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Posted by Matt Postiff February 16, 2018 under Theology  Bible Texts  Apologetics 

I am just completing an expositional series in 2 Peter in our church, and yesterday I delivered a message at the chapel service of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary from Peter's letter. In preparation for the message, I noted that Peter appeals to two witnesses as the basis of his apologetic, that is, his defense of the gospel.

The first of these witnesses is found in 2 Peter 1:16-18. There, Peter flatly denies the charge that he is propagating a clever myth. Rather, he personally eyewitnessed the majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration. But far more than a mere "experience," Peter has recorded for us a heavenly revelation with apostolic authority. Jesus, God the Father, James, John, Peter, Moses, and Elijah were present at this unveiling of the regal glory of King Jesus. Peter's letter, and all the NT writings, are classed the same way--as apostolic revelation. So Peter's first witness boils down to this: the New Testament of the Bible.

The second of Peter's witnesses is found in 2 Peter 1:19-21. There he writes of the prophetic word that is altogether reliable. It did not originate in man, but rather with the activity of the Holy Spirit superintending the authors of the Old Testament. And that is why it is entirely trustworthy, because it originates with God.

Peter reiterates these two witnesses once again in 2 Peter 3:2:

That you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior...

We have the Old Testament in the mention of the holy prophets, and the New Testament in the phrase "commandment of...the apostles."

By two or three witnesses, let every word be established (Deut. 19:15, Matt. 18:16, 2 Cor. 13:1). You cannot get more reliable witnesses than the Old and New Testaments. The Christian faith is founded upon solid, historical, revealed truth from heaven. There is no reason to abandon it for the speculations and scoffing of men.


Posted by Matt Postiff February 5, 2018 under Theology  Church 

Today's question from a person in our church:

When a person claims to be a believer in Christ and yet refuses to be baptized, how can we as a body of believers take their faith seriously? I know that baptism in itself does not bring salvation, but the refusal to be baptized seems to promote one's own will and desire over that of our Lord.

I am sympathetic to your understanding that the church cannot take that person's profession of faith seriously. While we want to give the benefit of the doubt to anyone who professes faith in Christ, we cannot give Christian recognition to such a person through membership, because they are being disobedient to the very first command that the Lord gives them after they are saved. That is why we don't admit such people to membership.

In our constitution, we specify the requirements of membership as follows: regeneration, baptism by immersion after profession of faith, conduct befitting of a Christian, and agreement with constitution and doctrine of the church.

Someone may object this way: "You cannot refuse church membership to one of God's children." I feel like responding this way: "If you can refuse the Lord's command to be baptized, we can refuse your application for membership!" The reality is that the Lord does authorize the church to put people out of membership through the process called church discipline. Since this is the case, we understand that the church must also be able to refuse to grant membership to those who would need to be immediately disciplined.


Posted by Matt Postiff February 2, 2018 under Interpretation  Theology  Bible Texts 

Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary has just released its latest recommended book list. I recommend it!


Posted by Matt Postiff January 17, 2018 under Theology  Bible Texts  Eschatology 

I read Tim Challies' article about why he is not dispensational and was interested to find that his defense of amillennialism was basically that it was the position he was taught from youth, and he had not been convinced otherwise since that time.

I believe pretribulational premillennialism most accurately represents the Biblical teaching on God's plan for the future. This view is sometimes called dispensational premillennialism, to distinguish it from historic premillennialism. I have written on it in prior blog posts (here, here, and here).

This view relies on the principle of literal interpretation, in which words are understood according to the plain meaning. This is not the principle used by amillennialism or postmillennialism. And that is not a straw-man charge: consider this quote referenced by Challies regarding the definition of amillennialism:

Allison: "With respect to eschatology, the position that there is no (a-) millennium, or no future thousand-year period of Christ's reign on earth...Key to this position is its nonliteral interpretation of Revelation 20:1-6: Satan’s binding is God’s current restraint of him, enabling the gospel to advance everywhere. Saints who rule are Christians who have died and are now with Christ in heaven. At the end of this present age, Christ will defeat a loosed Satan, ushering in the last judgment, the resurrection, and the new heaven and earth." (The Baker Compact Dictionary of Theological Terms).

