The Gospel and the Christian Life

How to Reach Our Progressive Friends

Several years ago, I went through an intense time of doubt after my faith was rocked in a class led by a pastor who admitted he was an agnostic and who would later identify himself as a “progressive Christian.” At the time, I had never heard of progressive...

Five Attributes of God and Their Meaning in Scripture

The Eternity of God Revelation 1:8 supports God’s sovereignty with three statements, the first of which expresses the eternity of God: “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God.” God reigns over all since He is before and after all things. “The Alpha and the...

8 New Testament Passages That Support a Historical Adam and Eve

Luke 3:38 In one of the two New Testament genealogies of Jesus, Luke identifies Jesus as “the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli” (Luke 3:23). Luke proceeds to trace Jesus’s descent back to “Adam, the son of God”: Jesus, when he began his ministry, was...

Practice Makes Progress

God intends for us to grow. Peter reminds us that, “like newborn infants,” we should “desire the...

Cut Off

Genesis 17:14, “Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall...

Why We Need the Puritans

Who the Puritans Really Were Horse racing is said to be the sport of kings. The sport of slinging...

Native and Foreigner

Native and Foreigner

Genesis 17:11-13, “You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or...

10 Things You Should Know about the Book of Revelation

10 Things You Should Know about the Book of Revelation

1. Revelation is not hard to understand. Revelation is a book that many people avoid, convinced that it is too hard to interpret and understand. Certainly there are some challenges to rightly interpreting some of its vivid imagery and plentiful symbolism. It is a...

Keep My Covenant

Keep My Covenant

Genesis 17:8-9, “And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.” 9 And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your...

Nations and Kings

Nations and Kings

Genesis 17:6-7, “I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be...

Abraham

Abraham

Genesis 17:3-5, “Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, 4 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of...

Your Access Point into the Doctrine of Scripture Is Jesus

Your Access Point into the Doctrine of Scripture Is Jesus

People of the Book Why do Christians take the Bible so seriously? Despite some variety in how they might frame their doctrine of Scripture, debates about its nature and function, and differences in their understanding of particular passages and what emphasis should be...

Walk Before Me

Walk Before Me

Genesis 17:1-2, “When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, 2 that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” Abram displayed a lack of faith in...

A God of Seeing

A God of Seeing

Genesis 16:13-16, “So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered. 15 And Hagar bore Abram...

An Open Letter to the College Student Facing Weighty Decisions

An Open Letter to the College Student Facing Weighty Decisions

Dear College Student, College is often depicted as a time of great freedom and discovery, and rightly so. In both Western culture and the modern educational system, it seems like all roads lead to the college experience. Elementary school prepares you for middle...

The LORD Has Listened

The LORD Has Listened

Genesis 16:11-12, “And the angel of the Lord said to her, “Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael,[a] because the Lord has listened to your affliction. 12 He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and...

The Angel of the LORD

The Angel of the LORD

Genesis 16:7-10, “The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. 8 And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” 9 The...

4 Reasons We Avoid the Book of Revelation

4 Reasons We Avoid the Book of Revelation

1. We’re afraid we won’t be able to understand it. Revelation is filled with strange creatures, other-worldly imagery, and scenes that we find difficult to imagine and decipher. It demands that we use our imaginations, and we’re not really used to doing that when...

In Your Power

In Your Power

Genesis 16:4-6, “And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. 5 And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she...

An Open Letter to Pro-Life Christians

An Open Letter to Pro-Life Christians

Dear Pro-Life Christian Brothers and Sisters, I feel your palpable energy and pent-up hope and prayers that are on the cusp of being answered in the probable overturn of Roe v. Wade. In your rejoicing and praising Jesus, don’t forget to be Jesus to those who see this...

Sarai Took Hagar

Sarai Took Hagar

Genesis 16:2-3, “And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. 3 So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of...

Enjoying Our Lifelong Union with Christ in the Midst of Grief

Enjoying Our Lifelong Union with Christ in the Midst of Grief

October 13, 2021, will be a day I will remember until I go to be with the Lord. It was a day that my dear mentor, my adopted big brother (and me, his little brother), and one of my former pastors Mike Beaudin, went to be with the Lord. To say that the almost seven...

A Female Servant

A Female Servant

Genesis 16:1, “Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar.” In our study of faith over the past few days we noted how the real test of fidelity is not whether we will believe in but whether we will...

On That Day

On That Day

Genesis 15:18-21, “On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give[a] this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, 19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the...

“One Another” Ministry for the Homebound (Part 2)

“One Another” Ministry for the Homebound (Part 2)

“One Another” Ministry for the Homebound (Part 2)[1] From 2020 to 2022, Christians faced Covid-19 lockdowns and connected online from separate homes. Many worldwide still faced harsh governmental restrictions or the threat of persecution. Yet these circumstances do...

Not Yet Complete

Not Yet Complete

Genesis 15:14-16, “But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. 16 And they shall come back here in the...

Fearing the Almighty

Fearing the Almighty

Fearing the Almighty The fear of the Lord is an important concept throughout the storyline of Scripture. Solomon saw the wisdom in fearing God when he said, "The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death" (Proverbs 14:27)....

Captivity Promised

Captivity Promised

Genesis 15:12-13, “As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants...

Can We Reshape Ourselves into Whatever We Want?

Can We Reshape Ourselves into Whatever We Want?

The Plausibility of Self-Creation The idea that we can be who or whatever we want to be is commonplace today. Consumerism, or late capitalism, fuels this notion with its message of the customer as king and of the goods we consume as being basic to who we are....

Over Against the Other

Over Against the Other

Genesis 15:9-11, “He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not...

Abram’s Question

Abram’s Question

Genesis 15:7-8, “And he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.” 8 But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” Immediately following the commendation of Abram’s faith in...

Is My Favorite Author, Speaker, or Pastor a Progressive Christian?

Is My Favorite Author, Speaker, or Pastor a Progressive Christian?

Have you ever been listening to your favorite Christian podcast, only to be stopped in your tracks by a confusing statement the speaker makes about the Bible? Have you uncomfortably shifted in your pew as your pastor preaches a sermon that seems to cast a negative...

Three Tips For Understanding the Book of Revelation

Three Tips For Understanding the Book of Revelation

I’m currently in the “last days” of teaching a bible study on the book of Revelation. I started the study somewhat hesitantly, knowing there are many wild interpretations of difficult passages. However, throughout the study, I’ve been constantly encouraged and blessed...

Number the Stars

Number the Stars

Genesis 15:4-5, “And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son[a] shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said...

Don’t Overthink Evangelism

Don’t Overthink Evangelism

I am an unashamed golfer. I grew up around the game and began playing competitively by age 6. For the longest time, it’s all I ever knew. Golf has always been my favorite sport, from the feeling you get when you hit a perfect shot to draining a long putt. For the...

Abram Desires an Heir

Abram Desires an Heir

Genesis 15:2-3, “But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue[a] childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” In the New...

Abram’s Shield

Abram’s Shield

Genesis 15:1, “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” Having finished our study of the various face-to-face encounters people had with Jesus, encounters like the one the...

Blessed Be Abram

Blessed Be Abram

Genesis 14:17-20, “After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley). 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was...

10 Things You Should Know about Priesthood in the Bible

10 Things You Should Know about Priesthood in the Bible

1. The Edenic origin of the priesthood. In Eden, God created mankind in his image to reflect his glory. In this setting, God crowned man with glory and honor (Ps. 8:5), authorized him to subdue and rule (Gen. 1:28), and gave him priestly instructions for serving in...

Melchizedek Blesses Abraham

Melchizedek Blesses Abraham

Genesis 4:17-20, “Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad fathered Mehujael, and Mehujael fathered Methushael, and Methushael...

Don’t Give Up On Reading the Bible

Don’t Give Up On Reading the Bible

We recently took the training wheels off my son's bike. After a few falls, he wanted to quit and put the training wheels back on. I imagine Bible reading can feel similar. In January, we resolved to read the Bible. A couple of months later, we might look at how many...

The Trinity Transforms the Church into a Community of Love

The Trinity Transforms the Church into a Community of Love

Defining the Church Every generation struggles with devising a thoroughly biblical definition of the church. Previous generations defined the church through ecclesiastical hierarchies, while others shaped their characterization of the church around her distinct...

Abram Rescues Lot

Abram Rescues Lot

Genesis 14:13-16, “13 Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and of Aner. These were allies of Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his...

What Percent of God is Good?

What Percent of God is Good?

What Percent of God is Good? Recently I heard a wonderful and inspiring story of a young man who, during a routine physical, was sent immediately to the hospital to investigate a knot on his collar bone. After extensive testing, it was determined that there was a 99%...

Lot’s Kidnapping

Lot’s Kidnapping

Genesis 14:8-12, “8 Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out, and they joined battle in the Valley of Siddim 9 with Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king...

The Holy Spirit, Our Helper and Beautifier

The Holy Spirit, Our Helper and Beautifier

The Ministry of the Spirit Any discussion on the church would be severely lacking without a close look at the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Without him, the church would never have been founded. Godly leaders would never have been called, believers added,...

Kingly Conflict

Kingly Conflict

Genesis 14:1-7, “In the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, 2 these kings made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king...

What are Collects?

What are Collects?

Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live (Psalm 116:2 NASB). What is a collect? [Ka’-lect: a gathering prayer with a set sequence of movements based on Scripture. The collect movements include: Humbly calling on the...

Abram Moved His Tent

Abram Moved His Tent

Genesis 13:14-18, “14 The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring...

Abram Settled

Abram Settled

Genesis 13:8-13, “8 Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen.[a] 9 Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the...

Lament and the Goodness of God

Lament and the Goodness of God

Over the past six months, I’ve been going through deep grief, been in biblical counseling for the last three months, and have been sitting on this article since writing it about two weeks after a dear friend and mentor died. See, six months ago today, a very dear...

Social Media Is Discipling You

Social Media Is Discipling You

Our Context Shapes Us ​​On a recent hike in Colorado’s famous Garden of the Gods, my brisk pace was halted by a tree. I saw it when I emerged from the woods: a solitary evergreen, jutting out of the expanse of red sandstone. On one side of the tree were all its limbs,...

There Was Strife

There Was Strife

Genesis 13:5-7, “And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, 6 so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, 7 and there was strife between the herdsmen...

Scripture Is Sufficient for Soul Care

Scripture Is Sufficient for Soul Care

No matter what kind of ministry the Spirit of God calls any of us to, we may be profoundly thankful for the sufficiency of the Word to accomplish His soul-edifying work. This is true because of the unique qualities of Scripture. Hebrews 4:12-13 uncovers the power of...

