrection

Thank you, Jesus, for willingly laying down your life for a people who don’t deserve your love.

U.S. Influence: The Great Vanishing Act

When writing on domestic policy and the Obama administration, I continually point out the overreach: Obamacare, IRS, ruling by executive fiat. If one were to concentrate wholly on the domestic side, it would seem as if everything Obama does lends itself to an incipient tyranny. Shifting to foreign policy, however, sheds a different light—not an admirable one, mind you, but different. Benghazi was/is an exercise in utter incompetence and cluelessness (coupled with a determined coverup, of course). Responses to nations that don’t have our best interests at heart reveal weakness and lack of seriousness, as if we don’t really grasp the threats.

Let’s take Russia, for instance. Putin continues to push the international envelope in many ways, the latest being in Ukraine. What decisive American policy has gone into effect in this crisis? What will it take to get the leader of the free world on board with real action?

More Warnings

Then there’s Iran, busily pursuing nuclear weapons while we think we can talk them into being a nice government that will put trade above ideology. They simply take advantage of our foolishness:

Negotiate

Meanwhile, our president seems more intent on proving his opponents as wrongheaded and portraying himself as focused on the “real” threats:

Doing Nothing

And our influence in the world?

Poof

As if by magic, it has vanished.

The Sebelius Rollout

The resignation of Kathleen Sebelius as HHS secretary was more than overdue. Don’t get me wrong; she wasn’t the whole problem, merely the public face of the problem. The disaster that is Obamacare still rests at the feet of the president; it’s a failed policy erected on a false philosophy of government and economics. But she was tasked with the rollout of this monstrosity. We all know how that went. Her resignation was kind of a rollout also:

Rollout

Even though she botched the job terribly, President Obama knew he couldn’t get rid of her right away because that would have been an admission of failure. First, he had to concoct phony numbers of Obamacare registrants to clear the way for her departure. There had to be some sort of closure to her tenure, a way for her to say she had completed her job so she could walk away with some sense of dignity. Well, she certainly completed what she started:

Work Is Done

As part of her grand exit, there was a ceremony at which both Obama and Sebelius spoke. Almost on cue, another glitch occurred: a page of her speech was missing. Somehow, that just seems appropriate as a testimony to her competence. And of course, the president had nothing but praise for her efforts. Perhaps he should have saved his biggest “thank you” for how she was used as the target for the botched system. Her greatest achievement, in his view, was probably how well she shielded him from more direct criticism:

Got Covered

She served her purpose and then suffered the same fate as all Obama associates when they have outlived their usefulness:

Under the Bus

I don’t think we’ll ever hear her name mentioned again at the White House.

Whatever Happened to Sin, Guilt, & Shame?

I’m hardly the first or only person to comment on how we seem to have lost a sense of shame. There’s rarely, at least among the political leadership, the news media, and the entertainment segments of our society, any embarrassment over actions that used to bring public disgrace. The opposite now seems to be happening: outrageous, disgusting behavior is either ignored or rewarded.

Yet how can one feel shame if one has no sense of guilt over that behavior? Why has guilt gone the way of shame? Let’s trace it back to the loss of belief in sin and one’s accountability before God for one’s thoughts, attitudes, and actions. We used to be a society that had a set standard of right and wrong based on Biblical morality. While that’s not completely gone, we are now experimenting with what a society might be like if it jettisons Biblical morality entirely. We are seeing the wreckage all around.

One of the more obvious symptoms of a deceived heart is the outward acceptance of—no, make that the active push for—homosexuality. What was once considered deviant behavior is now encouraged. When anyone comes out of some kind of supposed closet, society applauds the “courage” it takes to make that public declaration of deviance. We are in the process of redefining right and wrong. Wrong is now intolerance of previously degenerate behavior. It’s the Christians who continue to hold to the former standard of morality who are now perceived as the real threat to societal harmony.

The most blatant example, of course, is same-sex marriage, an oxymoron of the highest caliber. The sad tale of Brendan Eich, who is now the former CEO of Mozilla simply because he made a contribution to the California effort back in 2008 to maintain the traditional concept of marriage as between one man and one woman, is the latest warning to those of us who are not going to bow before the new gods of immorality.

Mozilla

We used to be concerned about genuine threats to the safety of the nation, such as when underground communists were stealing nuclear secrets and placing their devotees in key positions within the government. That’s passé.

Traditional Marriage

Culture can change without the government’s aid. However, when the government is in on it as well, it provides a greater impetus for that change. The current administration has led the way. It began with the refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Act and gradually morphed into outright promotion of same-sex marriage, linking it to the civil rights movement. We have an administration that picks and chooses which laws it will support. That puts us on the cusp of utter lawlessness:

The Law

Whether it’s the push for same-sex marriage, the attempt to force businesses to provide abortion services, or the desire to silence political opponents through the agency of the IRS, we are at a precarious place. The rule of law is on the verge of extinction because we have destroyed the Biblical concepts of sin, guilt, and shame. Only by restoring those will we restore what we have lost as a people.

An Eternal Perspective

There are times when one “goes to church”; then there are times when one enters into a type of worship that provides a taste, even a glimpse, of what eternity may contain. I had that experience last night—one of those moments when the veil of this earthly existence is lifted to some extent, and one can feel what it might be like to be standing in the assembly of the redeemed, pouring out their love, gratitude, and appreciation for the One who rescued them from the pit.

Whenever I experience that sensation, I’m reminded just how short-sighted it is to allow our temporary worries to dominate our thoughts. Besieged as we are at times by the difficulties and cares of this world, we lose perspective. I’m reminded this morning of a passage in the fourth chapter of 2 Corinthians:

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.

For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

There is a real heaven. There is a hope held out before us—not a wish, but a solid hope. I want to live this day in the expectation of that hope and see all present troubles in that context.

While I live in the here and now, I’m still just on the train, so to speak, heading to my destination. There will be some annoying stops along the route; sometimes the track may need to be cleared. Yet I will reach that destination in due time. Further, I have the promise that One goes with me on the journey. What more can I ask?

Heaven