Category: Christology

What’s the Truth about God?

What’s the Truth about God?

Who is God? What’s the truth about Him? Many people have asked this question.

With so many opinions, how is anyone able to figure out what the truth is since we have not spoken with or seen God? The reason we have not spoken with or seen God is that we are spiritually dead and God is holy.

Jesus is God

We read this in John 5:25, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.”

Is Jesus Truly God?: How the Bible Teaches the Divinity of ChristIn so many words, the only way man could find out who God is would be if God became a Man. In the above-mentioned verse, Jesus uses the title Son of God as a way to communicate the truth. And that He is the only one that has seen and spoken with God and was God Himself.

God the Son who is from all eternity had the right to grant life. The distinction involves Jesus’ deity versus His incarnation. In becoming a man, Jesus voluntarily set aside the independent exercise of His divine attributes and prerogatives (Philippians 2:6-11).

Jesus here affirmed that even in His humanity, the Father granted Him the “life-giving” power, i.e, the power of resurrection.

The truth about Jesus being God is confirmed by John 1:1, 14. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

These verses further elaborate on the fact that all of reality was spoken into existence by the Word.

The Word Created Everything

The Word had all the essence or attributes of a deity. Jesus the Messiah was fully God and He was the Father’s agent involved in creating everything in the universe (Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:2), including you and I.

While Christ as God was uncreated and eternal, the word “became” emphasizes Christ’s taking on humanity (John 1:14). This indicates that the infinite became finite and the eternal was conformed to time. The invisible God became visible and the supernatural One reduced Himself to the natural.

Since we were created by the Word, wouldn’t that mean we are accountable to Him? John 1:14 is saying that Jesus, who is God, became Man: the only begotten Son of God became the Son of Man. Why would the God of the universe become a Man?

John 3:16 gives us the reason why. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

The Supreme Love of God

The Son’s mission is bound up in the supreme love of God for the evil, sinful world of humanity that is in rebellion against Him. The word “so” emphasizes the intensity or greatness of His love. The Father gave His unique and beloved Son to die on behalf of sinful men (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Because of rebellion, man became the enemy of God. But through the work of Christ on the cross, He brought man and God together again. God has been reconciled with man and has turned His face in love toward the lost world

Since God loves us and our sin has already condemned us, Jesus did not need to condemn us. We need salvation from our own sinful choices and attitudes. No matter how righteous anyone thinks they are, they are nothing compared to God, since we all have broken God’s law.

God Redeemed Sinful Man

Lust is adultery to God. Little white lies are still lies to God. Stealing is still wrong to God. Hatred is the same as murder to God. Being fanatical toward anything other than God is idolatry. All of these and many more are sins toward God.

In spite of all of our sins, Jesus came to save us and clean us up so that we could spend eternity with Him. Jesus loves everyone enough He does not want anyone to go to hell and be separated from Him for eternity. He loves us so much that He suffered, died, and rose again so that we would have a way to become right with God.

Christ died that we might die and He died that we might live. But He also died so that we might share in the new creation. Our new relationship with Christ has brought about a new relationship with the world and the people around us.

Jesus is the Truth of God

Jesus said in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

This is the sixth “I am” statement of Jesus in John (see John 6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 15:1, 5).In response to Thomas’ query, Jesus declared that He is the way to God because He is the truth of God and the life of God.

In this verse, the exclusiveness of Jesus as the only approach to the Father is emphatic. Only one way, not many ways, exist to God, i.e, Jesus Christ (John 10:7-9; Matthew 7:13-14; Luke 13:24; Acts 4:12).

Conclusion

Then the question is, do you believe the truth about God? Do you believe that God became a Man, died, and rose again? God did all these to save you from the punishment of your own sinful choices so you could know who He is. God desires to change you and be right with Him.

The Bible tells us in John 3:17-18, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned. But he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

If you sincerely believe these passages, talk to God about it. Repent of your sin and ask for forgiveness offered through the finished work of Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

Strive to know the real truth about God and live every day to please Him.


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Knowing God by J. I. Packer

Knowing God by J. I. PackerFor over 40 years, J. I. Packer’s classic has been an important tool to help Christians around the world discover the wonder, the glory, and the joy of knowing God.

In 2006, Christianity Today voted this title one of the top 50 books that have shaped evangelicals, and this 20th-anniversary edition is updated with Americanized language and spelling, and a new preface by the author.

Stemming from Packer’s profound theological knowledge, Knowing God brings together two important facets of the Christian faith― knowing about God and also knowing God through the context of a close relationship with the person of Jesus Christ.

Written in an engaging and practical tone, this thought-provoking work seeks to transform and enrich the Christian understanding of God.

Explaining both who God is and how we can relate to him, Packer divides his book into three sections: The first directs our attention to how and why we know God, the second to the attributes of God, and the third to the benefits enjoyed by a those who know him intimately.

This guide leads readers to a greater understanding of God while providing advice to gain a closer relationship with him as a result.

God’s New Commandment: Love One Another

God’s New Commandment: Love One Another

Many times unbelievers ask Christians to prove God exists, considering we cannot observe or perform a test on Him. So, how do we answer them?

For theologians and Bible scholars, this should be easy because they have studied the evidence for the existence of God. They know what questions atheists usually ask and know exactly how to address them.

But what about believers who did not go to Bible school but love the Lord and are passionate about God’s work? If you love the Lord, you will also enjoy communicating with Him. How do Christians communicate with God? We do this through prayer and reading God’s Word.

When people ask you to prove God’s existence, know that Jesus already answered this question in John 13:34-35.

Evidence for God's Existence

Bible Verse: John 13:34-35, NKJV

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

After announcing His departure and insisting that His disciples could not come with Him, Jesus laid out His expectation on them. Jesus said He expected them to follow His directives after He leaves them. He said that love is to serve as the distinguishing characteristic of discipleship.

A New Commandment

The commandment to love was not new. Deuteronomy 6:5 commanded love for God. and Leviticus 19:18 commanded loving one’s neighbor as oneself. See also Matthew 22:34-40; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8.

However, Jesus’ command regarding love presented a distinctly new standard for two reasons:

  • It was sacrificial love modeled after His love (“as I have loved you,” John 15:13).
  • It is produced through the New Covenant by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit (Jeremiah 31:29-34; Ezekiel 36:24-26; Galatians 5:22).

What Jesus said in John 15:13 is the supreme evidence and expression of His love – His sacrificial death upon the cross. Christians are called to exemplify the same kind of sacrificial giving toward one another. Even if such sacrifice involves the laying down of one’s own life in imitation of Christ’s example (1 John 3:16).

The Evidence of God in Christians

The evidence of God is found in His children. It is human nature to hate, judge, lie, steal, and control. It’s also human nature to try to one-up somebody else to feel better about themselves. But Jesus taught the complete opposite of that.

We prove the existence of God by how well we love other believers. Since nobody deserves God’s unconditional love, it is miraculous to see believers unconditionally loving all other believers. The shameful reality is some Christians only love if we follow their list of rules. That is just hypocritical and judgmental.

Jesus never put conditions on when to love the brethren. He said we are to love one another at all times (Romans 12:9-10).

Devoted to One Another

Love is the supreme NT virtue, which centers completely on the needs and welfare of the one loved and does whatever is necessary to meet those needs. Christians should show their love purely and sincerely without self-centeredness or guile.

Romans 12:9-10

As Christians, we are to be devoted to one another in love. This means we must love other believers with a family sort of love, not based on personal attraction or desirability. This quality is the primary way the world can recognize us as followers of Christ.

