It is not new knowledge that we reject, for we should always be growing in the knowledge of the Lord. Rejecting new knowledge is the failure of traditionalism. Nor do we reject what has been known for years, decades, or even centuries from what God has revealed in His Word because of some superficial changes in culture, for that is the failure of ‘new is better’ mentality. Rather we embrace knowledge that allows us to continually grow deeper in our understanding of God’s person, will, and ways so that we can honor Him with all of our being. This knowledge comes from learning the Scripture in order to live the Scripture. It is kept fresh by remembering. Continue reading →
Oh my Lord Jesus, I confess that I am one who desires to know my future. Only you know how often I have been troubled beyond measure concerning the uncertainty and troubles that tomorrow may bring. Please forgive me for the thousandth time of saying, by my thoughts, worries, and plans, that I am God. The thought of saying those words make me quake. For I would never say them vocally or even in my heart, and yet, my thoughts about the future have at times declared those unthinkable words.
May I face the future with my trust in you and you alone. Oh, may I grow to despise my own surmising about what will, may, can, or cannot happen. For by now, I should be most humble of all in trusting you because you have often shown me the results of trusting your leadership through blessing me beyond what I could ever have dreamed to pray for. You have even shown your immeasurable grace and superior plans through temporary hurt, loss, and grief that latched onto me as one being dragged into the abyss.
May I not look to the future as Pollyanna or as one sitting beneath the sword of Damocles. Rather, may I do so as one who knows You, Your Word, and my experience of walking with You through the years, which all testify that the future is not mine to know.
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”” (James 4:13–15).
Many speak of loving God but exhibit minimal or no concern to know the Scripture. They may be disinterested or even caviler about learning the Scripture. Their reverence for the Scripture is romantic rather than actual. Their interest in being taught the Scripture is limited to whatever practical value it has as a How To book rather than a book calling them to a radical life of self-denial and submission to Christ. A life of serving.
Their claim of loving God does not include a love for God’s word. But a person cannot truly love the God of Scripture without loving the Scripture of God.
Seeking to love and follow God apart from loving to hear from Him through His Word is more characteristic of a lost person than a devoted follower of Christ.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” John 14:15
In a previous article I explored Calvinism’s view of the origin of sin and salvation through the lens of their belief in compatible freedom and the “mysteries” that such a view generates. To read it, just search “Calvinism’s View of the Origin of Sin and God’s Offer of Salvation” (posted on October 31, 2016).
This article looks at Extensivism’s view of the same issues. In this article I use Extensivism (broadly) as encompassing all soteriological perspectives that see God’s love and salvation plan as provisioning salvation by faith for everyone, and this in contrast with Calvinism’s exclusive plan, which only includes some people—the unconditionally elect. Continue reading →
Christianity without truth is not Christianity, and Christianity without love misrepresents Christ to both Christians and the lost world.
Two of the greatest threats to Christianity are lies and loveless disciples. I am not referring to the lies told about Christianity by the enemies of Christ or the world, but rather the lies spoken by those who don the title Christian.
Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6), and the Holy Spirit guides us into truth by teaching us the Truth of Scripture (John 17:17). If we as Christians expect to walk with Christ, and influence the world for Christ, we must speak truth in the significant and public areas as well as the mundane and private areas (Eph 4:15). For reasons unique to each, I have found the challenge of each of these to be impossible apart from living in the presence of Christ (Eph 5: 1-2, 18).
The world’s hatred of the followers of Christ will never destroy the work or testimony of the church, for this was well predicted (John15:18-19). Rather, it is the spirit of hate, jealousy, bitterness, revenge, immoralities, and divisiveness, all of which emanate from the carnal mind and unrestrained flesh that destroys the work of the church (1 Cor 3:3; Gal 5: 19-21). For such prohibits the world from seeing Christ in His people (1 Pet 2: 21-23). The world not only needs to hear the truth about Christ; they desperately need to see the truth of Christ in changed lives.
Our enemy’s greatest endeavors to destroy the work of Christ in and through us is by God’s grace an extraordinary opportunity to show Christ most movingly.
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” Matthew 5:44.
Salvation is free, but the life of faith can be costly indeed!
The history of Christianity is one of untold sacrifice by countless followers of Christ. They have given their lives in the darkest parts of the globe to share the gospel, stood and spoken the truth in love in loveless times, carried the burdens of others so that others may know Christ, and given time, money, talents, and security to be used in advancing the kingdom.
We are the beneficiaries of a myriad of Christians who lived their lives so that others might benefit. Their focus was on what they could do by the power of Christ for others.
In tragic contrast today, a growing number of those who claim to be followers of Christ are intently eager to evaluate how much God loves them by how much He gives them.
We should ask, are we any better than Christians who preceded us, more valuable to God or more righteous or more deserving? No, a thousand times no! We are called, just as Christ called them, to live so that others might know Christ.
“And others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect” Hebrews 11:36–40.
Many years ago, a man told me that if I ever needed someone to go to a person in the church who was in sin, he was more than willing to go. He said, “that type of situation does not bother me; I do not mind having to rebuke a brother for his sin.”
He may have thought it strange that I never called on him, but it is really not so strange. I would rather call on someone who finds dealing with a brother in sin difficult and quite humbling. It seems to me that not being bothered by such a task is an immediate disqualifier.
Anyone can rebuke a Christian for his or her sin, but it takes a mature spiritual Christian to give a godly rebuke with a heart for restoration. A true heart for the restoration of a brother includes a willingness to be intimately involved in the process and a keen awareness of our own propensity to be overtaken by sin.
“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted” Galatians 6:1.
We dare not confuse divine unity with organizational unity.
Christians are one in Christ, which does not require the existence of organizational unity (John 17: 11, 22-22). The mere reality of different churches or even denominations is not necessarily demonstrative of disunity. This is because our unity is not derived from an organization but our relationship to Christ, the head of the church (Eph. 5:23). Continue reading →
Some believe that prayer is in the final analysis, praying what God has already determined that you would pray (Calvinism). However, a simple, not a simplistic, reading of Scripture makes palpably clear that while God has predetermined many things, He sovereignly chose not to predetermine everything, but to incorporate the prayers of His people into the contingent outcome. Continue reading →
God instituted marriage (Gen 1: 21-25) to eliminate solitude (Gen 2:18), and for the only proper relationship for sexual intimacy and procreation (Gen 1:28; 1 Cor 7: 1-5).
According to Scripture, there simply is no such thing as homosexual marriage, and Christians should avoid speaking as if there is. Speaking of homosexual marriage does not legitimize homosexual relationships; rather, it vulgarizes the term marriage. If marriage were other than a heterosexual relationship, marriage would not exist because humans would not exist.
“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” Ephesians 5:22–25.