Responding to SufferingHow do you feel when your life is interrupted by suffering and adversity?
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Are We Safe?
Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie . . .
and then come here and stand before me in my temple and chant, “We
are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again? (vv.9-10).
According to a 2010 Pew Forum on Religion report,
53 percent of Christians in the US did not know
that Martin Luther was the person who inspired
the Protestant Reformation. So they wouldn’t know that on
October 31, 1517, in the little German town of Wittenberg,
Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the church door—inviting
scholars to debate the use of indulgences; a practice
Luther believed gave believers a false assurance of their
salvation. Luther spelled out what true salvation is in his first
four Theses: “1. When Jesus said ‘repent’ He meant that
believers should live a whole life repenting. 2. Only God
can give salvation—not a priest. 3. Inwards penitence must
be accompanied with a suitable change in lifestyle. 4. Sin
will always remain until we enter heaven.”
The people of Judah had a false sense of security. They
believed their temple guaranteed their safety (Jeremiah
7:4). Rejecting God’s laws, they lived deceitfully (vv.8-11).
The prophet Jeremiah warned them of their foolishness
and falsehood, stating “It’s a lie!” (v.8). He also made it
clear that the temple of the Lord cannot save (vv.4,8)—
only the Lord of the temple saves (v.5).
The people needed to “quit [their] evil ways” (v.3),
reform, and repent (vv.5-10). They couldn’t “steal,
murder, commit adultery, lie . . . and then come . . . and
stand before [God] in [His] temple and chant, ‘We are
safe!’—only to go right back to all those evils again”!
(vv.9-10). Their “inwards penitence [needed to] be accompanied with a suitable
change in lifestyle” (Luther’s Thesis #3). Only then would God be merciful (v.5).
Only then would they be safe and secure (v.7).
As believers, we must be able to “prove by the way [we] live that [we] have
repented of [our] sins and turned to God” (Matthew 3:8). —K.T. Sim
What has given you a false sense of security? What will you do to turn
to God and experience true safety?
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