Pogo: We have Met the Enemy and it is Us

Walt Kelly, the creator of Pogo, coined this phrase and it was featured on an Earth Day poster in 1970. The Earth Day campaign noted how we are the ones who litter and pollute our environment. The idea of ourselves being an enemy however is clearly enunciated and applied more widely to the whole of human condition by Jeremiah the prophet: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?” This message from the Lord to The Kingdom of Judah 2600 years ago, speaks of innate depravity and human inability to even recognize the source (who can know it). If any fact rings true about humanity, this aspect of self-destruction is readily apparent to most. 

Even as Christians we continue to battle destructive forces within which seek to impede our joy in Christ. The Lord in Mt. 15.10-20 instructed us about the true source of defilement and specifically told the crowd to “listen and understand.”  Christ explained to the disciples that things from the heart of a person cause sinfulness. We all have an evil heart that hurts us and seeks to deter the new creation within us living the Spirit-empowered life.

Paul explains the Christian’s inner conflict by comparing it with a race and boxing competition in 1Cor. 9.24-27. We are told to run to win against our opponent (the fallen old self). The race motif Paul uses speaks of a two-person contest. This is made clear when Paul explains the same struggle as “subduing his body” when he switches the imagery to boxing.

Another way that “the enemy is us” is found in 1Jn. 3.18-20. Here our heart condemns us falsely to sidetrack us from walking with God. The solution to this comes from assuring our heart in His presence since we have been loving in deed and in truth (v.18). Living a righteous life by God’s strength will persuade our conscience before God (His presence). Assurance comes from being honest with ourselves and God instead of guilty feelings and inner impressions which may be false. Consistent Christian living and knowing Christ’s will through His word will enable us to know the message of our hearts if it is a true or a false condemnation.

I talked to a Christian friend the other day and he pondered whether to pursue a specific ministry. He seemed conflicted between opinions of what path to follow. He expressed the fear of “burying his talent” if he didn’t pack up and move to where someone “needed him.” Of course, only my friend knows all the details of the situation but several points were clear to me. The Parable of the Talents is found in Mt.25.14-30. Firstly my friend had a tender conscience that sought to do the right thing while in the parable the man ignored the Master and was so unconcerned that he didn’t even “let it earn interest” at the bankers. Secondly, the man in the parable had the wrong relationship with the master since he viewed Him as hard and unjust. So the parable speaks about someone who is not a Christian and not concerned about fulfilling the Master’s desires. Needless to say, my friend was not the first to experience pangs of false guilt in regards to this parable.

Don Carson on O.T. Sacrifices and Christ’s Perfect Love

THE RICH ARGUMENT OF HEBREWS 9 would take us beyond the limits of this meditation. Here I shall make clear some of the contrasts the author draws between the countless deaths of sacrificial animals in the Old Testament, and the death of Jesus that lies at the heart of the new covenant.

First, part of his argument depends on what he has said so far. If the tabernacle and the Levitical priesthood were from the beginning meant to be only temporary institutions that taught the covenant people some important lessons and pointed forward to the reality that would come with Christ, then the same thing applies to the sacrifices. So the author sums up his position to this point: the entire system was “an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order” (Heb. 9:9–10).

Second, the very repetition of the sacrifices—for example, those offered on the Day of Atonement—demonstrates that none of these sacrifices provides a final accounting for sin. There will always be more sin, demanding yet more sacrifice, with the priest still standing to kill one more animal and offer yet more blood. Contrast Christ’s sacrifice, offered once (Heb. 9:6925–2610:1ff).

But the third and most important point is the nature of the sacrifice. How could the blood of bulls and goats really deal with sin? The animals themselves were not volunteering for this slaughter; they were dragged to the altar by their owners. The animals lost their lives, but they were scarcely willing victims. So far as “willingness” went, it was the people who owned the sacrificed animals who were losing something. Of course, this sacrificial system was appointed by God himself. He taught thereby that sin demands death—and in the sweep of the Bible’s storyline, that a better “lamb” would be needed. The sins of the people were thus covered over until such a sacrifice should appear. But the blood and ashes of animals provided no final answer.

How different the sacrifice of Jesus Christ! He “through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God”—that is, not “by the Holy Spirit,” but “through [his own] eternal Spirit,” an act of will, a supreme act of voluntary sacrifice, the Son acquiescing to the Father’s plan. There indeed was a sacrifice of untold merit, of incalculable significance. That is why his blood, his life violently and sacrificially offered up, is able to “cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” (Heb. 9:14).



Proof of Mary’s Genealogy in Luke 3

Of the several commentators I have read regarding the genealogical record in Luke, none have positively maintained that this is the line of Mary. To me this is very curious. The reason most have cited for not regarding Mary is that her name is not mentioned. My reply to this is that the previous context demands Mary be seen as the birth mother of Jesus.

Luke, the physician, begins his account by recording the miraculous births of both John the Baptist and Jesus and other relevant prophecy, miracles, the Baptist’s ministry, and a childhood account of Jesus before giving the genealogy of Jesus and tracing it to Adam. So, when Lk. 3.23 states that Jesus “as was supposed” to be the son of Joseph, we know by Luke’s previous statements he is speaking of Mary’s line since she was the physical, genetic link of the God-man who came to provide the substitutionary atonement for humanity’s sin.

We have additional proofs though that verifies that this record in Luke is Mary’s line of descent from her ancestor David. In Rom. 1.3 Paul unequivocally states: “concerning his Son who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh.” Since Jesus was not of the flesh of Joseph who had the line of David through Solomon, the fleshly line came through Mary who traced her ancestry through David’s son Nathan.

Additionally, Luke recorded Acts 13.22-23: “After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ “From this man’s descendants [seed] God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised.”(NIV)

Further, the resurrected Jesus Himself has testified that He is of the seed of David: “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” (Rev.22.16 NET)