A Hell in Every Human Heart

One of my jobs is edit a devotional journal called the Covenant Home Altar, and today I came across some writings by a old Swedish preacher named Thure A. Jacobson (1881-1945), which were translated and published in the 1970s.

The first thing that caught me eye was this line--"Salvation is not won easily because the devil sings his lullaby to the soul." I am not sure exactly what he meant by that, but there are certainly plenty of siren songs in my life that compete for my attentions and keep me from doing what's right.

But it was this sectionthat really got my attention today, especially with all the news coming out of Washington and Iraq.

The counsel to watchfulness is continually affirmed in the New Testament. It is addressed to all who seek salvation. It is a counsel to watch over the enemies within our own minds and hearts. There is a slumbering hell is every human heart. Beware of the fire that sets off the explosion.

It reminded me of something that Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Seminary, wrote in his book "Uncommon Civility: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World. He said that Saint Augustine knew that war “was a dangerous business,” for Christians--and must not be waged “without kindness,” without acknowledging that our enemies are human beings made in the image of God.

The real threat for Augustine, says Mouw, was that Christians “will succeed in conquering our external enemies, only to be destroyed by ‘the enemy within’—our own ‘depraved and distorted hearts.’”

If these reports from the US Army or from Christian Peacemaker Teams than our modern hearts--even Red, White, and Blue "God Bless America" ones-- are as depraved and distorted as any Augustine imagined.


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