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Taxes

Believe it or not, I have finished filing my Taxes! I am usually scrambling on October 15th to finish. But, this year I took a little time here and there to work on them in Turbo Tax. I was also diligent to put all my tax documents in one place as I received them.

It is very nice to reap the benefits of a disciplined, organized life. This is a very new thing for me. I think that since self- control is the last fruit of the spirit listed, I must have thought it was less important. However, I have tried to be more disciplined with a few things in my life, and each has turned out very well.

Part of my change has to do with frustration at the suffering I cause myself. I used to hate going to work on Mondays because I had to record my time in some detail for the previous week. It may sound stupid to some people, but the displeasure it caused me further contributed to my procrastinating. Finally, I decided that if I would just try for one week to enter my time every day it would be better. Thanks be to God, I put aside my idol of being productive and took the time to do some meaningless data entry. It was so much better.

Part of my change is due to reading Proverbs and seeing how good a life of the Kingdom can be. I used to think less of Proverbs because it was so practical. But a recent study showed me that it was really a very integrated book. It contains verses pertaining to the love of God and neighbor.

We can be assured that the Spirit will keep working in me and you to produce the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, kindness and self-control. The way he will work is to show us more and more how good Christ is so that we lay down our idols and run to Jesus. When this happens, our lives just naturally get better.

Infant Baptism

At work, I am involved in an email discussion group. The most recent topic was baptism. Being the only paedobaptist, I felt I needed to send more than a short email. Here is what ended up being a quick research paper.

My main goal in writing this is not to persuade you that you should baptize your children. Please don't change your mind based on my arguments. I don't want that responsibility. My chief purpose is to show that a valid case can be made for infant baptism. There are many points of theology about which people grow up in the church with very dogmatic yet unproven beliefs. Often their teachers, so-called experts included, have poorly understood the issues at best. Many times this leads to arrogance and self-righteous judgement against the other party.

There are three ways to approach the argument for infant baptism. One is to examine the scriptural evidence and construct a theological case which builds from the scriptural evidence. Then, you can look to how godly men and women of the past and present have taught on this subject. The final resource we have is our own relationship with the Father through Christ by the Spirit. In a theology class, the first order of study is that of theological method. For now, we may just have to make assumptions, challenge, and ask questions of each other along the way. Even the questions we ask of a text are shaped by our own theological history.

New Testament Context

Before we look at the scriptures we should remember the context into which Jesus came. It was a Jewish context. Deut 6:7 says, "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." The passing on of stories and of the faith was fundamental to the Jewish religion. In addition, the first official ceremony given to Abraham was circumcision. God commands Abraham to circumcise every male in his household. That would have included children and servants. Of this God says, "it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you." The original promise to Abraham was chiefly about his children and about how God had given them a promise. This idea permeated the Old Testament church for over 2000 years. At the edge of the promised land, God renewed his covenant with Israel that he made at Sinai and found it significant to mention that witnessing the renewal were "your elders and officials, and all the other men of Israel together with your children and your wives."(Deut 29:9-13).

In addition, there was already a practice of baptism in the Jewish faith. John was not the first baptizer. Households (children and all) were baptized as part of a conversion to Judaism. In addition, there are various ceremonial sprinklings and washings required by the Old Testament(Lev 14:8-9, 8:5-6, Ps. 51:1-2;7-10). These all alluded to the washing of sin or filth to make something holy. In all likelihood, this was the tradition in which John the Baptist saw his baptism. Furthermore, the word baptizo is actually used of these practices in Luke 11:38, Mark 7:3-4. Here the "washing" as it is usually translated is applied to Jesus, hands, bowls, cups, and dining couches. If we are to understand what the writers of the New Testament are saying, we must "keep the Old Testament in mind" as we read the New Testament. Not doing so would be like trying to understand the Constitution without understanding English common law and the events surrounding the American Revolution.

Baptism and the Covenant

The first sermon of the New Testament Church is found in Acts 2. In it Peter specifically claims that the promise of the Holy Spirit is for his hearers and their children. Consequently, they should repent and be baptized. Now infants cannot repent, but they can receive the spirit. John the Baptist did. (Luke 1:15) We must acknowledge that children must in some significant way be included in the promise in a way that is distinct from just anyone else. We can imagine what this would have meant to the early Christians who would have been wondering about the implications of this new revelation and its connection to the promise to Abraham and the covenant with Israel at Sinai.