The Return to Canaan

The Return to Canaan

Genesis 13:1-4, “So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb. 2 Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. 3 And he journeyed on from the Negeb as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had...

The Gospel According to Sinners

The Gospel According to Sinners

We have all been troubled by stories from those who have been abused or betrayed by the church. Sometimes these anecdotes stymie us as we try to share the gospel. When I hear these stories, a scene from the Bible reels through my mind: When Jesus was in the Garden of...

Take Her and Go

Take Her and Go

Genesis 12:17-20, “ But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife. 18 So Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my...

Theology Helps Christians Mature in Christ

Theology Helps Christians Mature in Christ

Now that we’ve answered the questions, “What is theology?” and “How do I engage in theology?” in my first article, we turn to the question, “Why is theology for all of life?” It’s a question of equal importance, but not less than the other questions. Theology is not...

Down to Egypt

Down to Egypt

Genesis 12:10-16, “Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. 11 When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, 12 and...

Abram Went

Abram Went

Genesis 12:4-9, “So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people...

Knowledge of God Authenticates and Fuels Worship

Knowledge of God Authenticates and Fuels Worship

Theology is the study of God. Christian theology is concerned with understanding God, who has revealed himself in the sixty-six books that constitute God's reliable, trustworthy, clear, and authoritative Word for every phase and sphere of life. No theology can exhaust...

The First Book of Moses

The First Book of Moses

Genesis 12:1-3, “Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I...

Three Critical Pillars That Support Scripture’s Reliability

Three Critical Pillars That Support Scripture’s Reliability

Three critical pillars support confidence in Scripture’s reliability, the first of which is inerrancy. Inerrancy A fundamental feature of inerrancy that needs to be embraced is infallibility. This means that the Scriptures are exempt from error; they are unfailing....

The Lord Said to Abram

The Lord Said to Abram

Genesis 12:1-9, “Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I...

Four Reasons to Read the Bible

Four Reasons to Read the Bible

Every Christian knows the importance of Bible reading and desires to read the Bible better. However, most Christians read the Bible less today than in previous generations. A friend told me once that he wrestles with why he should read the Bible. It was hard to...

The Call of Abram

The Call of Abram

Genesis 12:1-9, “Now the Lord said[a] to Abram, “Go from your countryand your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I...

The Abrahamic Covenant

The Abrahamic Covenant

Genesis 12:1-2, “Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” Our...

From Ur to Haran

From Ur to Haran

Genesis 11:27-32, “Now these are the generations of Terah. Terah fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran fathered Lot. 28 Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his kindred, in Ur of the Chaldeans. 29 And Abram and Nahor took wives. The name...

Walk the Old Paths and Enjoy Following Another’s Footsteps

Walk the Old Paths and Enjoy Following Another’s Footsteps

Enjoy Walking the old Roads I was part of my church for years without a drop of angst. However, after a couple of months into my pastoral ministry training, I started questioning everything we were doing. I could only see the flaws in our ministries, and I believed,...

The Generations of Shem

The Generations of Shem

Genesis 11:10-26, “These are the generations of Shem. When Shem was 100 years old, he fathered Arpachshad two years after the flood. 11 And Shem lived after he fathered Arpachshad 500 years and had other sons and daughters. 12 When Arpachshad had lived 35 years, he...

Rest for Your Soul

Rest for Your Soul

I remember what it felt like as a child needing comfort and receiving it. To hear my mother say, “Come here” when I was hurting and relaxing in the rest of her arms. Even if my need arose from something I had done wrong, I found welcome and respite from my distress in...

The Tower of Babel

The Tower of Babel

Genesis 11:1-9, “Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they...

The Table of Nations

The Table of Nations

Genesis 10 offers us the table of nations. These genealogical lists trace the descendants of Noah’s three sons — Shem, Ham, and Japheth and lists the peoples they fathered. At the outset it is important to examine why Moses provides us with this information. Though it...

God’s Concern for the Nations

God’s Concern for the Nations

While the Old Testament revolves around the story of the nation of Israel, this does not mean that the other nations of the world are not also a concern. Actually, the revelation first given to the old covenant people of God has a lot to say about the wider world, for...

Cursed be Canaan

Cursed be Canaan

Genesis 9:24-29, “When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.” 26 He also said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant....

The Father of Canaan

The Father of Canaan

Genesis 9:18-23, “The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19 These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed. 20 Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he...

Signs of the Covenant

Signs of the Covenant

Genesis 9:12-17, “And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth....

The Good God Behind Terrible News

The Good God Behind Terrible News

I recently received a series of tragic updates that tipped my normally trust-filled, hope-saturated prayers into anguished, aporetic cries of lament. A very close friend’s preteen daughter had suddenly and inexplicably fallen into the darkness of mental illness,...

Never Again

Never Again

Genesis 9:8-11, “Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as...

Disguising Ungodliness as Righteous Anger

Disguising Ungodliness as Righteous Anger

Justified Human Anger There are a few examples in the Scriptures of human anger that would appear to be justified, but only a few. What follows is not a selection of examples; it is, so far as we can see, the entire list! When Moses comes down the mountain with the...

A Mandate for Fruitfulness

A Mandate for Fruitfulness

Genesis 9:7, “And you, be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.” A biblical theme that is closely related to marriage is the family, and that will be our focus for the next few days as we consider how Scripture develops this theme...

A Required Reckoning

A Required Reckoning

Genesis 9:5-7, “And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. 6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man...

A Comfort Received

A Comfort Received

Introduction: March 28th is the first anniversary of my late wife going to glory. Her name was Heidi. And that is how best to put it that she is in glory. She is not dead but with the Lord. Though we wait for the resurrection of the body (1 Cor 15:42), we know in the...

Into Your Hands

Into Your Hands

Genesis 9:1-4, “And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. 2 The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the...

Courage in the Shadow of Cancer

Courage in the Shadow of Cancer

Several years ago, I had cancer. It was rare and fast-growing and came out of nowhere. Despite my trust in Christ and knowing that I would be with him if this cancer took my life, the fear I felt was persistent and, on a few terrible days, crippling. Fear is a deeply...

The Pleasing Aroma

The Pleasing Aroma

Genesis 8:20-22, “Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the...

Restoring Relationships Biblically With God and Neighbor

Restoring Relationships Biblically With God and Neighbor

I recently preached on Jesus’ clear and authoritative answer to the irenic scribe who asked Him which one commandment was foremost. Jesus boiled all God’s requirements down to supreme, sacrificial love for God, as well as neighbor (Mk 12:28-34). Thus, all our sins can...

God’s Promise to Noah

God’s Promise to Noah

Genesis 8:20-22, “20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse...

What Does Radically Ordinary Hospitality Look Like?

What Does Radically Ordinary Hospitality Look Like?

Seeking to Serve Radically ordinary hospitality—those who live it see strangers as neighbors and neighbors as family of God. They recoil at reducing a person to a category or a label. They see God’s image reflected in the eyes of every human being on earth. They know...

Noah Went Out

Noah Went Out

Genesis 8:18-19, “So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him. 19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by families from the ark.” Continuing our examination of grace as evident in...

Out From the Ark

Out From the Ark

Genesis 8:13-17, “ In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. 14 In the second month, on...

Three Reasons God Sends the Bread of Adversity

Three Reasons God Sends the Bread of Adversity

There’s a tiny Italian bar and restaurant in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, called Valentino’s. Their generation-spanning secret spaghetti sauce recipe is comparable to Feast-of-the-Lamb fare (I exaggerate only slightly). This plate of wonders is complemented by a basket...

Another Seven Days

Another Seven Days

Genesis 8:6-12, “At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made 7 and sent forth a raven. It went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. 8 Then he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the...

The Ark Came to Rest

The Ark Came to Rest

Genesis 8:1-5, “But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided. 2 The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the...

Indispensable Truths for When Tragedy Strikes

Indispensable Truths for When Tragedy Strikes

Indispensable Truths for When Tragedy Strikes The Apostle Peter, under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, commands believers to be in a constant state of readiness: “…always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that...

God Remembered Noah

God Remembered Noah

Genesis 8:1, “But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.” Many years ago, a famine in the land of Canaan caused the sons of Jacob to journey to Egypt...

For Warfield, Every Christian Is a Theologian

For Warfield, Every Christian Is a Theologian

A Foundation of Truth Warfield was a Christian and a theologian, but for him these two categories are virtually one and the same. And we must recognize this if we are to understand him and profit from his instruction on the Christian life. For Warfield theology is not...

The Flood Continued

The Flood Continued

Genesis 7:17-24, “The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters. 19 And the waters...

The Sanctification of Disappointment

The Sanctification of Disappointment

I hate disappointment. When plans get canceled, expectations are not met, or I simply can’t have my own way, I tend toward brooding. Last year I experienced a couple of sharp disappointments, denials of things I prayed fervently for. Good things. Things I thought were...

The Heavens Open

The Heavens Open

Genesis 7:11-16, “In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell upon the earth forty days...

Jesus’s Teaching of Finances in Luke’s Gospel

Jesus’s Teaching of Finances in Luke’s Gospel

Jesus’s Teaching of Finances in Luke’s Gospel Most know it to be true that too much of a good thing can quickly turn into a bad thing. The child who longs for candy soon finds that too much candy leads to a stomachache. Likewise, those who long for great financial...

As God Had Commanded

As God Had Commanded

Genesis 7:6-10, “Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came upon the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean,...

Comforting a Grieving Spouse

Comforting a Grieving Spouse

Your cell phone rings, and your glance informs you that your spouse is calling. You answer with the expectation of hearing the familiar voice and tone. Instead, you encounter your beloved sobbing as they haltingly break the news that a loved one has passed into...

Clean Animals

Clean Animals

Genesis 7:1-5,” Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are...

In the Beginning God Created a Priest

In the Beginning God Created a Priest

A Pattern of Priesthood from the Beginning In the beginning God created a priest. And not just any priest, but a royal priest—a man made in God’s likeness, a son fashioned to reflect God’s beauty, an image bearer commissioned to rule God’s world with holy affections....

All God Commanded

All God Commanded

Genesis 6:19-22, “And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every...

Come Into the Ark

Come Into the Ark

Genesis 6:17-18, “ For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark,...

3 Ways Men Can Love Their Wives in Real Life

3 Ways Men Can Love Their Wives in Real Life

Lead These three verbs describe freely given love: lead, sacrifice, and care. Let me speak directly to men with each of these words. Husbands, lead your wives. I remember hearing John Piper say on more than one occasion that the husband should be the one who most...

An Ark of Gopher Wood

An Ark of Gopher Wood

Genesis 6:14-15, “Make yourself an ark of gopher wood.[a] Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. 15 This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits,[b] its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits.” The story of Noah...