Note well that the nonliteral interpretation of Revelation 20 is key to this view. I could never believe such a notion, and so amillennialism is basically dead on arrival when it comes to my doorstep. I argue opposite, that the literal interpretation is key to understanding this portion, and indeed any portion, of the Bible. And in fact, the literal interpretation is feasible. It presents no impossible difficulties.

A critical review of Allison's definition raises several deficiencies in it. First, Satan is not presently bound in any meaningful sense of the term "bound." 1 Peter 5:8 tells us that Satan prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking people to devour. He freely deceives individuals and nations throughout the world.

Second, the gospel has not advanced everywhere: certainly not in closed countries; and even in open countries it is now on the decline. This agrees with the pessimistic view that the Bible presents about mankind and its sin (2 Timothy 3:1, 13; 4:3).

Third, the ruling saints, if they are ruling from heaven, are not doing a very visible or effective job of their rule. There is no territorial realm which they rule over; there are no people they rule over; and their ruling function does not appear to be exercised here on earth. World conditions hardly indicate the uniformity and righteousness that would be present if in fact glorified saints were in charge of things. Furthermore, there seems to be little or nothing that requires ruling in a perfect heaven.

Fourth, Allison says that the saints who rule with Christ had died and are now ruling in heaven. But the text of Revelation is explicit that they "came to life" (CSB, ESV, NAS, NET, NIV). That is, they were resurrected and then reigned with Christ!

Fifth, the kingdom is always portrayed in the Bible as future and earthly. To redefine the rule as present and heavenly is another example of how a nonliteral interpretation does damage to the plain meaning of Scripture. I am aware that this assertion demands proof. That will have to be taken up another time.

Sixth and finally, at least for this brief critique, it needs to be noted that the Bible is explicit that there are (at least) two resurrections. They are separated by a period of 1000 years. There is not one general resurrection.


Posted by Matt Postiff December 29, 2017 under General 

With this post, I am publishing the annual set of Bible reading schedules that I have prepared for the past nine years.

Some other reading plans might catch your interest:

If you would like another schedule that takes you through the entire Bible in the year, and with some chronological ordering in it, check out this schedule from bibleclassmaterial.com. This is from 2017, but it will work for 2018 just about as well.


Posted by Matt Postiff November 28, 2017 under Theology  Bible Texts 

Today's question:

What does the Bible mean when it uses the word 'predestination'?

Definition of a Key Greek Word

The main Greek word that we have to understand is proorizw (proh-or-ídzō). It occurs six times in the New Testament. The Greek dictionary relevant for the common Greek of the New Testament era defines this word as, to "decide upon beforehand, predetermine." The person who does the predestining is always God, for no one else has the power, knowledge, or wisdom to do so.

We look now at Scripture to see how the Holy Spirit uses this word to convey truth.

Uses of This Word

I have selected to provide Scriptural quotations from the New American Standard because it is an older literal translation and it consistently translates the Greek word as "predestine." It is helpful to read the verses before and after these to get the full picture of what is being said.

Acts 4:28 "to do whatever Thy hand and Thy purpose predestined to occur." Although Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were to blame for the death of Christ, God in His all-wise purpose had decided beforehand that Jesus would die.

Rom. 8:29 "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren." There is a group of people who, verse 28 says, love God and are called by Him according to His purpose. These are all Christians. These are the ones that God "knew beforehand," in the sense of setting his love upon them from the foundation of the world. He also decided beforehand that they would be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.

Rom. 8:30 "and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified." Those same ones that he decided beforehand to make like Christ, He called, justified, and glorified. In whatever way God decides beforehand, we should be clear that all Christians are described by these ideas.

