Bible translations made for people with limited reading skills often remove many of the literary devices that enrich reading and communicate the message with powerful impact. It’s understandable why they do it, and not altogether inappropriate. At the same time, something is lost in this type of translation. (Something gets lost in every translation, so let’s not be too harsh.)
The prophet Malachi uses a series of three questions to accuse the people of Israel of breaking their covenant with God. The first two are rhetorical questions, that is, the answers are obvious. Then he comes in with a third question, based on the first two, that grabs the readers and demonstrates the inconsistency and folly of their actions. Some versions even start the third question with the adverb “then.” (See ESV: “Why then …?”) Continue reading “If one God created us all”
In response to a recent presentation of the gospel, someone responded, “That was good, but I’ve never heard it explained that way before.” You might find it surprising that on the one hand I value presenting nothing more than the original message, while on the other hand his comment did not surprise me.
The typical gospel presentation is clear, concise and accurate. We learn Jesus can save us. It instructs us how we need to respond to Christ. People need to hear this message.
When a presentation of the gospel is combined with explanatory power, it can resolve the questions of the curious as well as dissolve the harpoons of its detractors. When Jesus established a memorial for his death, why did he speak of a covenant? What does Jesus’ story have to do with the rest of scripture? Why are we called to respond to Christ with baptism?
Continue reading “Gospel – what and why”
The apostle Paul challenges how we often think and talk about our relationship with God. His parenthetical remark reverses our perspective.
“… now that you have come to know God
(or rather to be known by God) …” Galatians 4:9 Continue reading “God’s people then and now: God’s perspective”
Is it easy to agree upon societal policies? Just consider our nation’s tensions on a number of hot button issues.
What if a nation were to attempt to conform to an even higher standard then human notions of justice and compassion? What if it sought to function as God’s holy nation, a kingdom of priests? How should such a country handle accidents, crime, property issues, worship and immorality? Continue reading “The small print on giant speakers”
How confident are we? Are we masters of the grill, gifted at our professions or perhaps certain of our flair for gab? Yet, who among us has not experienced an unexpected curve ball? The dinner turned out disappointing. A work project did not go well. We stood speechless.
What we expected slipped between our fingers. In such instances we discover our earlier confidence did not deliver. Just because we felt confident did not guarantee the results.
So what about really important things, like heaven? Can we surpass mere confidence to know for certain we are God’s forgiven people? Yes we can!
I imagine joyous exclamations: “by faith” and “by grace!” To be sure, these principles are intrinsically involved. Yet, throughout scripture a more fundamental principle exists.
Continue reading “Surpassing confidence. Possessing God’s approval.”
Have you ever contrasted the Old Testament system of sacrifices and worship with what we have in the New Testament?
It would appear, from what is contained in the Letter to the Hebrews, that many Christians from a Jewish background were beginning to turn their backs on Jesus to return to the Old Mosaic Law. The writer of Hebrews wrote (many think this may have originally been a sermon) to show that going back to the Law of Moses was a step backward. Continue reading “A better covenant”
God said: … “thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am Jehovah” (Leviticus 19:18, ASV).
The call to love thy neighbor as thyself is repeated by Jesus, Paul and James. Among the covenant principles of both the Old and New Covenant is “love thy Neighbor.” Continue reading “Covenant love”
The “Social Gospel” is not about church “socials” or potlucks; that thinking is based on equivocation. The Social Gospel was developed by Walter Rauschenbusch, mostly as a reaction to the socio-political times around World War I. Lectures from 1917 were printed in “A Theology For the Social Gospel.” A poor summary would be preachers lining up folk to vote for political candidates who share their values, as an expression of the social gospel.
The basic idea attempted to apply Continue reading ““Social Gospel” or “Covenant living”?”
I can hardly be justified in calling them clues because the framework was never intended to be a puzzle to be solved. Nevertheless, the following “clues” provide the necessary pieces for discovering the consistent principle of grace by which God has chosen to identify those who belong to him. The Lord knows those who are his and his word reveals his perspective. Continue reading “Looking Through God’s Eyes At Salvation (part 3)”