God’s Determination

God’s Determination

Genesis 6:12-13, “And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy...

A Righteous Man

A Righteous Man

Genesis 6:9-11, “These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11 Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and the earth was filled with violence.”...

Kicking Guilt out of Generosity

Kicking Guilt out of Generosity

Guilt drives most superheroes. In “Captain America: Civil War,” Tony Stark (Iron Man) generously funds the Sr. projects for every MIT student. One character is blown away and responds, “Tony, so generous!” But another character cuts to Tony’s heart when she reminds...

Noah Found Favor

Noah Found Favor

Genesis 6:8, “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” Yesterday we saw that when Scripture describes God’s regret or “change” of mind, it never suggests this change is caused by unforeseen events. Our Creator has ordained all things (Rom. 11:36) and knows the...

Transformed by Theology

Transformed by Theology

I’m sure you have heard people purport that doctrine is divisive, irrelevant, boring, or not practical. Yet, we must not, as Dr. Charles Ryrie so aptly retorts, “forget that all practice (and every experience) must be based on sound Bible doctrine, and all Bible...

The Crushing Freedom of Decision-Making

The Crushing Freedom of Decision-Making

Decision-Making Fatigue Sometimes things become so much a part of the fabric of our lives that we don’t even recognize them. Decisions are chief among them. They are so ubiquitous that we tend to drown out their prevalence and significance. In a self-initiated...

Divine Sorrow

Divine Sorrow

Genesis 6:5-7, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the Lord...

Enjoy Thinking about the Trinity

Enjoy Thinking about the Trinity

Enjoy Thinking about the Trinity Among my Christian friends, the Trinity was like a dirty Christian secret. We believed it was true, sang about it (God in three persons/ blessed trinity), but we dare not bring it up in polite company. Conversations about the Trinity...

The Nephilim

The Nephilim

Genesis 6:3-4, “3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore...

Help! My Kids Keep Talking Back

Help! My Kids Keep Talking Back

When Our Kids Talk Back We’ve all been there. You tell your child to do something, or you try to help them see something about themselves or the larger world, and they respond immediately with some kind of verbal push back. Sometimes they quickly refute you, “That’s...

Forbidden Marriages

Forbidden Marriages

Genesis 6:1-2, “When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose.” Undoubtedly, Moses describes the devotion of men like...

The Line of Seth

The Line of Seth

Genesis 5:1-32, “This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man[a] when they were created. 3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a...

Why We All Need More Phileo Love This Year

Why We All Need More Phileo Love This Year

Introduction Love is many things to many people. Love is defined in the Merriam-Webster's Dictionary as, "Strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties; attraction based on sexual desire: affection and tenderness felt by lovers affection based...

The Birth of Seth

The Birth of Seth

Genesis 4:25-26, “And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” 26 To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time...

Lamech’s Arrogance

Lamech’s Arrogance

Genesis 4:23-24, “Lamech said to his wives: “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say: I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. 24 If Cain's revenge is sevenfold, then Lamech's is seventy-sevenfold.” When Cain...

John MacArthur-A Brief Biographical Sketch of a Faithful Expositor

John MacArthur-A Brief Biographical Sketch of a Faithful Expositor

John MacArthur-A Brief Biographical Sketch of a Faithful Expositor We find the admonition from the beloved apostle Paul to “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). The importance of example and mentoring is underscored in this text and others...

The First City

The First City

Genesis 4:17-22, “Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad fathered Mehujael, and Mehujael fathered Methushael, and Methushael...

The Fear of God Is the Antidote to Our Anxiety

The Fear of God Is the Antidote to Our Anxiety

The Strongest Human Emotion Boo! It’s one of the first words we enjoy. As children, we loved to leap out on our friends and shout it. But at the same time, we were scared of the dark and the monsters under the bed. We were both fascinated and repelled by our fears....

A Mark on Cain

A Mark on Cain

Genesis 4:13-16, “Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”...

Is Making Decisions All about Knowing God’s Will?

Is Making Decisions All about Knowing God’s Will?

Settling for Plan B? Once a year, my family and I put on our baseball hats, hop on the trolley, and head to downtown San Diego to attend a Padres game. At some point during the event, the three-cup game appears on the screen, bidding the fans to figure out which of...

The Blood of Abel

The Blood of Abel

Genesis 4:9-12, “Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from...

Cain Rose Up

Cain Rose Up

Genesis 4:8, “Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.” When Jesus taught that the divine prohibition against murder meant that we also must not hate our brother (Matt. 5:21–22), He was not...

10 Reasons to Study the Holy Spirit

10 Reasons to Study the Holy Spirit

Truths about the Holy Spirit It is sufficient that God’s word speaks much of the Spirit, for the only warrant we need to study a truth is that God teaches it in his word. However, to strengthen our motivation to study this topic deeply, let us consider reasons why it...

Rule Over It

Rule Over It

Genesis 4:5-6, “but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen?” Though the story of Cain and Abel begins with the hope Cain may be the one to bring...

Cain and His Offering

Cain and His Offering

Genesis 4:3-5, “In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering...

The War of the Written Word

The War of the Written Word

My husband has been watching old western films lately. In my opinion, if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, but don’t tell him that. They all have the same plotline; the bad guy comes to town, tries to get the good guy’s girl or livestock, and resolves it with a...

The First Family

The First Family

Genesis 4:1-2, “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” 2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. Today we continue our study...

Purity: How Artificial Intelligence Impacts Radical Amputation

Purity: How Artificial Intelligence Impacts Radical Amputation

In your church, "Ben," a young man is found to have a deep involvement with pornography, using his phone and laptop to access it regularly. Through patient, gentle, and loving confrontation, Ben has repented of his sin and is serious about change. His biblical...

In the Hall of Heroes

In the Hall of Heroes

Hebrews chapter eleven is one of my favorite places in Scripture. Often referred to as the “Hall of Faith,” the author recounts stories of Old Testament figures who, by faith, accomplished wondrous feats to the glory of God. For me, Hebrews eleven is less like reading...

Because of You

Because of You

Genesis 3:17-19, “And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;...

The Importance of Doctrine Matter for the Everyday Christian

The Importance of Doctrine Matter for the Everyday Christian

Does Doctrine Matter for the Everyday Christian? from Crossway on Vimeo. Relevant for Christian Living Sometimes the temptation is to think Doctrine, in general, is just stuff for the head, for the academics, for those in institutions. In the church, though, we’re...

Pain in Childbearing

Pain in Childbearing

Genesis 3:16, “To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” The curses God pronounces immediately after the sin of our first...

The First Announcement of the Gospel

The First Announcement of the Gospel

Genesis 3:14-15, “The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and...

Confessing Our Sin

Confessing Our Sin

Confessing Our Sin For five years, one particular sin trapped me. I knew it was wrong, and I also knew Christ was more rewarding than this sin. Still, for years this sin threw relentless body punches and kept knocking me down to the mat. Then, suddenly, it lost its...

The Loss And Restoration Of Liberty

The Loss And Restoration Of Liberty

Genesis 3:6-7, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,[a] she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate....

When Does God (Not Man) Consider a Couple Married?

When Does God (Not Man) Consider a Couple Married?

Suppose a young man came to you for biblical counseling concerning the ongoing tension and conflict with his ‘partner.’ Oh, by the way, he and his girlfriend are living together, though there has never been a wedding. He says to you, “Well, we’ve already committed to...

The Forbidden Fruit

The Forbidden Fruit

Genesis 3:1-5, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You[a] shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit...

The Crafty Serpent

The Crafty Serpent

Genesis 3:1, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You[a] shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” In the first two chapters of Genesis, Moses reminds us that in...

God and Nakedness

God and Nakedness

Genesis 2:25, “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” Much of our understanding of the nature and purpose for marriage comes from the description of life in the garden of Eden. This is because no other couple besides pre-Fall Adam and Eve have...

Abortion and the Image of God

Abortion and the Image of God

John Calvin said, “If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house, then in a field…it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light.” Abortion is the premeditated killing of an unborn child. In other...

Naked and Unashamed

Naked and Unashamed

Genesis 2:24-25, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” As Moses concludes his narrative on the creation of Adam and Eve, he...

Taken Out of Man

Taken Out of Man

Genesis 2:21-23, “So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the...

Science And Theology

Science And Theology

Genesis 2:19, “Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. We have been...

Covenant Marriage

Covenant Marriage

Genesis 2:18-24, “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for[a] him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed[b] every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to...

God’s Gift to Adam

God’s Gift to Adam

Genesis 2:18-25, “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see...

9 Wrong Ways to Read the Bible (And One Better Way)

9 Wrong Ways to Read the Bible (And One Better Way)

A Book of Good News Many of us approach the Bible not as oxygenating, but as suffocating. We see the Bible lying there on the end table. We know we should open it. Sometimes we do. But it is usually with a sense of begrudged duty. Life is demanding enough, we think....

You Shall Not Eat

You Shall Not Eat

Genesis 2:15-17, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not...

The Demands of Justice and Truth

The Demands of Justice and Truth

Genesis 2:15-17, “15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not...

God’s Covenant With Adam

God’s Covenant With Adam

Genesis 2:15-17, “15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not...

Systematic Daily Bible Reading

Systematic Daily Bible Reading

The spiritual discipline of daily Bible reading is something in the lives of several Christians, to be inconsistent and even hap-hazard, as they stumble towards doing what they know is important. Like other well-intentioned believers, I recall occasional attempts at...

God’s First Covenant With Mankind

God’s First Covenant With Mankind

Genesis 2:15-17, “15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not...

Finding Your Vocation

Finding Your Vocation

Genesis 2:15, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” Understanding how to discern God’s will with respect to our vocation requires us to view work as an area in which we can pursue our sanctification. God’s basic will for...

Body Image, Body Shame, Stewardship

Body Image, Body Shame, Stewardship

We are engulfed in a body-focused world. In our media and entertainment-driven age, we are being told stories from all angles about our body's purpose, how our bodies must look, and what we can do to make our bodies look a certain way. Turn on the TV, unlock our...

The Garden of Eden

The Garden of Eden

Genesis 2:10-14, “A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is...

It’s Not “Cool” to Follow Jesus

It’s Not “Cool” to Follow Jesus

If you are a parent or know anything about children, you’ll be familiar with the famous road trip question, “Are we there yet?” Children ask it repeatedly during road trips. Although it gets annoying, it’s a fair question. After all, traveling is not the point of a...

The Proverbs 31 Woman

The Proverbs 31 Woman

The Proverbs 31 Woman The Proverbs 31 woman has what seems like an endless list of expectations—the A to Z of spiritual etiquette. This list of virtues appears unrealistic for any mortal to accomplish, causing some women to feel inadequate. Yet this must never be the...

