Gospel – what and why

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”

God’s people then and now: Their purpose

God has had many purposes for his people then and now. God chose to bless all nations through Abraham. God commissioned Israel to be a kingdom of priests serving others. As those who had witnessed God’s power and love, God commissioned Israel to announce to the nations his greatness, thus drawing others to God. A theme emerges from these beginnings revealing God’s love for all people.  Continue reading “God’s people then and now: Their purpose”

Surpassing confidence. Possessing God’s approval.

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.”

The promises and their impact

Decades have passed since I made some promises to a young lady in two different languages. Those promises announced my marital commitment and intended faithfulness to my young bride. At that time, I slipped a tangible symbol of my vows upon her finger to remind her of what I had promised.

God has also made some promises and provided us with a tangible reminder of them. However, he has offered the greatest promises ever – promises offering hope, identity, peace and holiness. Furthermore, unlike us, God is always faithful to his promises. We can know and rest assured God will deliver. Continue reading “The promises and their impact”

The Lord’s perspective

Sometimes people and God can see the same situation very differently. Remember the perspective of the twelve tribes upon hearing the spies report about walled fortified cities and tall people?  They saw an impossible task. God’s viewpoint was entirely different.

Remember what happened when God sent Samuel to anoint a son of Jesse as king of Israel? “When they arrived, Samuel noticed Eliab and said to himself, ‘Surely, here before the LORD stands his chosen king!’  But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Don’t be impressed by his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. God does not view things the way men do. People look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:6-7

Sometimes people and God can see the same situation very differently. But, there is one topic where no one can afford to see things differently than the Lord. Continue reading “The Lord’s perspective”

Looking Through God’s Eyes At Salvation (part 3)

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)”