Category: Theology

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.

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.

Understanding the Spirit World

Understanding the Spirit World

The spirit realm is real even when many people do not believe it is. This is why we need to have a deeper understanding of the spirit world. What is the doctrine of the spirit world and why does it matter?

The Reality of the Spirit Realm

The spirit world is that invisible realm inhabited by holy angels who actively serve God by ministering to the believers (Hebrews 1:14). But it is occupied by Satan’s demonic forces who oppose God and continuously wage war against God’s people (Ephesians 6:12).

We do not wrestle against flesh and blood

Have you noticed that things in our world aren’t always as they seem? One of the primary reasons why is the fact that Satan and his followers exist. We need to understand that the challenge for every Christian is far greater than merely dealing with the visible details of life.

The believer’s primary struggle for well-being is not only dependent on their flesh-and-blood relationships. Rather, it also involves unseen friends and enemies.

Angels: God’s Servants

The Bible tells us explicitly that angels are created spirit beings (Hebrews 1:14; Psalm 148:1-5). Angels are also endowed with power (Psalm 103:20), have a personality (Luke 1:26-38; 15:10), and do not die (Luke 20:36).

God created angels to worship (Hebrews 1:6) and serve the Lord (Psalm 103:20), and minister to believers (Hebrews 1:14).

Natural observations may not reveal the angels’ importance to us. However, faith in the Word of God assures us that God’s angels often mediate to carry our God’s sovereign acts in our lives.

What’s more astounding is the assurance of the Scriptures that angels do not always remain invisible. Thus, the letter to the Hebrews urges us to not forget to entertain strangers. Because by doing so, some have unwittingly entertained angels (Hebrews 13:2).

Satan and His Demons

Who is Satan? Satan is an especially powerful angel who rebelled against God. Although his act of rebellion is not described directly in the Bible, he is alluded to in Isaiah’s description of the king of Babylon (Isaiah 14:12-15). Ezekiel did the same in Ezekiel 28:11-19 when he referenced the king of Tyre.

The Bible also calls Satan the following names:

  • the devil
  • Lucifer
  • Beelzebub
  • Belial
  • serpent
  • dragon
  • ruler of the world
  • god of this age
  • prince of the power of the air
  • angel of light
  • accuser
  • deceiver
  • tempter
  • liar
  • murderer
  • the evil one

And because of Satan’s constant activity against God and His people, he is a far greater threat to us than any enemy, personal or national.

Be sober, be vigilant

Who are the demons? They are fallen angels who joined Satan in his rebellion. Theologians and Bible scholars believe that about 1/3 of all the angels joined Satan and God drove them away from heaven. Some of these demons are active as members of Satan’s army (Ephesians 6:12) while God locked others up in prison (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6).

These personal agents of Satan’s evil empire can stimulate and arouse the worst capacities and desires within us. Indeed, they don’t make us evil. However, they willingly dominate those who refuse to surrender their hearts and lives to God.

The Activities of Satan

Satan, with the help of his demon followers, plants false Christians among the true (Matthew 13:24-30, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15). He seeks to devour the Lord’s people (1 Peter 5:8) and falsely accuses God’s children (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-5; Zechariah 3:1-10; Revelation 12:10).

Satan also rules over the unsaved world (John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2) and can possess unbelievers (Mark 5:1-13; Acts 5:16). He deceives people through his outright lies (John 8:44) and his cleverly-designed thought systems (Colossians 2:8, 20-23; 1 Timothy 4:1-3).

Christians are constantly interacting with the working of Satan and his minions. Like Peter (Matthew 16:23), we are unaware of God’s ways that even our good intentions can serve Satan’s purposes. It is for this reason that we must continually depend on the Lord’s guidance and leadership.

Christ Defeated Satan and His Forces

Just when Satan thought he was winning, the Lord Jesus broke his power by His death and resurrection (Colossians 2:14-15; Hebrews 2:14-15).

Today, the devil and his forces operate as defeated foes. They know they are doomed to the lake of fire (Matthew 8:29; Revelation 20:10). This is why they are working double time to mislead and deceive God’s people.

We must keep in mind that God has already determined Satan’s final outcome. His predetermined fate is a terrible reality that should help us to avoid either carelessness or despair.