God Rested

God Rested

Genesis 2:1-3, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it...

The Proverbs 31 Man

The Proverbs 31 Man

In the Garden of Eden, there lived a man whose name was Adam (Gen 2:20). The Creator had formed Adam from the dust of the ground (2:7), and the man was made in the image of God as a reflection of God’s glory (1:26-27). He was loved by God and given the task of...

Pursue the Good of Others

Pursue the Good of Others

I started as a lead pastor in September, and I began by preaching through Jonah. Of all the Bible stories from Sunday school, Jonah was my favorite. As someone who always seemed to fall off the boat when it came to being a good Christian, Jonah’s story, especially God...

Have Dominion

Have Dominion

Genesis 1:28-31, “And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God...

Make a Resolution this Year to Build Up the Body

Make a Resolution this Year to Build Up the Body

A brand-new gift comes with a sense of goodness and potential, and we do a lot to preserve that goodness and to keep that potential alive. New car owners want to keep the inside smell as fresh as possible, new phone owners protect their screens with cases and covers,...

The Purpose of Government

The Purpose of Government

Genesis 1:28, “And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Republicanism,...

Reading the Bible in 2022

Reading the Bible in 2022

It’s time to flip the page and turn the calendar to a New Year. With that comes a new set of resolutions, and for Christians, a new resolution for reading the Bible. Maybe you are a brand-new Christian, and you simply resolve to read the Gospel of Mark this year....

In His Own Image

In His Own Image

Genesis 1:26-27, “Then God said, “Let us make man[a] in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the...

Six Characteristics of Union With Christ

Six Characteristics of Union With Christ

One of the great encouragements of Scripture is that believers are said to be “in Christ.” Not only have we been forgiven and redeemed, but we have also been united with Christ. While this is great news, this doctrine can often be mysterious. The better we understand...

The Days of Creation

The Days of Creation

Genesis 1:20-25, “And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm,...

Two Great Lights

Two Great Lights

Genesis 1:14-19, “And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons,[a] and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the...

The Good Earth

The Good Earth

Genesis 1:9-13, “9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth,[a] and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was...

And It Was So

And It Was So

Genesis 1:3-8, “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning,...

God the Holy Spirit

God the Holy Spirit

Genesis 1:1-2,  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Being a Trinitarian creed, the Apostles’ Creed concludes...

The Guilt and Grace of Christmas Giving

The Guilt and Grace of Christmas Giving

A sliver of me doesn’t want to give any gifts this Christmas—at least not to my family. It’s not because I don’t think they deserve gifts or that they’ve been “bad” in some way. I have a wonderful family. And I love giving them presents. It’s just that part of me...

The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament

The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament

Genesis 1:1-2, “Genesis 1:1-2, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” "In the beginning, God created the heavens...

The Bad News About the Good News

The Bad News About the Good News

Paul David Tripp, “The glory of the birth of Jesus becomes even more glorious when it is seen through the humbling lens of the desperate condition that was the reason for His coming.” 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in...

The Trinity and Creation

The Trinity and Creation

Genesis 1:1-2, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Central to the theology of the Reformation is its doctrine...

God’s Decree And Creation

God’s Decree And Creation

Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” God in His sovereignty actively controls all that happens in creation, and He does so according to “the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11). In other words, our Creator has a wise plan for His...

Just Call Me Old-Fashioned

Just Call Me Old-Fashioned

“I am one of those old-fashioned ministers who believe the whole Bible and everything that it contains.” (JC Ryle) You can replace the word ministers in the above quote with Christians, which will have the same effect. Oh, you’re one of those Christians, some may say....

Peace Like a River

Peace Like a River

As I watch the birds at my feeders this chilly December morning, I have a lovely sense of peace. The wrens, thrashers, bluebirds, woodpeckers, titmice, and towhees are enjoying the start of a new day. They feel no threat from the feral cats that roam the neighborhood,...

In the Beginning

In the Beginning

Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” In order to explain how God established His people and saved them from slavery, Moses first had to tell them how they, out of all the families of the earth, were chosen for this redemption....

Eagerly Awaiting

Eagerly Awaiting

“AD-vent: a coming into place, view, or being; an arrival” (Dictionary.com). “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.” (O Holy Night; A. C. Adam) Have you ever waited so long for something, you never thought it would...

Cost and Discipline in the Christian Life

Cost and Discipline in the Christian Life

Yes, you read it correctly. No, it is not a typo. I really did mean to write discipline. Now you may be thinking, “Great, first, he says the Christian life will cost something. Now, he says we need discipline.” I certainly affirm both of those things, but let us slow...

God’s Wisdom in the Gospel

God’s Wisdom in the Gospel

Romans 16:27, “to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.” Fittingly, Paul's concluding doxology in Romans ends with a reminder of the great wisdom of God. After all, it is in the gospel of God presented in this epistle that the Lord reveals...

December 2021 Recommended Reading

December 2021 Recommended Reading

In this issue of Theology for Life Magazine, we’ve been considering common questions about Jesus. We understand that we haven’t covered everything on this topic, but it is our prayer that, hopefully, readers of this issue of Theology for Life will grow in their...

There is No Peace!

There is No Peace!

Henry W. Longfellow, 1863 said, “I heard the bells on Christmas day, their old familiar carols play, and wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, good will to men. And in despair, I bowed my head, “There is no peace on earth”, I said, “for hate is strong and...

Paul’s Concluding Doxology

Paul’s Concluding Doxology

Romans 16:25-26, “25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has...

Greetings From Paul’s Associates

Greetings From Paul’s Associates

Romans 16:21-24, “Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen. 22 I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord. 23 Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our...

Jesus is Our Rest from the Christmas Rush

Jesus is Our Rest from the Christmas Rush

Jesus is Our Rest from the Christmas Rush Christmas is a tale of two seasons for many people. It’s called the most wonderful time of the year for a good reason. The harsh realities of long winters are redeemed as early darkness becomes a blank canvas for Christmas...

Satan Crushed Under Our Feet

Satan Crushed Under Our Feet

Romans 16:20, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” Generations of Christian interpreters have found in today's passage an allusion to Genesis 3:15 and God's promise to "bruise" or "crush" the...

Why I Cried at Snoopy vs. the Red Baron

Why I Cried at Snoopy vs. the Red Baron

This is the time of year when I reprogram the presets on my car radio. Gone is NPR. Gone are the country and oldies stations, so Christmas music is the only option I have on several radio buttons. It’s my glorious, two-month hiatus from news, seventies hits, and...

Wise in Good, Innocent in Evil

Wise in Good, Innocent in Evil

Romans 16:19, “For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.” Christian leaders must keep a close watch on the flocks under their care, and in so doing, they are to have a...

Body Dysmorphia, Eating Disorders, and the Bread of Life:

Body Dysmorphia, Eating Disorders, and the Bread of Life:

I once lived in the mirror. No, there wasn’t a bedroom hidden in my bathroom mirror. But the mirror was where I found my worth, purpose, and identity. My body was the temple where I went to worship. Each and every day, my thoughts were consumed with calculating...

Signs of the False Teacher

Signs of the False Teacher

Romans 16:18, “For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites,[a] and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.” Very few, if any, false teachers come into the church announcing their plans to lead Christ's sheep astray...

Avoiding False Teachers

Avoiding False Teachers

Romans 16:17, “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.” Returning to the book of Romans, we pick up our study in Romans 16:17. Paul has just finished his...

Greeting One Another

Greeting One Another

Romans 16:16, “Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.” Having finished his long list of greetings to specific individuals in the Roman church, Paul in today's passage shows us that expressions of friendship and affection in the...

Honoring Faithfulness

Honoring Faithfulness

Romans 16:14-15, “ Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers who are with them. 15 Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.” Today we come to the last set of greetings that Paul...

Pay the Price

Pay the Price

Did you know that Christianity will cost you something? That is strange, you may think. Is salvation not a free gift anymore? Salvation is, of course, a free gift. Jesus says: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11: 28)....

Working Hard In the Lord

Working Hard In the Lord

Romans 16:12-13, "Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well." Paul's letter to the Romans is Scripture...

Paul’s Fellow Prisoners

Paul’s Fellow Prisoners

Romans 16:5-7, “5 Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert[a] to Christ in Asia. 6 Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia,[b] my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to...

Heavenly Peace

Heavenly Peace

Silent night, holy night All is calm, all is bright 'Round yon virgin Mother and Child Holy infant so tender and mild Sleep in heavenly peace   Silent night, holy night Son of God, oh, love's pure light Radiant beams from Thy holy face With the dawn of redeeming...

Sweet Peace

Sweet Peace

Peter Bilhorn (1887) wrote, “Through Christ on the cross peace was made, my debt by His death was all paid; no other foundation is laid for peace, the gift of God’s love.  Peace, peace, sweet peace!  Wonderful gift from above!  O wonderful, wonderful peace!  Sweet...

Expressing Love and Care For Our Church Leaders

Expressing Love and Care For Our Church Leaders

Romans 16:3-5a, “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. Greet also the church that meets at their house.” “I’d like to be involved in gospel...

Phoebe’s Commendation

Phoebe’s Commendation

Romans 16:1-2, “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant[a] of the church at Cenchreae, 2 that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.”...

Paul’s Appeal for Prayer

Paul’s Appeal for Prayer

Romans 15:30-32, “I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, 31 that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be...

In the Fullness of Christ’s Blessing

In the Fullness of Christ’s Blessing

Romans 15:28-29, “When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you. 29 I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.” In Romans 15:25-27, we learn that...

What Are You Building? (Black Friday Thoughts)

What Are You Building? (Black Friday Thoughts)

American lifestyles can be a little strange to those of us who live on other continents. I was born in the UK and have lived the last seven years in continental Europe in various parts of Romania. Growing up, we would occasionally hear about the American celebration...

Our Debt to the Jews

Our Debt to the Jews

Romans 15:25-27, “At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. 27 For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to...

Gratitude versus Gratification

Gratitude versus Gratification

The other day I grabbed a bite of lunch and hurriedly ate it, sitting in my car on the way to the next thing. As I finished up and headed out, I breathed a prayer of thanks for the satisfaction of a tasty meal. Just then, I realized I hadn’t thanked God before eating,...

Paul’s Ambition

Paul’s Ambition

Romans 15:20-21, “and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation, 21 but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will...

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

Paul covered a lot of ground in just one decade. Roland Allen notes, “Before AD 47 there were no churches in [Galatia, Macedonia, Achaia and Asia]; in AD 57 St Paul could speak as if his work there was done, and could plan extensive tours into the far west without...