From the mere fact that the sign (circumcision) of the relationship or covenant between Abraham and God was to be applied to his children before they exhibited faith shows us that the mere sign has no power. In fact, the sign was applied to servants and livestock. The sign was to show others that they were in a special relationship with God. It signified that they were under special judgment if they did not live up to the relationship God had initiated. Deut 10:16 an Jeremiah 4:4 confirm that God has more in mind for inclusion in the covenant than just circumcision. They exhort the hearer to "remove the foreskin of your hearts." It is also clear from Israel's checkered history that circumcision without faith is of no use. In fact, to those who did not unite circumcision with faith were to be cut off from the assembly. The reason parents were to teach their children was because being circumcised was not enough. It was nonetheless required (Gen 17:14).

Baptism functions as circumcision in the New Testament. It is a sign that one has entered into a special relationship with God. In Acts 8, Peter argues that since the Gentiles have received the Spirit, they should also be baptized. Why?

it is the sign that they now are related differently to God. Paul links baptism to circumcision (Col 2:11-12) in how each functioned to cleanse the believer from sin and points to Christ's death, the curse for sin. Similarly in order to recieve the blessings of baptism one must unite the rite with faith. If not, it becomes a greater curse (Heb 6).

Jesus alludes to this same dynamic when talking to Nicodemus in John 3. It is both of the water and Spirit that one must be born. The outward sign is nothing without faith. Peter also makes the connection in Acts 8:16 when he argues for water baptism of Cornelius' household because they have received the spirit. It almost seems as if it occurs here in reverse order. For the church is not that dissimilar to ancient Israel. It is made of the "wheat and the tares" until the final consummation of Christ's coming. In fact, Paul in 1 Cor 10:1-5 says that all of the Israelites were baptized by passing through the cloud and through the Red Sea. He uses this argument to exhort his readers to persevere in righteousness because although baptized, the Israelites did not persevere in faith. Similarly all those who profess faith and are baptized are not guaranteed eternal life.

Credobaptists rightly wait for a confession for adults. I would argue that this is what is seen in Acts 8:36-37. In addition, these verses are notably missing from early manuscripts and even left out of some current translations such as the ESV. However, we never see any discussion of these issues in the context of child. As the father of young children, there are real issues here. The New Testament is a pastoral book. In a cultural context as I described, it would seem that these issues would be addressed. Instead, we find mentions of household baptisms that in all likelihood contained children. The technical language also reflects that this is a pattern that is repeated and not isolated events.

It is merely confession that entitles adults to baptism in the new covenant. The same was true of converts to Judaism under the old covenant. Children receive circumcision, and if Paul is right, baptism under the Mosaic Covenant. What entitles children to participate in the relationship of God with his people? I would argue that is by virtue of their birth to Christian parents. In a sense, everyone already does this. They just do not apply the sign of the covenant.

Christ's Baptism

The first specific instance of baptism we hear about is the baptism of Christ in Matt. 3:16. Though, John thought himself unworthy, Christ sought to identify his ministry with that of John's. John rightly recognizes Jesus as the point of his ministry. This passage brings up three important points in our discussion of baptism. First, many use the fact that Jesus "came up out of the water" as proof that Jesus had been immersed. If John saw his baptism in line with other baptisms mentioned in the Old Testament, the odds are Jesus was not immersed. Imagine a scene where Jesus and John step down into the water from the bank. John uses bowl or his hands to dip out water and pour it over Christ's head. As Jesus steps up onto the bank the Holy Spirit descends on him.

This brings us to a second point. There are more passages that connect baptism with the Holy Spirit than there are to Christ and his death. (Acts 1:5, John 1:33, Luke 3:16, Mtt 3;11, Matt 28:19, John 3:5, Acts 2:3, Acts 8:16, Acts 10:47-49, 1 Cor 12:13) That is not to say that these are insignificant, but the connection between the Holy Spirit and baptism is rarely talked about outside of charismatic circles. Baptism is connected to the application of the benefits of Christ. The s Holy Spirit unites us with Christ in his death which entitles us to the forgiveness of sins and and in his life to all the benefits of a son of God. God is often spoken of as pouring out his Spirit. Here the mode of baptism by pouring can been seen.