Colossians 2:15, NIV

Defeating Satan

How do Christians defeat Satan? Those who have placed their trust in Christ can overcome Satan in their daily lives by:

  • submitting to God and resisting the devil (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9)
  • being aware of his strategy and avoiding the sins that give him a foothold in our lives (1 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 2:10-11; 1 Timothy 3:6-7; Ephesians 4:26-27)
  • putting on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-18)
  • rejecting all forms of occult activity such as magic, witchcraft, and spiritism (Leviticus 19:26, 31; 20:6, 27; Deuteronomy 18:10-12; Micah 5:12; Isaiah 8:19)

Conclusion

Satan and his demon followers are real and they dominate the spirit realm.

Many of us may have experienced his attacks and suffered his wrath. This leads to the question, “Why is God allowing His people to go through Satan’s schemes and tactics? Why does Satan still have a hold on the believer’s life?”

Jesus already defeated Satan; He has won the victory. Satan seems to be winning now but his fate has already been sealed. He is destined to suffer in the lake of fire together with his followers.

If you haven’t accepted God’s gift of salvation, now is the time to do it. Acknowledge you’re a sinner, confess your sins, and receive God’s forgiveness.

Surrender your life to God and live for His glory while waiting for Christ‘s promised return.


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

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Spiritual Warfare in the End Times by Ron Rhodes

Spiritual Warfare in the End Times by Ron RhodesUnderstand the Battle Before You Enter It

When you think about the end times, you’ve probably already considered the rapture, the tribulation, and the Antichrist. But are you prepared for the spiritual warfare that is already escalating around us as we draw closer to the final days?

Now more than ever, it is essential to equip yourself with God’s truth so you can stand against the encroaching darkness.

In Spiritual Warfare in the End Times, bestselling prophecy author Ron Rhodes powerfully exposes Satan’s most destructive and effective tools of spiritual injury—and the means of rendering them ineffective.

Though Satan will always want to diminish your capacity to serve in God’s kingdom, God promises you’ll never fight him alone.

Spiritual Warfare in the End Times will provide you with all you need for victory both now and in the future.

What is the Doctrine of God?

What is the Doctrine of God?

Christianity is not the only worldview that believes in the existence of God. But what makes Christianity different is its fundamental beliefs on who God is. This is where the importance of the doctrine of God comes in.

Without a stern knowledge of the God of the Bible, we can easily become vulnerable to the doctrines of demons. It is for this reason that we need foundations of doctrine based not on tradition but on Scripture.

Who is God?

The God of the Bible, the Christians God, is Yahweh. He is the one (Deuteronomy 6:4), ultimate (Psalm 97:9; Isaiah 40:12-31), and eternal being (Psalm 90:2). God is the creator (Genesis 1:1), who rules (Psalm 115:3) and sustains all that exists (Job 38:1-41; Acts 7:24-28).

I am the Lord, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me.

There may be countless substitutes who divert worship to themselves. But there is only one Creator and Savior – God. He is the life-giver who deserves our gratitude. God controls every heartbeat and circumstance; He alone deserves our trust when it comes to our family and finances.

It’s because God is eternal that no one will outlive Him. He is the Lord of lords, the King of kings, and the only one in the universe to whom we must finally answer.

How Do We Know God Exists?

We are constantly challenged by atheists, skeptics, and hecklers to prove that there is a God. How do Christians prove the existence of God? This problem is solved in the first verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

The Bible is not a textbook that attempts to prove the existence of God – the Bible opens with the positive fact that God does exist. The Bible plainly states that it is the fool who denies the existence of God (Psalm 14:1).

Countless apologetic books explain in great detail the various proofs for the existence of God. This includes the following:

  • The wonders of nature witness God’s existence as Creator (Psalm 19:1-4).
  • The inner voice of our conscience testifies to God’s existence as Lawgiver and Judge (Romans 1:18-32; 2:12-16).
  • And the love of Christ reveals God’s existence as Savior and Friend (John 1:1-18; 15:15).

Acceptance of Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God,” leads a sincere seeker into the path of a fuller revelation of God Himself.