Paul’s Priestly Service

Paul’s Priestly Service

Romans 15:14-16, “I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. 15 But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given...

The Hope of Jews and Gentiles

The Hope of Jews and Gentiles

Romans 15:8-13, “ For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will...

Welcoming Others for God’s Glory

Welcoming Others for God’s Glory

Romans 15:7, “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Key to Paul's argument for Christians not to break fellowship over minor matters is that we may not view any of those whom God has welcomed into His family as "lesser"...

Miscarriage: Hope Found in the Cross of Jesus Christ

Miscarriage: Hope Found in the Cross of Jesus Christ

I remember coming down the stairs as a young child on Christmas morning with wonder-filled joy and excitement. I would ask: “Mom and dad, can we open presents yet?” “Was the gift that I had asked for under the tree?” and I would think to myself: “That present looks...

The Value of the Old Testament

The Value of the Old Testament

Romans 15:4, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Early in its history, the church confronted a heretic named Marcion who believed, among...

Too Comfortable With Someone Else’s Skin

Too Comfortable With Someone Else’s Skin

Pornography is on the rise among men, women, and children. It has become one of the major fallouts of a society that is increasingly more virtual. According to studies that came out just one year ago, “The top porn site, Pornhub, is the third-biggest...

Bearing with the Weak

Bearing with the Weak

Romans 15:1-3, “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of...

How to Teach Your Kids to Spot a False Gospel

How to Teach Your Kids to Spot a False Gospel

When my daughter was young, I would make quinoa, oatmeal, and flax seed “waffles,” and she loved them. It wasn’t until we were visiting family in California that she experienced the hotel breakfast bar and loudly exclaimed, “Mom, these waffles are so much BETTER THAN...

Passing Judgment on Ourselves

Passing Judgment on Ourselves

Romans 14:22, “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” As Paul draws near the conclusion of his discussion of Christian freedom in Romans 14:1-15:7, he gives some...

How Not to Be Overwhelmed This Holiday Season

How Not to Be Overwhelmed This Holiday Season

Every year when the holiday's edge ever closer, we hear the same sentiments begin; there's too much to do. It starts with the stores slowly stocking the glittery, pine needly, ever enticing decorations that I already have too much of but still somehow wonder about...

Keeping Faith to Yourself

Keeping Faith to Yourself

Romans 14:22, “The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.” Jesus has left us free in many areas to follow our consciences. There are objective standards for our...

Protecting the Work of God

Protecting the Work of God

Romans 14:20-21, “Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.”...

The Steps to Sanctified Speech

The Steps to Sanctified Speech

One of the benefits God gifts Christians is that they are “clothed with Christ” (Gal. 3:27). This means that we are united to Jesus by faith (Col. 2:12). In Ephesians 4:24, the Apostle Paul describes salvation as the “putting on of a new self,” which is Christ. Thus,...

Peace and Mutual Upbuilding

Peace and Mutual Upbuilding

Romans 14:19, “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” Humility that recognizes our place and the place of others in the kingdom is one of the chief characteristics that the New Testament calls us to exhibit. For example, we find it...

Righteousness, Peace, and Joy

Righteousness, Peace, and Joy

Romans 14:17-18, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.” Paul's pastoral wisdom shines through in Romans 14....

You Have Everything You Need for Life and Godliness

You Have Everything You Need for Life and Godliness

Practice Perseverance Knowing that God has promised to complete the work he began in us, we are well equipped to practice perseverance, as Peter explains in his second epistle: His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through...

Preserving Christ’s Sheep

Preserving Christ’s Sheep

Romans 14:15-16, “For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil.” Until our Savior returns, the church will...

What the Puritans Understood about the Human Heart

What the Puritans Understood about the Human Heart

What the Puritans Understood About the Human Heart from Crossway on Vimeo. Connecting Scripture to Our Hearts The Puritans from four hundred years ago in England were so unusual because they knew how to do the both/and of going way down deep in the Scripture and in...

Clean and Unclean

Clean and Unclean

Romans 14:13-14, “Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for...

Teaching Your Kids Gratitude in the Media Age

Teaching Your Kids Gratitude in the Media Age

Turbo-Charged Dissatisfaction Having the ‘gimmees’ is nothing new. Kids have struggled with excessive longings to have more than they do for as long as there have been kids. It’s also not new for them to feel that they should have immaterial things as well as physical...

The Judgment of God in Christ

The Judgment of God in Christ

Romans 14:10-12, “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess[a]...

Fullness

Fullness

“The quality or state of being filled completely;  possessing a richness or intensity” (Dictionary.com). We all know that feeling of being full, especially at the Thanksgiving table. You have that one last bite of pumpkin pie (we lived in Florida for a while, so ours...

Lord of the Dead and the Living

Lord of the Dead and the Living

Romans 14:9, “ For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” Belonging to Christ has been Paul's emphasis in Romans 14:7-8, and he continues that theme in today's passage when he grounds Christ's ownership of...

Two Ways to Practice Gratitude

Two Ways to Practice Gratitude

How is your life characterized? Are you known as one who is grateful for the mercies that you have been given from God? Is there a spirit of gratitude in your life? Or is it a spirit of bitterness? Is it a spirit of ingratitude? What characterizes your life? Do you...

Living and Dying to the Lord

Living and Dying to the Lord

Romans 14:7-9, “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again,...

Memories: A Tribute to My Mentor Mike Beaudin

Memories: A Tribute to My Mentor Mike Beaudin

Memories have a way of not only shaping you but molding you into the person you are going to become. I remember memories with my grandfather growing up spending time feeding the fish in his pond at the apartment complex my grandfather and grandmother were the managers...

2 Essential Doctrines of the Reformation

2 Essential Doctrines of the Reformation

2 Essential Doctrines of the Reformation from Crossway on Vimeo. Authority of Scripture The Reformation addressed many different theological issues, and as an entire movement, affected a reformation for the whole church. There were at least two issues—two doctrines...

Honoring the Lord

Honoring the Lord

Romans 14:5-6, “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord,...

10 Things You Should Know about the Reformation

10 Things You Should Know about the Reformation

1. The Pope started the Reformation. The fourteenth century was a bad time for the papacy. For a period, there were two rival popes and the papacy was under pressure from the French monarchy. It wasn’t a good time for the city of Rome either—seven successive popes...

Partaking and Abstaining

Partaking and Abstaining

Romans 14:2-4, “One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to...

Growing in Godliness One Step at Time

Growing in Godliness One Step at Time

Richard Sibbes and Malcolm Gladwell run in different circles. For one week, though, I shared a table with them (in book form) for a conversation about the pace of godliness. In The Tipping Point, Gladwell writes about the big difference made by small changes. A...

The Weak in Faith

The Weak in Faith

Romans 14:1, “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.” Romans 14 deals with an important issue for Christians as they live in community with one another. There are always some differences of understanding between Christians,...

Dear First Time Dad

Dear First Time Dad

Dear first-time dad, As one dad to another, let me speak with you, some truths I believe are universal for fatherhood. I share my own stories of failure and success in Hope for New Dads. Words of Advice First, congratulations! It is a joy to bring a child into this...

Christian Liberty

Christian Liberty

Continuing the practical application of the gospel that he began to unfold in Romans 12, Paul moves on to describe the Christian’s relationship to the civil magistrate and the truth that believers will fulfill the Law through love by the power of the Holy Spirit...

Living in the Light of Day

Living in the Light of Day

Romans 13:12-14, “12The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in...

Salvation Draws Near

Salvation Draws Near

Romans 13:11, “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.” We fulfill the law of God through our love of Him and our neighbor (Rom. 13:8-10), but Paul is clear that...

Fulfilling the Law

Fulfilling the Law

Romans 13:8-10, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment,...

The Deceitful Heart

The Deceitful Heart

“Follow your heart” is something that we hear all too often in this day and age. Initially, this statement seems like good advice, but is it really biblical? Should we follow our hearts, or is there something else that we need to follow? If we are to answer this...

Paying Our Taxes

Paying Our Taxes

Romans 13:6-7, “For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to...

Submission for Conscience’s Sake

Submission for Conscience’s Sake

Romans 13:5, “Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience.” The New Testament emphatically states that Christians are not of this world, that we do not belong to a kingdom that operates by the fallen standards...

God’s Servant for Our Good

God’s Servant for Our Good

Romans 13:3-4, “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he...

The Christian and the Government

The Christian and the Government

Romans 13:1-2, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will...

Overcoming Evil with Good

Overcoming Evil with Good

Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Commentators on the book of Romans have pointed out the many conceptual similarities between Romans 12:14-21 and the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5:38-48, for example,...

Leaving Vengeance to the Lord

Leaving Vengeance to the Lord

Romans 12:19-20, “19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[a] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for...

Peaceable Living

Peaceable Living

Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Loving others genuinely according to Paul's command in Romans 12:9 requires a new heart that only God can give us by the regenerating power of His Holy Spirit through the preaching of...

Harmonious Living

Harmonious Living

Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Envy comes naturally to fallen humanity. Early on in the Bible, we see this clearly. Cain's jealousy over Abel's approval before God motivated him to commit the very first murder (Gen. 4:1-8)....

Rejoicing with Others

Rejoicing with Others

Romans 12:14-15, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” With the enablement of God's Spirit, living as a faithful disciple of Christ is possible (Phil. 2:12-13)—but it is certainly not...

Does Our Nature Control Our Will?

Does Our Nature Control Our Will?

People bristle when you claim that what we do is determined by what we are. Yet, it is an undeniable fact. We sin because we have a sin nature. Pride gets in the way when we have to admit that, doesn’t it? It gets in the way when you claim that our salvation depends...

Hope and Hospitality

Hope and Hospitality

Romans 12:12-13, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” God's saving grace is effectual—it always accomplishes the salvation of those to whom it is given. The Lord...

Camaraderie in the Time of War

Camaraderie in the Time of War

Recently, to celebrate my wife's birthday, we took a ride with our son to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Though I seem to be the resident history buff of our household, my interest in our nation's past and the history of Christ's Church has rubbed off on her. So it was...

Loving Affection and Honor

Loving Affection and Honor

Romans 12:10-11, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” Love is the supreme Christian virtue (1 Cor. 13:13), but not everything that people call "love" is...

Genuine Goodness and Love

Genuine Goodness and Love

Romans 12:9, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” Scripture tells us that "God is love" (1 John 4:7-8). Of course, there is a great deal of confusion in our day as to what love means, so there are all manner of false understandings of...

Using Our Gifts

Using Our Gifts

Romans 12:6-8, “6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who...

The Sober Judgement of the Members

The Sober Judgement of the Members

Romans 12:3-5, “3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many...

A Living Sacrifice

A Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1-2, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,...

