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Avoiding Tricks

Lactantius | March 13

Neither yield ye your members as instru­ments of unrighteous­ness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righ­teousness unto God. —Romans 6:13

“Those who return to a right understanding and rescue their minds from madness are guarded against being led to the same snares again.”

He who is both the Lord and most indulgent Parent promises that He will forgive the sins of the repentant. He will blot out all the iniquities of those who begin afresh practicing righteousness. For former uprightness is no use to those who live badly. The subsequent wickedness has destroyed their righteous works. In the same way, former sins don’t stand in the way of those who have cor­rected their lives because the subsequent righ­teousness has erased the stain of their former lives. Those who repent of what they have done understand their former errors. Regarding this, the Greeks speak better and more significantly of metanoia, which we may speak of as a return to right understanding. Those who return to a right understanding and rescue their minds from madness, who grieve over their errors and rebuke them­selves for madness, and commit their minds to a better course of life are guarded against being led into the same snares again. In short, even when dumb animals are ensnared by trickery but have untangled themselves and escaped, they become more cautious in the future. They will always avoid the things in which they have seen tricks, wiles, and snares. Therefore, repentance makes us cautious and dili­gent to avoid the faults which we once were tricked into.

All Scripture references are taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version. Excerpts from the early Church Fathers are in the public domain, but were organized and arranged for daily reading in Day by Day with the Early Church Fathers, © 1999 by Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts. (No longer in print). Used by permission and in accordance with sections 3.3, 3.4, and 3.5 of Hendrickson’s “Rights and Permissions”. All rights reserved.

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