God made Himself self-evident. Let us come as children in simple faith, based on the revelation of God in Scripture and nature, believing and trusting Him completely.

Hebrews 11:6, NLT

What is God Like?

The study of God has been the ambition of philosophers for millennia. Some sit and meditate and try to think into the realm of the eternal Being. But the only true knowledge about God can be gained from the Bible.

God is the one and only (Isaiah 44:6), immutable (James 1:17), invisible (Colossians 1:15), infinite (1 Kings 8:27), and perfect (Matthew 5:48) Spirit being (John 4:24). He is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16), loving (1 John 4:8-16), and truthful in all that He does (John 3:33).

God has lived from all eternity as one God in three distinct persons (Matthew 28:19), and at one time He visited us as God in the flesh (John 1:1-14).

One God in Three Persons

The Bible tells us explicitly that there is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4).

So, where do we get the idea that God is one God in three persons? A careful study of the Scriptures will show that God exists in three Persons, that is, a Godhead manifested in three Persons.

The Bible emphasizes the unity of God (Galatians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:5; James 2:19). But it also describes Him as three distinct persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – all of whom are fully and equally God. See Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Hebrews 1:8; 1 Peter 1:2.

But how can God be three Persons and one God at the same time? Would that not make three Gods, resembling pagan philosophy and contradicting Deuteronomy 6:4? The doctrine of the Trinity may be incomprehensible and contrary to reason. Isaiah 55:8-9 teaches that human reason has no bearing in the study of God.

The Trinity remains a mystery and will remain a mystery until we meet the Lord in glory.

God is Infinite

What do we mean when we say that God is infinite?

God is infinite in that He is unlimited (Luke 1:37). He is unrestricted by time, space, or circumstance. He is also eternally timeless (Psalm 90:2; Revelation 22:13), all-powerful (Matthew 19:26), all-knowing (Job 37:16), and omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-12; Matthew 28:20).

Yet, God remains distinct from His creation (Isaiah 40:18-26). He is limited only in the sense that He cannot do anything inconsistent with His own goodness (Titus 1:2; James 1:13).

To say that God is finite means He is vastly different from the gods of the Eastern mystics or Western materialists. Their gods are either so small and self-contradictory or so secular and inclusive. Thus, they cannot be distinguished from cows, rats, scorpions, statues, or human thought.

Read on the natural and moral attributes of God here.

God is the Creator and Sustainer

God is not “a creator” or someone who simply creates. He is “the Creator,” for by Him and through Him, all things were created (Genesis 1:1; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). God created all things out of nothing and has touched everything in His creation directly.

Since God created all things, no one created Him; He alone is the Creator. Satan cannot create; He can only pervert. Humans cannot truly create because they must start with something that has already been created.

God is the Sustainer

God is also described as the Sustainer of all things (Hebrews 1:3, Colossians 1:17). To sustain something means to give it strength, protection, encouragement, and comfort. His sustainment is a holding together with a power that surpasses that of any human (GotQuestions.Org).

God sustains the universe, maintaining the power and balance necessary for life’s existence and continuity. What a comfort to know that the same God who keeps the planets aligned also holds you in His hands

Conclusion

Unfortunately, many are turned off by the term doctrine or theology and consider these two terms boring and useless. But a healthy relationship with God begins with an intellectual knowledge of who He is.

And for our knowledge of God to be accurate, the primary source must be the Bible, God’s special revelation of Himself.


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource: Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth by John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue

Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth by John MacArthurLong-Awaited Systematic Theology by Well-Known Pastor, Author, and President of the Master’s Seminary

Doctrine isn’t just for theologians―it’s important for every Christian because it shows us who God is and how we should live.

Systematizing the robust theology that has undergirded John MacArthur’s well-known preaching ministry for decades, this overview of basic Christian doctrine covers topics such as God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, salvation, and more.

Comprehensive in scope yet written to be accessible to the average reader―with non-technical vocabulary, minimal footnotes, and a helpful bibliography―this volume offers Christians a solid foundation for what they believe and why.