It’s Only Words

It’s Only Words

“It's only words and words are all I have to take your heart away” (Barry and Maurice Gibb, 1969). “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” (Kinglake, 1830). Words have tremendous power. They can build up, or they can tear down. They can...

The End of All Things

The End of All Things

One of the greatest theologians to ever step foot on American soil was Jonathan Edwards. He was a man who was trained well in the school of Christ and Him crucified. Edwards’ works were theologically robust and pastorally warm. In his dissertation, The End for Which...

The Grand Reversal

The Grand Reversal

Romans 11:30-32, “For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy show to you they also may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all to...

Facing the Hurt of Life with the Help of the Lord

Facing the Hurt of Life with the Help of the Lord

If you are like me, the last year and a half has been very challenging. As with everyone, my challenges may be similar to yours but are different. One of my mentors in ministry always tells me, “God hand-tailors the situations our lives.” And it’s true under God’s...

God’s Irrevocable Gifts and Calling

God’s Irrevocable Gifts and Calling

Romans 11:28-29, “28 As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” You may recall that in our study of Romans 9, we saw that...

Standing on the Authority of God’s Word

Standing on the Authority of God’s Word

The challenges before us each day may seem daunting to us. We live in a culture that relies heavily on hunches, intuitions, and feelings. The emphasis on the subjective has led many to deny biblical Christianity and reject any notion of truth. The witty British...

Israel’s Temporary Hardening

Israel’s Temporary Hardening

Romans 11:25-27, “And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive...

The Miracle of Restoration

The Miracle of Restoration

Romans 11:23-24, “And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive...

What’s the Problem? Dealing with Life

What’s the Problem? Dealing with Life

We live in a day where everybody seems to have problems constantly. I often feel like I am surrounded by people saying, “I do not know how to adult,” while I am sitting at my desk thinking, “Well, I do.” Sure, some of this is just a Western cultured joke, but the...

Broken Branches

Broken Branches

Romans 11:19-22, “19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the...

Till All Our Strivings Cease: Enduring Exhaustion with Hope

Till All Our Strivings Cease: Enduring Exhaustion with Hope

“I’m so tired.” These words seem to come out of my mouth more and more these days and start off more journal entries than I can count. I feel physically tired, as though no amount of sleep could possibly replenish my energy, as well as emotionally tired. I hear these...

Wild Olive Branches

Wild Olive Branches

Romans 11:16-18, “If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the...

The Jews and the Resurrection

The Jews and the Resurrection

Romans 11:13-15, “13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the...

Riches for the World

Riches for the World

Romans 11:11-12, “11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means...

Road Signs

Road Signs

Daniel 9:13-14, “Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth.  The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for...

Who is Israel?

Who is Israel?

Romans 11:7-10, “What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.” 9 And David...

The Lives of the Puritans

The Lives of the Puritans

We live in a day where Puritan works are constantly gaining in popularity. The Banner of Truth is to be thanked for sparking this revival of interest. We should also be thankful to Joel Beeke with Puritan Theological Seminary and Reformation Heritage Books for their...

Keeping Grace Gracious

Keeping Grace Gracious

Romans 11:6, “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” Good works are an essential part of the Christian life. We see in Romans 1:5, for example, that Paul was called to preach so that the “obedience of...

God Never Ops-Out

God Never Ops-Out

Years ago, I bought my first laptop. Being gifted at dropping things, I made sure to buy the protection plan as well. The protection plan, however, did not cover everything. “We won’t cover the repair,” the sales associate told me, “If you do something foolish and...

Despising Our Heritage

Despising Our Heritage

Romans 10:18-21, “But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” 19 But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous of those who are not a...

How God Creates and Sustains Our Faith

How God Creates and Sustains Our Faith

Romans 10:14-17, “14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[a] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is...

Defining Evangelism

Defining Evangelism

Romans 10:13-15, “For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[a] And how are they to hear without someone preaching?...

God’s Kingdom and Power

God’s Kingdom and Power

Romans 10:10-13, “10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same...

Being Good

Being Good

If I heard my momma say it once, I heard her say it a thousand times: “Be good!” It was as predictable as the sunrise. I, too, have said it over and over to my own children. No explanation was necessary. We understood those two little words. Be. Good. But why? Our...

The Lordship of Christ

The Lordship of Christ

Romans 10:9, “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Over the past few days we have been examining various aspects of biblical faith. If it is faith alone that...

The Message Concerning Faith

The Message Concerning Faith

Romans 10:5-8, “5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to...

Christ, the Goal of the Law

Christ, the Goal of the Law

Romans 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Why did so many first-century Jews not receive Jesus as their Messiah? From a divine perspective, it was because God has chosen only some Jews for salvation, just as He has...

Stand Strong for Christ

Stand Strong for Christ

We are living through one of the most tumultuous times in American history. It seems like every day, a new challenge surfaces. We face trials, temptations, suffering, and grief. We hear rumors about the fate of our Republic. Conspiracy theories are at a fevered pitch....

Zeal Without Knowledge

Zeal Without Knowledge

Romans 10:1-3, “10 Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish...

Seven Tips for Being a Good Friend

Seven Tips for Being a Good Friend

Embracing Relationships Our recent pandemic changed how many of us experienced friendship. The quarantines, distancing, and other precautions created challenges for close community. While we used creative or digital ways to connect, many still felt isolated. Perhaps...

The Faith of the Gentiles

The Faith of the Gentiles

Romans 9:30-33, “ What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness[a] did not succeed in reaching that law....

Examining the Dangers “Carnal” Christian

Examining the Dangers “Carnal” Christian

Can a Christian ever be carnal? The category of carnal Christian has been commonly used by certain biblical counselors and was popularized by a previous generation of evangelists. Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade (now Cru), describes the carnal Christian as...

The Salvation of Israel’s Remnant

The Salvation of Israel’s Remnant

Romans 9:27-29, “27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel[a] be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” 29 And as...

The People of God

The People of God

Romans 9:25-26, “As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’” 26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the...

The Potter and the Clay

The Potter and the Clay

Romans 9:20-24, “20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable...

Advocating for Those With Disabilities

Advocating for Those With Disabilities

Advocating for those with disabilities is encouraged in the Bible. Take, for instance, Proverbs 31:8-9: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy”...

Answering Back to God

Answering Back to God

Romans 9:19-20, “19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Further evidence that Paul affirms that...

God’s Will and His Mercy

God’s Will and His Mercy

Romans 9:17-18, “ For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he...

God’s Sovereign Mercy

God’s Sovereign Mercy

Romans 9:14-16, “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion,[a] but...

God’s Purpose of Election

God’s Purpose of Election

Romans 9:10-13, “10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works...

Jesus and the Leper

Jesus and the Leper

In Jesus’ day, people often were afraid to be close to a person with a disability or a disease. This was especially true in the case of leprosy – it was contagious, and people with the disease were considered unclean. Healthy people kept their distance, physically and...

What is Spiritual Israel?

What is Spiritual Israel?

Romans 9 begins with great sorrow for the Apostle Paul and a potentially damaging theological dilemma, “How can God be faithful and many Israelites be lost?” We read of the significance of this special chosen people in verses 4-5. So the subsequent verses are written...

The Privileges of Israel

The Privileges of Israel

Romans 9:4-5, “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all,...

All of God: Learning from the Attributes of God

All of God: Learning from the Attributes of God

The attributes of God are a subject that helps people know God more deeply and profoundly. If you, as a layperson or serious theologian, want to know more about God, then a study of the attributes of God is the way to go. Today, people tend to focus on what they want...

Paul’s Love for His Kinsmen

Paul’s Love for His Kinsmen

Romans 9:1-3, “I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my...

You’ve Never Had Your Favorite Before

You’ve Never Had Your Favorite Before

I once had a family visiting for lunch, and their little girl came into the kitchen and asked what we were having for dessert. I said, “Caramel ice cream.” And she said, “Caramel ice cream? That’s my favorite!” I was impressed that she knew what it was. I gave her a...

No Separation from God’s Love

No Separation from God’s Love

Romans 8:38-39, “38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our...

More than Conquerors

More than Conquerors

Romans 8:35-37, “35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be...

None Can Condemn

None Can Condemn

Romans 8:33-34, “33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” Paul's emphasis...

Expectations

Expectations

Don’t you think it’s interesting how life is full of the unexpected? When you get past your middle-age years and have some perspective on time that has passed, several things can be different than what was expected. For instance, when I was younger, I thought I would...

Sparing Not His Son

Sparing Not His Son

Romans 8:31-32, “31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[a] against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Given that all people have suppressed...

Leave the Noise and Listen to God

Leave the Noise and Listen to God

Silence is hard to find. Can you remember the last time you were around complete silence? My first experience of noise-canceling headphones a few years ago was a rare experience. I was in Best Buy and grabbed a pair of Beats by Dre noise-canceling headphones. Sounds...

The Golden Chain of Salvation

The Golden Chain of Salvation

Romans 8:29-30, “29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and...

Leviticus and Disability

Leviticus and Disability

You may be surprised, as I was, to find out that God addresses how Christians are to interact with disability in Leviticus 19:14: “You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.” When you combine...

God’s Work for Our good

God’s Work for Our good

Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose.” The privileges of being justified and reconciled to God have been a central theme in Romans 8, as Paul has moved from the...

The Spirit’s Intercession

The Spirit’s Intercession

Romans 8:26-27, "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because[a]...

Our Longing for Bodily Redemption

Our Longing for Bodily Redemption

Romans 8:23-25, “23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who...

Dousing the Fire

Dousing the Fire

We all carry something around with us; it lurks in our hearts and follows us closer than our shadows. It is hungry and wants to devour our lives, consuming everything good and leaving nothing behind but destruction. There can only be one thing that matches this...

Cosmic Redemption

Cosmic Redemption

Romans 8:19-22, “19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage...

The Beauty of Divine Simplicity in Cultural Complexity

The Beauty of Divine Simplicity in Cultural Complexity

While “it’s complicated” may sum up your relational status, it also sums up your cultural moment. The current waves of cultural conflict come from every direction: health pandemics and systemic racism, and political unrest and calls for social reform and space...

A Glance at John Owen’s Theology of Sin

A Glance at John Owen’s Theology of Sin

The present-day is a day where two extremities straddle the life of Christian churches. The first extremity is an overbearing focus on sin. Living in Romania, I have seen countless cases where sin has been the heaviest focus in a church (primarily in Pentecostal...

The Glory To Be Revealed

The Glory To Be Revealed

Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” We return to Romans 8 today and pick up our expositional study in verse 18. To set up today’s devotional, let us recall verse...

