Forgive Us Our Sins

What does it mean to forgive? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

C.S. Lewis has a brilliant essay in the Weight of Glory where he talks about our idea of forgiveness and what it means. When we talk about forgiveness, he thinks we more often mean not forgiveness but excusing. We want God to understand the circumstances behind what we did and say, “No big deal. You’re off the hook.”

It is a big deal though. Every sin to some extent is a form of divine treason. It is a denial of God’s knowledge because you act like He doesn’t know it. It denies His omnipotence because you say He doesn’t have the power to judge. It denies His omnipresence because you say He doesn’t see it. It denies His goodness because you say He won’t do anything against you. It denies His truthfulness because you think He’s holding out on you. We could go on through the list. Every one of them is this.

So what do we want God to do? We want God to say “I know you didn’t mean any of that. Let’s still be friends.” Now there are unintentional sins to be sure, but let’s face it. We all have times that we do the wrong thing and we know it’s the wrong thing and we do it anyway. Those times, we don’t really care. There are times we want to do the wrong and then ask for forgiveness later.

But there is no excusing what we do. It cannot be done. There is no justification ever for doing the wrong thing. That’s why it’s the wrong thing. There are circumstances where it’s understandable why one did it and one can always point to good motivations or good results from doing it, but if it is wrong, then the good that can come and the good motivations do not matter.

Not only that, there will always be something seen to be good in it. “Well, my wife wasn’t fulfilling my sexual needs, so I turned to pornography.” “Well, my family was going broke, so I decided to mess with the books a little bit when doing our taxes.” “Well, I’ve been incredibly lonely in my marriage, so I decided to have an affair.”

Having needs met or providing for your family or overcoming loneliness are not bad things, but there are good ways to deal with those issues and wrong ways and if you go the wrong way, then it is a sin. There is no excusing it. There may be things around it that can be excused, but the sin itself is still wrong.

It doesn’t need to be excused because it can’t be. It needs to be forgiven. It needs to be seen that first off, it is a big deal. It needs to be shown that real damage has been done to a relationship. In human terms, it could be marriage and family, friendship, co-workers, or just your neighbor you don’t even know.

You did something wrong. That’s it. No justifying it. It needs to be faced that you have caused harm in a way that has no justification for it. You have done something against God Himself and undone the goodness of redemption in some way.

You participated in what led to the crucifixion.

Yes. This sin needs to be seen in all of its wickedness. Only then can you realize what forgiveness means. Forgiveness means you realize God could throw the book at you. He could sentence you to hell forever. He could banish you from His loving presence. I don’t care what your doctrine of hell is at this point. Everyone who is a Christian agrees that whatever happens, it’s something you don’t want. God does not owe you forgiveness like that. He does not owe you His loving presence. You owe Him everything.

And yet, that is what makes forgiveness so incredible. God still looks at you and makes it clear that you don’t deserve forgiveness. He is not improved by forgiving you. If anything, forgiveness was a cost to Him. Still, despite all of that, He says He’s going to forgive you and restore you to proper relationship with Him. You are still a child of His.

Forgiveness means that God is telling you you are still in the family. There may be consequences still, but none of those consequences include you losing your place in the family. You’re still one of His. You are forgiven. God does not owe it to you, but He has promised it to you if you come and sincerely repent.

It’s still there today. You can be forgiven. It is truly a big deal.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Daily Bread

What does it mean to ask for daily bread? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My family and I aren’t rich. Growing up, we never were either. Today, I know what it definitely means to live on a balanced budget more than ever. We have money that we can store up to an extent, but it’s still very rough. Any time we get a donation, I get personally very excited.

That’s probably nothing compared to the average person in the times of Jesus though. You were to ask for your daily bread. In that day, you didn’t have plastic to wrap your bread in. The temperature in your house could not be managed by a thermostat. You didn’t have any freezers to preserve food or any refrigerators.

Want some food? Sorry. You have to work. There’s no going down the street to the local supermarket where there’s an abundant supply of food. I grew up in a rural town, but not too far from us was the city where we could go to supermarkets. My roommate in seminary was not like that. When he first walked into a supermarket in Charlotte, he was shocked at all that he saw.