1 Cor. 2:7 "but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory." Here the object of predestination is not a person or event, but it is "the wisdom of God" which refers to the plan of God revealed to us through His Spirit, that body of truth which centers upon Jesus Christ. God decided beforehand that it was by this way that He would save His people.

Eph. 1:5 "He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will..." Here again the object of predestination is people. God decided beforehand to adopt believers into His family through Jesus Christ. This was in accordance with what He was pleased to will to be done.

Eph. 1:11 "also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will..." God decided beforehand to make us heirs. This too was in accordance with His purpose and will.

I am convinced that God predestinates certain people to salvation

The above texts are the only ones that use this particular Greek word. However, there are quite a few others that deal with related subjects like election and foreknowledge, as well as depravity, which causes the need for this work of God in our lives. The above texts, however, are sufficient to convince me that God did decide before I was born to do something with me that would bring me into salvation. He decided beforehand to:

  • conform me to the image of Christ
  • adopt me into His family
  • make me an heir with Jesus

I thank Him for those truths. I am fully confident that whatever God decided in advance will indeed come to pass. Nothing can frustrate the will and plan of God. What God decides, He ensures will come to pass without fail.

What About Others, Those Not Saved?

If anyone is not foreknown, predestined, called, justified, or glorified, then that person simply is not a Christian. Why God chose this way is something that I cannot explain, and I don't believe I have to be able to explain it because the Bible doesn't go into any great detail on it.

What Scripture does say is sufficient: God will be glorified both in the salvation of His people, and in the judgment of those who reject Him. For this idea, I appeal to texts like Romans 9:21-23 (vessels of wrath/vessels of mercy and the outcome to show God's wrath, power, patience, and glory). Other relevant texts are Proverbs 16:4; Romans 11:22; and Romans 9:13-18. In the latter text, God says He chooses whom He wills, and the Bible tells us there is no injustice in God because of this. He has mercy on whoever He wants to, and He hardens whomever he wishes. That is His business, and I'm glad to leave it to Him because He knows what He is doing. I am too finite to be able to understand everything.


Posted by Matt Postiff November 24, 2017 under Theology  Bible Texts 

Today's question:

What does the Bible mean when it says in Habakkuk 1:13, "You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness"?

This does not mean that God does not see evil events and people, for he most certain does. For example, Genesis 6:5-7 states that God observed the continual wickedness of mankind, and decided to wipe out the human race. The same occurred around the judgment of Babel Genesis 11:5) and of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:21).

What Habakkuk means is that God's holiness does not permit Him to look on evil or wickedness with approval. He cannot approve of the wicked acts of people; nor can He approve the people who do those wicked acts. He cannot tolerate evil or put up with evil people.

This is a true truth. Habakkuk's understanding of this truth is the basis or reason for his perplexity at why the wicked Chaldeans are being permitted by God to judge the people of Israel. How can God do that?

Habakkuk soon realizes that God will also judge the Chaldeans, and in part that judgement will be for the evil done against the people of Israel (most of chapter 2).


Posted by Matt Postiff November 14, 2017 under Theology  Society 

Today I received a couple of questions about pastors talking about politics in the pulpit. The questioners' native tongue is Spanish, so I reproduce some of their questions here in the original language:

Que opina que los pastores expresen públicamente su preferencia política? Mi pregunta es si es lícito que un pastor manifiesta públicamente su intención de voto. Te enfocarias en los temas valoricos solamente? Es decir, fijarse sólo en los temas de valores como aborto, matrimonio, etc. Cómo enseñas eso? Diciendo en qué fijarse para votar?
Translation: What is your opinion of pastors who publicly express their political preference? My question is whether it is permissible for a pastor to publicly state his intention to vote. Would you focus on the value issues only? That is, to look only at issues of values ??such as abortion, marriage, etc. How do you teach that? By saying which way to vote?

My short answer is this: A pastor should not speak about his political preferences from the pulpit.

