The Crisis in International Religious Freedom
According to Wolf, there were roughly 150,000 Iraqi Jews in 1950. Today there are fewer than ten—a shocking statistic in its own right, but also an ominous sign in light of an old regional saying: “as go the Jews, so go the Christians.”
Seven Ways to Involve Older People in Your Church
“Understand that I’m not opposed to change. I’m honestly not. I may not like change, but it’s more because everything seems to be changing than it is my opposition to church change. Help me understand the change, and I’ll be with you. What I’m opposed to is change that’s not well thought out.”
Overcoming Discouragement in Ministry
“When trials and challenges come, ministers feel their own insufficiency. In the midst of challenges with congregants, ministers remember that they cannot change the hearts of the people to whom God has sent them to shepherd. In many cases, the only course of action in a particular trial is go to the throne of grace and plead with the Lord to bring whatever we are facing to a felicitous end.”
It’s OK For Guys To Cry
“You might wonder why a godly man, one who has had his sin forgiven, would be marked by tears. While it may be a mark of being human that brings a natural man to tears, it is a mark of being impacted by the gospel that brings a Christian to tears.”
The National Association of Evangelicals and the Death Penalty
“Presumably church bodies should address moral issues through the lens of historic Christian thought, reflecting with the whole church, past and present, and not striving to align with transitory secular trends. But there’s little theology in the NAE’s new resolution.”
If the Bible Rarely Talks About It, Does That Mean It’s Not Important?
“The history of theology is riddled with arguments about issues about which the Bible has relatively little to say because they probably shouldn’t be important parts of our theological systems. I hesitate to provide examples here because I know I’ll end up picking someone’s favorite issue. “
A New Way To View Vitality in Smaller Congregations
“I have found it helpful to describe a dynamic equilibrium for this congregation and other small to mid-sized congregations I have served, and then to hold that condition before them as a measure of vitality. Dynamic equilibrium suggests that the congregation is a complex organism with staying power, but an organism with certain key indicators of health or decline.”
A Christian Classic on Sanctification
Ryle was a deeply committed and non-compromising evangelical Christian. In fact, Charles Spurgeon referred to him as an “evangelical champion.” His book ‘Holiness’ has been reprinted numerous times since its original publication in 1879. It is deservedly considered a Christian classic on the subject of sanctification.
Update: Lifeway Peddling Gay-Affirming Prosperity Preacher For Profit
Pulpit & Pen brings to our attention Ed Stetzer’s continuing lack of discernment. This is important because Stetzer runs the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention which means he has a lot of clout. Following is the full report: Remember the large kerfuffle that started last year involving Lifeway, the media retail branch of the Southern […]
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Misconceptions About Creation
By Avery Foley. freelance writer for Answers in Genesis A recent article appeared on the Biologos website titled “10 Misconceptions about Evolution.” The author, Jim Stump, writes, “One of the difficulties people have with coming to accept the science of evolution is that they have absorbed incorrect or only partially correct information.” He then goes on […]
Jenner, Transgender and Trans-Lunacy
Bill Muehlenberg states the obvious: Bruce Jenner was born a male and HE will die a male. Mr. Jenner may self-identify as a woman, but that no more makes him female than Muehlenberg identifying as a milkshake makes him a frozen drink. Using humor, he addresses the absurdity of men “identifying” as women and visa-versa […]
The Highway to Utopia
Progressives are trying to steer the world into Utopia. How will they accomplish this lofty goal? Lee Duigon, a contributing editor with the Chalcedon Foundation, reveals their plan, which involves science and coercion: Free will is messy—especially other people’s free will. It’s so annoying, when you know what’s best for them, and you’re kind enough to […]
Focus on the Family endorsing a new and unbiblical view of marriage?
Dalrock has a piece entitled “Never let a crisis go to waste.” He fills us in on what occurred on a recent Focus on the Family radio broadcast when the president of FOTF, Jim Daly, spoke with Christian relationship “expert” Dr. David Clarke. For those who read and study the Bible, it is evident that Dr. Clark’s view […]
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Chick-fil-A Listed as Sponsor of “Faith-Based” Homosexual Film and Arts Festival
According to Christian News Network:
An online petition has been launched over revelations that the popular evangelical-owned fast food restaurant Chick-fil-A has been listed as a sponsor of a “faith-based” homosexual film and arts festival.
Level Ground began as a student-organized event in 2013, and was touted as the “world’s first faith-based LGBT film festival.” It has since expanded to six cities across the country and includes not only film, but music, theater, visual arts, comedy, and various workshops with the goal of “elevating the public discourse around the otherwise polarizing topics of gender identity and human sexuality.”
“The Level Ground Festival draws a unique audience that reflects the full spectrum of religious (and non-religious) beliefs, gender identities, and sexual orientations,” the festival website outlines. “All denominations, theologies, beliefs, races, and ages are welcome.”
The recent announcement that Bruce Jenner will be named “Woman of the Year” highlights the fact that a war on reality has been declared, and insanity now rules our elites – at least in the West. And the entire transgender mania is leading the way in our mental and moral meltdown.
For Bruce to be given this award makes as much sense as calling a circle, “Square of the Year,” or an airplane, “Boat of the Year,” or red, “Blue of the Year”. We have simply denounced and renounced reality, rationality, common sense and the English language. Utter absurdity now reigns supreme.
If all this was just a harmless fad, that would be one thing. But it is harming plenty of folks, as well as society at large, and for that reason alone needs to be fully resisted. I have written before about the various health risks associated with gender bending.
A recent article highlights some more of the evidence on what a dangerous and risky move this is. Rising suicide rates is one big problem associated with those who go down this path:
Studies repeatedly show that “transgender” people who seek to become the opposite sex are in fact not happy or fulfilled. In fact, a life-or-death internal war is continually going on within, to the degree that many, if not most, seek to end their lives.
