Love for truth is love for Jesus

We think truth is hard and unpleasant. For the most part, man’s truth is exactly that. God’s truth, however, is sweet and blessed. It is something to be loved and cherished.

Love for truth is important because it has to do with eternal salvation. Rejecting love for truth results in loss of salvation, 2 Thessalonians 2.10: “They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved” (HCSB).

In the context of this verse, although some things are difficult to understand, several principles appear clearly. Continue reading “Love for truth is love for Jesus”

Christians are the spiritual Israel of God

Some people are surprised that the Old Testament is so much larger in size than the New. In my Portuguese Bible it takes up 764 pages out of a total of 994. That’s 76% of the whole Bible. Several explanations as to why may be adequate, but here is one thought, how the Lord was building up to, and preparing for, the time when Christ would come and fulfill his eternal plan.

In both Testaments, God created a people for himself. In the Old Testament, it was Israel, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Each of Jacob’s sons became a tribe in Israel. In the New Testament, God’s people is the church, and they are variously described as the body of Christ, the family of faith, the temple of the Holy Spirit. No more is there a physical connection to define God’s holy ones. We are born into God’s family because we respond to his message and obey his commandments, John 3.3, 5. Continue reading “Christians are the spiritual Israel of God”

What it means to be a new creation

A look in the mirror will tell nothing. Except for perhaps a softer, more peaceful expression on one’s face, there is no noticeable difference in physical appearance after baptism than before. No one can publish any drastic before and after pictures, when it comes to conversion. No one sprouts wings. No halo appears. No special light or aura surrounds a new Christian’s body. We look the same.

But if one has obeyed the gospel according to the New Testament, something real and profound has occurred. God has acted, the old order has been damaged and diminished, the Spirit has breathed life into a soul, and the new life has appeared where before there was only death and the destiny of destruction. Continue reading “What it means to be a new creation”

The God who walks

The holy prophets ridiculed idolators by noting all the things their idols could not do. They couldn’t even perform the basic actions of normal people, much less work godlike wonders. They had to be carried, because they couldn’t walk for themselves.

The true God walks. For the most part, walking is a metaphor for that continuing, deepening relationship that man can have with God. The Lord is a spirit, Jn 4.24, so he has no body and no legs with which to walk. The Bible uses figurative language for God’s actions, so we can better understand his nature and his will. But when God takes human form, he literally walks with and among mankind. Continue reading “The God who walks”

The greatest prayer we can pray

During the holidays, we pray that you and all of yours may be deeply blessed by your time with family and with your friends and loved ones, and by the food and other things “that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth” 1 Timothy 4.3.

Our greatest prayer for those who are not yet in Christ is that they may have faith that obeys the Lord, and not just any faith; that they may know the truth which saves; that they may enter into Christ through repentance and immersion in water.

All other blessings are far inferior to the greatness of knowing God and the call to follow Jesus. Continue reading “The greatest prayer we can pray”

Who am I? The target of God’s redemption

Earlier, we explored man’s identity and worth in terms of being created in God’s image. Today, a second truth gives us importance: we are the focus of God’s efforts to save.

Man’s identity and value to God become evident when his eternal plan is explored and appreciated. What makes his plan so impressive is its extension, its reach, and the cost required to carry it through. Continue reading “Who am I? The target of God’s redemption”

Who am I? Here’s the first part of the answer

Who am I?” Probably all of us ask that question at some point in our lives. Deep down, we know this is one of those big questions that needs to be answered. Identity informs and determines one’s actions. We seem to know this instinctively.

It matters where we go, and whom we seek out, for the answer. Answers will vary depending on who we ask. Continue reading “Who am I? Here’s the first part of the answer”

The pudding is in the proof: God proves his people

A few school teachers seem to delight in failing students. They make up trick questions, use questionable methods, and prefer murky objectives and subjective grading. But God wants to give every child of his a passing grade, if we will but respond positively to his testing.

The Lord works for our success. He wants us to grow and be like him. He has our best interest at heart. God is good and desires to bless. “The crucible is for refining silver and the furnace is for gold, likewise the LORD tests hearts” Proverbs 17.3. His testing has a good purpose. He hopes to bring out the best in us. Continue reading “The pudding is in the proof: God proves his people”