We are to honor one another and show genuine appreciation, and admiration for fellow believers by putting them first (Philippians 2:3).

Concluding Words

I know how it feels to be judged falsely, and how it feels to be loved unconditionally.

I praise God for the fact that all believers will give account to God for how we loved others as Romans 14:12 says. Sure; we are not responsible for how others treat us. We are only responsible for how we respond to them.

I am reminded of how Jesus responded to the mockery and hatred of the Sanhedrin. He could have destroyed them all but He chose to suffer so that you and I could be born again.

Jesus did not have to die but He offered Himself so that we may have eternal life. That should humble us all to love the brethren despite their actions. This is God’s new but not new commandment. We should love one another as Jesus loved us and gave Himself up for us.

How well are we loving our brethren?


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311 Ways to Be a “One-Another” Christian: Loving Others with the Love of Jesus by Stuart Scott and Andrew Jin

311 Ways to Be a “One-Another” Christian: Loving Others with the Love of Jesus by Stuart Scott and Andrew Jin “Nobody reaches out to me when I go to church.” “This church really isn’t much of a family.”

Have you heard these kinds of comments? How sad if they are true, especially as God’s Word has so much to say about how believers should interact with one another!

An array of interpersonal problems between spouses, children, parents, siblings, friends, and coworkers can easily develop, but if you are a Christian, you can put the Bible’s message into practice and see how radically it transforms your relationships with others.

By carefully examining the “one another” commands in Scripture, the authors provide a Word-based understanding of what God intends for Christian relationships – showing not only what they look like, but also how to develop them.

Enjoy reading and sharing this book; it’s very well-suited for individuals, couples, and small groups.

Trusting God During Sufferings

Trusting God During Sufferings

Being a Christian is easy when everything seems to be going the way we want them to be. But can we still trust God during difficult times? How do you tell the suffering to trust God when you can’t possibly relate to what they’re going through?

God is powerful; He can stop all the evil in the world in just a snap of a finger. I mean, He can do it by the power of His Word because He is omnipotent. Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37), right? But the question most people ask is, “How can a good God allow suffering?” More importantly, “Why does God allow His children to go through trials and tribulations?”

These are the questions Christians need to learn to answer when dealing with people who do not believe in God. What possible reasons could we tell atheists why we believe in a God who allows suffering?

In this article, we will look at the 7 reasons to believe in God amid difficulties and suffering.

1. Suffering Reveals What is in Our Hearts

The reality is that our suffering often comes as a result of other people’s actions. We hear of families being oppressed by wealthy and influential people. Some even go to the extent of hiring paid assassins to eliminate their enemies. There is no question that these kinds of deeds are evil!

But suffering also has a way of revealing what is in our hearts. How do we respond when we are on the receiving end of these atrocities?

We Glory in Our Sufferings

We may never know how much love, mercy, envy, anger, and pride can lie dormant in us until awakened by circumstances. We must understand that the strengths and weaknesses of the heart are not found when everything is going our way. Rather, it is when flames of suffering and temptation test the mettle of our character.

Gold and silver are refined by fire and coal needs time and pressure to become a diamond. In the same way, the pressure we endure as well as the heat of time, and the circumstances we experience reveal and develop the human heart.

You may refer to the following passages to see what the Bible has to say about suffering:

  • Job 42:1-17
  • James 1:2-5
  • Romans 5:3-5
  • 1 Peter 1:6-8

2. Suffering Loosens Our Grip on this Life

Everybody grows old, so they say. No one stays young and vibrant forever. And when we realize we are not as young and relevant to society as we used to be, we start thinking of our future departure.

In time, people will seek our work and opinions less and less. Our bodies inevitably become increasingly worse for the wear and we gradually succumb to obsolescence. Joints stiffen and ache, eyes grow dim, digestion slows down, and sleep becomes difficult. Worse, we face problems that loom larger and larger while options narrow.

These are all signs that we are nearing the end of our earthly existence. Yet, death is not the end but the threshold of a new day and the curse of old age becomes a blessing. As we go through pain and suffering, this world we’re living in becomes less attractive and the next life more appealing.

Pain, suffering, trials, and difficulties pave the way for a graceful exit. See Ecclesiastes 12:1-14.

3. Suffering Comes with the Freedom to Choose

Every loving parent would do anything to protect their children from unnecessary pain. At the same time, wise parents know the danger of over-protection. If parents would lovingly allow their kids to go out of their way and make choices of their own, how much more with our heavenly Father?

The freedom to choose is at the heart of what it means to be human. This is because a world without choice would be worse than a world without pain and suffering. God has given each of us the freedom to choose between good and evil, life and death, blessing and curse, and Him over Satan (Deuteronomy 30:15-20).

Most of the time, our suffering is a result of making the wrong choices. Adam and Eve chose to disobey God and as a result, sin and curse entered the world (Romans 5:12-21).

4. Pain Can Warn Us of Danger

Nobody wants to experience pain. We hate pain, especially in those we love. Yet, without pain and discomfort, the sick wouldn’t go to the doctor. Hard-working people refuse to slow down and rest unless their body signals that things are bad. Without the consequence of facing suffering in jail, criminals wouldn’t fear the law.

Children would laugh at correction if they know they could get away with almost anything. We’ll never know the damage that fire can do if we don’t feel the pain caused by accidentally touching a burning matchstick.

King Solomon is an example of how even the wisest among us tend to drift from good and God. He drowned in pleasure that resulted in pain because of his shortsighted choices. But God used his pain to teach him a lesson and make him realize his mistakes.

See Ecclesiastes chapters 1 to 12, Psalms 78:34-35, and Romans 3:10-18.

5. God Suffers with Us

Whenever we suffer, let us always remember that no one has suffered more than our Father in heaven. If there’s anyone who paid more dearly for the allowance of sin into the world, it’s God.

It’s God who continuously grieved over the pain of a race that had gone bad. And no one has suffered more than the One who, when He stretched out His arms and died, showed us what true love means. In drawing us to Himself, it is this God who asks us to trust Him when we are suffering and when our loved ones cry out in our presence.

Every time you feel alone in your suffering, know that God suffered first. He knows exactly what you’re feeling because He’s been there and suffered more than you can imagine. Christ modeled what it means to suffer (1 Peter 2:21; 3:18; 4:1).

6. We Find One Another in Times of Crisis

I do not know of anyone who would choose pain and suffering. But when faced with such, our consolation is that we are never alone. Natural disasters and times of crisis have a way of bringing us together. Hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, accidents, illnesses, and even riots all have a way of bringing us to our senses.

Who can ever forget Hurricane Katrina in 2005? This was the largest and third-strongest hurricane ever recorded to make landfall in the US. It caused over 1,800 fatalities and $125B in damages, especially in the city of New Orleans and surrounding areas. But it resulted in more than 70 countries pledging monetary donations and other assistance.

When tragedies like this happen, suddenly we remember our own mortality and that people are more important than things. We remember that we do need one another and that, above all, we need God.

7. Suffering Is for Our Good

In many instances in the Bible, God turned suffering around for the good of the people involved.

Through Job’s suffering, we see a man who did not only come to a deeper understanding of God. Also, he became a source of encouragement for people in every generation to follow. Today, many preachers and day-to-day Christians use Job’s example to encourage others that God always has a purpose for allowing suffering.

All Things Work Together for Our Good

Through the rejection, betrayal, enslavement, and wrongful imprisonment of Joseph, we see someone who came to realize that his suffering was God’s hands at work. God is sovereign and as one pastor often says, “Nothing happens without God’s permission.”

