# Mininook

### Musings on Christianity, Politics, and Computer Science Geekery

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Wanted to post the craziest command line script I've used in a long time.  Used to convert names listed in XML tags in an EAC-CPF record to filenames to copy.

grep -h -o -P "<relationEntry>(.*?)</relationEntry>" *.xml
| sed -e 's/<[a-zA-Z0-9\/\+]*>//g'
| awk '{print tolower($0)}' | sed -e 's/[ ,.:]\+/\-/g' | sed -e 's/$/cr.xml/g'
| while read x ; do cp /data/production/data/\$x eac_data/. ; done

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Matthew 28:19-20 (NASB)

We have some amazing youth at First Baptist Richmond, I must say.  Bart asked a few questions this evening as our time was ending.  The first I had planned for, since we had spoken about it a few minutes before.  Initially, he asked me "if you could ask God for anything, and knew He would give it to you, what would you ask for?"  That question was easy, or so I thought.  I know some would have jumped at the chance to ask for something or someone in this life, or perhaps tomorrow's winning lottery numbers in jest, but I knew I would want to ask neither of those.  I'd ask for the plans: those things that would both bring me the greatest joy and give God the greatest glory.  A life in which I'm not constantly discerning God's will for my life, but knowing 1) that I know what I'm supposed to do and 2) that I'd be already there.

After everyone arrived and settled, Bart dropped one word that completely changed the intent and depth of the question:

If you could directly ask God anything, and you knew He would answer you, what would you ask?

So, what would you ask?  What would I ask?  Remember back to Genesis, where God is walking in the garden with Adam and Eve; face-to-face discussions with God.  One student asked the question that just amazed me.  She said that she'd ask how God began, if He could explain it in terms we could understand.  We've been taught that God always existed and will exist, and that He is outside our time, but what's His story?  Can you imagine that kind of chat, sitting in rocking chairs on the back porch of God's house, staring into the sunset, learning about Him?

The second, however, took me by surprise, and it immediately brought a lot to mind even though it seemed nearly impossible to answer.

If God were to directly ask you one question right now, what would He ask of you?

My first thought was, what have you been doing with the time I gave you? Or, why don't you trust Me? Or... The list goes on.  Now, looking back at the first question and answer, I'm starting to think I may already know what that plan is; or at least the direction.  Jesus' call in Matthew 28 is a homing beacon to both questions.  Over the next few months, I need to refocus on Jesus' call to us as Christians, knowing that I want to find the place that best serves Him and gives joy.  It isn't easy, and hasn't been over the past few years, but I know there's a place that my abilities and talents will directly serve to bring the Kingdom of God to earth.

The original plan was to break up the text a bit more, but the last few weeks have been about how the world is sinful, and there is still another week of that to go before we get to the hope that is to come. So, let's consider the rest of Romans 2 this week.

For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.

This first sentence brings up a lot of questions. Specifically, it states that those who are just before God are not decided based on whether they have heard the Law, but by whether they have done the Law. Paul is saying here that you don't have to have even heard the Law (here we are talking about the Old Testament's law) to be justified. You just have to do it. How? It is about the attitude of the heart, as Paul continues describing what the Gentiles are doing:

For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

In the next section Paul is talking to the Jews who are relying on the Law for salvation. Rather than look at it critically, I'd like to look at how it relates to Christianity today.

But if you [...{1}] rely upon the Law and boast in God, and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal? You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? For "THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU," just as it is written.

Paul asks those who rely on the Law to realize that they might be breaking it. And also, because the Gentiles see the hypocritical nature of this Law following that it turns them off from God. How often does that happen today? How often do non-Christians see the church today and get utterly turned off from God? We as Christians know the rest of the story: "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9 NASB). So many churches, especially here in America, come together as collections of saints and forget that we are all sinners; we screw up on a daily basis. We gather on Sunday mornings ignoring our sins, not asking the hard questions and getting to the root of how each other is really doing. We give off this glow that our lives are perfect and sin-free, but we know they are not. How does that look to a non-Christian? Unattainable? How about hypocritical?

## Full Text

For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. But if you bear the name "Jew" and rely upon the Law and boast in God, and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal? You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? For "THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU," just as it is written. For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law? For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. (Romans 2:12-29 NASB)

## Notes

1. I removed a small portion of this verse, where Paul says "but if you bear the name 'Jew'," in which he is talking to the Jews in Rome. However, I think it also has a strong application to Christianity today.

Note: sorry for the delay, this week I was recovering from having my wisdom teeth removed.

This week, we're looking at the beginning of the second chapter of Romans. Paul continues to bring the Jews and Christians in Rome onto the same level and to show that they are all sinners in need of God's saving grace.

Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. (Romans 2:1-11 NASB)

First, let us discuss again the faith of the Jewish and Gentile Christians. The Jews were the people of God, by birth. They had both the history and the Law. The Gentiles did not have this inheritance, and therefore their faith looked a bit different. Paul paints a picture of these Jews very similar to what we see of the Pharisees in the gospels: outwards righteous, public followers of the law, but entitled, "unthankful, rebellious, and unrighteous" (3). Luther, in his commentary, sums up this attitude, rephrasing Paul's words to the Jews in Rome as:

"You live a fine outward life in the works of the law, and judge those who do not so live, and know how to teach everyone; you see the splinter in the other’s eye, but of the beam in your own eye you are not aware" (1).