That’s what the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute found when the foundation analyzed results from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. The numbers of suicide attempts are heartbreaking.
Over 41 percent of active “transgender” people try to kill themselves. That’s ten times the average 4.6 percent suicide attempt rate.
And this study isn’t the only one proving that those who seek to live as if they were the opposite sex are, in fact, killing themselves. Over a dozen other surveys worldwide have found the same alarmingly high suicide rates.
A national survey of more than 6,500 transgender people asked the question “Have you tried to commit suicide?” Forty-one percent answered, “Yes.”
“Chronically high stress levels,” “anxiety,” and “depression” are most commonly reported among active transgender people. Self-harm by cutting is often reported as well.
The suicide hotline for them, Trans Lifeline, handled more than 20,000 calls in its first nine months of operation alone. Greta Gustava Martela, a lesbian who founded the hotline, summarizes, “With 41% attempting suicide, you have to assume something’s just not working for transgender folks.”
The mainstream media attributes the exploding transgender suicide rate to outside influences, such as peer and parental rejection, but does not consider the transgender person’s tragic internal battle as intrinsic to living a psychological dichotomy.
The facts speak otherwise. The University of Birmingham’s Aggressive Research Intelligence Facility (ARIF) conducted a medical review that found that there is no conclusive evidence that sex change operations improve the lives of transsexuals. In fact, many transsexuals remain severely internally distressed and suicidal after the operation.
Chris Hyde, the director of ARIF, explained, “A large number of people who have [sex change] surgery remain traumatized – often to the point of committing suicide.”
These truths need to be made widely known. We are lying to people and greatly harming them – especially our young people – if we tell them that a bit of snipping here and injections there, and some chemical this and surgery that, is going to solve all their problems and transform them into new, happy and well-adjusted people. The opposite is more likely the case.
These are ultimately mental and psychological issues which need to be addressed, not something a bit of physical mutilation will be able to remedy. We are damaging our kids and spitting in the face of reality and biology when we buy the trans lies.
But sadly plenty of Christians are buying these lies as well. More and more are getting on the trans bandwagon, reflection the wisdom of this world instead of running with the biblical worldview. A good example of this, and a good rebuttal to it, appeared recently in First Things.
Robert Gagnon has offered some helpful advice for believers in how to deal with all this, as he critiques a piece by Christian psychologist Mark Yarhouse. Gagnon examines and discusses some of his claims, then goes on to say this:
While I believe Yarhouse’s advice is well intentioned, I respectfully disagree. First, is this not rather distant from the biblical language on these matters? Cross-dressing is called an “abomination” to God in Deut 22:5. Paul includes “soft men” (malakoi) in the offender list in 1 Cor 6:9-10, which in context designates men who attempt to become women (through dress, mannerisms, makeup, and sometimes castration), often to attract male sex partners. The fact that Paul includes such persons among those who “shall not inherit the kingdom of God” suggests that acting on a desire to become the opposite sex can in fact affect one’s redemption.
Further, what will be the effect of encouraging church members to address persons with GID as the sex that they are not? What will be the result of requiring them to accept whatever manner of transgender display of appearance offenders deem essential to their well-being? For some it will mean silencing a conscience correctly informed by Scripture and science. For others it will further confusion about sex and gender already promoted in the world, undermining the church’s resistance to the bonds of sin.
I have no doubt that Yarhouse is aiming for the redemption of those with gender dysphoria. Yet it may be instructive to reflect on Paul’s concern in 1 Corinthians 5 not only for the sexual offender but also for the offender’s impact on the local church: “a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough” (v. 6). Although Yarhouse refers obliquely to wise counsel from church leaders, he allows the offender to call the shots. Paul rather recommends temporary remedial discipline for the persistently impenitent in order to minimize the harm done both to the offender and to the church (vv. 4-5, 9-13). The church’s complicity in sexual delusion benefits no one, least of all the offender.
How far should Christians following Yarhouse’s suggestions go? For example, can a man who feels that he is a woman use the church’s restroom for females? Can he expect the church to respect his choice of romantic partner, whether a woman (in a pretend lesbian relationship) or a man (in an actual homosexual relationship)? Can he even compel the pastor’s performance of his marriage ceremony to either sex, claiming that otherwise he will feel estranged from the church? And what if the offender has children distressed and confused by his wrong choices? Denise Schick, director of Help 4 Families Ministry, writes courageously about the added stresses put on her adolescent development by a father obsessed with becoming a woman:
“As an adolescent, I had to be careful about how I dressed. I always had to ask myself how he would react to my outfit. Would it make him so envious that he’d ‘borrow’ it (without my consent, of course)? I began to hate my body. It was a constant reminder of what my father wanted to become. When I began to wear makeup, I had to block out the images I had of him applying makeup or eye shadow or lipstick. He was destroying my desire to become a woman.”
In allowing those with transgender desires “to identify with aspects of the opposite sex,” even at a church service, won’t the church be contributing to the distress and confusion of their children?
Yarhouse would certainly prefer that persons with gender dysphoria make peace with their biological sex. He thinks counseling should be directed to “how best to manage gender dysphoria in light of the integrity lens” and advising persons with GID to explore their other-sex desires “in the least invasive way possible.” I have no doubt that his desire is to be loving to persons experiencing this distress. Yet it is possible to be sensitive, gentle, and loving without forcing the church to act as if the lie is the truth.
Lastly, should the church abandon the “culture wars”? Should we stop combatting society’s efforts to persuade vulnerable children in the schools that one’s perceived “gender” need not correlate with one’s biological sex? Is it wrong to try to prevent the state from punishing believers who can’t support a transsexual agenda? Is it a societal good to require schools and businesses to permit males who think they are females to use female restrooms? I submit that the church still has a role to play in terms of being salt and light for the culture at large in matters of sexual ethics.