Marriage Manual for Christians

Marriage Manual for Christians

The Bible is full of instructions for husbands and wives. But Peter has a marriage manual for Christians in his epistle. In 1 Peter 3:1-7, Peter devoted more words instructing wives in marriage. In contrast, he packed a single, pointed verse to husbands with a lifetime’s worth of practical wisdom.

These 7 verses provide the basic outline for a healthy marriage. Difficulties in a relationship can usually be traced back to a violation of one or more of these principles by either husband or wife, or both.

Manual for the Wife

We read in chapter 2 that living successfully as a Christian in a hostile world requires submitting to civil society and the workplace. But at the start of chapter 3, Peter added two more places: the family and the local church. Then he went on to give the following plans of action to every Christian wife.

1. Be Submissive

God has commanded authority in homes because in His wisdom this is the best arrangement for a happy, fulfilling marriage. Subjection does not mean that the wife is inferior to the husband. God created both the man and the woman out of the same basic material and made them in His image.

Wives, submit to your husbands

But wives have been given a role that puts them in submission to the headship which resides in their own husbands. Since two people cannot form a democracy, someone in a marriage must have the responsibility for leadership – the husband.

This is not intended to be a “makes all decisions” kind of relationship but the duty to share decision-making. Unless a deadlock occurs, at which time God expects the husband to step up and exercise authority. A man is more likely to give his wife’s perspective serious consideration if he knows that the tough choices will be up to him.

Winning the Unbelieving Husband

It’s important to note that in this particular verse, Peter must be talking to a wife whose husband is an unbeliever. “That even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives (1 Peter 3:1b).”

In Greek culture, women were viewed as lower than men. Thus, a huge potential for conflict and embarrassment in the marriage of a believer and unbeliever was significant. Yet Peter did not urge the Christian wife to leave her husband, preach to her husband, or demand her rights. Instead, Peter admonishes her to respect the authority of her husband.

The loving, gracious submission of a believing wife to her unsaved husband is the strongest evangelistic tool she has.

2. Be Pure and Reverent

Purity or modesty of life with reverence for God is what the unsaved husband should observe consistently. Peter was not condemning all outward adornment. His condemnation is for incessant preoccupation with outward appearance while disregarding one’s character.

De-emphasizing outward appearance does not mean that a wife should neglect herself and not try to be up-to-date in her apparel. It simply means that she should not major in being fashionable just to keep up with the crowd. Any husband is proud of an attractive wife, but that beauty must come from the heart and demeanor, not the store.

Every Christian woman is especially to concentrate on developing that modesty, meekness, and Christ-like character.

3. Have a Gentle & Quiet Spirit

In addition to her submission and modesty, the wife should be gentle (1 Peter 3:4). This is the beauty that never decays, as the outward body does. “Gentle” is actually “meek or humble” and “quiet” describes the character of her action or reaction. How does the wife respond to her husband and life in general?

I once heard the testimony of a Christian woman who has an unbelieving husband. She did not only pray for her husband to come to faith in Christ for years. More importantly, she made sure to treat him with kindness and the utmost respect. Every time her husband restricted her to attend church on Sundays, she obeyed and spent time with him instead.

A Woman's beauty should not come from outward adornment,

This believing wife knew that God would one day convict her husband of his need for a Savior. In the meantime, she continued to love him, prayed for him, and took really good care of him. She never once spoke to him rudely despite his high tone. She believed that “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1, NIV).

Until one day, her husband said he wanted them to go to church together. That did not come as a surprise to her because she knew that God would one day answer her prayer. Her husband gave his life to Christ that day and they continued to serve God, along with their children.

If you are a wife with an unbelieving husband, know that God can and will turn things around. Just be faithful to God and obey His marriage manual.

Manual for the Husband

Although Peter’s marriage manual for husbands is contained in a single verse (1 Peter 3:7), it is quite extensive.

Don’t think that submission is only for the wife. Submission is the responsibility of a Christian husband as well. This does not mean that the husband submits to his wife as a leader. Rather, the believing husband must submit to the loving duty of being sensitive to the needs, fears, and feelings of his wife.

In other words, a Christian husband needs to subordinate his needs to hers, whether she is a Christian or not.