In Jesus’s day though, you had to work things off and if your neighbor gave you some food, well, you were in his debt then. You would owe him. There was no give for the sake of giving like that. If only honor was expected back, that was a big deal and the person would get honor.

Jesus still tells us to ask for daily bread. We don’t ask for weekly or monthly or yearly bread. We ask for daily bread. We trust in God to provide for us day by day.

Does that mean we can’t store up things today or have savings or manage wealth? Not at all. Yet even still, we have to realize we could lose it all at any time. The richest man in the world could possibly have all his money hacked away from him.

Regardless of how rich or poor you are, you are still to rely on God. You are to trust Him. Jesus tells us this later in the sermon. Birds get fed and the flowers are dressed. Seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness and we’ll get everything else.

Daily bread reminds to rely on God daily. I may go and get bread from on top of our refrigerator today to fix a sandwich, but I should be grateful that today I don’t have to go out and do all the work to make that bread. It’s a gift and I should be thankful to God who provides all the knowledge to make bread and the resources and for the people willing to do the work.

Tomorrow will take care of itself somehow.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

On Earth As It Is In Heaven

How does God rule? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When Jesus finished the sermon, either a centurion in Israel or his servants, and I suspect the latter, came to Jesus. The centurion wanted a paralyzed servant to be healed and requested Jesus to do it. Jesus offered to see him, but if my suspicion is correct, this guy had told his servants what to say. He’s not worthy to have Jesus in his house, but he is a man of authority and understands how authority works. If he says something to a servant in his house, it gets done.

What does this man understand? He knows what Jesus’s house is. Jesus’s house is all of creation. If He says something, it gets done. If He says “Be healed”, Jesus doesn’t have to be present. It just gets done. This is truly a very high view of Jesus and Jesus rightly says this is greater than even the people of Israel.

Maybe the centurion heard about the Sermon on the Mount.

Maybe the centurion heard that Jesus had said that God’s will should be done on Earth as it is Heaven. What that means is in God’s domain, what He says goes. No angel talks back to God or offers a rejoinder. “Did you think about this part?” Nope. He says it. It’s done.

When we pray for God’s will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, we are saying we want the same thing. We want it to be that if God says it, it happens on Earth as well. Now here’s the concern. When we pray this, do we really mean it?

Let’s face it. If we’re Christians, we all know the “Christian answer.” We all know what we’re supposed to say, but talk is cheap. I recently saw someone on Facebook said that they are honestly scared to suffer even if it means suffering for Christ. I admired that. It’s honest. It’s easy for us to say, “If I had to die for my faith in Jesus, I would do it.” It’s easy to say that until the gun is pointed at you or you’re about to be thrown to the lions or something of that sort.

Want an example? Consider Peter. Peter bragged that he was willing to die for Jesus. What happened a few hours later? “Never heard of Him!” Peter had the talk, but he didn’t have the walk and he suffered for it.

So when we say that we want God’s will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, let’s see if we really want it. Do we really want to sacrifice our sins so God’s will can be done? Do we want to be willing to give up everything for God’s will to be done? Do we want to do the work of loving our neighbor as ourselves so God’s will can be done?

If we don’t, then when we say God’s will be done, then we do not really mean it. What we might mean is we want all the goodies that come with a Christian life, but we don’t want the pain and sacrifice required on our end. We don’t want to have to make ourselves uncomfortable or exert ourselves where we don’t have to. Please let the will of God be done, provided it doesn’t interfere with my Netflix time. Okay?

But if you want the will of God to be done, you will have to demonstrate that. That means sacrifice on your end. It means forgiving your neighbor even if they don’t deserve it, and they don’t. You don’t either. It means loving your neighbor even if they’re often a pain, because you’re often a pain as well to those around you. It means going through suffering regardless, because Jesus went through suffering for you and He definitely didn’t deserve it. It means not thinking about what you deserve, but thinking about what is good for the kingdom first.

If you can’t say those things, and that applies to me as well as it’s a struggle, then you don’t want the kingdom to come on Earth as it is in Heaven. Perhaps you are still more invested in your own personal kingdom. Perhaps you want your will on Earth more than you want God’s will.