When everything in us screams at the heavens for allowing suffering, we have reason to look at the eternal outcome and joy of Jesus. Our Lord in His own suffering on an executioner’s cross cried, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me” (Matthew 7:46)?

Conclusion

Why should we trust God during difficult times? It’s because God is God no matter what. The pain and suffering we are experiencing are not reasons to not believe in the God who created everything out of love. God eternally exists regardless of our circumstances and He loves us unconditionally.

We can trust God in suffering because we know that God’s comfort is always greater than our suffering.

The apostle Paul pleaded with the Lord to take away an identified source of suffering. But the Lord declined, saying, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Since death is not the end of everything, we are assured that the end of this life brings us to the threshold of eternity. And the most fortunate people in the universe are those who discover through suffering that this life is not all we have to live for.

The people who found the eternal God through their suffering have not wasted their pain. Instead, they are the ones who will discover their unending joy in the Lord.

Are you able to say, “I believe in God and trust in Him even during pain and suffering?”


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Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller

Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Timothy KellerFrom the New York Times bestselling author of The Prodigal Prophet Timothy Keller comes the definitive Christian book on why bad things happen and how we should respond to them.

The question of why God would allow pain and suffering in the world have vexed believers and nonbelievers for millennia.

Timothy Keller, whose books have sold millions of copies to both religious and secular readers, takes on this enduring issue and shows that there is meaning and reason behind our pain and suffering.

Keller makes a forceful and ground-breaking case that this essential part of the human experience can be overcome only by understanding our relationship with God.

As the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, Timothy Keller is known for his unique insights into religion and culture. Keller’s series of books has guided countless readers in their spiritual journeys.

Walking with God through Pain and Suffering uses biblical wisdom and personal stories of overcoming adversity to bring a much-needed, fresh viewpoint to this important issue.

Christ’s Resurrection: The Foundation of Christianity

Christ’s Resurrection: The Foundation of Christianity

Christ’s resurrection is the foundation of Christianity. If you can disprove the resurrection, you can also falsify the claims of Christianity. But how do we know Jesus rose from the dead? Why do Christians believe in the resurrection?

Bible scholars and theologians enumerated several reasons for Christians to believe that Jesus rose from the dead.

Jesus was Executed in Public

During the Jewish Feast of Passover, an angry crowd swept Jesus away into a Roman hall of justice. As Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate, religious leaders accused Him of claiming to be the king of the Jews. The crowd demanded He died. They then tortured Jesus and sentenced Him to a public execution (Luke 23:20-25).

Crucifixion of JESUS

On a hill outside of Jerusalem, Jesus was crucified between two criminals (Matthew 27:38). As the Sabbath neared, Roman soldiers went to finish the execution. To quicken their death, they broke the legs of the two criminals. But when they came to Jesus, they did not break His legs (John 19:32-33). This is because from experience they knew He was already dead.

To make sure Jesus won’t survive, the soldiers thrust a spear into His side (John 19:34). Thus, it would take more than resuscitation for Him to ever trouble them again.

The Tomb was Highly Secured

When the religious leaders met with Pilate the next day, they told Pilate to send soldiers to guard the tomb. They said Jesus had predicted He would rise in three days. To assure that the disciples could not stage a resurrection hoax, Pilate ordered the official seal of Rome to be attached to the tomb. And to enforce the order, soldiers stood guard (Matthew 27:62-66).

Anyone of the disciples who wanted to steal Jesus’ body would have to get by them, which wouldn’t have been easy. The Roman guards better stayed alert because the penalty for falling asleep while on watch was death.

The Tomb was Found Empty

Despite the guards, the grave was found empty on the morning of the Sabbath. When some of Jesus’ followers went to the grave to anoint His body, they found that the huge stone had been moved (Mark 16:1-4). After further inspection, they saw that Jesus’ body was gone.

As word got out, two disciples rushed to the burial site. The tomb was empty and they only saw Jesus’ burial wrappings lying neatly in place (John 20:3-7).

When the soldiers woke up and found the tomb empty, the officials paid the guards a large sum of money to lie and make up a story. They were to say that Jesus’ disciples stole His body while the soldiers were asleep (Matthew 28:11-15).

The Resurrected Jesus Appeared to Many People

In about AD 55, Paul wrote that Peter, the 12 apostles, more than 500 people, James, and himself saw the resurrected Christ. Furthermore, Paul said that many of the 500 people were still alive at the time of his writing (1 Corinthians 15:5-8).

By making this statement publicly, Paul gave his critics a chance to check out his claims for themselves.

Luke also reaffirmed the resurrection of Jesus in the very first chapter of the history of Christ’s followers (Acts 1:3).

Acts 1:3, NKJV

Jesus’ Apostles Dramatically Changed

When Jesus got arrested as a result of Judas’ betrayal, the other apostles ran for their lives. Even Peter, who earlier vowed that he was ready to die for Jesus, lost heart and denied that he knew Him.

But after the resurrection, the apostles went through a dramatic change. They were bold to stand face-to-face with the ones who had crucified their leader. The disciples became unstoppable in their determination to sacrifice everything for the sake of their Savior and Lord.

They were imprisoned, threatened, and forbidden to speak in the name of Jesus. But they told the Jewish leaders, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). After everything they suffered for disobeying the orders of the Jewish Council, they “did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” Acts 5:42).

Christ’s Disciples Died as Martyrs

Countless men and women have died for their beliefs. In short, history is full of martyrs.

For this reason, it may not be that significant to point out that the first disciples were willing to suffer and die for their faith. But while many will die for what they believe to be the truth, few if any will die for what they know to be a lie.

The disciples of Christ did not die for deeply held beliefs about which they could have been honestly mistaken. Rather, they died for their claims to have seen Jesus alive and well after His resurrection.

The disciples of Jesus died for their claim that their leader did not only die for their sins. More importantly, He had risen bodily from the grave to show that He was like no other spiritual leader who had ever lived.

Jewish Believers Started Worshiping on a Sunday

From Sabbath to Lord's Day: A Biblical, Historical and Theological Investigation Paperback – January 1, 2000 by D. A. CarsonMany Sabbatarians claim that the Catholic church changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. The truth of the matter is, it’s the Jews who changed it and started worshiping on a Sunday.

The Sabbath day of rest and worship was basic to the Jewish way of life. Any Jew who did not honor the Sabbath was guilty of breaking the law of Moses. Yet Jewish followers of Christ began worshiping Gentile believers on the first day of the week.

Why the first day of the week? It’s because this is the day on which they believed Christ had risen from the dead. For a Jew, it reflected a major change in life.

Jewish Christians believed that the death and resurrection of Christ had cleared the way for a new relationship with God. The new way was not based on the law but on the sin-bearing, life-giving help of a resurrected Savior.

Read here: What is the difference between the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day?

Conclusion

As presented above, the evidence for the resurrection of Christ is compelling. The resurrection is not a hoax; Jesus did rise from the dead just as He said He would (John 2:19).

And because Christ rose from the dead, there is hope for those who will put their faith in Him (1 Corinthians 15:16-20). Paul said that He who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to the mortal bodies of those that have the Spirit (Romans 8:11).

This was the experience of Paul, whose heart was dramatically changed by the resurrected Christ. It is also the experience of people all over the world who have died to their old ways so that Christ can live His life through them.

Have you responded to the overwhelming evidence for Christ’s resurrection by acknowledging His lordship in your heart?


