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Jesus uses the Parable of the Sheep in two sections of Scripture.
Some would say that the accounts of this specific parable are in conflict and seem to contradict each other especially among those who are antagonistic towards the Bible and, moreover, to the fact that the Bible is the inerrable, infallible word of God. They would say something like this, “… You see, the Bible is full of contradictions and here again, in two Gospels the same exact same parables are in direct conflict with each other and, therefore, the Bible contradicts itself… it cannot be the Word of God and neither is it applicable to our 21st-century society and culture…”
Well, in both cases, that is; both Parables about the Sheep, are the same analogy but used in two different contexts. Even a normal human being may very well use the same analogy and use it in various contexts depending on the application and the people one is speaking to. Matthew 18 uses the Parable of the Sheep in the context of those Christians that have gone astray and have backslidden, whereas, Luke 15 uses the same Parable in the context of those who are lost, admit they are lost, and then Jesus places this in contrast to the self-righteous and the self-sufficient and the elite-minded religious person who is forever pointing out the wrongs in someone else’s life and not being able to see their own sinful nature, even when [s]he is exposed to the light of the truth and yet still rejects that truth outrightly!
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
3So he told them this parable: 4“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
10“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.d 12What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
Shane Bryant (OMIN CLC, CLDIP, DDIV, ADIV)
You see me, Lord!
Credits : Selah, Be still
Double-mindedness is cause for agony in any arena:
- Who wants an employee who has never decided to kick it in 100% with the company?
- Or someone on the athletic team who is half-hearted?
Having our affections divided between God and the world is like a guy standing on two chunks of ice that are floating in opposite directions. Disaster is imminent!
Here’s how Francois Fenelon addresses this business of double-mindedness:
“Woe unto those weak and timid souls who are divided between God and their love for the world!
“They want and they do not want.
“They are torn by passion and remorse at the same time.
“They fear the judgments of God and those of others.
“They have a horror of evil and a shame of good.
“They have the pains of virtue without tasting its sweet consolations.
“O how wretched they are!…
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Spot on! Thank you for these penetrating words!
Can you pray to Me speaking honestly
That in your heart you truly love Me?
When you hate your brothers and sisters
I cannot see how this has come to be
Can you tell Me that you love Me
when in your heart I alone do see
the hatred which you hold for others
with such a true flagrant animosity
For I created all of you in my image
hoping one day you might believe
that each time when you look at them
it is my image you will really see
Look deeply into the looking-glass
through which only your eyes can see
Seeing the dark sin alive in your heart
that is so very far away from Me…
Review all the lies, the hatred, the evil
which by your own doing your heart breeds
then tell me as you view your sinfulness
that your heart is full of love…
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Romans 1:17, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.'”
I feel that Christianity has been so misunderstood and misconstrued that; there are just so many Christians going around either playing the “GRACE” card or plagued by their own efforts to earn righteousness with God.
“… If there was ever an age similar to our own, then it was the world that Martin Luther was born into… Cheap Grace!” (Dr Timothy George, THD).
Martin Luther (1483 -1546) was one of those who was plagued by his own unrighteousness and the fact that he could never be right in the eyes of a Holy God.
However, there came a day where he read Romans 1 and the Book of Galatians, and what he read not only freed him from his own “Demons” but, “… The doors of Paradise flung open…” He realised that all of his efforts to be holy before a holy God was not just in vain but IMPOSSIBLE!
How many of us are going around plagued by our own guilt and effort to make right with a Holy God who cannot tolerate sin at all? In fact, as the Psalm 5 says, “He hates all sin…”
The good news is that Jesus did it all. He paid the price and atoned for our sins and as the Book of Habakkuk, Romans, Ephesians, Galatians, and may other passages of Scripture tell us; God gives us the righteousness through faith; He justifies us and gives us His Holiness.
The verse in 1 Peter 1:15-16 can be very puzzling and intimidating for the Christian, that is; if we do not understand it in the light of what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross of Calvary and the propitiation he made in our stead.
“… But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.'”
There is Good News for us in the Bible. We can be seen as Holy before a very Holy God only if we would yield and accept the atonement and redemption of Jesus Christ; deny ourselves and follow Him!
Isaiah 6, among many other passages of Scripture, gives you and I a very clear image of the Holiness of God. It makes one shudder to see how Holy God really is and that no man can stand before Him in any sort of self-goodness. However, God condescended in the form of Hs incarnate Son, Jesus, and through Jesus; through faith; through grace, and through justification by faith, Jesus gives you and I a gift of Holiness before God so that we may have the signal privilege of communing with God.
Now, we can understand that one can only be Holy as God is Holy only through justification by faith alone.
Image Credit: David Ould.