Only you know that one.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Your Will Be Done

What does it mean to do God’s will? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So many Christians today want to find God’s will for their lives.

Should I get married? Who should I marry? What job should I take? Should I go to college and if so, what should I major in? So many decisions are about finding the will of God.

Is this what the Bible means when it speaks about the will of God?

No. This is a highly personalized idea. Let’s consider the first one about marriage. Assuming marriage is even for you, the Bible in a book like Proverbs lays out criteria. Since one should marry in the Lord, a Christian should marry a Christian. When speaking of a wife, the book mentions the kinds of qualities to look for. Don’t marry a nagging wife is one example. Marry a woman who fears the Lord. (Or a man if you are a woman)

Somehow, we got this strange idea that when we got to the New Testament, God decided to jettison wisdom and was going to tell us all what to do and we needed to find a way to get these secret messages from God. We are to look for clues, often ones that reside in our feelings and emotions, and from there try to determine what God is telling us. Scripture may be used, but apparently, it’s not as reliable as those feelings and emotions.

As you can imagine, I think this is a bunch of bunk. I see nothing in Scripture about it and it only showed up in our time of individualism. This kind of thinking really makes us very self-centered Christians.

Not only that, if God has a specific will for our lives like that, we’ve already screwed it up definitely. Also, if any one other person has screwed up their lives, they’ve ultimately done it for everyone. If you are to marry one specific person, then that means that if you marry the wrong one, both of your intended spouses have to marry the wrong one and then all their intended spouses have to marry the wrong one and on and on it goes.

It also causes the wrong focus. What we should be looking at the most is what kind of spouse we are going to be. What kind of employee are we going to be? What kind of student are we going to be?

“But how will I know what God wants for my life?”

It’s very easy. I can tell you definitely what God’s will is for your life and I have no hesitation in doing so. God’s will is to conform you to the likeness of Christ. The best thing to do when examining an action and if you should do it is to ask if it will conform you to the likeness of Christ.

When we pray for God’s will to be done, we are not praying that we will find some specific individualized will, or at least we shouldn’t pray that. We are praying that God will make the universe the way He wants it to be. How He wants us to be is to be conformed to the image of Christ. He wants us to be like Jesus.

You have plenty on that in Scripture.

Go try following that instead.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Your Kingdom Come

What does it mean to want the Kingdom to come? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Do we really want the Kingdom to come?

I mean, let’s think about it. If we’re Christians, we know the right answer we’re supposed to say is yes. We want God to rule this Earth. We want Him to be the one in charge. We want Jesus to be acknowledged as king. We say we want that.

Do we really?

To pray for His kingdom to come also means something else. Ours doesn’t. Most of us struggle with an inflated view of ourselves and that can be even if we’re really negative. We are often not just moderately dumb or ugly or unlikable or anything like that. No. We are the worst of the worst. If anything goes wrong in our lives, it’s our fault.

When we pray this prayer though, we are supposed to be willing to forsake our own little kingdoms. This is God’s kingdom. We don’t want to be the ones in charge of our lives anymore. We want God to be in charge.

That also means we have to be willing to get rid of the sin in our lives. We have to drop that pornography habit. We have to stop that overeating. We have to be willing to give up gossiping about our neighbors. We can’t keep on thinking about that woman who isn’t our wife.

Do we really want that?

The truth is, our actions will answer for us. If we really want the kingdom to come, we will be willing to sacrifice those actions that we know are opposed to the kingdom. If we do not want the kingdom to come, we will keep acting like we are the ones who determine right and wrong and we are the ones who will see our own will be done.

This also is not a Democracy or a Republic coming our way. This is a monarchy. This is not something that we will vote on or campaign for. Jesus is a king and what the king says goes. It is absolute.

Today, our every action will show in some way what we want. Do we think our way is best or do we think the way of Christ is the best? We can say with our lips the right answer all we want, but actions do speak louder. I hope mine will show I want the Kingdom the most, but I fear too often they will show the other way. Perhaps that is where we need to encourage one another.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Hallowed Be Thy Name

What does it mean for God’s name to be holy? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Hallowed is simply a way to refer to something as holy, and holiness is something we have lost sight of. In our world today, the question “Is nothing sacred?” is entirely relevant. Most people today seem to live just for the next pleasure high, and that doesn’t necessarily mean drugs, though it can. Casual sex is all too often and apps like tinder can exist to pretty much just give a hook-up to someone.

