Even before we put sin to death, we discover an increased awareness of what our sin is, what it does to us, and how it affects others. We stop making excuses for our sin and confront it as the evil it truly is. But not always and not all the way. From observation and hard experience I think there is one sin more than any other that we tend to continue to justify. It’s the sin of unrighteous anger.
Most of us have similar memories. When we think about favorite music, whether it be classical or country, Beethoven or Bono, most of have memories and associations that touch upon the deepest emotions and experiences of of life.
Recently I wondered: why is this? As someone who studies theology, I’m interested in the philosophy of music. What does music mean? Is it merely pleasant—in the words of Steven Pinker, “auditory cheesecake”—or does it actually have a significance that corresponds to its effect upon us?
In the last 50 years, the term diversity has taken on many meanings. In the early 1960s, diversity most likely would have referred to the need for desegregation. By the ’70s and ’80s it would’ve been associated with affirmative action. Now diversity is often regarded as inclusivity in a myriad of ways.
The Bible, however, gives us a compelling vision for diversity in the kingdom of God. Diversity is already quite present in God’s kingdom, but we might miss it in Scripture if we aren’t looking for it. Here are four ways we can see a biblical basis for diversity and how it reflects the kingdom.
Sometimes people ask authors, “Which of your books is your favorite?” The first time the question is asked, the response is likely to be “I am not sure; I have never really thought about it.” But forced to think about it, my own standard response has become, “I am not sure what my favorite book is; but my favorite title is A Heart for God.” I am rarely asked, “Why?” but (in case you ask) the title simply expresses what I want to be: a Christian with a heart for God.
I love reading advice from other authors to aspiring ones.
It helps further to know, then, that when Jesus came into the earth the first time around, He was announcing the kingdom of heaven was “at hand.” And some day, according to Scripture, the Lord will return, and He will bring with Him a new heaven and a new earth, the restoration of all things.
Here are three things this biblical vision of heaven changes.
A favorite from the archives:
I’ll admit, teaching this was awkward. Not because I don’t believe it—in fact, I think we’ve failed to adequately do the subject justice, especially in the last 20 or so years—but because it seemed pretty clear that this was one of the first times the kids had heard much of anything about God’s wrath.
Many of the kids knew sin is bad and that it separates us from God… but it was in an abstract way. The way that suggests God doesn’t really have feelings toward sin. And then I had to go and shatter the glass.
Or rather, the Bible did. I was just the one teaching it.