It is in connection to the receiving of the benefits of Christ's death that both Peter (1Peter 1:2) and the writer to the Hebrews refer to the sprinkling clean of the believers heart (10:22). In fact, there is an extended discussion in Hebrews of how the sprinkling in Christ is better than the sprinkling that of the artifacts of the tabernacle and that of Israel by Moses. I would not argue that baptism is required for salvation. The thief on the cross and Cornelius are proof of that; however, I would argue that it has more than symbolic value. I don't think we do justice to the scriptures if we deny that there is some mysterious power connected to the sacraments of the church. As we saw earlier it is a sign of a new relationship to God and his people.

The third point from John's baptism is that this is not Christ's real baptism. If so, what is Christ talking about in Mark 10:38 when he asks, "Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" What does Jesus mean when he says, "I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!" Christ's death on the cross is his baptism. Here we can also see the connection between circumcision and baptism. Paul, in Col 2:11-14, connects the cross, circumcision, and baptism. Our baptism is our identification with Christ in his baptism and circumcision. Christ was cut off from God in his death on the cross for us. Our unity with him in his death frees us from the penalty of being cut off ourselves. Having identified with him in his death, we will be raised with him to new life in Christ. This is also what Paul is talking about in 6:2-4. While immersion might be a helpful picture of death and resurrection. It is not necessary for understanding these passages. As noted earlier, sprinkling or pouring might be just as valid a metaphor because of the connection to the pouring out of the Holy Spirit or the sprinkling clean by the blood of Christ.

History of Baptism

I wish I had time to spell out the history of baptism. Suffice it to say that paedobaptism has prevailed for much more of church history. Early church fathers seem to have practiced infant baptism. Conclusive evidence exists in the 3rd century of the practice. Until shortly after the Reformation, credobaptism is virtually unheard of. However, in America, believer's baptism is the dominant position. Internationally, Catholics and Anglicans weight the church to the other side.

Personal Experience

I have really only seen paedobaptism practiced in conservative presbyterian churches. I believe it was practiced well. It enhanced the sense of community and the "it takes a village" attitude toward "covenant children." One argument I have often heard is that children will think they can do anything because they have already been saved. I would argue that this attitude is rampant in churches that would make people re-baptize if they were baptized as infants. The churches I was in seem to at the very least exhibit no more of this attitude than baptist churches.

Hours more could be spent in exegesis, historical study, and personal reflection. Currently, I have no more time. I would appreciate your responses.

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What's Your Handicap?

Second to "How are you," this may be the most asked question on a golf course. What if people asked you about your handicap at work. I am not talking about something for which you might be sued. I am talking about your work handicap.

In my thinking about project management, I have wandered upon the idea of a handicap system for programmers and maybe even for everyone in a company. When employees are on salary, many times, there is little incentive to do your best work beyond "the good of the company" or pride in your work. Sometimes you just need more than that.

I am thinking about adding two possibilities. One is the calculation of a handicap base on how quickly you get your work done. If you follow one of the agile methodologies, you can control quality with testing and metrics. If you don't do those things, you might need to find a way to add quality to the handicap. The handicap introduces another level of pride in your work and maybe even some friendly competition. It might also give you a basis for incentive programs.

Secondly, I have thought about introducing a work week based on production hours instead of clock hours. This would be how "par" was set for the handicap. You might decide based on your own project tracking history that 25 budgeted project hours were all an average programmer could accomplish in a week. So you set that as par. Then, if people want, they can go home after they have completed 25 project hours. If they want to improve their handicap, they can stay and work more.

There are two requirements for the handicap system is good management of project requirements. You would have to make sure that new work was not just slipped into someone's workload without an adjustment in the budget. You would also need good, objective budgeting practices.

However, I think those are necessary parts of a well run project anyway. I can't see how a company would lose. Employees gain three new incentives: time, pride-in-work, and fun competition. They company gains an objective method for rewarding exceptional employees. After all, do companies pay people for the hours they spend inside the building or for the work they are doing while there.

Book of Cool and Practice

This entry won't win any awards, but it might point you to a cool gift. No hints. Check out the Book of Cool. It is an instructional DVD set for many things that most guys would say is really cool.