Peter reminded husbands that care for their wives must be practiced in four areas:

1. Emotional (give honor)

This means that a husband respects his wife’s feelings, thoughts, and desires. He may not agree with all her ideas, but he respects and honors her right to speak. He desires her input and recognizes that God can guide him through his wife’s sensitivity and natural cautions.

Women tend to be more emotional especially when they are going through hormonal changes. When this happens, the husband should do his best to accommodate his wife and just let her express herself.

2. Intellectual (with understanding)

Despite the old saw about men not being able to understand women, a husband has the delightful challenge to learn to understand his wife. The husband must pay attention to his wife.

God created men differently from women. While things are often simple when it comes to men, this is not the case with women.

A Christian husband must get to know his wife’s moods, feelings, needs, fears, and hopes. He needs to listen with his heart and seek to approach her always in an understanding way.

Ephesians 5:25, NIV

3. Physical (live together)

This implies much more than sharing the same address. Marriage is fundamentally a physical relationship (Ephesians 5:31). Of course, Christian mates enjoy a deeper spiritual relationship, but the two go together (1 Corinthians 7:1-5). A truly spiritual husband will fulfill his marital duties and love his wife.

While the wife is fully equal in Christ and not inferior spiritually because she is a woman, she is physically weaker. In effect, she requires protection, provision, and strength from her husband.

Marriage is the best relationship earthly life has to offer. Hence, the husband must cultivate companionship and fellowship with his wife, Christian or not.

4. Spiritual (equal partnership in God’s gift)

In the central place of life – access to God in a relationship – both husband and wife have equal standing. This is why when both are growing closer to God they inevitably grow closer together. Praying together and living spiritual lives in harmony are the too-often neglected building blocks of a strong marriage.

The last part of verse 7 talks about the husband’s prayers being hindered. This refers specifically to his prayer for the salvation of his wife. Such a prayer would be hindered if he does not respect her needs and fellowship.

Closing Words

A Christian husband must minister to his wife and help to beautify her in the Lord. A Christian wife must encourage her husband and help him grow strong in the Lord.


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource: Your Marriage God’s Way: A Biblical Guide to a Christ-Centered Relationship by Scott La Pierre 

Your Marriage God’s Way: A Biblical Guide to a Christ-Centered Relationship by Scott LaPierreCelebrate the Marriage God Made for You

Your most important earthly connection is with your spouse, and when you honor the person you married, you’re also honoring God. He created marriage to be one of life’s greatest gifts, and the instruction manual you need for a joyful, lasting union is found in His Word.

In Your Marriage God’s Way, author and pastor, Scott LaPierre, takes a close look at the principles for building a biblical marriage—one in which your relationship with Christ brings guidance and blessing into your relationship with your spouse. You’ll gain the tools to…

  • understand the unique roles and responsibilities of husbands and wives
  • recognize and resolve the conflicts you face with a heart of hope and compassion
  • follow God’s worthy command to love and cherish your spouse unconditionally

Whether you’re at the beginning of your journey or you’ve been on the road together for years, Your Marriage God’s Way will provide the helpful and encouraging insights you need to experience marriage as God intends it.

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).


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

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.

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.”


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource:

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!

The Spiritual Gifts in the Bible

The Spiritual Gifts in the Bible

1 Corinthians 12:1-11 focuses on spiritual gifts in the church. What are these spiritual gifts and do they still exist today?

Spiritual gifts are divine enablements for ministry that the Holy Spirit gives in some measure to all believers. They literally mean spiritual qualities or characteristics that are under the control of the Spirit. And these gifts are used for the building of the church for the glory of Christ (Romans 12:4-8).

Do Not Be Led Astray

Notice how the apostle Paul warned the church about being carried away by some idols (1 Corinthians 12:2-3). Incredibly, some church members were mimicking certain dramatic and bizarre practices in their old religion called ecstasy.

This practice is said to be the highest expression of religious experience. It involved supposed supernatural interaction with a deity, induced through frenzied hypnotic chants and ceremonies. The practice of ecstasy frequently included drunkenness and sexual orgies, to which the devotees willfully yielded themselves to sin.

Romans 12:6a

The Spirit Will Not Curse Jesus

To call somebody accursed is the most severe kind of condemnation. Some members of the Corinthian church were fleshly and given over to ecstasies that were controlled by demons.

