When Jesus went to the cross, it marked the lowest point in world history. From his disciples’ point of view, the unthinkable had occurred, their Messiah had failed. The question that John’s disciples had asked, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another” (Matthew 11:3 ESV) must have seemed quite prescient. The darkness that covered the earth must have been felt in every heart that believed in this great man.
What seemed like defeat from a human perspective was truly God’s greatest victory. The cross was the fulfillment of prophecy (see Genesis 3:15). While it seemed like Satan had delivered the death blow, it was God’s plan all along (see Revelation 13:8 MLV, YLT), and Jesus always possessed the power to offer up or withhold his life (John 10:17, 18). Like the mystery of the unity of the Jew and Gentile prophesied in the Old Testament, this victory was not seen by man until God revealed it in the resurrection.
Continue reading “The Power of the resurrection in daily life”
Being a child is an exciting, terrifying time. Growth can occur at extreme rates. Every activity is new, or otherwise offers some new experience. But with all this growth, there are inevitable growing pains. Children who are learning to walk often fall. Children who are learning to climb often fall from less than comfortable heights. Bumps and bruises often accompany growth. Yet growth must be pursued, with vim and vigor. To children, stubbed toes and a bloody nose are small prices to pay for the reward of increased speed and dexterity.
Just as physical, emotional, and intellectual growth can be painful for children, spiritual growth can be painful for adults. But unlike most children, whose desire for growth is insatiable, adults are often content to wane rather than wax. Learning new things can be awkward, and we are often very uncomfortable in our awkwardness. So, instead of developing, we accept dying.
Continue reading “Stubbed toes and a bloody nose”
Years ago, I listened as Dick Sztanyo presented an excellent lesson on ethics. In it, he enumerated a number of principles for ethical decision-making. One he called the “principle of doubt.” Citing Romans 14:23, “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (ESV), Sztanyo reasoned that if one doubted the rightness of an action, one should so act as to remove the doubt.
The context of Romans 14 discusses morally neutral actions that may prick the consciences of weak Christians, thus causing them to sin. The principle of doubt calls the weak to avoid those actions and thus clear their consciences. May the principle of doubt also be applied to another class of actions?
Continue reading “Baptism and the principle of doubt”
Love is the most powerful force known to man. Nothing is stronger. It should not surprise us then, that love is the key motivating factor in scripture.
The apostle Paul wrote to a friend and brother from whom he had received much joy and comfort (Philemon 1:7). This letter was written concerning a new brother in Christ, a slave named Onesimus, who had left the household of Philemon. Paul wanted Philemon to forgive Onesimus, and to receive him not as a bondservant but as a beloved brother (Philemon 1:15, 16). As an apostle, Paul had the power to command (Philemon 1:8). Yet, that is not the way Paul approached this situation.
Continue reading “For love’s sake”
Have you ever despaired of life itself? Has grief ever weighed so heavily upon you that to even rise from your bed seemed impossible? Have you ever been overwhelmed by the stress and strain of sin that to continue on would take more strength than you have?
When those unbearable loads seem to pin us to the floor, God has blessed us with burden bearers.
Continue reading “To bear the unbearable burden”
In previous articles we laid out the importance of the priesthood, the history of the priesthood, the nature of Christ’s priesthood, and the operation of Christ’s priesthood. We want to conclude this series by laying out some important implications of the ministry of Christ.
Due to the great work of Christ as our High Priest, we can be confident in at least five areas:
Continue reading “Implications of Christ’s priesthood”
Did you know that Christ is functioning as a priest right now? We readily recognize Christ as Prophet and King, but we might fail to see him as our High Priest. But the Hebrews writer takes great care to show this aspect of our Savior’s work.
In a previous article we focused on the quality of his priesthood. Now, we wish to turn our attention to the operation of his priesthood. What is it that he does for us as High Priest? The Bible presents at least three ways that Christ ministers to us as our priest.
Continue reading “The Operation of Christ’s priesthood”
In a previous article, we discussed the beginning and ending of the Levitical priesthood. Priests were needed to offer sacrifices for sins. Their lives were lives of distinctiveness, but their humanity gave rise to their downfall. Their weakness and the weakness of the law made it evident that another, greater priest was needed, one not constrained by the weakness of the flesh or the law. Let us consider the nature of the priesthood of Christ.
In a previous article, we introduced the importance of studying the priesthood. The priesthood is a story of us, sin, forgiveness, and service. Here we wish to lay a bit of groundwork about the priesthood, and examine why something far greater was necessary.
While the Patriarchs functioned in a priestly fashion (see Genesis 8:17-20; 12:1-9; 14:18-20; Job 1:5; 42:1-9), it is Aaron and his lineage that devoted their lives to the priestly service. Continue reading “The Rise and fall of the Levitical priesthood”
Have you given much thought to the priesthood? Some may see it as a waste of time. But I want to suggest to you that a study of the priesthood will enhance your appreciation for God. The story of the priesthood is really a story of us, of sin, of forgiveness, and of service.
The Story of Us
So as you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but chosen and precious in God’s sight, you yourselves, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood and to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:4-6 NET).
Continue reading “The Purpose and Power of the Priesthood”