Friday, June 30, 2006


As I'm going through the tedious process of editing my newest book, it's interesting to analyze my thoughts and emotions. To me, editing feels like running. I don't like running, yet, I run almost every day to stay in shape. I hate the process. It hurts. I sweat, toil, and grumble. But when I get done, I'm always glad I did it. I am healthier, and I feel better.

I don't like to edit. I have seen these words so many times, I just want them to go away. When my editor spots a bad phrase, I cringe. Yes, she's right (some of the time). I have to change it. But if I do, I have to back and change something else, and that will lead to yet another change fifty pages ago. And, once it's all done, did I remember everywhere that new thought will affect?

So, while editing, I sweat. I toil. I grumble. But when it's done, I'm glad I did it. My book is better, and I feel better.

I think we need to invent a Gatorade for writers.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Pure Heart - Part 4

The ability to have a pure heart comes from God, and he graciously gives us that ability.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. (2 Peter 1:2-3)

I bold faced "everything" to make a point. If we cannot have a pure heart, as some falsely claim, then God has not given us everything we need to be godly. Such a belief defies this passage. Since God has given all we need to be godly, then certainly we are capable.

And we are more than merely capable; we overwhelmingly conquer (Romans 8:37). The power of God's spirit destroyed the old self and gave us a new heart. We are new creatures. The old has passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17). Thanks be to God for His awesome provision for holiness!

This is probably my last post under this topic. I will likely come back to this subject later, but probably under a different heading.

I will finish by providing a link to a tremendous sermon by John Wesley that gives his views on Christian holiness. Click Here

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Pure Heart - Part 3

Purity of heart, of course, suggests that all impurities have been purged. Paul describes the purging process in Romans 6:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. (Romans 6:1-7)

In a Christian, the old self has been crucified. He is dead to sin, and slavery to sin is over.

Many people claim that this freedom from sin and death to sin are merely "positional," meaning that it is true only in God's perception, or a mere declaration by God, but not true in practical, day-to-day life.

This claim, of course, is false. First, there isn't a shred of textual evidence that this is any kind of "positional" truth that isn't also real practically. Second, the text demands that this is a practical freedom from sin. The first verse asks a question about continuing in sin, and Paul answers by saying that we can't continue in sin, because we died to it. If this death to sin were merely "positional," Paul's answer to the question about sinning wouldn't make sense. The reason he gives for not sinning is our death to sin, so this death must be a down-to-earth truth.

Thanks be to God for giving us real freedom from sin through Jesus Christ!

A Pure Heart - Part 2

It really makes me wonder when people tell me that it's not possible, even for Christians, to have a pure heart. I'm thankful that Scripture disagrees with that notion. A pure heart is not only possible; it is expected.

Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. (Psalm 24:3-5)

It seems that without a pure heart, we have no access to God at all. This fact makes me so overwhelmingly thankful that God has provided the means to have purity of mind and heart. Without His saving grace and regenerating power, I would be lost forever!

Monday, June 26, 2006

A Pure Heart - Part 1

Last night in our family’s evening devotionals, we came across this verse.

And the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance. (Luke 8:15)

What struck me was Jesus’ description of the heart of the people who hear the word and hold it fast. Their hearts are honest and good. When I read that, I was struck by the contrast between Jesus’ words and how many in the church describe their own hearts. Too many professing Christians say that they still have evil in their hearts or that their hearts can’t be trusted. Apparently they don’t agree with Jesus.

The Bible says that Christians are cleansed from all sin (1 John 1:7). We have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24), and we have had the flesh removed from our hearts (Colossians 2:11). It is no longer we who live, but Christ lives in us (Galatians 2:20), and there can be no evil in the heart of one in whom Christ dwells (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)

The heart of a true Christian is not evil. It is holy and pure. And the proof of true faith is the holy life that pours forth from this Christ-cleansed heart.