Obviously the question demands a longer answer. First, note that I answered the question about political preferences. Those have no place in the pulpit if all they are is personal preferences, that is, matters of indifference to God. The pastor's preferences are no more valid than the next church member's preferences. The pastor should be occupied with preaching God's word, not man's word.

Second, we must recognize that the Christian faith touches on every area of life, and that includes those areas also touched by politics. Let me say that again, in more modern terms: the Gospel of Jesus Christ affects how we vote. It affects how we think about all kinds of issues. It is not just the good news that Jesus died for our sins. It also expresses the bad news that there are sins--things that are wrong to do or be involved in--and we must repent of doing them!

There are many issues that are not preferences. That is, God cares about these issues because they touch some moral principle. Upon these matters, we can and must preach the whole counsel of God in order to give guidance to God's people in the church. The people need leadership, lest they be like sheep without a shepherd. And yes, they will go off in every direction if they are not taught.

Third, in the United States at least, we are not permitted to preach or campaign for a particular candidate. To do so would be a violation of our non-profit tax exempt status. This situation was created by the so-called "Johnson amendment" which has the effect of limiting the influence of religious non-profits in the political process. But while candidate advocacy is limited, issue advocacy is strongly supported and upheld in our political system.

So, fourth, we should have an influential voice in the political process, by being strong advocates for righteousness in the public square. For example, pastors should preach against abortion, and against supporting those who support it. We should preach against gay marriage and transgenderism because those are rebellion against God. And we should call those who support it to repent and believe in Christ. We should preach against lawlessness, and in favor of the rule of law so that God's purposes for government will be carried out instead of frustrated (Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:12-14).

We should preach against the endless accumulation of debt because it ignores important principles in God's word, namely that we must live humbly within our means, and know that the borrower is servant to the lender (Proverbs 22:7). If we are in a society that has property slavery, as we had in the United States in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, we should preach against such slavery, based as it is on man-stealing (Exodus 21:16, Deut. 24:7) and vile treatment of fellow humans created in God's image (Acts 17:26). We should preach against political and financial corruption in society and government.

Here is another example: we should preach against divorce and sexual immorality. John the Baptist did just that, and it cost him his life (Matthew 14:3-12).

Fifth, we can encourage our people to get out to vote. That is part of their responsibility as good citizens of the secular state.

Christians and others in society can be influenced by the preaching and teaching of pastors. We should make use of every opportunity to preach the righteousness of God, and the need for salvation in light of the evils of the society. We must also preach the glorious kingdom of Christ, which will clean out all the evil of our present societies and set up a perfect culture in which righteousness reigns.


Posted by Matt Postiff October 24, 2017 under Theology  Bible Texts  Sanctification 

Early in his Christian life, Pastor Ed Stelling (later, minister of Charleston Harbor Bible Church) was caught up in the tongues movement. He offered his testimony as to why he left the movement. Here are some arguments he repeated from a Brethren writer named Louis S. Bauman, who wrote a book entitled The Modern Tongues Movement, as to why the Pentecostal movement is false.

1. The gift of tongues was the least of the gifts (1 Cor. 12:28), not the greatest.

2. Tongues were a sign to the unbeliever (1 Cor. 14:22), not to the believer whereby the believer knows that he is filled with the Spirit.

3. Tongues was only to be spoken when there was an interpreter present (1 Cor. 14:27-28), but many times in public services that Stelling experienced there was no interpreter. No one ever asked if an interpreter was present.

4. The true gift was under the speaker's control (1 Cor. 14:32). In contrast to this, the Pentecostal believers had often told Stelling to "let go and let God." When he experienced the strange power and spoke in tongues, he was in a trance and could not stop speaking in tongues.

5. No woman was to speak in tongues in the public service (1 Cor. 14:34). But women were the chief speakers in the services Stelling had attended.

Stelling testified of several issues that caused him doubts about the Pentecostal experience that he had. One was that it was suggested he divorce his wife because of her unbelief in the baptism of the Spirit and tongues.