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The Crucifixion of Jesus: A Medical Doctor Examines the Death and Resurrection of Christ by Joseph Bergeron M.D

The Crucifixion of Jesus: A Medical Doctor Examines the Death and Resurrection of Christ by Joseph Bergeron M.D This ground-breaking work offers a unique apologetic argument for the validity of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Dr. Bergeron’s medical expertise allows him to examine the medical aspects of Jesus’ death as well as the “hallucination hypothesis” which attempts to discount Jesus’ resurrection.

This book explores the following areas:

  • Jesus’ claim to be the son of God and the Messiah of Hebrew prophetic literature
  • Evidence of the trustworthiness of the Gospel as reliable eyewitness testimony
  • The social and political context leading up to Jesus’ execution
  • Roman crucifixion practices in public executions
  • Physiological mechanisms that ultimately led to Jesus’ death
  • A medical analysis of hallucination hypotheses for the disciples’ belief in Jesus’ resurrection and the inability of hallucination to explain away the biblical accounts of Jesus’ resurrection
Is God Always Morally Upright?

Is God Always Morally Upright?

Does God have negative characteristics? Or is He the epitome of moral uprightness?

We know of God’s natural and moral attributes. God is love, holy, just, compassionate, forgiving, etc. In short, God is a good God and He is good all the time. But what about the seemingly negative character traits of God that we read in certain Bible passages?

So, is God really good? Or does He sometimes exhibit character traits that are contrary to His natural and moral attributes?

Bible Verse: Nahum 1:2, NKJV

God is jealous, and the Lord avenges; the Lord avenges and is furious. The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies.”

7 God's Number of Perfection

The intended target of Nahum’s message is the people of Nineveh. Yet the broader audience was made up of God’s people living under the fear of the Assyrians. These people are desperate for a word of hope. And God delivered that message through Nahum.

Three important words in Nahum’s opening lines need our attention because they all relate to the character of God. Nahum used these words to describe God’s character: jealousy, vengeance, and wrath (rage).

These terms have human expressions, but we must understand them carefully when they are applied to God. He is awesome in His jealousy, vengeance, and rage.

Jealousy

Jealousy is a sin if it means being envious of what others have and wanting to possess it.

It’s quite common for neighbors, even siblings, and in-laws, to be envious of each other. For instance, neighbor A isn’t happy that neighbor B has a big, fully furnished house, a brand new car, and a huge swimming pool.

Neighbor B, on the other hand, is bitter towards neighbor A because the latter has a better-looking husband than her. In addition, neighbor A has 3 beautiful children while she is childless. This kind of jealousy is bad and believers should not feel this way towards one another (Galatians 5:26).

However, jealousy is a virtue if it means cherishing what we have and wanting to protect it. A faithful husband and wife are jealous over one another and do everything they can to keep their relationship exclusive.

“Jealous” and “zealous” come from the same root. When we are jealous over someone, we’re zealous to protect the relationship. Since God made everything and owns everything, He is envious of no one. But since He is the only true God, He is jealous over His glory and His name. God is also jealous over the worship and honor that are due to Him alone.

See Exodus 20:5; 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24; 5:9; 6:15; 32:16; Joshua 24:19; & Isaiah 42:8.

Isaiah 42:8, NASB

Vengeance

In Scripture, vengeance is usually presented as a sin. Both Jesus and Paul warned about it (Matthew 5:38-48; Romans 12:17-21).

The OT law of “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” was never intended to be applied by individuals in the OT or NT. But it was a standard for the collective society to use to enforce good conduct among people.

But a just and holy God cannot see people flouting His law and do nothing about it. “Vengeance is Mine, and recompense … I will render vengeance to My enemies, and repay those who hate Me.” (Deuteronomy 32:35, 41).

The manner and timing of the repayment of man’s wickedness is God’s prerogative. God takes vengeance by judging people because He is holy and jealous (zealous) for His holy law. God’s anger isn’t like human anger, which can be selfish and out of control. His is holy anger, a righteous indignation against all that defies His authority and disobeys His law.

Wrath/Rage

Nahum wrote that “the Lord avenges and is furious” (Nahum 1:1). In verse 6, Nahum says the Lord’s anger is so powerful like a fire that it throws down the rocks. But then Nahum 1:3 assures us that God’s wrath isn’t a fit of rage or a temper tantrum. “The Lord is slow to anger and great in power.”

See also Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18; Jonah 4:2.

On the human level, we immediately think of Jesus taking angry action in the Temple courts, driving out the money changers (Matthew 21:12-13). But His godly rage was always under control. God is not a mad man who easily gets angry over shallow and irrelevant issues.

Let Jesus be our role model in controlling our anger. It’s not a sin to get angry. But what could lead us to sin is what we do or say in our anger. Some people cannot manage their anger and they tend to become violent. They may shout or scream at people while others like to throw things.

God’s people ought to exercise holy anger against sin (Ephesians 4:26; Psalm 4:4). By NT standards, anger can be either good or bad, depending on motive and purpose. When Paul said, “Be angry and do not sin,” he may have been sanctioning righteous indignation.

This type of anger hates injustice, immorality, ungodliness, and every other sin. When such anger is unselfish and based on love for God and others, it is not only permissible but commanded.

In Your Anger, Do Not Sin

Conclusion

God’s jealousy, wrath, and desire to avenge do not negate His moral character of love, compassion, and goodness. It’s because God is holy and just that He won’t sit idly by and let the wicked go unpunished.

Sometimes, it could be difficult to reconcile God’s love and wrath. If God is a loving, forgiving, and compassionate God, why would He want to punish anyone eternally in hell? Again, it’s because God is holy and He demands justice for sin. And it is for this reason that God sent His Son to die on the cross to save us from eternal condemnation in hell (John  3:16).

We are all sinners; we sinned against God and arouse His jealousy and anger. We deserve to suffer God’s wrath and vengeance and be separated eternally from God. But God is morally upright. He does not want to punish us without giving us a chance to repent and make things right with Him.

If you haven’t yet repented of your sin and rebellion, would you do it today and receive God’s forgiveness? Would you confess Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life and live and serve Him for the rest of your life?

Sinner’s Prayer

If God is convicting you of your sin right now, you may pray this short prayer wholeheartedly.

Dear God,

I thank you for your gift of eternal life. I acknowledge that I am a sinner in need of forgiveness and salvation because I cannot save myself. I repent of all my sins and I put my complete trust in you alone, Lord Jesus, as my Savior. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for my sins on the cross, and that He rose from the dead to redeem me. I invite you now Lord Jesus to come into my heart and life. Thank you for your wonderful grace and forgiveness. I ask that you write my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

This is my prayer in Jesus’ name, Amen!

Do not delay for tomorrow may be too late. Now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).


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Recommended Resource:

God, Himself: A Journey Through His Attributes by Tony Evans

God, Himself: A Journey Through His Attributes by Tony EvansHow often do we stop to consider who the God is that we worship?

When we draw near and learn more about this God, we become amazed at who He truly is. Join Tony Evans as he dives into the character of our awesome God—one attribute at a time.

In God, Himself, we are invited, with unveiled faces, to behold the glory of the Lord—just as the Apostle Paul instructed the Corinthians to do.

Dr. Evans offers insights about the character of God that will challenge you to pursue greater intimacy with Him and help you understand more fully what it means to be made in His image.

For after all, as image-bearers knowing who He is defines who we are.

You’ll learn about attributes like God’s wisdom and word, His sufficiency, and sovereignty, and His goodness, grace, and glory that make Him the great God that He is.

Dr. Evans also includes activities and challenges to help you know how to both process and respond to learning about God.

Find your heart encouraged and your worship enriched as you learn about the beautiful nature of our God, the source of all goodness and life.

Is Doctrine Keeping Us Apart?