Trusting the Lord in Every Season

Trusting the Lord in Every Season

In Exodus 4:10-13, we witness a discussion between the Lord and Moses. God has called Moses to speak for Him and to proclaim His name to the Egyptians. Moses is also called to be God’s mouthpiece to the Israelites. However, Moses says to God in protest, “‘Oh, my Lord,...

The Spirit’s Internal Witness

The Spirit’s Internal Witness

Romans 8:16-17, “16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” We become God’s...

Debtors to the Spirit

Debtors to the Spirit

Romans 8:12-15, “12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the...

The Life-Giving Spirit

The Life-Giving Spirit

Romans 8:10-11, “10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to...

The Indwelling Spirit of God

The Indwelling Spirit of God

Romans 8:9, “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” Paul is a complex thinker, and his arguments often hold together several complementary...

Comfort in the Storms of Life: The Lord Is My Shepherd

Comfort in the Storms of Life: The Lord Is My Shepherd

Are you under a dark providence? Do you feel alone? In the 19th century, George Matheson penned these beautiful words that are full of hope: “I trace the rainbow through the rain And feel the promise is not in vain That morn shall tearless be.” Right this moment, you...

The Mind Set on the Flesh

The Mind Set on the Flesh

Romans 8:7-8, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Paul’s focus in Romans 8 can be summed up as “life in the Spirit,” as the chapter...

Setting One’s Mind on the Spirit

Setting One’s Mind on the Spirit

Romans 8:4-6, “4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live...

Justice Satisfied in Another

Justice Satisfied in Another

Romans 8:3-4, “3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who...

No Condemnation In Christ

No Condemnation In Christ

Romans 8:1-2, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1 marks another significant turning point in Paul’s magisterial...

Trusting the Christ Captain of Our Souls

Trusting the Christ Captain of Our Souls

Throughout Romans 7, Paul has dealt with an important problem relevant to all Christians: why do I keep sinning if I am saved? Why, even though I love God’s Word and God’s law, do I keep on sinning even when I know I must not? Our passage summarizes Paul’s...

Evil Lurking Close at Hand

Evil Lurking Close at Hand

Romans 7:21, “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.” “The devil made me do it” may be a popular way of using humor to excuse sin, but we should never use this rationalization. Indeed, sin is not funny in the least, but remains...

Help for a Habit of Prayer

Help for a Habit of Prayer

If you have been a Christian long enough, you know about habits for growing in faith. Of all the habits, prayer may be the most critical. It gives life to all other habits because we seek the Holy Spirit primarily in prayer. One of my favorite Puritan writers, Richard...

Our True Identity

Our True Identity

Romans 7:18-20, “18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do...

The Believer’s Struggle

The Believer’s Struggle

Romans 7:14-17, “ For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is...

Sinful Beyond Measure

Sinful Beyond Measure

Romans 7:13, “Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.” Moving forward in our study...

The Law in the Life of an Unbeliever

The Law in the Life of an Unbeliever

Romans 7:12, “So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” Interpreters have long struggled to square Paul’s teaching on the law of God—particularly its revelation in the Mosaic law—with Old Testament texts that praise this law (for...

David and Mephibosheth

David and Mephibosheth

The New Testament has plenty of instances in which Jesus interacts with those with a disability, but what about in the Old Testament? There are still some great examples of how to treat someone with a disability, and one of the best is David’s example in the way he...

Sin’s Perversion of the Law

Sin’s Perversion of the Law

Romans 7:8-11, “8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very...

Solomon’s Secret

Solomon’s Secret

If you were to scour the less-than-famous books of the Old Testament, you would discover a peculiar statement in a peculiar book penned by a peculiar old man: “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all...

An Attitude of Contentment

An Attitude of Contentment

Romans 7:7-8, “What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing an opportunity...

Belonging and Bearing Fruit

Belonging and Bearing Fruit

Across the table from me, a young man, maybe fifteen years old, was pouring out his heart. While we ate our burgers and fries, he shared how he loved the Lord but struggled to apply the gospel daily. His friends were regularly doing things that he, as a Christian,...

Freed from the Law

Freed from the Law

Romans 7:1-3, “Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the...

The Wages of Sin vs. the Gift of Life

The Wages of Sin vs. the Gift of Life

Romans 6:22-23, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We...

The Kindness of God and the Fear of Judgment

The Kindness of God and the Fear of Judgment

In John 9:1-41, we read of Jesus’ interaction with a blind man at the pool of Siloam. Jesus frequently interacts with the blind or with people with various infirmities and disabilities. Because of that, His encounter with this blind man is not altogether unusual for...

Slavery to Sin and Its Fruit

Slavery to Sin and Its Fruit

Romans 6:20-21, “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.” As we look at all religions besides...

Slaves to Righteousness

Slaves to Righteousness

Romans 6:15-19, “15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of...

Paralyzing Accusations: Satan’s Ploy to Debilitate Believers

Paralyzing Accusations: Satan’s Ploy to Debilitate Believers

Still half-asleep, I stumble to the kitchen to turn on the Keurig. I hear the boys’ bedroom door open, followed by a miniature stampede of pattering feet running in my direction. The two youngest stop and look at me, but I’m not prepared for anything but coffee....

Jesus Heals Blind Man

Jesus Heals Blind Man

In the pages of the Bible, and especially in the Gospels, Jesus interacts with people with disabilities and infirmities frequently. One such instance is contained in Luke 18:35-43. In this portion of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus encounters a blind man on the road near...

Living Under Grace

Living Under Grace

Romans 6:14, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” Legal righteousness—a standing before God that says we have kept His covenant—is granted to us when we believe the gospel, when we trust in Jesus alone for salvation...

The Death of a Spouse

The Death of a Spouse

This is my first piece since the passing of my dear wife, Heidi M. Ruiz. She passed away on 3/28/2021 at Cornell medical hospital after a roller coaster of a day of sudden medical complications. If you’re inclined to hear my recounting of the day, please feel free to...

Instruments of Righteousness

Instruments of Righteousness

Romans 6:12-13, “12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your...

Considering Ourselves Properly

Considering Ourselves Properly

Romans 6:11, “11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Growth in holiness—our sanctification—does not constitute an optional addendum to the gospel; rather, it is a necessary fruit of the gospel. Indeed, properly...

Help! I’m Feeling Anxious about Everything

Help! I’m Feeling Anxious about Everything

Universal Worry Let’s be honest. We’re all worried, aren’t we? Some of us are worried about catching COVID-19 or spreading it. Some of us are worried about the impact of emergency laws upon civil liberties. Some of us are worried about the economy and the impact on...

Living to God

Living to God

Romans 6:8–10, “8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but...

Four Ways to Look for the Good in Others

Four Ways to Look for the Good in Others

Invite Conversation As a general rule, we will not be able to have growing relationships in which we help other people unless we see the good in them, and they know we see good in them. Would you listen to someone who helps you merely out of duty rather than love?...

United to Christ

United to Christ

Romans 6:5-7, “5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self[a] was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we...

Ten Reasons Why Christianity and New Age Cannot Blend

Ten Reasons Why Christianity and New Age Cannot Blend

I tried to blend New Age and Christianity for many years. Here are just 10 of the many reasons why Christianity and the new age are opposites that can never be blended: 1. New Age glorifies the self; Christianity glories God. 2. New Age says: “Follow your heart, and...

Baptized into Christ

Baptized into Christ

Romans 6:3-4, “3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too...

Dead to Sin

Dead to Sin

Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” Without a doubt, Paul is used to fielding objections to the Gospel, especially those having to do with the law of God....

The Obedience Of One

The Obedience Of One

Romans 5:18-21, “18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be...

More Sin, More Grace

More Sin, More Grace

Romans 5:20, “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,” Already in Romans on more than one occasion we have seen Paul anticipating objections having to do with the law of God. Here, it seems, he foresees...

The “More Sure” Word of God

The “More Sure” Word of God

God’s Voice Heard What a glorious moment the transfiguration was in Christ’s ministry. It takes place in Matthew 17. At this point, Jesus had twelve disciples, and much had already taken place since he had called them to himself: sermons, teachings, and parables;...

Constituting Us Righteous

Constituting Us Righteous

Romans 5:18-19, “Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through...

The Gospel Beginning in Proverbs

The Gospel Beginning in Proverbs

The Gospel Beginning in Proverbs We can summarize the good news of salvation in four words: God, Man, Christ, Response. God is holy and Creator of all (Isa 6:3; Rev 4:11). Man is sinful and deserving of God’s judgment (Rom 6:23a). God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to be...

The Justice of God’s Choice

The Justice of God’s Choice

Romans 5:15-17, “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that...

An Inexpressible Gift

An Inexpressible Gift

Occasionally, I have reflected that I have spent many Sundays in the pulpit trying to articulate the gospel, through the Scriptures, in such a way to all who are listening, "so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in...

Saved By the Life of God’s Son

Saved By the Life of God’s Son

Romans 5:10–11, “10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now...

Love Finds a Way

Love Finds a Way

Romans 5:9, “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” Reformed theology rightly stresses the forensic aspects of salvation. It affirms that in order for God to be just in the redemption of...

God’s Display of His Love

God’s Display of His Love

Romans 5:6-8, “6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still...

A New View of Suffering

A New View of Suffering

Romans 5:3-5, “3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts...

Fearing God Is a Matter of the Heart

Fearing God Is a Matter of the Heart

The Heart’s Inclinations The fear of God is not a state of mind you can guarantee with five easy steps. It is not something that can be acquired with simple self-effort. The fear of God is a matter of the heart. How easily we can mistake the reality of the fear of God...

The Peace that Brings Access

The Peace that Brings Access

Romans 5:1-2, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” In justification,...

For Abraham’s Sake and Ours

For Abraham’s Sake and Ours

Romans 4:22-25, “22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,...

Spiritual DNA

Spiritual DNA

Not long ago, DNA self-testing kits were all the rage. Our daughter received one as a gift and delighted in reporting to us what she’d learned about our family heritage. Other fads may have since surpassed the popularity of the kits, but the questions that motivated...

What Is Divine Providence?

What Is Divine Providence?

Purposeful Action The term sovereignty does not contain the idea of purposeful action, but the term providence does. Sovereignty focuses on God’s right and power to do all that he wills, but in itself, it does not express any design or goal. Of course, God’s...

The Assurance of Faith

The Assurance of Faith

Romans 4:16-17, “16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is...

How to Pray When You’re Tempted by Anger

How to Pray When You’re Tempted by Anger

Five Things to Pray I do not know if you, who are reading this, are struggling with anger. If you are, I do not know what is making you angry. It may be something very deeply distressing. I cannot, therefore, write to you as a pastor could speak, having listened to...