He reiterated that the tongues experience he had was supernatural. It was beyond what he could have generated in the flesh. "Since the Word of God proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was not the Holy Spirit, it could only be a deception of Satan, a counterfeit of the true baptism, the true fullness of the Holy Spirit." He was told by his old Pentecostal friends that he had committed the unpardonable sin by turning away from their doctrine.

He says very clearly that, "the experience taught by tongues people, 'that the baptism of the Holy Ghost is an experience apart from salvation, and evidenced only by the individual speaking on tongues,' is of the devil." Also, "the teaching that 'only those who have spoken in tongues have been filled with the Spirit' is of the devil." Their experience is "instigated by Satan himself." He makes it very clear that he is not saying all Pentecostal believers are of the devil, but their doctrine and experience is. He is convinced that he himself was saved, though under this strange supernatural power for a time early in his Christian life.

Listen to his entire testimony here.


Posted by Matt Postiff October 17, 2017 under Bible Texts  Sanctification 

For all the talk these days about how God wants us to be happy, I find it interesting that the word happy is not to be found in the NT translation of the ESV. It occurs twice in the NT of the NKJ, both translated from the word more commonly rendered blessed. The old KJV is a bit more liberal in its use of happy, but it only uses it 6 times in the NT, all from the Greek for blessed.

Rather than desiring us to be happy, God desires us to be holy. But when we are holy, then we are truly happy. And the way of holiness is the way of obedience: first obedience to the faith in Jesus Christ, and then obedience in what He instructs us. According to Matthew 28:20, learning to obey what Jesus teaches is a key element in the Great Commission.

We read of the connection between doing and blessing in John 13:15-17:

For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. (NKJV)

Knowing is one thing; doing is another. You might know a lot of Scripture, but you will not have the kind of blessing Jesus is talking about here unless you do what you know.

It is not just this portion of God's word that says so. Check out these additional passages:

If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. (John 7:17 NKJV)

It may be instructive to look at a very literal rendering: "If anyone wills the will of Him to do..." That is to say, the precondition of understanding the source of Jesus' authority is that the person has to make a decision that he wishes to carry out the will of God. You have to make a real decision to "want" the will of God, and then to go about doing it.

But He said, "More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!" (Luke 11:28 NKJV)

Don't just hear. Hear and keep!

But He answered and said to them, "My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it." (Luke 8:21 NKJV)
The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:9 NKJV)

Here is an explicit connection between God's peace and obeying what we read in the text of Scripture, particularly from Paul's letter. Verse 8 contains some specific instructions regarding how we use our minds. If we dwell on things that are right and true and lovely, we will be far more happy than if we don't.

But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:25 NKJV)
Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: (Matt. 7:24 NKJV)
Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and [who] keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. (Rev. 1:3 NKJV)
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. (Psalm 1:1 NKJV)

As I studied this topic more, I realized there are quite a few verses that touch on the idea.

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. (Titus 3:8 NKJV)
Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (Matthew 7:21 NKJV)
Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book." (Revelation 22:7 NKJV)
You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. (John 15:14 NKJV)
He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him. (John 14:21 NKJV)

Posted by Matt Postiff September 7, 2017 under Family  Sanctification 

Today's question: why does my Christian spouse keep doing the same sins even after repenting of them? He continues to become angry, or avoid speaking with me, or make fun of me, or be mean to me, or use bad language, or not notice when I need help, or nag at me, or ...

Here are some thoughts for you. First, you need to correct a latent assumption in the question, namely the assumption that a spouse can be perfected in a certain area and not sin again in that way. That is an assumption that is not warranted by Scripture. Certainly your Christian spouse should be improving in those areas where he or she is weak. But if your assumption were correct, and your spouse repented of sin #1, and then sin #2, soon he or she would be just about perfected. Your dear spouse is still a sinner, and will always be a sinner until he or she dies.