So, what is the punch line? It's simple: don't be hypocritical, we're all sinners, both Jews and Gentiles. We're all sinners, both Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians; no matter where you come from. Anyone who judges others and condemns them for what they've done wrong will not make the judger more righteous. In fact, Paul says that if you judge others, and especially if you commit the same sin, "you condemn yourself."

But all who act thus, of every nation, age, and description, must be reminded that the judgment of God will be according to their real character. The case is so plain, that we may appeal to the sinner's own thoughts. In every wilful sin, there is contempt of the goodness of God. And though the branches of man's disobedience are very various, all spring from the same root. But in true repentance, there must be hatred of former sinfulness, from a change wrought in the state of the mind, which disposes it to choose the good and to refuse the evil. (3)

How do we fix this? As Henry stated in the quote above, it is about the heart of the sinner. Paul calls us to repentance. This is the works vs faith argument, and Paul says here that "God will render to each person according to his deeds." Wait--deeds save? No, not exactly. The beginning of that sentence tells the whole story: it's about the heart. The unrepentant heart stores up for itself wrath and judgment. It doesn't produce good works! Those who by perseverance in doing good (aka, those that have faith and are pursuing God) seek for glory and honor and immortality will be given eternal life, since their faith produces good works. But those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, they will inherit wrath and indignation because of their lack of good-work-producing faith.

This end is for every person, regardless if they grew up in the Law or not, Jew or not, righteous in the eyes of man or not. That is Paul's point in these verses: we are all sinners and cannot fulfill all the commandments and the Law.

How much has Christianity today become like that of the Jews and Jewish Christians that Paul is addressing here? How many of us think we are righteous enough to earn salvation by keeping the law?

Jesus, in his conversation with Simon in Luke 7:36-50, also illustrates our sinfulness. A sinful woman, likely a prostitute, has come into the house of the pharisee to see Jesus. All the "righteous" are in shock as she comes in, weeps over Jesus' feet, washes them with her hair, then anoints them with perfume. When Simon condemns her (to himself), Jesus tells him this parable:

"A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?" Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little." (Luke 7:41, 42, 44-47 NASB)

Both Simon and the woman were sinners; he followed the law (at least outwardly, but perhaps with too much pride), while her sins were many. She had a repentant heart, and therefore sought forgiveness and was forgiven. Simon, who was following the law, lacked that faith we see in this woman, who risked a lot by entering the Pharisee's house to find Jesus.

So, from Bill Bray's sermon this morning at CCC (2) on Luke 7, are we going to have a religion response--characterized by a basis on pride in your good works, unawareness of your needs, and evidenced by activity apart from affections--or a repentant response--based on humility, aware of your needs, and evidenced by activity produced by affections?

## Full text

Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. (Romans 2:1-11 NASB)

## Resources

1. Luther, Martin. Luther's Commentary on Selected Bible Passages. Public Domain.
2. www.cvillechurch.org
3. Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible. Public Domain.

This section of Romans reminds us of the power of God to save. Paul opens this section as follows:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."

This first question that comes to mind is why would Paul have a reason to be ashamed of the gospel? At this time, and even today, the gospel appears to be "folly and weakness," something that doesn't conform to the knowledge of this world (1). Wesley here also points out that Rome was the center of the empire and Roman thought. There is no need to be ashamed of it, because Paul knows how powerful God is and salvation through Jesus: for Jews and the Greeks. Again, he's bridging the gap between the two groups in Rome.

What should be revealed by this power? How is it revealed from the gospel? "The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith." That is, faith is "both in the beginning and progress of Christian life. It is not from faith to works, as if faith put us into a justified state, and then works kept us in it; but it is all along from faith to faith; it is faith pressing forward, and gaining the victory over unbelief" (2).

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. ... For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.*

We all have a knowledge or a hint to God. It is written throughout our very beings and our world. Paul points it out that that everything that has been made is a picture of God's eternal power and divine nature. How did man lose this focus? This is not the first time we hear of people losing their sight of the true God. In Exodus, we find a group of Israelites, led by Moses, who turned to worship of a golden calf while Moses was on Mount Sanai. Later, we find many instances where the Israelites lose focus and worship Baal, their good fortunes and successes, etc. Here Paul is talking about men who have lost this focus and vision of God's mighty power in creation, just as had happened in the past. "For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator."

Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. ... For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:16-32 NASB)

This section is always hard for me to read, and even harder for me to blog here about. In it, Paul discusses sins that man finds himself in, showing us that we need the power of salvation in the gospel through Christ. What's listed includes lust, men and women "abandoning the natural function," greed, wickedness, murder, gossip, slanders, etc. After listing these, Paul then condemns us all: "although they know the ordinance of God, ... those who practice such things are worthy of death."

Ending this post here would be leaving on a very depressing tone. Even though it's the end of the passage for today, there is more of the story! We usually end a good Friday service with the story of Jesus' death on the cross, but knowing that salvation came three days later when He rose from the dead and left the tomb. Paul is setting us up here in a similar fashion: he opens showing that we're all sinners, but the good news is the power of God through faith that can wash our sins and save us.

What sins are weighing on your heart? Are they in this list? It's time to bring them up and give them over in faith; knowing that the gospel is not foolishness, but an awesome and saving power through Christ.

* in this section, I reordered two verses to keep the topics together. They appear in their correct ordering below.

## Full text

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:16-32 NASB)

## Resources

1. Wesley, John. John Wesley's Notes on the Bible. Public Domain.
2. Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible. Public Domain.

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