In that condition, they claimed to be prophesying or teaching in the Spirit while demonically blaspheming the name of the Lord. They were condemning the very same Jesus whom they were supposed to be worshiping. These Corinthian believers had been judging the use of gifts based on experience and not content.

We know that Satan will always assault the person of Christ. Thus, the one cursing Christ could be a pagan claiming to be a Christian. All along, he was holding to a philosophy that all matter was evil, including the human Jesus.

Truth be told – Jesus is Lord. Anyone who affirms the lordship of Jesus has the truth from the Holy Spirit. For the Spirit will never call Jesus accursed! What a person says and believes about Jesus Christ is the test of whether he speaks from the Holy Spirit.

This is why 1 John 4:1 says we are to test every spirit whether they are of God. He who has the Holy Spirit always leads people to Christ’s lordship.

The Different Spiritual Gifts

Contrary to what some people think, these diversities of giftedness are not natural talents, skills, or abilities. These are sovereignly and supernaturally bestowed by the Holy Spirit on all believers. The Spirit gives these gifts to enable believers to spiritually edify each other effectively and thus honor the Lord.

There are two general types of gifts: speaking and serving. Included in the gift of speaking or verbal are prophecy, knowledge, wisdom, teaching, and exhortation. The gift of serving or non-verbal includes leadership, help, giving, mercy, faith, and discernment. All these gifts are permanent and will operate throughout the church age.

Some believers may be gifted categorically similar to others but are personally unique as the Spirit suits each gift to the individual.

Wisdom

In the New Testament, “wisdom” is most often used for the ability to understand God’s Word and His will. This also enables the believer to skillfully apply that understanding to life.

I sometimes read discussions between Christians who have minor theological disagreements. And I find it rather amusing that both of them accuse each other of not having the Holy Spirit. This kind of argument is unhealthy as it often creates division among the follower of Christ.

Difference between Knowledge and Wisdom

Word of Knowledge

In the first century, the gift of knowledge has been revelatory. But today, it refers to the ability to understand and speak God’s truth, with insight into the mysteries of His Word. It is important to emphasize that these cannot be known apart from God’s revelation (Romans 16:25; Ephesians 3:3; Colossians 1:26; 2:2; 4:3).

How is knowledge different from wisdom? Knowledge majors on grasping the meaning of the truth; wisdom emphasizes the practical conviction and conduct that applies to it.

It’s not enough to have the gift of wisdom. You may understand God’s Word but if you do not know how to apply it, then it does not matter much.

Faith

This gift is distinct from saving faith or persevering faith, which all believers possess. The gift of faith (1 Corinthians 12:9a) is exercised in persistent prayer and endurance in intercession. It is coupled with a strong trust in God amid difficult circumstances.

Why do you think some believers start losing hope that God hears their prayers? It’s because they stopped believing that God hears them. Having the gift of faith spells all the difference. No matter how bad things may look, our faith enables us to persevere in prayer.

Healing

The gift of healing is one of the subjects of disagreement among Christians. Some claim this is a temporary sign gift that was limited to the apostles. While others say it continues to manifest today and will cease when Christ returns.

The fact remains that God hears and answers the prayers of the righteous (James 5:13-16).

Miracles

Again, some theologians claim this is a temporary sign gift to authenticate Christ and the apostolic preachers of the gospel. For instance, Acts 2:22 affirms that Jesus did miracles to “attest” that God was working through Him so that people would believe Him.

Whether the gift of miracles has ceased is a matter of dispute. One thing we need to know and be assured of is that God can still do miracles today if He wills to. God is not limited by what we think and believe. The Lord our God is all-powerful; there is nothing He can’t do for nothing is too difficult for Him (Jeremiah 32:27).

Prophecy

The meaning of the word is simply that of “speaking forth,” or “proclaiming publicly.” This connotes that it was added sometime in the Middle Ages.

Since the completion of Scripture, prophecy has not been a means of new revelation. Rather, it is limited to proclaiming what has already been revealed in the written Word. Even the biblical prophets were preachers, proclaimers of God’s truth by revelation and reiteration.