Second, make sure that you are not being hyper-sensitive. Maybe you are incorrect in your analysis that your spouse is sinning against you. Maybe you have a feeling that he is mean, or she ignores you, or he is always angry, when in fact those things are not the case. Try to look at the situation from a couple of other perspectives to see if you may be over-reacting. Perhaps what you are after your spouse about is not a sin or even a big deal, but just a shortcoming that is part of this sin-cursed world.

Third, realize that your spouse's struggle against sin is just as real as your own struggle against sin. He or she will continue to struggle with some sins just like you do. We believe Romans 7 is a reflection of the apostle Paul's own struggle with sin as a believer in Christ. He knew the right thing to do, but didn't do it right all the time. He had a battle against his own flesh (not to mention the world and the devil). What believer is there who has not engaged the battle with sin? There is no such thing as a Christian believer who is not engaged in that battle! If your spouse is beset with some sin, you have to be patient with him or her, just like God is patient with you. You must forgive 70 times 7, just like God does for you. You must love your spouse, even if he or she does sometimes act like your enemy (you love your enemies too, don't you?)

Fourth, as much as you can, try not to make situations where your spouse can more easily fall into sin. For example, don't press an issue (or even bring it up) when your spouse is hungry or tired. If your nagging makes him angry, and then you get upset by his anger, how about trying to slow down the nagging? If your perfectionist tendencies or preaching frustrate her, how about cutting back on the perfect expectations or the sermonic material? If poking a little fun or bringing up past mistakes upsets your spouse, how about zipping your lip about those things? It is not your God-given job to test your spouse beyond what he or she is able, in order to see how they fare in your testing of their sanctification! Your behavior can help your spouse be more sanctified or increase his or her struggle in sanctification.

Fifth, don't just focus on the negative! Exercise Christian love toward your spouse by highlighting the positive things in your spouse. Encouragement, support, positive feedback, appreciation, thankfulness, etc. are all demonstrations of love that will help your spouse and will set a positive tone in the home. This positive tone is self-reinforcing and will spiral up into a better atmosphere in the home. Focusing on the negative is also self-reinforcing and will spiral down into a worse atmosphere in the home, causing more problems.

Putting these five points into practice is what love looks like in a home where two or more sinners reside. May God bless your marriage in these things!


Posted by Matt Postiff August 28, 2017 under Theology 

Some years ago I read an article by Greg Bahnsen entitled "The Crucial Concept of Self-Deception in Presuppositional Apologetics". Since then, I found that it is available as a much longer PDF file and on Kindle. A helpful summary article on this subject appeared at The Gospel Coalition.

For some reason the idea and Bahnsen's attempt to explain it was fascinating to me. I have by no means wrapped my head around the concept yet, but I wanted to say something about it that struck me quite forcibly within the last couple of weeks.

It was just this: sin is so deceptive that it masks its own existence from the one who is committing the sin. Sin has a self-cloaking or invisibility device that allows a practitioner to somehow not recognize that sin is actually present. Bahnsen explains that this happens because of various motivations and evidence rationalization. This deception can extend to others, as in Bahsen's example of a mother who can't believe her son is a thief.

This is a critical topic to understand in Biblical counseling, for sin needs to be uncovered and repented of before real progress will be made in counseling situations.

The Scriptures mention the concept of sin's deceptiveness several times:

Romans 7:11 - For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.
Hebrews 3:13 - but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
1 John 1:8 - If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

What to do about this? Like I said, I'm not fully grasping this notion yet, but I do know this: we must be diligent in our own lives to do battle against the self-deceptive characteristic of sin. And, when we counsel others in their addictions, marriage problems, etc., we must recognize that self-deception is likely present at some level. This is why one person in a conflict can give a one-sided view of the situation so convincingly (Prov. 18:17). He or she really has gotten themselves to believe what they are saying. They may well be blinded by sin(John 9:40-41).

Jeremiah 17:9 - "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; who can know it?

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