Is Doctrine Keeping Us Apart?

Are you aware that more and more people are concluding that doctrine is keeping us apart? Doctrine is destroying unity and separating family members. Thus, making it difficult for the follower of Christ to set aside differences and stand together for a common purpose.

Doctrine is also what distinguishes and divides Christians into thousands of denominations and subgroups.

Bible Verse: Galatians 1:6

“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel.”

This verse characterizes the Galatians’ response to the false teachers’ heretical doctrines. The Galatian believers were voluntarily deserting grace to pursue the legalism that the false teachers were propagating.

In effect, it caused division in the church.

Doctrinal Differences in the Church

Doctrine Divides, Love Unites

Although many are pointing out that doctrine divides, the fact also remains that love unites. This is because our Lord Jesus called us to love one another (John 13:34; 15:12).

The commandment to love was not new. Deuteronomy 6:5 commanded love for God, and Leviticus 19:18 commanded loving one’s neighbor as one’s self. The Greatest Commandment summarizes the Law into two:  Love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and secondly, love our neighbor as ourselves.

Also, Christ Himself said that love would be the distinguishing mark of His people (1 John 2:7-11; 3:10-12; 4:7-10, 20, 21). Love is from God because God is love. Christians love because God is the essence of love.

We cannot love God without first loving our fellow believers. Anyone who claims to love God but cannot love other Christians for any reason, even doctrinal differences, is delusional.

Doctrine Unites, Love Divides

However, we cannot afford to forget that doctrine also unites. All over the world, what allows true believers in Christ to find a family is acceptance of the doctrine of Christ.

In searching for a spiritual family to join, belief in the person and works of Christ is of utmost importance. This is exactly why the first thing we want to know about a particular church is its statement of faith.

What do they believe about Christ, God’s grace, the Bible, salvation, etc? Do they believe in the Triune God? What about Christ’s promise to come again for His church?

When Christians accept the doctrine of the grace of God, it enables them to recognize one another as brothers and sisters. It won’t matter anymore if they are of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. They just see each other as lowly sinners saved by grace through faith alone, in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).

It is for the same reason that love divides. Once we know the truth about Christ and His sacrifice, we need to stop pretending we are in unity with those of different doctrines. We cannot sacrifice the truth for a false sense of unity, just so we could stand together in social consensus.

The Doctrine of Human Merit

When the apostle Paul wrote Galatians 1:6-8, love was working together with truth.

Forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and adoption into the family of God comes only by grace, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Any doctrine that says human merit would add to what Christ has already accomplished is unacceptable.

The Gospel of Christ makes it clear that one cannot mix faith and works when trusting God for forgiveness and salvation.

Does this mean we can do whatever we want and live the way we want to live after getting saved? That we can keep on sinning after receiving God’s forgiveness?

Paul answers this question in Romans 6:1-14 where he discusses the doctrine of sanctification. Sanctification is the act of God that produces actual righteousness in the believer.

Ephesians 2:8-9

Under the Doctrine of Christ

We can’t have Christ without embracing and submitting to the doctrine of Christ. We need doctrine to answer questions like: Who is God? What is He like? Does He care about what we believe about Him? And once we know Him, how are we to live?

Paul wrote this in 2 Timothy 4:2-4:

“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers. And they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”

Is our generation facing the danger Paul wrote about? Indeed! Many so-called preachers are encouraging people to accept Christ. Yet, they fail to bring them under the lordship of the doctrine of Christ. Thus, resulting in a growing lack of discernment making them vulnerable to the doctrines of demons.

Conclusion

On the one hand, we cannot afford to let doctrine come between us. As Paul said, “If we don’t have love, we are like a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

Yet, on the other hand, we need to be grounded on the foundations of doctrine based not on tradition but Scripture.


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Recommended Resource:

Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith by Wayne Grudem and Jeff Purswell

Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith by Wayne Grudem and Jeff PurswellHow do we know the Bible is God’s Word? What is sin and where did it come from? How is Jesus fully God and fully man? What are spiritual gifts? When and how will Christ return?

If you’ve asked questions like these, then “systematic theology” is no abstract term. It’s an approach to finding answers every Christian needs to know.

Bible Doctrine takes a highly commended upper-level textbook on systematic theology and makes it accessible to the average reader.

Abridged from Wayne Grudem’s award-winning Systematic Theology, Bible Doctrine covers the same essentials of the faith, giving you a firm grasp on seven key topics:

The Doctrine of the Word of God, the Doctrine of God, the Doctrine of Man, the Doctrine of Christ, the Doctrine of the Application of Redemption, the Doctrine of the Church, and the Doctrine of the Future.

Like Systematic Theology, this book is marked by its clarity, its strong scriptural emphasis, its thoroughness in scope and detail, and its treatment of such timely topics as spiritual warfare and the gifts of the Spirit.

But you don’t need to have had several years of Bible school to reap the full benefits of Bible Doctrine. It’s easy to understand–and it’s packed with solid, biblical answers to your most important questions.

Do not worry; trust God.

7 Reasons to Believe in the Afterlife

7 Reasons to Believe in the Afterlife

Is there life after death? Among all the different world religions, only Islam, Judaism, and Christianity believe that death is not the end.

In this post, we will look at 7 reasons why we believe in the afterlife.

1. An Eternal God

The Bible describes God as eternal (Psalm 90:2; 102:12); the source of immortality. We also read in the Scriptures that God created us in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27).

Sin and death entered humanity as a result of Adam’s rebellion (Romans 5:12, 17). But God did not just allow the human race to wallow in sin and live forever in rebellion. Rather, He began to unfold a plan to redeem them from the curse of death and hell.

By grace, we can have eternal life as a gift from God through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:21; 6:23). And eternal life for those who received Christ as Lord and Savior is not limited here on earth. God intended for His children to live forever with Him in heaven.

If there is no afterlife, God would not have promised His children eternity.

Psalm 90:2, NKJV

2. Old Testament Predictions

Many scholars argue that immortality is a New Testament concept. But the prophet Daniel spoke of a day when “those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake. Some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2).

In the 73rd Psalm, Asaph described how he almost lost faith in God seeing how evil people prospered while the godly suffered. Only after going into the sanctuary of God that he understood their final destiny. He then said, “Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors” (Psalm 73:18-19, NLT).

Asaph concluded that there is a glorious, eternal future awaiting those who belong to God. “Yet I still belong to You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny” (Psalm 73:23-24, NLT).

3. Near-Death Experiences

A near-death experience (NDE) is an occurrence in which patients who have come close to death have memories of spiritual experience. Many of them claim to have encounters with bright lights, long tunnels, or angelic guides. Some claim they went to heaven while others to hell.

Near-death or out-of-the-body experiences are rare and it’s often hard to assess their significance. However, a new study claims they can offer an unbiased evaluation of people’s descriptions of their experiences.

We now know that there are enough of these kinds of experiences to create a sizable library on the subject. As people approach death, they sense that they are approaching the beginning of another journey.

Near-Death Experience: Evidence for Life After Death

4. Jesus’ Statements

Although some would accuse Jesus of being a false teacher, atheists and non-Christians usually refer to Jesus with respect. Yet, the Lord never spoke ambiguously about the reality of a continuing personal existence after death.

Jesus said, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Also, in Luke 23:42-43, Jesus promised Paradise to the repentant thief. If there’s no life after death, the thief’s request and Jesus’ promise wouldn’t make sense.

According to Jesus, the most significant issue of life is facing the reality of life after death. He said in Mark 9:47 (NIV), “If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell.”

