Reaching Back with Repentance

Steve Arterburn

 

 

Most Americans admire those who practice ‘rugged individualism.’ But in our emphasis on individual freedom, we often lose sight of our corporate responsibility. As Christians, we’re individuals but we’re also part of a people. We’re called to benefit from the work of others, to suffer with others, and to bear responsibility with others. This may not seem fair, but it’s a fact.

 

You see, our ties reach all the way back to Adam and Eve. We need to be saved because, as it says in the book of Romans, ‘Adam’s one sin brought condemnation upon everyone.’ But Roman’s goes on to say that this very principle of corporate connectedness makes salvation possible through our unity with Christ, for ‘Christ’s one act of righteousness makes all people right in God’s sight and gives them life’.

 

When the Israelites returned from their exile, they realized how both they and their ancestors had failed God’s commands, and they were overcome with grief. In that repentant grief, however, they heard the good news of grace, and this revived and renewed their love for God and their desire to obey him.

 

Ask God to bring to mind any sins or wrongdoings you, or even your family, has committed so you may confess and let go of them. It’s a powerful exercise, but seeing God’s mercy over all your sin can be one of the most liberating experiences ever.

 

Mining For Gold

Steve Arterburn

Everyone ever born has a human mother and father, right? Almost. There are three exceptions: Adam and Eve, our first parents, and Jesus Christ, who, as the Apostle’s Creed says, was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.

 

The opening chapter of Matthew, the first book in the New Testament, consists of an extensive genealogy. You may consider genealogies dull, and maybe skipped right to chapter two. But, there’s gold here if you’ll mine for it.

 

Matthew’s goal is to show us that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah, a direct descendent of both Abraham, Israel’s father, and David, it’s greatest king. Along the way, Matthew mentions forty-two fathers and five mothers.

 

You see, Matthew’s culture was certainly patriarchal, and because it was, the mention of these women takes on increased significance. They’re quite a colorful group. Tamar bore her father-in-law’s twins. Rahab was a prostitute. Ruth was a foreigner visiting Israel. And Bathsheba’well, we all know about her and David.

 

But women aren’t the only colorful characters here. Trace the men through Scripture and you’ll find most of their backgrounds quite checkered. And it shows that God chose and used not only ordinary people to create the linage of Jesus, but also, profoundly flawed people. My point: God uses men like you and me in mighty ways. Take heart!

Spiritual Inadequacy

Steve Arterburn

Do you feel spiritually inadequate’especially when you’re around women? If you answered yes, then you’re not alone. In a survey for my book The Secrets Men Keep we discovered that sixty-eight percent of men feel sometimes they don’t measure up to women spiritually.

 

Did you know that your feelings of inadequacy have ancient roots? In the book The Silence of Adam the author goes into penetrating detail about Adam’s failure in the garden of Eden to confront the serpent who was tempting Eve. His point is that Adam was silent when he should have spoken up. He was silent when he didn’t rebuke the serpent and stand between his wife and the tempter. And he was silent by not speaking to his wife and challenging her as she contemplated sin.

 

Apparently Adam felt inadequate to speak up in that situation. Whatever he was feeling’inadequacy, intimidation, fear’he shouldn’t have been. God created Adam first and then created Eve to be his helper’not vice versa. As politically incorrect as that may be, it’s the record of Scripture.

 

Adam should have intervened. Why he suddenly chose to clam up and stand by while his wife disobeyed God’and then joined her in that disobedience’is a mystery unsolved. And a struggle that continues for men. I encourage you today to battle the urge to be silent and to instead use your strength to bless.