Sometimes I look at our society and wonder what people think is worth living for. What is the true greatest good in our lives? For we Christians, we would say it’s the goal to see God one day, but while we say that, we often live like the greatest good is something else, myself included.

Holiness refers to something being set apart. It’s not just something common and normal. It’s to be reserved for a specific usage and time. God’s holiness means He is set apart from creation and refers to His goodness and purity. He is unique.

We can honor His name best by how we live our own lives. Do we live lives of service and gratitude to Him? Do we seek to love our neighbor as ourselves? Do we seek to do good to those around us even when they wrong us?

Also, do we treat God way too flippantly. Do we seek to speak for Him when we have no business doing so? I think about this when I hear so many people convinced that God is speaking to them. God gets treated in a casual manner. I don’t really care for John MacArthur, but I think he was 100% right when he talked about the guy who told him that God talks to him every morning while he’s shaving and MacArthur asked “Do you still keep shaving?”

My wife and I attend Celebrate Recovery together and normally, you introduce yourself as a faithful believer in Jesus Christ. I don’t say that. I try to remind myself of something else with my introduction and say “Servant of King Jesus.” Jesus is a friend for sure, but He is not just any friend. If you were friends with the president, regardless of what you think of him and if you don’t like Trump replace him with someone you do like, you would not treat that friendship casually. You would treat the president still with the utmost of respect.

Clay Jones in his latest book Immortal argues that one of the reasons we might not have such a Christian drive in our country is we have lost sight of what happens when we die. We try to not think about the fact that one day all of us will. When we lose sight of that, we also lose sight of the fact that we will be judged.

Think about that. You will give an account for every deed that you do. Really think about it.

Every deed.

So what have you done? Did you get snippy with your wife? Were you berating your husband? Did you scare the kids by being harsher than you should have been? Did you give your neighbor the cold shoulder? Did you rejoice over the suffering of a personal enemy?

Every deed.

Most of our sins against God are not directly done against God. They’re done against His creation, mainly other people. Jesus tells us this in His parable of the sheep and the goats. C.S. Lewis reminded us that we have never met a normal person. Every person we meet will one day either be a creature we would be tempted to bow down before and worship, or a creature that would come out of our nightmares.

And a lot of this starts with a low view of God. If God is treated casually, then we are missing out on Him. Most Christians don’t have a clue about the Trinity, for example, and what a difference that should make to our lives. God is really no different than Zeus to most of us. He’s just a superpowered human being.

Seeing God as holy will require a revolution in our thinking about God. We will need to take doctrine seriously and our own holiness seriously. We will need to seek to banish evil not just from the world around us, but from our very selves. Fair wager here, but I suspect most of us spend more time complaining about the evil of others around us than the evil within us. To refer to Lewis again, he said that we often seek to excuse our sins, but not the sins of others. When we sin, that is different, but the other person? They really ought to know better!

If we are going to be Christians who say Jesus is #1, our lives had better be different. Our marriages had better be different. Our parenting should be different. Our job performance should be different. Our entertainment should be different. Everything. We should be different people because we serve a God who is really different from everything else.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Who Are In Heaven

What difference does it make where God is? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When we pray, we pray to our Father in Heaven. What difference does that make? What is Jesus wanting us to think about when we say that we pray to our Father who is in Heaven?

Let’s start with the dangerous extreme. That would be Islam. Most sects of Islam have a version of deity that is so extreme that God is totally transcendent. The thought of Him interacting in a way such as in the incarnation is repugnant.

This is something we experience when God seems distant in our lives. Consider the idea of the saying that, “If you feel far from God, who moved?” It sure wasn’t God after all. That message could have been brought by one of Job’s friends to “counsel” him.

Of course, in suffering there is nothing wrong with examining our lives and seeing if there is anything we need to repent of. That’s something that we should be doing regardless. The point here is that our emotional experiences are not indicators of where we are in our Christian walk and too often, we make them just that.