5. The Injustices of Life

If happiness on earth is all there is to life, what hope do the poor and oppressed have to continue living? If we knew there was nothing beyond the grave, it would be difficult to believe that life is good.

While some people are destined for success and happiness, some are born into terrible relationships and circumstances. If there is nothing to offset the unequal distribution of suffering, cursing the day of your birth becomes valid (Job 3:1-3).

Revelation 21:4, NKJV

But knowing that there is life after death gives hope to everyone, especially the less fortunate. We may suffer the injustices of life here on earth but we have a promising future ahead of us.

The Bible promises faithful believers rewards in the afterlife (Matthew 5:12; James 1:12; Revelation 22:12; 1 Timothy 6:17-19, etc.). That is more than enough to keep us going in this life that we know is just temporary.

6. Longings of the Heart

Some people might think that happiness is found in what this world has to offer. But the human heart hungers for more. King Solomon said that God has not only made everything beautiful in its time. But He has also set eternity in the human heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NIV).

It might be difficult to know exactly what Solomon meant. But apparently, he was referring to an inescapable longing for something that this world can’t satisfy. This is an emptiness of the soul that no one, including King Solomon, could escape. For a while, he tried to fill this inner void with alcohol, work, and pleasure. He tried to satisfy his longings with music, philosophy, and sexual relationships. But it didn’t work.

It was only when Solomon returned to his confidence in a final judgment in the afterlife that he found satisfaction (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

7. Christ’s Resurrection

The greatest evidence for the existence of life after death is the resurrection of Jesus. Isaiah 53:1-12 and Daniel 9:26 predicted that a Messiah would come to defeat sin and death for His people. Jesus’s followers testified exactly that.

The predicted Messiah voluntarily gave His life and was buried in a borrowed tomb (John 19:41-42). Three days later, He rose from the grave and appeared to hundreds of people for 40 days before ascending to heaven. See Acts 1:1-11 and 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.

Jesus Rose from the Dead

Christ’s resurrection gives believers hope that they too will rise when Christ comes at the sounding of the last trumpet.

“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ, all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when He comes, those who belong to Him” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, NIV).

Conclusion

Nothing offers more courage than the confidence that there is a better life waiting ahead. Knowing that there is life after death is a source of optimism and spiritual betterment. Belief in the unlimited opportunities of eternity has enabled many followers of Christ to endure the trials they are going through.

It’s this reality that enabled Jesus to say in Matthew 16:26-27, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”


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Heaven, an Unexpected Journey: One Man’s Experience with Heaven, Angels, and the Afterlife (An NDE Collection) by Jim Woodford and Dr. Thom Gardner

Heaven, an Unexpected Journey: One Man’s Experience with Heaven, Angels, and the Afterlife by Jim Woodford and Dr. Thom GardnerWhen Jim Woodford died, he spent 11 hours in Heaven. When he came back, he was changed forever.

A successful airline pilot and businessman, Jim had it all—a loving family, substantial wealth, and all of the good things that come with it. But none of this was enough to satisfy the emptiness he felt in his heart. He always hungered for something more. And then he died.

Jim was never a religious man. When it came to matters of God and faith, he was ambivalent. But as he lay in the hospital bed, clinically dead for more than 11 hours, his consciousness was transported to the wonders of Heaven and the horrors of hell. When he returned to this world, he brought back the missing peace his soul had been longing for.

Join Jim Woodford on this unforgettable journey into the afterlife!

  • Awaken to the vivid sights, sounds, and sensations that you can enjoy in Heaven forever.
  • Be inspired by detailed descriptions of the “contrails of prayer” in Heaven’s skies, the “sticky love” of God, what it feels like to hug an angel, and more!
  • Encounter the chilling realities of hell and the sharp claws of destruction that threatened to pull Jim into eternal darkness.
  • Take comfort in the “six simple words” that led Jim into the presence of Christ.

Whether you need hope for tomorrow or strength for today, this story is your invitation to a radical transformation!

How Important is the Trinity Doctrine?

How Important is the Trinity Doctrine?

The Doctrine of the Trinity is one of the most attacked in Christianity. Opponents insist that anyone who believes in a three-in-one God violates the first commandment of Moses (Exodus 20:1-3).

Needless to say, the biblical teaching of a triune God is also of the greatest importance. For many centuries, Bible scholars and theologians have made serious claims in support of the Trinity. They held to the view that the one true God exists in three distinct Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Belief in a Triune God

Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant branches of the church all agree that the Doctrine of the Trinity is firmly grounded in Scripture. They all agree that the teaching of a three-in-one God is consistent with the trail of Old Testament evidence of the same doctrine.

In the Old Testament, although there are strong implications that God is one, He is not a solitary Being. For instance, writers of the OT often use language that makes us think of plurality within this unity.

2,570 times in the Old Testament, the word translated “God” is Elohim which is a plural term. Except in five instances, the word refers to the one God who is the Creator, Master, and Sustainer of everything.

John 14:7

Sometimes, God used a plural pronoun when speaking of Himself (Genesis 1:26; Genesis 3:22). Moses, in declaring that God is one, used the same word he had employed to describe the “one flesh” relationship of a man and his wife. (See Deuteronomy 6:4 and Genesis 2:24.)

The word one in Deuteronomy 6:4 allows the idea of a plurality of Persons within the unity of the Godhead. Thus, we see that both the Old and New Testaments give us reason to believe that one can be more than one.

This may be beyond our ability to fully understand, but not a reason to reject it.

God is One, Not Three

It is clear from the Scriptures that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. That each has a distinct personality. Does that add up to three Gods? You may say yes if you’re working with mathematics or thinking of three separate people.

However, we are dealing with a God who is revealed in the Bible as one God, who has existed eternally as three distinct Persons. We must emphasize that God is one Being, not three. Therefore, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not three separate Gods, but three separate Persons.

As distinct Persons, each functions in His own unique manner. Each Person is self-conscious and self-directing. Yet, not one of them ever acts independently of the others or in opposition to them. Their minds, wills, and emotions are in perfect unity.

The distinction between the three Persons in the Godhead was evident at the time of Christ’s baptism (Matthew 3:16-17). We see the Son coming up out of the water, the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove, and the Father speaking from heaven.

Jesus also affirmed the Trinity when He commanded His disciples to baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

Explaining the Trinity

I have heard a lot of illustrations to explain the Trinity. Some people use egg and say, “The yolk, the white, and the shell make up the egg. See, it’s three-in-one!” Others may say that water can exist as ice, liquid, and steam. But in any form, it is just water. There’s your three-in-one!

There could be more illustrations, like a minister being a father to his children, a husband to his wife, and a pastor to his church. But I’d say this is the worst illustration. Why? It’s because this is a repetition of the hearsay that the triune God is just three manifestations of the way God works.

These analogies add little light to the subject of the Trinity. At best, they may only reflect the three-in-oneness of the Creator.

The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust Modern Translations? Paperback – June 1, 2009

Does It Matter?

Why do many people put so much emphasis on the doctrine of the Trinity? What difference does it make whether a person believes in it or not? If a person has placed his faith in the risen Savior, isn’t that faith adequate for salvation?

The Trinity is one of the most basic and life-related teachings of the Bible; no Christian should underscore its importance.

Let us take the most well-known verse in the Bible, John 3:16.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Anyone who does not believe in the Trinity would have to say that in this verse, God sent His first created being to die so that we might be saved. You may ask, “What’s the big deal with that?” If this was so, then what God did was nothing more than sending one of His creatures to save others.