Needless to say I fully concur with Gagnon. This fight is too important to simply ignore or capitulate to. And simply running with the world’s agenda helps no one here. As always biblical truth must trump trendy social engineering agendas.
There is nothing loving or Christlike about telling a male he is female, or a female she is male. What is loving is pointing these folks to Christ and the healing and restoration he freely offers. Selling out to the gender bender agenda is not the way forward.
at The Pen, 10/10/15
The bottom line is this. I don’t care if Beth Moore studies are actually “good” and do not contain false teaching – one cannot separate the studies from what Moore says and does elsewhere, with whom she associates. She associates with Joyce Meyer, Christine Caine, Joel Osteen, James Robison, and Hillsong. This is associating with false teaching at best, heresy at worst.
by Chris Lawson, 10/7/15
This audio message touches on the current and future global apostate Christianity and the great metamorphosis into “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” (Revelation 17:5b) A Hindu-Christianity for the New Age! Various topics include: (1) Departing from the faith; (2) Apostasy defined, types of apostasy, and safeguarding against apostasy; and (3) Taking heed against all forms of deception and escapism. Subject matter exalts the biblical Jesus of Nazareth, as opposed to false prophets, false teachers, and the coming Antichrist who will be recognized by the unbelieving world as a “man of peace” and an International hero who has come to allegedly save the planet. Audio also includes short informative sound clips from the The Great Apostasy – The Lost Sign (DVD), and Dave Hunt’s documentary, A Woman Rides the Beast – The Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days. Scriptures: Matthew 7:1-5,15-23; Jude 3-4; Luke 18:8; 1 Thessalonians 4; Ephesians 4:11-22; Ephesians 6; 2 Timothy 4; Luke 21:34-38; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Colossians 1:1-6.
Click here to listen to this MP3!
Is Halloween Pagan in Origin?
Many Christians struggle to decide how (or if) to celebrate Halloween, especially with the claim that the holiday is pagan in origin.
And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:2).
On October 31, we will turn our porch lights on, set out a sign, and hand out king-sized candy bars to hundreds of kids, moms, dads, and teens. Some will grumble that we receive sinners. But they said this of Jesus, too.
Light of the World
Many Christians believe that handing out candy on Halloween is not a good idea. They assume, “If I hand out candy, I am advocating all this day stands for and will therefore compromise my witness as a Christian.” Yes, Halloween can stand for some really wicked things. Yes, it is a day when people worship Satan, demons, and spiritual darkness. Yes, it is an excuse for unrepentant sinning. But we are the light of the world! Light is intended for darkness. Does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket (Matt. 5:15)?
The darker the day, the more the light stands out.
The darker the day, the more the light stands out. “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). Who needs to see the light of Christ? Saints? Or sinners?
And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:15–17).
The gospel of Jesus Christ is for sinners. And how did Jesus, the Physician, engage those who were sick? He hung out with them, engaged with them, ate with them. If our Master, Jesus, spent time with sinners in this way, how can we think ourselves too “holy” to do the same? It was the Pharisees who saw themselves as too holy to engage with sinners on the ground level. Let us be like Jesus, not like those spiritually arrogant Pharisees.
For a moment, let’s imagine Jimmy and I are missionaries in a foreign country. We have just moved in and are still getting a feel for the culture and daily life of this country’s inhabitants. Very few know about Jesus, and ancestral worship is the most common religious practice. We have been praying about a way to get to know more people and have some opportunities to share about Jesus. Then we hear about a large ancestral worship festival in which all of the city will be attending. If you will only turn on your porch light, they will come to your door singing songs of praise to their ancestors.
There is a way to engage people on Halloween without actually celebrating the day itself.
As missionaries, we’d thank God for such a great opportunity! Instead of spending days looking for a single moment to get to know someone and talk about faith, we now have many who will come to our door with their mind already on spiritual things. I can’t imagine a more perfect opportunity to get to know these foreigners and talk about my faith!
This is exactly what Halloween can be for the Jesus followers in this country. Hopefully, we are already being missional in our neighborhoods, seeking to reach our neighbors with the good news of Jesus. So what a perfect day to get to know the families that live around us! On top of that, there is already an air of spirituality on this day. Yes, it has an evil spiritual feel, but it’s a perfect springboard to bring up the topic of life, death, hell, heaven, and a great God who has defeated Satan on the cross through the unbelievable grace of sacrificing His Son on the behalf of sinners like us.
Jesus received sinners, so likewise, let us receive sinners.
Turn It for Good
There is a way to engage people on Halloween without actually celebrating the day itself. We are very careful to not have any traditional Halloween decorations like ghosts, spider webs, monsters, etc. Instead, we are trying to brand ourselves as the “crazy-generous” house on our street, to make a statement about the generous nature of our God through sending His Son.
How are we doing that? We give out the good candy! King-sized candy bars! And when you’re giving out over 800 of those candy bars, people start asking, “Why?” And that question right there is an open door for the gospel. “Because we serve a generous God who gave His Son to pay the penalty of death I owed for my sinful arrogance and pride and gave me new life I didn’t deserve. So we long to be a small expression of His generosity to us.” I’ve already been able to share my testimony and the good news of Jesus several times just in buying the candy.
Not only that, we are hoping to love people well. With the help of our college homegroup, we have a welcome team that engages people at the foot of the steps, looking for opportunities to talk about Jesus and ask for prayer requests. Those requests are texted to a team in our guest-room-turned-prayer-room. After being loved, welcomed, and blessed with king-sized bars, each person will be pointed to Jesus through signs on the way out proclaiming Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
There is a song we love to sing at our church called “Sovereign Over Us” by Aaron Keyes that says, “Even what the enemy means for evil, You turn it for our good, You turn it for our good and Your glory.” Halloween is a day that Satan has intended for evil, but we are leveraging it for the good of others through sharing the gospel and the glory of God by pointing to His grace.