I must confess that I think it looks pretty cool I'd like to be able to do all of those tricks. I am afraid, though, that just knowing how to do them is only a small part of doing them. If they are like most things worth doing they involve skill. This means you have to practice.

I am reading Steve Pavlina's blog pretty regularly now-a-days, and he has an interesting idea about how to acquire new skills. He uses the analogy of progressive weight training. It is really a great analogy. Maybe it woud apply to the skills one could acquire from the Book of Cool.

In the arena of the faith, it reminds me of the testimony of Steve Childers an RTS professor. He had a guy disciple him from being an atheist to being a church-planter and seminary professor. The guy had a very definite path of discipleship. At various points he had Steve read particular books, speak in particular venues, witness to particular types of people. Each step depend Dr. Childers understanding of the faith, himself, and others. After working that out they guy moved him to the next level until he was ready to replicate the experience with another young believer.

I thought this was a very interesting idea. It also makes me think of Dallas Willard's idea of spiritual disciplines. They are not an end in themselves, but they are to prepare you for situations in which you will need the skills and character you have developed. John Ortberg, commenting on this, compared it to athletics. You don't expect o be able to pitch a perfect game with no practice. Spiritual disciplines are like practice for a godly life, but they are not the godly life itself. They help you best love others and give glory to God in the best way when the time comes.

Well, off to bed. Enough rambling for now.

Courtney and Conversation

There are very few things in this world I love more than a good conversation. I suppose, then, it is no surprise that my wife and I were conversation partners before we were anything romantic. In fact, it is to her that I owe much of my conversation skill. Hopefully, she will be happy to take credit for that.

It is her reluctance to speak on so many pseudo-dates (its a long story) that forced me to lead a conversation. Our early relationship was dominated by conversations about TV, movies, school, and politics. As our relationship grew romantically, I had to work hard at conversation and conflict.

I had grown up in a relatively conflict-free environment. For the most part, I was shielded from conflict between my parents, and I, as a very compliant child, found it easy to relate to my understanding parents. Courtney, however, knew much more of conflict. Although, that does not mean she dealt well with it. Conflict caused her to close up. I did not like conflict, so I sought to resolve it. This meant that I had to pry her heart open with words. I will admit that my work caused some damage. But, I think, in the end, more healing has been accomplished.

The second way Courtney has greatly contributed to my conversation skill is in the breadth and depth of my conversational range. She basically introduced me to culture. She, and some under-appreciated English professors at UMHB and Temple College help me understand literature, music, and film. Thanks to C.S. Lewis and other Christian apologists my mind and faith were beginning to integrate. Courtney helped me do this with respect to aesthetics. I have learned so much from her, and she has opened my eyes to beauty that I would never had known. There are few things more exhilarating about which to converse than beauty. This idea of beauty has worked its way into other areas of my thinking as well. In the end, it is the awesome beauty of Christ that we are all yearning to behold.

Finally, Courtney has been one of the main instruments of God's sanctifying work in my life. So many times, she has shown me my true colors. At the sight of which I could only repent. She is an honest, and usually trustworthy knife with which God cuts away at the billowing celluloid of my pride. There is nothing better in conversation than to be thruly humble. I pray that God will eventually accomplish his work in this area.

I can't help but mention one more thing. Courtney has birthed to me 3 absolutely wonderful boys. I could go on for days talking about them. Through them, God is constantly providing deeper insight into my nature and his own.

Husbands out there, "Love your wives." Talk to them. Trust God and open yourselves to them. Don't be afraid. Your dignity comes for Christ not your wife. Love her, do not need her. If trust God and speak, he will not fail to surprise you in how he can take care of what you need. The courage you gain by talking to your wife will give you the courage to be a man in many other areas of your life.

Poker at Work

Since it has been crunch time at PDI, I have been thinking a lot about project management. I have been thinking about good management and bad management. One practice I have seen makes me think of the quintessential aspect of poker: bluffing.

Now it is a known fact that people are lazy and will not work if they are not under pressure. So, constant pressure is necessary for top performance. If developers are not under pressure, they will play on their computers and talk about geek stuff without actually developing any real product because developers are undisciplined and do not care about the company's financial condition. Long-term vision is not their strong point, so aggressive deadlines are necessary. It doesn't matter if the deadlines are not reached. Project slippage only further motivates programmers because many of them have an overdeveloped sense of guilt and loyalty. You can channel that by stressing the importance of the deadlines and feature set to the company. When the project slips, they will only work harder. Many times developers can accomplish months of work in a week or two if those weeks are beyond a deadline. This is the appropriate way to motivate a developer.