On the other hand, if you believe in the Trinity, you will accept John 3:16 as a declaration of a breathtaking truth. That God loves us so much that He, in the person of the Son, came to share our pain and provide salvation at a great cost. This in effect, makes Calvary the supreme manifestation of God’s love and holiness.

The Triune God Shared Our Pain

We often put a great deal on what Jesus suffered on the cross. But what about the Father and the Holy Spirit?

Imagine the pain that a mother and father suffer as they watch their child endure pain and suffering. The relationship of the Persons within the Godhead is closer than that of family members. So, how can the Father and the Holy Spirit not be affected by the suffering of the Son?

The Godhead has shared, and still shares, the pain of His creatures. He chose to create and give His moral creatures the freedom to sin that brought pain and death into this world. Yet, He chose to share in our suffering and sorrow.

Aren’t you grateful that we serve a God who, in Christ, suffered for us? God conquered death for us; He understands our pain. Here’s more great news – what Christ did will someday bring all of God’s children into a world without suffering, tears, or death.

Final Words

We may never comprehend God fully because He’s incomprehensible. God is so different from us and so awesomely great. But He is knowable.

The God who exists eternally in three Persons has reached down to us. He has made Himself known to people during the past ages by supernatural appearances and audible speech. But then, 2,000 years ago, God made Himself known to us in the Person of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:2).

You and I can know God by looking to Jesus and believing in Him. In many passages in the Bible, Jesus tells us that He came to make known the Father to us. Jesus said that anyone who knows Him will know the Father as well (John 14:7). He also said that He came to do the will of the Father who sent Him (John 6:38).

Let us pay attention to the words of our Lord and set ourselves to obey Him. After all, Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).


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Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith by Michael Reeves

Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith by Michael Reeves Why is God love? Because God is a Trinity.

And why can we be saved? Because God is a Trinity.

How are we able to live the Christian life? Through the Trinity.

In this lively book, we find an introduction to Christianity and the Christian life that is from start to finish rooted in our triune God―Father, Son, and Spirit.

Not only do we understand the person and work of Christ through the Trinity, but also prayer, the church, and every aspect of our faith.

With wit and clarity, Reeves draws from church history down to the present referencing a wide range of notable teachers and preachers.

Here is a rich and enjoyable portrayal of the basic beliefs of Christianity that opens up the profound and life-changing truths of our faith.

Why We Believe Jesus is the Only Way

Why We Believe Jesus is the Only Way

Jesus’ statement in John 14:6 that He is the only way to God has raised so many questions. Why should we believe Jesus’ claim about Himself? What reasons do Christians have to continue to believe that personal faith in Jesus is so important?

In this post, let us look at the biblical evidence why Christ is the only way to heaven.

The Uniqueness of Christ

It is undeniable that there are some parallels between the teachings of Christ and other world religions. For instance, Christ’s emphasis on treating others the way we want to be treated is not unique to Christianity.

However, the comparative similarities are only part of the picture. Other major world religions emphasize the importance of human efforts to get us right with God. The gospel of Christ, in contrast, says that no one can come to the Father except through the Lord Jesus.

It’s only by grace through faith in Christ and His finished works on the cross that we can attain salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9).

JESUS is the Only Way to GOD

Salvation through Christ Alone

Does the Bible say that Christ is the only way to God? The apostle Peter said, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, NIV).

But Peter did not come up with this conclusion on his own. He was with others when Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

Why did the apostles and Jesus’ followers conclude that He had a right to make such amazing claims about Himself? It’s because they were witnesses to Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.

Can One Be Saved without Hearing the Gospel?

If salvation is through the gospel, what about those who have never heard? We must understand that until the church was born, repentant sinners got saved without hearing the whole gospel message.

One of the thieves who was executed along with Jesus repented and got saved even without the whole gospel. The message of Christ’s death for sin and His subsequent resurrection had not yet been declared. But one of the thieves found mercy when he repented of his sins and asked Jesus to remember him (Luke 23:42-43).

The thief understood he had no hope but divine grace, and that the dispensing of that grace lay in Jesus’ power. This demonstrates true faith on the part of the dying thief, and Christ graciously affirmed the man’s salvation.

To what extent can we apply this example to others who recognize their sin and appeal to the one true God for mercy? We don’t know for sure. But the Bible shows that God sacrificed His own Son to assure salvation for those who will believe (John 3:16).

God is Just and Fair

Perhaps we find ourselves struggling with issues of fairness. Will God give everyone an equal opportunity to hear the message of Christ? It’s troubling to think that many people will suffer in hell because they were not given a chance to hear the gospel.

What about the people who suffer from mental retardation or other diseases? It would be impossible for them to hear and consider the good news of Christ. Some die at a very early age without hearing the gospel message.

In cases like this, we need to trust the Judge of all the earth to do what is right (Genesis 18:25). God is fair and just, no doubt about that; He knows what He’s doing.

Here’s a beautiful prayer song you can sing for the Lord, your Savior.

Jesus is the Son of God

In his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul also noted the uniqueness of Christ. In Romans 1:1-5, Paul identified some distinctives that he believed set Christ apart from all other religious leaders.

According to Paul, Jesus was declared to be the Son of God, who possessed both a human and a divine nature. This was something that he had once found impossible to admit. Well educated in the doctrine and theology of Moses, Paul initially persecuted Jews who followed Jesus.

After a life-changing encounter with the risen Lord on the road to Damascus, Paul became convinced that Jesus was both God and Savior (Titus 2:13).

Paul became one of the witnesses of Christ’s resurrection – a resurrection that distinguishes the gospel of Jesus Christ from all other faiths. Unlike all the other religious teachers and leaders, Jesus did not remain dead. And Jesus’ resurrection is God’s vindication of His claim that He is indeed the Son of God (Romans 1:3-4).

Thus, Paul wrote in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

The apostle believed that Christ had provided salvation that needed to be offered first to his countrymen and then to all nations.

Final Words

The Bible could not be more explicit in its proclamation of the exclusivity and sufficiency of Christ. Jesus came to live and die as a substitutionary sacrifice for those who will receive Him as their personal Lord and Savior (John 1:12; John 14:6; John 3:16).

We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The consequence of that sin is death or separation from God (Romans 6:23). The good news is that because of God’s love and deep compassion for us, He sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sin on the cross (1 Peter 3:18).

Have you received Christ and surrendered your life to Him? If not, have you thought about your response to the gospel? It’s not enough to know what the Lord has done for you. You must respond by personal choice.

It’s easy to put off making a decision but God wants you to decide about His Son today. Behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).

If you want to receive the Lord’s forgiveness and His gift of eternal life, you can express it in this simple prayer:

“Lord Jesus, I acknowledge I am a sinner and can’t save myself. Thank you for your sacrifice on the cross for me. I sincerely repent of my sins and receive you as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life and mold me into the kind of person You want me to be. Amen!”

If you sincerely prayed this, you are now a child of God and have the assurance of eternal life.


Recommended Resource:

Is Jesus the Only Way? by Philip Graham Ryken

Is Jesus the Only Way

We’ve all heard people say it: “The problem with Christians is that they think Jesus is the only way to heaven.” Even reason says: We go to the college of our choice, watch the cable channel of our choice, and eat the food of our choice.

So why can’t we pray to the god of our choice and get to heaven by any means we choose?

These are fair questions. Questions that demand an answer if Christians are going to insist that their claims are true—and that all other religions’ claims about salvation are thereby false.

They are questions Philip Ryken confronts head-on in this accessible book.

Within these pages, the four essential Christian beliefs that pluralists find most troublesome are explained in clear, everyday terms. Ryken argues not only that Jesus is the only way, but also why this must be true.