We Are Sinners, Too
“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Tim 1:15).
Let us not forget that the only reason we are saved is because Jesus condescended into the filth of our life, met us where we were at, and extended grace and love to us there. We are no less sinners than those we seek to reach. We are simply great sinners with a greater Savior! Let us not fall into the well-worn path of the Pharisees, thinking in our religious arrogance that we are better than those who don’t know Him. For Jesus Himself said, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you [religious leaders]” (Matt. 21:31)
We are no less sinners than those we seek to reach. We are simply great sinners with a greater Savior!
Let’s remember our Lord’s charge to us on Halloween, not to run from darkness but charge toward it with the loving light of the gospel. “And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation'” (Mark 16:15).
Follow our journey to #RedeemHalloween2015 by watching for pictures and posts on our instagram accounts on October 31 (@kellyneedham and @jimmyneedham). Why not start a new tradition of becoming the generous house in your neighborhood?
Do you fear God? The Bible seems to be confusing about fear. In some places, God calls us to live in fear. Elsewhere, he says he’s delivered us from fear. In this lab, John Piper focuses on 1 Peter 1:17–19, but pulls in lots of verses to help us understand what it means for us to fear God.
Peter said to the “elect exiles” — that is, to Christians scattered throughout the Roman Empire — “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession” (1 Peter 2:9).
He meant it as an enormous encouragement for a tiny, beleaguered, persecuted minority in a vast sea of unbelief and growing hostility. The adversaries may seem powerful and numerous and dangerous and dominant. But look again. You are God’s chosen ones, a “people for his own possession.” O, dear suffering Christians, Peter would say, do you feel what that means? Revel in being God’s chosen ones! There are so many reasons!
1. Your faith is not the basis of God’s choosing you, but the result of it.
This means that your faith is a wonder — more wonderful than any of the seven wonders of the world. Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). And there was a deeper choosing going on here than just the selection of the Twelve. We know this because Judas was part of the Twelve, and he was not “chosen.” Jesus said, “I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me’” (John 13:18).
If you have come to Jesus, the wonder is that you already belonged to the Father, and the Father gave you to Jesus. You were not chosen because you came; you came because you were chosen. That’s what Jesus said: “All that the Father gives me will come to me. . . . Yours they were, and you gave them to me” (John 6:37; 17:6).
If you have believed on Jesus, the wonder is that you were first appointed to eternal life. You weren’t appointed because you believed; you believed because you were appointed. When the Gentiles heard that the gospel actually included them, “they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48).
Revel in the wonder that you are a Christian because God chose you to be one. Your roots, as a child of God, are in eternity — in the infinite mind and heart of God. Your faith, and all its fruits, are God’s eternal gift.
2. Therefore, the basis of God choosing you is not in you, but in grace.
Take God’s Old Testament people Israel, for example. Why did God set his favor on Israel above all the peoples of the earth? What was the basis of God’s calling them, “my chosen” (Isaiah 45:4)? Here’s Moses’s answer:
The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers. (Deuteronomy 7:6–8)
This is amazing: “The LORD set his love on you and chose you . . . because the LORD loves you.” He loves you because he loves you! That’s the deepest, and ultimate, basis of God’s choosing Israel.
Paul underlines the wonder. Why was Jacob, the father of the nation of Israel, chosen over his twin brother Esau? Paul answers, “Though they were not yet born, and had done nothing either good or bad — in order that God’s purpose to choose might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls — their mother was told, ‘The older will serve the younger’” (Romans 9:11–12).
And the principle holds today, Paul would say, “So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace” (Romans 11:5). So it is with every true Christian. Behind our believing — behind our coming to Jesus—is grace alone. There is no ground for our being chosen beneath the all-wise and incomprehensible love of God. O, the vastness of the repercussions of this unfathomable truth!
3. Since our faith and obedience is owing to God’s choice of us, we can know we are chosen.
It is a wonder that God’s unfathomable, eternal choice of who will be his children can be known by those he chose. Paul said that he knew the Thessalonian believers were God’s chosen ones. “We know, brothers, loved by God, that he has chosen you” (1 Thessalonians 1:4).
How can he know this? And how can they? Paul explains, “We know . . . because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. . . . You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 1:4–6).
Only God’s eternal resolve to save his chosen people can explain the miracle of faith that receives the word of the gospel with joy in the midst of affliction. This is the work of God, and God does this saving work for his chosen ones. If it has happened to you, you may know that you are chosen.
Let the wonder of this sink in. Your faith is not a witness to any prior power in you. It is a witness to God’s choosing you. It is not a testimony to something so small as self-determination. It is a testimony to the same power that created the universe. God chose to raise you from the dead (Ephesians 2:5).
4. Being chosen by God means no charge against us can finally stick.
The multiplied wonders of God’s choosing a people include the unfathomable fact that God sent his Son into the world to cancel all the debts of his chosen ones — to nullify every damning accusation against them, and to give them a righteous standing in the court of heaven.
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died — more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. (Romans 8:31–34)
The reason no charge can stick to God’s chosen ones is that God “gave his Son up for us,” and it necessarily follows, “God will graciously give us all things.” The wonder is not only that there is “no condemnation,” but that this was all planned in eternity to be omnipotently successful. He did not do this great work like a fisherman throwing a net to see who might swim into it. We did not just happen to swim into God’s salvation. This was planned and performed with a special view to us, the chosen ones. This is a wonder to revel in.
