Articles (Page 2)

Articles (Page 2)

What Does it Mean to Believe in Christ?

To believe in Christ is to whole-heartedly, with mind and life, buy into the supreme value and status of Christ along with the system of truth and way of life He represents. Trust, or faith in Him, who has alone done what is necessary for our forgiveness and complete salvation now and forever, is a main tenet of that system. If a person says he believes in Christ, yet does not demonstrate that he has bought in fully through his…

Seeking Assurance?

The “security of the believer” is the unchanging objective reality that God has forgiven us and has accepted us through Jesus Christ forever. The “assurance of the believer” is the sometimes shifting subjective confidence that God has forgiven us and has accepted us through Jesus Christ. Do you have assurance? And do you have good reason to have it? Faith is assurance, true, yet the faith of real believers is sometimes weak allowing doubts for a variety of reasons. An…

Tolerance Trouble

The Corinthian church boasted about its tolerance of the incestuous man who was permitted to retain membership and acceptance within the Corinthian church. They were congratulating themselves for such open-mindedness when they should have been weeping. Their tolerance was beyond even what Roman law allowed. “We should note that under Roman law both this man and his stepmother would be sentenced to exile on an island, his possessions would be confiscated, and his social status would be repealed.” (Schnabel: Paul…

Missionary or Missionary Worker?

Missionaries must have other workers, long and short term, to assist. Many of these will naturally come from among those who show promise as converts through the missionary’s efforts. Paul, though perhaps exceptional in his management skills, had 38 whose names appear as likely assistants at various times. He was always traveling and laboring with a coterie of faithful helpers. There could have been even more! Some of Paul’s workers were women (18%, according to Schnabel, p. 251), although no…

He’ll Stand

The following words by Paul the Apostle make for tangible peace between sincerely conscientious Christians who differ in convictions: “Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand” (Romans 14:4). A true believer will ultimately stand justified before God, regardless of differences in those matters about which God has chosen to give no definitive command. In such areas we…

Law Confusion

It is an often repeated mistake for Bible readers to assume that “the works of the Law” means any good work or act of obedience to God. However, Paul appears to mean by this term in his first century context “the externalities of the Mosaic Law”. If someone said, “You have to be circumcised to be saved, and obey Old Covenant separation laws, feast days and dietary restrictions” he would be talking about what hopeful Gentile converts in the first…

Stop Talking So Much…And Other Tips for Leading a Small Group Bible Study

I meet with a small group of men once a week early in the morning primarily to study the Bible. We read and dialogue about a portion of Scripture. Typically, we walk through one Bible book at a time, examining a section each week. Though I am the leader, I almost never prepare for this meeting. I am a firm believer in preparation; it’s just that this meeting is different. I arrive ready to open our Bibles, to read the…

Incorporation into Christ: The Mystery in Ephesians

I was a teenager when I experienced my first revelation as a reader of Paul’s letters. It was as if Ananias had once again stepped off the street called Straight and opened my eyes. What I saw was very simple and (I have since found out) already discovered by many before me: Paul wrote very often about Jew-born and Gentile-born believers and how they become a unified church through the gospel. “So that’s why he talks so much about things…

Living By the Prophet’s Words

Prophets like Moses and Paul, John and Isaiah had amazing encounters with the Lord. But we are to step out in faith without having similar experiences. You should not expect that God has to prove that what has been written is required of us by an additional vision, appearance, voice, or impression. We shouldn’t say, “I won’t take this step unless I have special revelation from God,” but must obey what God has made known to the prophet-writers of the…

Jesus and Joseph

Like Jesus, Joseph was the special son of his father, beloved; like Jesus, Joseph was hated because his father loved him and because of his words and predictions of future authority; like Jesus, Joseph was plotted against; like Jesus, Joseph was stripped of a wonderful tunic, made bloody; like Jesus, Joseph was sold for silver; like Jesus, Joseph was taken to Egypt; like Jesus, Joseph was falsely accused; like Jesus, Joseph was given authority after humility; like Jesus, Joseph began…

Why Is God Angry With Us?

I have at times felt uncomfortable with the idea that God is angry at humankind. I mean that the harshness of it sometimes feels unfair. The feeling comes when I read things like the conquest of Canaan or the graphic predictions of judgments that God would bring on Israel. But most of all, eternal torment is almost impossible for me to think about without real terror and revulsion. Could anything someone does in these moments on earth deserve that? My…

What is the Gospel? A Look at the Message in Acts

What serious Bible reader hasn’t been a bit surprised by the way the apostles in Acts proclaim the gospel message? “Well, that’s not quite the way I would have done it,” he muses, turning the page. That’s at least how I began to reflect on the question “What is the gospel?” a few years ago. Now it seems to me that this is a highly important topic. Christianity (or “the Way,” if we’re going to be Acts-ian) has been very…