The best definition of this gift is given in 1 Corinthians 14:3 while its importance is in 1 Corinthians 14:1, 39. Its supremacy over other gifts, especially tongues is the theme of 1 Corinthians chapter 14.

2 Peter 1:20-21, NKJV

Distinguishing of Spirits

Satan is the great deceiver (John 8:44) and his demons counterfeited God’s message and work. Christians with the gift of discernment have the God-given ability to recognize lying spirits and to identify deceptive and erroneous doctrines.

In Acts 16:16-18, Paul illustrated the use of this gift, as Peter exercised it in Acts 5:3. When the believers in Corinth were not exercising it, grave distortion of the truth occurred (1 Corinthians 12:3; 14:29).

Although its operation has changed since apostolic times, because of the completion of Scripture, it is still essential to have people with this gift. They are the guardians, the watchmen who protect the church from demonic lies and false doctrines,

As it requires diligent study of the Word to exercise the gifts of knowledge, wisdom, preaching, and teaching, so it does with discernment.

Tongues and Interpretation

The gift of tongues was identified in Acts 2:5-12 as languages that validated the gospel as divine. These languages were given by the Spirit as a sign of judgment to unbelieving Israel.

However, there’s another kind of speaking in tongues discussed by Paul in chapter 14 of 1 Corinthians. Although he said it would be more beneficial to prophesy than to speak in tongues, Paul did not deny this gift is of the Spirit.

Anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but God (1 Corinthians 14:2). Paul recognized that, normally, when someone spoke in tongues, no one else could understand him. The reason is simple: with the gift of tongues, the intention is to speak to God and not man. Therefore, it is fine if no one understands him because God understands him.

When no one understands the “tongue’s” speaker, it does not mean it isn’t a language, or that they are merely speaking “gibberish.” It means they speak in the spirit and that they speak mysteries.

But Paul emphasized that it would be better if the speaker could interpret what he said so that the church may be edified (1 Corinthians 14:5, 13). The goal must be a mutual benefit at church meetings. If there must be tongues, they must be interpreted, so there can be edification.

The Same God at Work

God gives every believer unique ministry arenas in which to fulfill their giftedness. He also provides varieties of power to energize and accomplish them.

No matter what the gift, ministry, or effect, all spiritual gifts are from the Holy Spirit. They make Him known, understood, and evident in the church, and the world, by spiritually profiting all who receive their ministry.

Final Words

While stressing the diversity of gifts, Paul also stressed the singular source – the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:11). He distributes them not according to our will but as the Spirit of God wills it.

Why would He choose to give a particular gift at a particular moment? The larger reasons may not be apparent, but the goal of the Holy Spirit’s work is always to glorify Jesus and to build His nature and character in us.

The Holy Spirit distributes and we receive.


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Recommended Resource: The Holy Spirit – Spiritual Gifts: Amazing Power for Everyday People by Susan Rohrer

The Holy Spirit - Spiritual Gifts: Amazing Power for Everyday People by Susan Rohrer Do You Want to Experience God’s Power in Your Everyday Life?

We sit in our pews and hear about the awesome power of God the Father. Also, we marvel at the miracles of Jesus. Then off we go, never expecting those supernatural spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit to flow through us in the here and now.

That’s exactly what this author did, until one day she was confronted with a stunning possibility: that miracles of biblical proportions can and do still happen, even in the lives of the humblest among us. Even you.

The challenge? It meant getting to know the Holy Spirit, that enigmatic Third Person of the Trinity she’d heard so little about in traditional teaching. It meant braving controversy about spiritual gifts, searching the Scriptures, and venturing into new waters in faith.

This scripturally referenced how-to book with workbook-style applications is ideal for individual or group Bible Study, geared at building a highly accessible, scriptural foundation for the Person and supernatural spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Appointed to Die Once

Appointed to Die Once

One reality that nobody could escape is death. The Bible says we are all appointed to die once and after that the judgment. There comes a time when Christians and non-Christians alike will give an account to God on how they lived.

Bible Verse: Hebrews 9:27

“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.”

I used to hear people ask, “What is something you know but at the same time you do not know.”

Tricky question, isn’t it? Think about it; you know for certain it will happen but you don’t know exactly when.