5. Being chosen by God is designed to secure for us the sweetness of humility.
The more we consider being chosen, the more the wonder of it grows. And Paul tells us to consider it. The reason he wants us to think about being chosen (Do you? — With joy?) is that it will make us humble. Here’s the passage that makes this point. He starts by telling us to consider our “calling,” because this calling — from death to life — is the way we actually experience in time the choice he made in eternity. Then he mentions three times our being chosen.
Consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians 1:26–29)
Do you see the point? God is free to choose who will become Christians. And in his freedom he explodes all worldly expectations of who is “special.” Just when we think we may have him figured out in his choosing, we see he has gone another way. Paul doesn’t leave us to guess what the point is. It is this: “so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” God’s choosing is designed to remove our boasting.
Any group, or any person, who boasts that there is something in them that justifies God’s choosing them, has not experienced what the choosing is for. It is for the annihilation of self as the basis of God’s favor. We did nothing — absolutely nothing — to qualify for being chosen.
Revel in this. You carry no burden to measure up to the merit that qualified you for being chosen. There is no such thing.
6. Being a chosen race is the end of racism among Christians.
It is a wonder that in God’s choosing a people for himself, he nullified the self-exalting effects of all races and ethnicities. “You are a chosen race . . . a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9). The chosen race is not white or black or Asian or any other natural grouping.
The chosen race are people who are born again to a living hope (1 Peter 1:3). Their new identifying DNA is from the Holy Spirit. Race and ethnicity are not unimportant in our common cultural life. But they are not what unites us to God or to each other in Christ. We are a new creation, a new humanity. Peter even says, a new race! A “chosen race.” A race taken from all races.
God chose us freely — without respect to race — to be in this new race. Then he sent his Son to purchase us from all the ethnic groups of the world: “You were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). In this way, he nullified all racism. For he bound together every race and every ethnicity into one new family, with one glorious Father. And he did this in eternity when he chose to make a people from every race into one new race.
Revel in your freedom from racism. And if you can’t, then come learn who you are. Learn what it means to be a “chosen race.”
7. Being chosen by God means being destined for everlasting, all-satisfying praise of the infinitely beautiful God.
The wonder is that the ultimate aim of being chosen is the ultimate joy of being satisfied. And the wonder deepens as we realize that we human beings were designed to find our fullest satisfaction not in front of a mirror, but in front of God. We were made to be mirrors, not see mirrors. Mirrors with eyes. And the joy of seeing all-satisfying Beauty was meant to find its consummation in the reflection of that beauty to God and man in praise.
This is what Paul says in Ephesians 1:4–6, “God chose us . . . and predestined . . . to the praise of the glory of his grace.” And in case we missed it, he says in verse 12, “ . . . to the praise of his glory.” And again in verse 14, “ . . . to the praise of his glory.” We get the joy of admiration. He gets the glory of exaltation.
Revel in the wonder that you were chosen in eternity past for the endless joy of praise in eternity future.
8. Being chosen by God means that God will use all necessary means to bring you to this eternal glory.
The wonder of being chosen includes the wonder that God has chosen means to bring us home. Glory is not immediate and not automatic.
Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come, ’Tis grace that brought me safe thus far, And Grace will lead us home.
We do not travel from new birth to new earth without the trials of a traveler. And if God had not chosen for us to be helped by many fellow travelers, we would not make it. That’s why Paul says, “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the chosen ones, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10).
Paul himself was a God-chosen means of saving the chosen ones. So are you. You are one. And you need others. For God’s chosen ones, the means are necessary, and they are certain. For God has chosen them as surely as he has chosen you.
Revel in the wonder that you must fight your way to heaven, and God will see to it that you win.
9. Being chosen by God means that God shapes history on your behalf.
This wonder may be too much for us to comprehend, but here it is: “If those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the chosen ones those days will be cut short” (Matthew 24:22).
The flow of history will be altered. For the sake of the chosen ones. The world of unbelievers, who reject God and his Son, have no idea how the world is run. They do not know what true significance is. They will be stunned someday to learn that the Christians, whom they despised or ignored, were the linchpin of history.
10. Finally, being chosen by God means he will gather us when he comes, and give us justice.
The wonder of vindication is coming. It may be that in this life the chosen ones were treated just like Jesus — a stone which the builders rejected. But in God’s sight that stone was “chosen and precious.” And that very stone became the cornerstone of the kingdom of God (1 Peter 2:6–8). He rose from the dead. There was a glorious vindication.
So it will be with all God’s chosen ones. “He will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his chosen ones from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:31). Finally, it will come true: “Will not God give justice to his chosen ones, who cry to him day and night?” (Luke 18:7). Yes he will. And everything hidden will come to light.
Revel in this promise. You may feel like a rejected stone for now. But when he comes, he will make you a pillar in the temple of God (Revelation 3:12). He will triumph over every enemy of your soul and you will reign with him — you, the chosen ones. “For he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful” (Revelation 17:14).
Thankfulness and joy can be cultivated.
As we make gratitude a habit by practicing it over and over, it becomes part of us. Natural. As natural as complaining. And eventually thankfulness will drive out that demon of grumbling and we’ll experience more and more consistent joy. Here are 6 ways to cultivate thankfulness:
Thank God first thing when you wake up.
I once heard someone say as soon as he wakes he thanks God for the gift of sleep and for his protection during the night. I’ve tried to make this a habit too, thanking God for sleep, for protecting our family, for his mercies new every morning, for his steadfast love and faithfulness.
Keep a thankfulness journal.
After my morning Bible reading I take a few minutes to write one page in a moleskine journal of things I’m thankful for. If I can’t think of anything I start with thanks for the weather or a blessing from the day before. Some write things they’re thankful for on Post-it notes and keep them on a bulletin board. Writing helps me focus plus I can go back and recall blessings and thank God for them later.
Thank God for spiritual blessings.