Management knows nothing about software development. First of all, they give us a list of features and a deadline. We are told to make it work. No one even really asks how long it might actually take to do what is described. The specs are vague in the best cases and incorrect in the worst. The truth is, management does not know what they want, and nobody knows how long it will take. In the end, what gets done will get done. We will end up working our butts off at the end. The stories about all-nighters from this project will just be worked into programmer-lore. Management can't sell incomplete software so we will slip a few weeks. Management won't get all the features it makes up as we go along. Odds are, I'll be writing programs 1, 5, 10 years from now no matter how a single project goes.

This is the state of many teams. Is ours this bad? None of these statements are quotes, but some of them could be. I have heard things like this from both sides.

Dun. Dun. Duh...Death

In my own reflection, I have tried to think about how I live my life for seen things instead of unseen things. Yesterday, I sensed a slight pain in my chest and arm and hyopchrondiaclly thought it was "chest pains." I think it was because I had heard that morning that prolonged sleep-deprivation increased risk of heart attack, and you can tell by my post times, that I often deprive myself of sleep.

I began to think of my own death. Ironically, today I attended a seminar about estate planning. I have been thinking about what would happen to my family in the event of my death. It makes me very sad. I think I hurt the most for Courtney and the boys and how they would miss me. I know that once I crossed that bridge, I won't care all that much, but they would be here enduring more suffering than I can really conceive.

This all made me think of the saying that we should live as if we were going to die tomorrow. Jonathan Edwards had as one of his Resolutions to "think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death." While I suppose you must plan for the future as the ants in Proverbs 30:25, I can't help but think about the way Christ lived. He was so deliberate about his life, and yet he seems to have perfect peace in every moment. He lives with his death in mind. He knows who he is. He knows his father loves him.

This makes me think of a question I was asked by a seminary professor. "What would you do if you knew you had no chance of failing?" In a sense, this is the life we live. All God wants us to do is to love him and run full speed after what he has put in our hearts. As we get older, and life becomes more complicated, we get weighed down hedging our bets against this and that trying to make the world a safe and pleasant place to live for us and our family. This hedging becomes our life.

It is often in the face of our mortality in an illness or the death of a loved one that we realize that all this hedging is not really living. We wake up to the fact that we have been dead living for the seen things of the world instead of the unseen things of God.

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Seen vs. Unseen

"For this slight momenary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." 2 Cor 4:17-18

This was a scripture in our small group bible study this week. It prompted some good discussion, and I have not stopped thinking about it. I don't think Paul's point here is to urge his readers to live for unseen things. He does that elsewhere. By this point in 2 Corinthians, it is an assumption that the Christian is looking to unseen things.

Here Paul argues that he is able to overcome his current suffering for Christ by looking to eternal things rather than transient things. Similar principles may apply to general suffering if we can understand it in light of the seen/unseen dichotomy. However, sometimes it is our focus on transient things that causes us suffering. This is particularly true of psycological suffering such as stress or anxiety. We worry about the opinions of others. We stress about the level of education our children are receiving when they will almost certainly be in the top 10 percent. According to Matthew 6:25-34 even our fear about where our next meal will come from is misplaced. And these are probably the most important things that take our energy. Paul, however, is suffering because of the rejection of the Gospel. His suffering is both psychological and physical, but he can overcome because he looks to unseen realities for his true identity and comfort. He knows God is his father, and he trusts that whatever happens, it is the result of God's care for him.

This prompted me to wonder about what makes me think I suffer, what I spend my money on, and what I spend my time doing. Could someone look at my life and say, "He is living for unseen things?" I am not sure. I think this may be the true mark of the Christian. It will look different at different times and in different people's lives, but I think it is the difference. Do I live out of fear an anxiety that comes from living for transient things or out of the confidence that comes from living for eternal things?