Psalm 90:10, NIV

Death and Judgment

To die once is a general rule for all mankind. There have been very rare exceptions. For instance, Lazarus died twice (John 11:43-44). Those, like Lazarus, who was raised from the dead by a miraculous act, died a second time.

Another exception will be those who don’t die even once, but who will be caught up at the Rapture  (1Thessalonians 4:17). Then there’s Enoch (Genesis 5:24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:11) who did not die but were taken up alive.

The word judgment is a general term encompassing the judgment of all people; believers and unbelievers. Those who are in Christ will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). Unbelievers, on the other hand, will face God at the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15).

The Uncertainty of Life

How many people know when they will die? Some die in an accident. Others die from a long-drawn-out illness. Still, others have their life taken from them.

Nobody knows how long we will live on this earth, hence the reason why life is uncertain. We do not know what a day will bring.

In James 4:14, the Lord’s brother exposes the presumptuous folly of the practical atheists he condemned. These people thought they knew what the future holds for them. But it’s God alone who knows what will happen tomorrow or the day after.

When James said, “life is like a vapor,” he is referring to either a puff of smoke or one’s breath that appears for a moment in cold air. It stresses the transitory nature of life. See James 1:10; Job 7:6-7; 9:25-26; 14:1-2; Psalm 39:5, 11; 62:9; 89:47; 90:5-6, 10.

James 4:14, NKJV

Preparing for Eternity

Are you prepared for eternity? How many people are prepared to meet God?

Since there is nothing more sure than death and taxes, how are you preparing for eternity? Or are you just wasting your time?

Every person has a finite amount of time. So, use it wisely. Don’t use your time to glorify yourself. Rather, use it to glorify God. God wants His creation to glorify Him. Sadly, most people in this world want to do their own thing.

Hence, the consequence of disobeying God is found in Hebrew 9:27.

No two people indeed disobey God the same way, but that does not mean anyone is good compared to God. Jesus said in Matthew 19:17 that none is inherently good except God. We are all sinners before God, hence the reason why we all face judgment after we die.

Have you taken care of that sin debt before God by repenting and asking for forgiveness through the finished payment of Jesus Christ? If not, why not now?

Closing Words

For those of us that are saved, are you spreading this glorious news that Jesus came to save sinners? Are we using our finite amount of time to glorify ourselves or God?

Jesus is coming. Can you honestly say that you are prepared to meet Him? Romans 12:1-2 says we are to sacrifice our will to do God’s will; are doing just that?

Too many Christians look at salvation as fire insurance rather than a lifestyle change. When we glorify ourselves over glorifying God, we are acting just like unbelievers.

Do you believe that is what God wants for us? Absolutely not! Jesus died to make us new as 2 Corinthians 5:17 says. Are we living like that is true?


Recommended Resource: 

Preparing for Heaven: What Dallas Willard Taught Me About Living, Dying, and Eternal Life by Gary Black Jr.

Preparing for Heaven: What Dallas Willard Taught Me About Living, Dying, and Eternal Life by Gary Black Jr.In his acclaimed books, renowned writer, speaker, and philosophy professor Dallas Willard explored the nature of Christian life in God’s Kingdom.

Yet one topic remained undisclosed: Willard’s understanding of heaven and eternal life. In the months before his death, Willard engaged in moving and insightful conversations about the meaning of life and the life to come with close friend and theologian Gary Black Jr.

These inspiring dialogues were steeped in biblical theology as well as practical wisdom grounded in the here-and-now.

In, Preparing for Heaven, Black reveals not only Willard’s profound and liberating vision of life after death, but he also deftly unpacks the implications these realities hold for our lives today.

Black shows how Willard understood our mortal lives as preparation for what comes next—that death is not the end of one life and the beginning of another, but rather a transition through which we continue the transformational work begun on Earth.

Informative, challenging, and poignant, Willard and Black’s conversations and insights challenge us to reconsider our beliefs—that perhaps the line separating the afterlife from this life is not as absolute as we think, and that there is work to be done both now and in the glorious life to come.

As a result, we will find that our faith is more vibrant—and eternal—than we have dared to imagine.

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).


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource:

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.