Most of the time we tend to thank God for our temporal blessings, which is great, but God has heaped multitudes of spiritual blessings on us. He’s adopted us as children, given us eternal life, made us one with Christ, delivered us from the dominion of sin, made us joint-heirs with Christ, filled us with his Holy Spirit, given us eternal hope, blessed us with every blessing in the heavenly places, and removed our condemnation forever, just to name a few.
Thank God for material blessings.
For your spouse or parents or friends. For your health, eyesight, hearing, touch and taste. For a sound mind. For your house or apartment, heat, electricity and indoor plumbing. For your job. For children and grandchildren if you have them. Thank God for your church. Thank him for technology and all the medical knowledge and availability of medicine he’s given us in this country. You get the idea.
Thank God for any hard things you’re going through.
We don’t thank God for the evil in a trial, but we can thank him that he’s causing it work for our good, make us like Christ, humble us, teach us to trust him. Thank him for minor annoyances, like the traffic you’re stuck in, the paperwork you have to do, those dishes you need to wash.
Add thanksgiving to your requests and petitions (Philippians 4:6).
Thank God that he hears your prayers, that he’s faithful and a rewarder of those who seek him. Thank him for all the prayers he’s answered in the past.
If you cultivate thankfulness in your life, you’ll find joy growing with it. Thankful people are joyful. A thankful heart makes a glad face. I’m not talking Pollyanna oh-everything’s-great gladness, but deep abiding joy in Christ.
By Sandy Simpson Deception in the Church Seth Dahl, Bethel Church, Redding, CA: Dahl tells the Bethel Redding congregation of his experience with an enormous angel. Dahl asked the angel his name and then Googled in the angel’s answer. The angel’s name was the same as that of a finance company. Dahl then realized the […]
With Reformation Day just around the corner, I thought it might be fun to give our readers an opportunity to take a quick Reformation-related quiz. It’s pretty simple. (Just don’t peek at the answers until after you’ve completed the entire quiz.)
For each of the following 10 quotes, identify whether the statement was written by someone during the Reformation or prior to the Reformation:
1. When was this written?
It is well known that You [O Lord] give to all freely and ungrudgingly. As for Your righteousness, so great is the fragrance it diffuses that You are called not only righteous but even righteousness itself, the righteousness that makes men righteous. Your power to make men righteous is measured by Your generosity in forgiving. Therefore the man who through sorrow for sin hungers and thirsts for righteousness, he will let him trust in the One who changes the sinner into a just man, and, judged righteous in terms of faith alone, have peace with God.
2. When was this written?
And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
3. When was this written?
He gave His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy One for transgressors, the blameless One for the wicked, the righteous One for the unrighteous, the incorruptible One for the corruptible, the immortal One for them that are mortal. For what other thing was capable of covering our sins than His righteousness? By what other one was it possible that we, the wicked and ungodly, could be justified, than by the only Son of God? O sweet exchange! O unsearchable operation! O benefits surpassing all expectation! That the wickedness of many should be hid in a single righteous One, and that the righteousness of One should justify many transgressors!
4. When was this written?
Trust wholly in Christ, rely altogether on His sufferings, beware of seeking to be justified in any other way than by His righteousness. Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient for salvation, and that without faith it is impossible to please God; that the merit of Christ is able, by itself, to redeem all mankind from hell, and that this sufficiency is to be understood without any other cause concurring.
5. When was this written?
A person is saved by grace, not by works but by faith. There should be no doubt but that faith saves and then lives by doing its own works, so that the works which are added to salvation by faith are not those of the law but a different kind of thing altogether.
6. When was this written?
But what is the “law of faith?” It is, being saved by grace. Here he shows God’s power, in that He has not only saved, but has even justified, and led them to boasting, and this too without needing works, but looking for faith only.
7. When was this written?
To have brought humanity, more senseless than stones, to the dignity of angels simply through bare words, and faith alone, without any hard work, is indeed a rich and glorious mystery. It is just as if one were to take a dog, quite consumed with hunger and the mange, foul and loathsome to see, and not so much as able to move but lying passed out, and make him all at once into a human being and to display him upon the royal throne.
8. When was this written?
Now, having duly considered and weighed all these circumstances and testimonies, we conclude that a man is not justified by the precepts of a holy life, but by faith in Jesus Christ—in a word, not by the law of works, but by the law of faith; not by the letter, but by the spirit; not by the merits of deeds, but by free grace.
9. When was this written?
It is determined by God that whoever believes in Christ shall be saved and have forgiveness of sins, not through works but through faith alone, without merit.
10. When was this written?
All we bring to grace is our faith. But even in this faith, divine grace itself has become our enabler. For [Paul] adds, “And this is not of yourselves but it is a gift of God; not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8–9). It is not of our own accord that we have believed, but we have come to belief after having been called; and even when we had come to believe, He did not require of us purity of life, but approving mere faith, God bestowed on us forgiveness of sins.
Congratulations. You made it to the end of the quiz.
Now the moment of truth . . .
The reality is the all 10 of the above statements were written prior to the Reformation. None of them come from the Reformers, even though the Reformers would have wholeheartedly agreed with everything that is stated above.
That is because the Reformers weren’t trying to invent new doctrine. Rather, they were committed to the recovery of gospel themes that had been championed by prior generations of believers.
For those of you looking for more specific citations, here is where each of the above ten quotes can be found:
1. Bernard of Clairvaux (12th century), On the Song of Songs, II, Sermon 22, 8.
2. Clement of Rome. (Late 1st century), First Epistle to the Corinthians, 32.4.
3. Anonymous (2nd century), Epistle to Digonetus 9, 2–5; ANF 1:28; cited from Thomas Oden, The Justification Reader, 65.
4. John Wycliffe (14th century), The Writings of the Reverend and Learned John Wycliff (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1847), 41.
