Our New Year's day service went well. God graciously kept my cold from interfering with my ability to lead the worship and preach, although after the service the cough got worse again. We had several visitors who joined us in starting the New Year in the presence of God. I preached on Hebrews 3:1-14 encouraging people to make their resolution this year to consider Jesus.
I also started a different Bible reading plan. Usually I read through the Bible in a year, but this year I decided to switch to two plans that will have me read through the Gospels 4 times and the Letters 3 time this year. I made this change because I desired to more deeply immerse myself in the New Testament writings. My hope is to read the Letter's reading in the morning, and the Gospel reading in the evening.
You may have noticed that I have changed my Blog name as well. I originally called it 'Musings' because it was all I could think of. But, I decided that I wanted a name that reflected what I do, or at least strive to do, in my life and ministry. It is a transliteration of the Greek at the beginning of 1 Corinthians 1:23 -- We Preach Christ Crucified.
With this name change I am also considering leaving Livejournal and going to Blogger. I have a hit counter that I added on this site, but is can only be HTML as they do not allow Java script. I understand why they have this policy in place, but I would very much like to see the more detailed information that a Java script counter will allow. I can do this on Blogger, and so in the next several days I am going to decide if I will move over there. I would hate to loose all my posts here, especially some of the ones when Justin was born, so the transferring of my post would be another factor to weigh into that decision.
Today my morning reading was Romans 2. I have always enjoyed reading Romans, and have preached my way through to the end of chapter 8.
What struck me again today was the first verse of this chapter, "Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things." Paul's point since verse 18 of chapter 1 is to show that there is not one person who can be excused from their guilt because of their sin. In chapter one he showed how even those who have never read the written word of God are without excuse because even they know enough to hold them guilty. Here he continues with this idea that there is no excuse, but it is aimed at the person who thinks they are excused because they know what is right and what is wrong. They are people who will point out how the things that others do are wrong, and think that by doing so it keeps them safe from guilt. However, what is found here is that they too have no excuse, because they also sin. If they think that their knowledge of right and wrong will save them, that is somehow gives them an excuse before God, they are sorely mistaken. Perhaps the idea in mind here is that they think that they are basically pretty good, and while agreeing that they are not perfect, they at least try to do what is right. However, what we find in the following verses is that this will not protect them from the wrath of God. Instead God's judgment falls on all those who sin, so they stand as condemned as the people they themselves condemn.
What struck me about this is how easy it is to fall into this way of thinking. I know from my own experience that I can easily start to think that because I seem better than others around me and because I know what is right and wrong because God has revealed it in the Bible, that I am somehow safer because of that. I need this reminder that this is not a safe area to stand for me or for anyone else. These words drive me more to Christ and what he has done in his suffering and death as the only sure way to come before God, not with an excuse, but trusting that through what Jesus has done, I am justified by the free gift of God.