God’s Example of Gift-Giving

God’s Example of Gift-Giving

Christmas is just around the corner. And get this … Christmas celebration is not complete without gift-giving! I believe this is the part that makes most people, especially kids, excited about Christmas. This is the highlight of most celebrations such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc.

Don’t you love gifts! Everybody loves gifts! I do not know of anyone who doesn’t.

Giving presents and exchanging gifts have become parts of our practices and traditions. And that is not a bad thing! The problem is this, we tend to be choosy.

We want something fancy and expensive. We want to get the best of all gifts. Little do most people realize that God has already given us the best gift. I’m talking about the greatest gift we’ve ever received mentioned in Ephesians 2:8-9.

We are saved by grace

God’s Greatest Gift to Us

This gift of God has nothing to do with our efforts. We didn’t earn it, deserve it, or purchase it. God gave it through His sacrificial gift so our salvation would not be our boast, but His kindness.

What is this gift? Our salvation!

We may not realize it but this gift from God is unlike any other gift that we can buy from the gift shop. Some people may think it’s cheap because it is available to anyone who wants to receive it. But it’s priceless; you can’t put a price tag on it.

It’s because God paid for it with His life. Jesus redeemed us with His blood (Ephesians 1:7). To redeem means “to pay off,” “to buy back,” or “to regain possession of.”

Originally, we belonged to God. But because of sin, we were separated from God. We’re on our way to hell and are destined to spend eternity there. But God did not want us to perish so He sent His Son to redeem us.

God’s Greatest Gift to Us

First of all, Christ did not come down to earth to start a Christmas tradition that includes the giving of gifts to one another. Christ came to offer His life as a ransom for many. He came to give us eternal life.

By doing what He did, God also exemplified the true meaning of gift-giving.

So, what are the things that God wants us to take into consideration whenever we give to others?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Giving Should be Motivated by Love

God had one reason and one reason only for giving us the greatest gift of all and that is love. We have no reason to doubt this. You see, God did not have to give His Son but He did it anyway.

Why? It’s all because of His great love. God is not only full of love; God is love (1 John 4:16). Everything God does stems from His great love for us. If God did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us, how can He not also give us all things (Romans 8:32)?

What about us? What is our motivation in giving? In goal-setting, they call this “finding your why.” In other words, what’s your reason for doing the things that you do.

Giving Should be Motivated by Love

Why do you give to charitable institutions and orphanages? Is it because your friends are doing it? If your reason is that you feel sorry for them, that means your heart is in the right place.

Why do you give in support of God’s work? Why do you give birthday presents to your friends or other people on any occasion?

By the way, giving is not only in terms of material things, like money or anything tangible. It could also mean spending time with your friends and loved ones. Or taking a break from your busy schedule to comfort a colleague or friend who’s going through tough times.

Giving Should Be Unconditional

Unconditional means “no strings attached.” It’s just like how God gave His Son to die on the cross for our sins. God was not expecting anything in return. All He wanted was to spare us from eternal condemnation.

But these days, when you offer something too good to be true, people are quick to ask, “What’s the catch?” And we can’t blame them. As they always say, “You don’t get anything for free. There are no free hand-outs and if there are, they’re most likely trash.”

When God gave us the greatest gift of all, He did so without condition. How do we know this? It’s because God did it out of love and God’s love is unconditional.

God did not say, “Hey, you need to be a good person first.” Neither did He say, “Turn away from your sin and then I will give My Son to die for you” (Romans 5:8).

God had expectations as some scholars argue, it’s that everyone would receive His gift by faith. And also, for them to share that gift with others. This is why Jesus gave the Great Commission.

But we need to emphasize that what God expects from the recipients of His gift is not for His benefit. Rather, it’s for the people who are still in darkness. Simply put, it’s about giving back or passing it on.

Do we give, expecting something in return? Isn’t it more blessed to give than to receive? This is why it’s always best to give to the people who are unable to give back to us.

This is not to say that the principle of “give and take” is wrong or bad. What is wrong is when a person who has the means to give prefers to be always on the receiving end.

Giving Should Be Unconditional

Giving Should be Sacrificial

When we hear the word sacrifice, it always involves doing something difficult and painful. It’s not going to be easy and it would take courage to be able to do it. It’s about setting aside your own comfort and happiness for the sake of others.

God modeled sacrificial giving 2,000 years ago. The Father endured the pain of having to watch His only Son suffer and die at the hands of His creation. But for man to be spared from hell, God had to experience pain.

We all know the story of Abraham who is about to offer his son Isaac on Mount Moriah? That was a foreshadowing of what God would do to His Son about 1,500 years later on Mount Calvary.

I can’t imagine the pain that a parent has to go through when his only child gets brutally killed in front of him. You are blessed to not have to go through this kind of pain.

Have you ever felt pain as a result of “giving” to your family or loved ones? You were saving for a new cellphone but your daughter needed money to pay her lease. Or you wanted to treat yourself to an expensive restaurant but your friend suddenly in need.

These are part of the sacrifice we have to make just so we can give to our loved ones or extend help to those in need.

Giving Should be Purposeful

Why did God give His Son to die on the cross? What was His purpose for sacrificing His only Son? For us to have eternal life! To provide salvation to all who will believe. Again, it’s for the benefit of the recipients.

If we read Isaiah 53:10, it says, “But the Lord was pleased to crush Him (the Son), putting Him to grief.” Doesn’t that sound brutal?

But God did not just do this for nothing. God’s giving of His Son was for the sole purpose of saving us from the horrors of hell. It should be the same thing with us when we give anything to someone. It should always be for the benefit of the one who gets the gift.

Is what you’re giving beneficial to the receiver? Is it something they need? Oftentimes, what people want is not necessarily what they need. This is why when we ask God for something that does not benefit us, He won’t give it (1 John 5:14). God will not grant our requests that are harmful to us.

Giving Should Be Purposeful

On our part, when we give a gift or present, we don’t give something just for the sake of giving. We should give it some thought. Again, this comes down to our reason or motivation in giving. When we give out of love, we will surely give what we think is best for the recipient.

No matter how expensive your gift might be if it won’t be useful to the one who gets it, it’s useless. On the other hand, even if the gift is somewhat cheap as long as it’s exactly what the person needs, it will be valued and appreciated.

Bottom line is, it’s not the worth that counts but its usefulness.

Final Thoughts

God modeled the true meaning of gift-giving. God has not only given us so much; He’s also given us the greatest gift of all.

God gave us His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And in the person of Jesus Christ, we find salvation, redemption, reconciliation with God, and eternal life (1 John 5:12).

The least we could do to pay back God for all He’s done is to strive to follow our Lord’s example. We are to share that gift with others as well.

So, to recap what God has taught us about gift-giving, remember the acronym P-L-U-S.

Christ's Example of Gift-Giving

 

Recommended Resource: Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ by Timothy Keller

From pastor and New York Times, bestselling author Timothy Keller comes the perfect gift for the Christmas holiday—a profoundly moving and intellectually provocative examination of the nativity story.

Even people who are not practicing Christians think they are familiar with the story of the nativity. Every Christmas displays of Baby Jesus resting in a manger decorate lawns and churchyards, and songs about shepherds and angels fill the air.

Yet despite the abundance of these Christian references in popular culture, how many of us have examined the hard edges of this biblical story?

In his new book, Timothy Keller takes readers on an illuminating journey into the surprising background of nativity.

By understanding the message of hope and salvation within the Bible’s account of Jesus’ birth, readers will experience the redeeming power of God’s grace in a deeper and more meaningful way.