5. Didymus the Blind (4th century), Commentary on James, 2:26b.
6. John Chrysostom (4th/5th century), Homilies on Romans, Homily 7 on Romans 3:27.
7. John Chrysostom (4th/5th century), Homilies on Colossians 1:26–28; Cited from Joel C. Elowsky, We Believe in the Holy Spirit, 98.
8. Augustine (4th/5th century), On the Spirit and the Letter, 22.
9. Amrosiaster (4th century), Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1.4; cited from Joel C. Elowsky, We Believe in the Holy Spirit, 97.
10. Theodoret,of Cyrus (5th century), Interpretation of the Fourteen Epistles of Paul; FEF 3:248–49, sec. 2163; cited from Thomas Oden, The Justification Reader, 44.
So how’d you do? Were you surprised?
7 Ways Women Can Grow in Studying and Teaching Scripture without Seminary | Nancy Guthrie
Nancy Guthrie’s answer to this question: “I haven’t been to seminary or received any formal theological training. I’m grateful for all God has taught me over the years through the ministry of the Word on Sunday mornings and in Bible studies in my church, but I often feel inadequate to teach the Bible to others, even though I want to (and others have encouraged me to). What resources are there for theological training I’d be able to use as a non-seminarian—and one who cannot go to seminary at this stage in my life?”
Strong Families Mean Richer States | The Federalist
New research shows people who live in locales that have more married-parent families also enjoy higher incomes and economic mobility overall.
Indulging Transgender Fantasies Makes Them Worse | The Federalist
“Here is the truth I lived. No matter what surgery or hormones one takes, his or her biology, neurology, and genetic composition remain the same, just like that of my dad’s. Yes, he called himself Becky. But my dad was male. He was a son, husband, and father.”
Eight Life-Changing Things Someone Taught Me | Sayable
“There have been seven or eight lessons I have learned over the course of my life that have altered my thinking in profound ways.”
Seminary. Be Here! | Gentle Reformation
Barry York makes the case for on-campus learning as opposed to distance learning.
The Grief, Happiness, and Hope of Late-in-Life Singleness | Her.meneutics
“Over the decades, I have attended countless bridal showers, wedding ceremonies, baby showers, and anniversary parties. Again and again, I celebrated my friends’ milestones while waiting for my own happy ending. Then this year, on my 58th birthday, I bought my wedding dress. Finally, my wait was over.”
Kevin DeYoung Appointed to RTS Faculty
Reformed Theological Seminary has appointed Kevin DeYoung as chancellor’s professor of systematic and historical theology as of January 1, 2016. Kevin will teach at RTS while he continues as senior pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing Michigan . The position of chancellor’s faculty is designed to provide for a professor to teach at multiple RTS campuses benefitting a greater number of students.
The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World by Steve Nichols $2.99.
John Calvin: Pilgrim and Pastor by Robert Godfrey $2.99.
The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives by Ravi Zacharias $2.99.
The Power of Rest: Why Sleep Alone Is Not Enough. A 30-Day Plan to Reset Your Body by Matthew Edlund $2.99.
Recommended New Book
Worshipping with Calvin by Terry Johnson. Been out for a few months now, but well worth a look.
Justified by Faith Alone: New Teaching Series by R C Sproul
So, so good to see Dr. Sproul back to his teaching in this new video series. I love the setting for this. You can watch the first episode free and buy the DVD here.
Kindle deals for Christian readers
Four books by R.C. Sproul are on sale for $1.99
- Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem—$7.99
- Historical Theology by Greg Allison—$7.99
- Raising Children in Blended Families by Maxine Marsolini—Free
There have been seven or eight lessons I have learned over the course of my life that have altered my thinking in profound ways. They have become markers of what Paul calls, “Glory to glory.” They marked a step forward, not in closer or better union with Christ, but in closer and better understanding of him. Today I thought of sharing them briefly with you.
How can someone bear your burdens if you don’t tell them? And how can you bear someone else’s burdens if they don’t tell you?
You are not a burden. Your problems are. And if you’re in a good church, their will be people around to help carry the load as you likewise help carry theirs. God has set things up to where we need one another.
There is a big difference between a church that “has” missionaries (like a budget item) and a church that sends missionaries. Sending is purposeful and should be done with care. “Having” seems to indicate the missionaries owe you something for being part of your church.
In the Nicene Creed we confess that the church is “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.” Of these four marks, the third mark–the catholicity of the church–is probably the most susceptible to misunderstanding among evangelical Protestants.The catholicity of the church, according to common Protestant confession, concerns the “universality” of the church. Under the authority and blessing of her risen Messiah, the church is commanded to make disciples of “all nations” through Word and sacrament (Matt 28.18-20) so that a chorus composed of every tribe, tongue, and nation may with one voice offer praise to God and to the Lamb (Rev 5.9-10).But the catholicity of the church is about more than just the multi-national nature of its membership. The catholicity of the church also refers to the “wholeness” of its doctrine and virtue.
Today’s Kindle deals include a lot of R.C. Sproul: The Promises of God ($1.99); How Then Shall We Worship? ($1.99); Pleasing God ($1.99); The Work of Christ ($2.99); and The Dark Side of Islam ($2.99). It’s never the wrong time to read an R.C. Sproul book! Also, Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology and Gregg Allison’s accompanying Historical Theology are both marked way down at $7.99.
This is beautiful: “It is a blessing to my heart to know that this father in the faith is storming heaven on my behalf day by day, that I need only to drop him a note with a particular request and he is sure to take it to the Lord.” Don’t we all want a praying man or woman in our lives?
Douglas Groothuis writes movingly about his wife’s dementia and his deep struggles in and through it.