So if that’s not what is meant, what is meant? Why not think that Jesus is trying to remind us who is in charge of this story? Heaven is the base of operations. It is where God reigns from. To pray to God is to remind yourself that He is in charge and He rules.

This is something we easily forget. Too many people think that if God is ruling right now, why is there so much evil and suffering? As we go through Matthew and look more at eschatology, we will see that that is issued directly. This is also a mistake Jewish readers often go with thinking that if the Messiah came, then shouldn’t there be love and world peace throughout the Earth as a result?

No. If anything, in Scripture we see just the opposite promised. YHWH says in Psalms 110:1 that the Messiah is to sit at His right hand while His enemies are made a footstool for His feet. The Messiah will have enemies during His reign and it will take time for them to be made a footstool.

Today, saying our Father in Heaven is meant to be a source of comfort. Whatever is going on, God is in charge. That He asks us to pray to Him tells us that He is not distant. He really cares about us. Not only that, we have the incarnation where the Son dwelt among us. God in human flesh walked around us and one day we will be with Him forever.

When you pray, pray to your Father who is in Heaven. He does hear. He does care. He will respond.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father

What does the start of the Lord’s Prayer mean? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’ve blogged before on the Lord’s prayer and it’s always interesting. Going through the Sermon on the Mount, this one cannot be missed. So let’s take another in-depth look at the Lord’s prayer.

Jesus starts off by telling us how we should pray. The prayer starts off with an address. The proper recipient is our Father. Okay. That sounds pretty basic. You start the prayer and you are talking to God.

Sounds basic, but it really isn’t.

Notice that Jesus at the start immediately assumes a communal activity. His followers were to come together and pray to God together. This is not to say that individual prayer can never happen. It is most certainly can. It is to say that Christianity is not meant to be experienced as an individual event.

Too often we have what is today Lone Ranger Christianity. Me and Jesus can just figure everything out today. I always go back to this story. It was a lady in a small group I was in once who said “I’m saved. My children are saved. Just sit back and wait for Jesus to come.” What an awful thought! How do you know your children will stay in the faith? What about other people and their children?

The community aspect is one thing, but there’s more. The community is to address God as Father. This is not some out there and distant deity. This is one who asks us to approach Him as if He is a parent. Jesus regularly makes this kind of analogy in the sermon and elsewhere.

This is also why Hebrews tells us to boldly approach the throne of grace. If you are the son or the daughter of the king, you ought not be afraid to approach the king. You belong there. You have been invited. You are a child of the king. Live like one.

Epictetus was a pagan philosopher who lived not too long after Christ. In his Golden Sayings, I find saying IX impressive. Change the language to a Christian language and see how it applies.

“If a man could be thoroughly penetrated, as he ought, with this thought, that we are all in an especial manner sprung from God, and that God is the Father of men as well as of Gods, full surely he would never conceive aught ignoble or base of himself. Whereas if Caesar were to adopt you, your haughty looks would be intolerable; will you not be elated at knowing that you are the son of God? Now however it is not so with us: but seeing that in our birth these two things are commingled–the body which we share with the animals, and the Reason and Thought which we share with the Gods, many decline towards this unhappy kinship with the dead, few rise to the blessed kinship with the Divine. Since then every one must deal with each thing according to the view which he forms about it, those few who hold that they are born for fidelity, modesty, and unerring sureness in dealing with the things of sense, never conceive aught base or ignoble of themselves: but the multitude the contrary. Why, what am I?–A wretched human creature; with this miserable flesh of mine. Miserable indeed! but you have something better than that paltry flesh of yours. Why then cling to the one, and neglect the other?

How much better could we see ourselves if we realized that we are adopted into the family. Remember Mephibosheth in the Old Testament? He was invited to feast at the King’s table, something the account says three times. Augustus Caesar was the most powerful man on Earth at one time, and got that way by adoption.

When we pray our Father, we are to realize that we are adopted into a royal family and we have that privilege. It is not just us individually, but us as a community. We all have the Father together and we can all come together as His children.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

How Not To Pray

What are some things to avoid in prayer? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Sometimes, I hate public prayer at a church service. I say this as someone who has to do it as well. You never really feel genuine doing it. You know people are watching you to see what you have to say. It’s awkard.