In my discussion with my small group, I said that maybe we should pray for opportunities to suffer as Paul did. Thankfully, some of them pulled me back from my asceticism. Instead, we should pray that the Holy Spirit will not leave us alone living for seen things. As we are driven to live for unseen things we will inevitably suffer because we will be running contrary to the world.

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. John 15:18

Big Rock Candy Mountain

Recently I was listening to the soundtrack of O, Brother, Where art Thou? and heard a very interesting song. The song is entitled The Big Rock Candy Mountain. Basically, it is a hobo ballad about a hobo paradise originally recorded in the 1930's.

It mentions a lake of whisky, streams of alcohol, cigarette trees, jails of tin, policemen with wooden legs, and various other questionable attributes of paradise. It really shocked me to find out that it was written in the '30s.

Even though I reject the typical conservative idea that things have been getting worse since the founding fathers, I am still surprised to find a song like this. About the only vice it doesn't mention is illicit sex. And, supposedly the original version was about luring boys to become hobos only to be abused. It reminds me of Pinocchio, another surprisingly dark piece.

I think we are deceived about the decay of the world because we forget two things. We forget that sin entered the world in Adam and that it has been bad for a very, very long time. This basic sinfulness is always present in every culture no matter how nice it appears on the outside. Secondly, we get wrapped up in our own time and place and forget that God is doing something much bigger than our country and our lifetime.

These confusions are further complicated by the prevalence dispensational premillenialism which teaches that the world will get worse and worse until Armageddon. I believe that it is a misunderstanding of scripture and has been detrimental to the spiritual life of the church. Its rise at the same time as the fundamentalist-modernist controversy served to turn the church inward. This exacerbated the average church-gowers myopic vision of the world.

Only in the past couple of decades is the church emerging. Even still, there are decades of ingrowth to overcome and a lot of bad attitudes toward the church from without. It would do us good to concentrate on the ingrowth first. Unfortunately, many of those that are ingrown are leaders. Only God's spirit to turning the church back to the Gospel and away from its various forms of legalism will save true Christianity in America.

Psuedo-christian legalism is as bad if not worse than pagan hedonism. At a worldly level pseudo-christian religion, it is better, but spiritually, it is worse. It is the religion of the Pharisees, which Christ rejected 2 millennia ago.

Being a "Nice Guy" and Nicomachean Ethics

A friend of mine has a shirt about "LABS", that is Like A Brother Syndrome. He says that I have it. I have certainly never had that bad boy appeal. I have always been a "nice guy". For better or worse, I have learned to be extremely diplomatic. In contrast, however, God is freeing me more and more to not just be a nice guy. I can actually voice my opinion and join the argument.

What does God have to do with this? I used to think that I had to be a nice guy in order to be a Christian. I am probably still hypersensitive to being considerate to other's feelings, but am able with at least some people to be down-right obnoxious. Courtney praises God for it.

Sometime when I was a Senior in high school my personality underwent a big change. I don't know if that is when God really saved me or what, but things really changed. I really became my own man. However, it has taken close to 10 years for that change to work itself out to the surface.

I do occasionally leave a discussion wishing I had said what I was thinking, but now I am probably in danger of saying too much instead of too little. Some might still say I am too reserved, but am working toward the Golden Mean.

This is a concept in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics where he claims that there is a sweet spot for every virtue. For my example there might be the poles of "obnoxious" and "wall-flower". The Golden Mean might be "forthright". Anyway, Aristotle's idea is that whichever side of forthrightness you are on, you should act in accordance with the principle opposite the side you are on.

His idea is that habits produce character and that habits are only produced by action. In my situation, this means that when I am unsure of whether or not I should speak up, I should just do it. Odds are I would err on the side of caution, so I should just go the other way. Aristotle, unfortunately, did not know God's grace. However, God's grace frees us to abandon our sinful patterns because we are free to worship Christ. We are not dominated by the legalistic taskmasters we so slavishly serve without him.

Christ frees us because we see that we are sinful in almost every action. We are constantly depending on his grace. Being afraid to sin or holding back because we might sin just shows how much we are deceived about our current condition. The worst thing I can do is to refuse to act out of fear. This is unbelief out of pride and arrogance. In a sense, this is the only sin. God wants us to make the leap of faith. He wants us to step out on his grace. He wants us to jump up and down on his grace and prove that it will not falter. Then he wants to us to go where he tells us and not look back.

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