Brian Croft says (rightly no doubt) that prayer is the most commonly neglected pastoral priority. “Ironically, a pastor can be so busy caring for his people that he never makes time to stop and pray for them.”
Lore shares eight important lessons she has learned along the way.
This Day in 1978. Today marks 37 years since the New International Version (NIV) Bible was first published. *
I love these articles. In this one Bill Mounce asks whether it is okay to translate a Greek word with an English punctuation mark.
Southern Seminary: “Enjoy this brief glance into the life of Southern Seminary Alumnus, Texas Pastor John Powell, who’s learned how to be both a cowboy and a shepherd.”
ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
(Click title to go to full article)
More Than Two Thirds of Patients on Anti-Depressants Not Depressed – “The studies almost exactly mirror some placebo studies which usually find about 60-70% of people prescribed with a placebo do just as well as those given an anti-depressant. No wonder, if 70% of them never met the criteria for depression. As usual, many with their own agendas have jumped on this news to continue their campaign against all medication for mental illness. Such knee-jerk reactions forget or ignore that the statistics still leave 30% who have been accurately diagnosed with depression, many of whom do benefit greatly from medication.”
Keller, Piper, and Carson on Why the Reformation Matters Today – “In 1517 a young monk and theology professor named Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to a German church door—and the world has never been the same. Protestants mark this anniversary every October 31st, and TGC will devote its entire 2017 National Conference to remembering and celebrating the 500th anniversary of this momentous event. But what meaning does the Reformation have for us today? What is its ongoing relevance our lives and ministries? TGC president Don Carson kicks off a new roundtable video discussion with this question.”
We Cannot Be Silent (Review) – “It takes no courage to write a book that simply drifts and bobs along in the cultural mainstream. It takes no courage to say the things that are already popular in the world around us. But to stand firm on ideas, on truths, that people despise—now, that takes courage. In that way Albert Mohler’s We Cannot Be Silent is a genuinely courageous work. It closely and critically examines the defining moral issues of our day—sex, gender, and sexuality—and stands firm on the unpopular, traditional, biblical viewpoints.”
We Cannot Be Silent – “We look out on the horizon around us and realize that our culture has been radically changed. In this case, the storm is a vast moral revolution, and that revolution is not even close to its conclusion. In fact, there will likely be no conclusion to this moral revolution within our lifetimes, or the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren.”
On the Need for Dispensational Publishing House – “As the editor in chief of this new outlet for theological information called Dispensational Publishing House, you would expect me to write in glowing terms about the pressing need for an innovative company that will serve as a repository for the best in contemporary dispensational thought. You would presume that I would describe with exuberance how we hope to obtain the best authors to write noteworthy tomes—meanwhile giving novice authors the opportunity of breaking in with a blog.”
John MacArthur – We Will Not Bow
Train Up a Child In the Way He Should Go?
The Roman Catholic Response to Truth: Pray to Mary
“All death can do to the believer is deliver him to Jesus. It brings us into the eternal presence of our Savior.” – John MacArthur
Christian Headlines Daily – Tuesday, October 27, 2015
High School Principal No Longer to Speak at Prayer Event after Complaints from Atheist Group
Woman Bishop: God Should Not be Referred to as Male or Female
Trump and Carson: Presbyterian Versus Seventh Day Adventist
The Five Best Husbands in the Bible
Teen Mania Loses Half its Independent Board Members
Mike Huckabee: Gun Dealers Should Not Comply with Obama’s Gun Control Policies
Mexican Residents Give Thanks to God for Lessened Impact of Hurricane Patricia
‘Don’t Ignore God, and Don’t Go Through Life Centred Only on Yourself’—Billy Graham
Newly Released Inspirational Film ‘Woodlawn’ an Audience Favorite
Anti-secrecy Site Releases Abortion Industry Videos Despite Gag Order
Marijuana Madness: The Negative Effects of Weed
Why Aren’t Young People Getting Married in Church?
Back to Bible Basics: The Worldview Bible at Colsoncenter.org
Having Courage in the Face of an Anti-Christian Culture
Athletes and Spiritual Legacy: Faith Passed Down Through the Generations
READING: Luke 14-15
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: I’ve always been amazed by how much we celebrate the birth of a baby and how little we celebrate the re-birth of a lost sinner. We sponsor baby showers, give gifts, throw parties, make announcements, and send pictures when a baby is born. When someone is born again, though, we offer a handshake — and perhaps a round of applause.
Compare that approach to the celebrating Jesus described in the three parables in Luke 15:
Luke 15:6 ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’
Luke 15:9 ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found the silver coin I lost!’
Luke 15:32 ‘But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’
Celebrate — a lost sinner has come to God. Celebrate — a person destined for hell has been redirected toward heaven. Celebrate — a dying person has been given new life. Sometimes it feels like we’re more like the older son in the parable of the prodigal son (upset that we didn’t get a party) than like those who celebrated when something lost was found.
It would do us good to celebrate more when salvation is evidenced in front of us. Throw a party (literally). Give good gifts (a new Bible, a devotional, a journal, a Christian CD). Invite others to celebrate, too. Share testimonies.
The grace of God that provides eternal life is worth celebrating.
ACTION STEPS: Consider throwing a party in your home to celebrate God’s grace. Invite a few believers, and ask them to share their salvation stories. Rejoice together — and then go tell others.
PRAYER: “God, thank You for loving me enough to send my friend many years ago to tell me about Jesus. Thank You for allowing me to return to my Creator. Help me to celebrate salvation today.”
Our Time is Short
What is The Gospel?
God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.
The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.
Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.
God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.
But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.
And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.
This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.
God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.
God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.
Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.
There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.
The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it –or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.
The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.
Ready to start your new life with God?
Who do you think that I am?
With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.
Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.
Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more
CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.
Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!
30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.
New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed
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