Then there are the people who do these public prayers and they go on and on and on. You can say they’re real men of Jesus, but most of us just find them annoying. I find it interesting that the Lord’s prayer can really be said in under a minute. When the closing prayer starts to go longer than the sermon itself, we have a problem.

Jesus had a few statements about things like this. He never said to not pray in public as He sometimes did this as well, but He did say to watch your motives again. Some people do make a show of public prayers. They pray showing off their eloquence and their devotion to God, which if that is what you’re doing, we can call your devotion into question. Let’s look at verses 5-8 of Matthew 6.

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

One of the rules for giving a sermon is to KISS. It has two meanings. “Keep it simple, stupid” and “Keep it short, stupid.” Prayer is done to talk to God. It’s not done to show others how awesome you are.

This is why also your devotion is not meant to be measured necessarily by how long you pray. I know some people who are true prayer warriors and they can pray for a long time. I’m not one of them. I know I need to work on that. Those like me need to start simple as well. Don’t say you’re going to build up prayer and then say you’re going to start with an hour a day. You’ll burn out and give up. If anything, start small. Maybe 3-5 minutes even.

Jesus also tells us our Father knows what we need before we ask. If so, why do we ask? We ask not to make something known, but to show that we are realizing our trust and dependence.

One of the problems I have with many prayer studies is they treat prayer as if the only goal is to get something. It also treats God as if He is obligated to answer a prayer. Many of us were devoutly praying for the healing of Nabeel Qureshi. It never came. Does that prove God doesn’t exist or that God doesn’t or didn’t love Nabeel? Not at all. It just shows for whatever reason we don’t understand, God chose not to heal.

It’s also too easy for prayer to become just a wish list. There’s not enough time spent in thanksgiving and adoration. I remember J.P. Moreland once saying he thinks in a worship service, the music should come after the sermon. Why? Because then we have heard the Scripture and the good news and we are giving thanks and celebrating about what we have heard.

Yet keep in mind, Jesus still points us to the reward. Our true reward is from our Father in heaven. It’s not in the praise and adoration of men. It’s in the approval of our Father. That is the praise we are to have.

Prayer is something important and we need to work on it, but one of the first things to do is to learn what not to do.

Let’s try to get it right.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Give In Secret

How should we give? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In Jesus’s day, people wanted to get honor. To some extent, we all want this today, but honor is not the driving force that it used to be. In some ways, I think it is, but we don’t recognize it. If you’re on social media, you want your posts to have likes and shares. You want to have followers on Twitter. You want subscribers and views on YouTube. High school can often just be a big popularity contest and truly, high school never ends.

Jesus talks about the proper method of giving though.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Something that can irk me is when a company makes an advertisement and in the advertisement, they talk about how much they are giving to help something, which has been something common during this pandemic. Even more bothersome to me is when the giving is used to encourage people to get the product. “If you give to us, we will donate so much to charity.”

It’s worth pointing out though that Jesus doesn’t condemn giving for the sake of honor. However, He points us to the true honor. It is the honor of the Father that we are seeking. God sees what we do in secret and He will reward us for what we do. We often think that seeking something for yourself is bad. It’s not. It’s how and why. Jesus tells us to seek the honor that comes from God.

This isn’t to say that your giving can never be shown publicly. It can be. Sometimes it’s unavoidable. However, the goal of our giving should not be so people will just think how awesome we are. It should be for the kingdom of God and the good of the other person.

In Jesus’s day, the Pharisees would publicly proclaim when they were given. They did get their reward in full right there. They got the praise of people around them. Jesus wants us to seek the higher praise. This is the praise of God. The praise of people is temporary and will fade. The praise of God lasts forever.

And really, that’s something we need to keep in mind. We focus so much on temporary things and lose sight of eternal things. We will be around God forever and forever experience how we dealt with Him. If we lived our lives in love of Him, we will live our eternity that way. If we lived lives of hating Him, we will live forever that way too. Each of us is building an eternal dwelling in some sense and when we get to eternity, we will have the dwelling we built.

Build well.

In Christ,
Nick Peters