Becoming Heirs of the Kingdom

Becoming Heirs of the Kingdom

Romans 4:13–15, “13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is...

Not by Any of Our Works

Not by Any of Our Works

Romans 4:9-12, “9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but...

The Non-Imputation of Sin

The Non-Imputation of Sin

Romans 4:6–8, “just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his...

Counting Faith as Righteousness

Counting Faith as Righteousness

Romans 4:4–5, “4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in[a] him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,” Continuing our study of Romans 4, which is a...

Is Abraham’s Boast Works or Faith?

Is Abraham’s Boast Works or Faith?

Illustrations are living examples of abstract truths. They plant the truth in the soil of real life. Even the strongest argument needs a living example to be persuasive. Jesus constantly uses illustrations. He helps listeners see by clothing spiritual truth in their...

Upholding the Law by Faith

Upholding the Law by Faith

Romans 3:29–31, “29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no...

No Room for Boasting

No Room for Boasting

Romans 3:27-28, “27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” In a human manner of speaking, God must overcome a...

Just and Justifier

Just and Justifier

Romans 3:25–26, “25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that...

God’s Legal Declaration

God’s Legal Declaration

Romans 3:23–24, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” Last week we observed that when James speaks of justification, he uses the term to mean...

Spurgeon, Conversion, and Soul Winning

Spurgeon, Conversion, and Soul Winning

A non-witnessing Christian is an oxymoron. In one way or another, Christians are called by their risen Lord to testify to the glorious Gospel. Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said that “soul winning is the chief business of the Christian minister; [and] indeed, it should...

The Righteousness of God Manifested

The Righteousness of God Manifested

Romans 3:21-22, “21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction.” Romans...

The Law and Accountability

The Law and Accountability

Romans 3:19–20, “Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being[a] will be justified in his sight, since...

No Fear of God

No Fear of God

Romans 3:18, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” In the opening chapters of Romans, Paul has been methodically building his case that all mankind in Adam is without the righteousness that allows us to stand unafraid before God Almighty. The Gentiles who do...

You Live in a God-Entranced World

You Live in a God-Entranced World

An Invitation Jesus said to look at the birds because God feeds them (Matt. 6:26) and to consider the lilies because God clothes them (Matt. 6:28–30). Jesus’s aim was not aesthetic. His aim was to free his people from anxiety. He really considered it a valid argument...

Ruin, Misery, and Bloodshed

Ruin, Misery, and Bloodshed

Romans 3:15–17, “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16     in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” Head to toe, there is no part of us that is not affected by sin. Outside of Christ, we are under the dominion of sin, and it...

The Mouths of Sinners

The Mouths of Sinners

Romans 3:12–14. “All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14     “Their mouth is full of curses and...

4 Reasons Christians Should Use Their Minds

4 Reasons Christians Should Use Their Minds

A Christian Mind In the early 1960s, John Stott was asked by James Houston to speak at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada. Stott returned to Regent on a number of occasions and was impressed by its attempts to develop a distinctive Christian approach to a range of...

No One Is Righteous

No One Is Righteous

Romans 3:10–11, “None is righteous, no, not one; 11     no one understands; no one seeks for God.” For the first-century Jew who prided himself on being a part of God’s chosen people unlike the unclean, pagan Gentiles, the notion that even the Jews were not inherently...

Singing Psalms Blesses Families

Singing Psalms Blesses Families

Most evenings, when we tuck our three-year-old son into bed, he requests that my wife and I sing “O Greatly Blessed” to him. Now, if you are scratching your head trying to remember a hymn or song entitled “O Greatly Blessed,” you are probably not alone, even though...

Objective and Subjective Guilt

Objective and Subjective Guilt

Romans 3:9, “What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,” In washing the feet of His disciples, Jesus made it clear that those who follow Him need both the definitive cleansing from...

That Good May Come

That Good May Come

Romans 3:8, “And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.” Because of his charge that first-century Jews had not kept God’s law with the perfection necessary to be declared righteous before Him...

Is God Unrighteous?

Is God Unrighteous?

Romans 3:5-7, “5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) 6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world? 7 But if through my lie God's truth...

Gender Revolution and the Woman’s Role in Ministry

Gender Revolution and the Woman’s Role in Ministry

One of the most significant changes in human history has occurred in the past 40-50 years-the gender revolution or the blending of gender distinctions. In the words of historian William Manchester, “The erasure of distinction between the sexes is not only the most...

The Faithfulness of God

The Faithfulness of God

Romans 3:3-4, “What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.” At the...

Getting God’s Word Deep In Us

Getting God’s Word Deep In Us

God’s word feeds and fuels us. Jesus says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4). As diet is critical for a healthy body, spiritual health is impossible without the nutrition of God’s Word. A regular diet of...

The True Advantage of the Jew

The True Advantage of the Jew

Romans 3:1–2, “Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.” Paul will not countenance the idea that merely being a Jew and having some external obedience to...

The Place of Circumcision

The Place of Circumcision

Romans 2:26-27, “26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but...

The Value of Circumcision

The Value of Circumcision

Romans 2:25, “For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.” Lest anyone think that Paul pulls any punches in his argument that his Jewish contemporaries had no advantage before God because...

Blaspheming God’s Name

Blaspheming God’s Name

Romans 2:24, “For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” Judaism in the first century was a complex religion wherein each different subgroup had its own perspective on what the true expression of God’s covenant with Moses...

The Jews’ Failure to Keep the Law

The Jews’ Failure to Keep the Law

Romans 2:21b–23, “21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law...

In With the Old, In With the New

In With the Old, In With the New

If you’re anything like me, and you happen to wear glasses or contacts, or both, then I know you remember the day you got your first pair. Inside, a teacher’s whiteboard became immediately readable; outside, leaves and flowers were clothed with a whole new kind of...

Teaching Oneself

Teaching Oneself

Romans 2:17-21, “17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God 18 and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19 and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who...

The Work of the Law on the Heart

The Work of the Law on the Heart

Romans 2:14–16, “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears...

Is Possessing the Law Enough?

Is Possessing the Law Enough?

Romans 2:12–13, “12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be...

God’s Impartiality

God’s Impartiality

Romans 2:11, “For God shows no partiality.” Among other things, the Protestant Reformation was sparked by the desire to get the order of salvation correct. Reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin were reacting against the confusion of justification and...

The Sequence of Salvation

The Sequence of Salvation

Romans 2:9–10, “9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.” Christians have pored over Scripture for two...

Counsel from the Prophets

Counsel from the Prophets

If anyone ever needed counseling, it was the Old Testament prophets who often spoke and acted strangely. Isaiah walked about town barefoot and naked (Isa 20:1-6), while Jeremiah strapped a wooden yoke around his neck (Jer 27). Ezekiel chopped his hair and scattered it...

Be Careful Little Tongue What You Say

Be Careful Little Tongue What You Say

All it takes is the pastor teaching on one doctrine that someone doesn’t personally like, or the leadership making a decision that a member thinks is wrong, for it to become fodder for divisive tongues to start wagging and assault the unity of the Spirit in the local...

Weighing Our Works

Weighing Our Works

Romans 2:6–8, “6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness,...

The Object and Methods of True Worship

The Object and Methods of True Worship

Many people think it is enough to make the true God the object of our affections and worship, and then all will be well. Modes and methods, often, are not considered at all in this discussion. For example, most music issues within worship services are centered around...

Presuming upon God’s Kindness

Presuming upon God’s Kindness

Romans 2:3–5, “Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is...

Without Excuse

Without Excuse

Romans 2:1–2, “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such...

Approving Evil

Approving Evil

Romans 1:32, “Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” Can human beings do anything more evil than what we read in Romans 1:18–31? Is there...

Rejecting God and Ruining Ourselves

Rejecting God and Ruining Ourselves

Many good, church-going Christians probably know someone who needs to hear Romans 1:29-31 but think it has no bearing on them. Who wants to find themselves in the greatest hits of a debased mind? (Romans 1:28) These verses are not the type of normal morning quiet time...

Humanity’s Debased Mind

Humanity’s Debased Mind

Romans 1:28, “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” Homosexual behavior, in particular, demonstrates the exchange of what is good and natural according to God’s created order for that...

Giving up What Is Natural

Giving up What Is Natural

Romans 1:26–27, “26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one...

Worshiping the Creature

Worshiping the Creature

Romans 1:22–25, “22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the...

Radical Corruption

Radical Corruption

Romans 1:21–23, “21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal...

The Primal Sin of Humanity

The Primal Sin of Humanity

Romans 1:19–21, “19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that...

The Suppression of Truth

The Suppression of Truth

Romans 1:19-21, “19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[a] in the things...

An Invitation to Like-Minded Community

An Invitation to Like-Minded Community

Like-minded: the very word conjures warmth and welcome. Like-minded people are those who understand us, who “get” what animates us.  The term surfaces often these days in both Christian and non-Christian contexts: we’re advised to look for “like-minded” partners in...

The Righteousness of God in Christ

The Righteousness of God in Christ

Romans 1:16–17, “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous...

Paul, The Soul Winner

Paul, The Soul Winner

Each local church plays a vital role in the great commission. If we desire to see the expanse of the gospel in our nation and the world, there must be evangelists in local churches who keep the fires burning. The Church today needs ministers of the gospel who emulate...

The Church’s Mere Identity

The Church’s Mere Identity

Mere Identity The early church’s creeds offer the following affirmations: Apostles’ Creed: “I believe in the holy catholic church.” Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed: “We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.” Importantly, both creeds confessed their...

Paul’s Intent to Visit Rome

Paul’s Intent to Visit Rome

Romans 1:8–12, “8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers,...

Giving Kids Hope in Hardship

Giving Kids Hope in Hardship

“How has the pandemic affected your kids?” I asked this question to a mom of three children. Right away she listed some of the meaningful activities her kids have lost: play dates with friends; music lessons; in-classroom school; sports practice; youth group; ‘normal’...

The Church in Rome

The Church in Rome

Romans 1:5–7, “ through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, 7 To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called...

Lessons from a Wineless Wedding

Lessons from a Wineless Wedding

A restless stirring buzzed among the wedding guests. Their cups still held a pink tinge, a monument to once-brimming wine, but some time had passed since the attendants had been around with refills. The rumblings throughout the celebration, however, did not compare to...

The Gospel of God in History

The Gospel of God in History

Romans 1:2-4, “2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David[a] according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his...

Paul’s Magnum Opus

Paul’s Magnum Opus

Romans 1:1, “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,” For centuries, the faithful descendants of Abraham according to the flesh—the Jews— looked forward to God’s decisive intervention to restore the nation of Israel...

Final Words to Colossae

Final Words to Colossae

Colossians 4:16-18, “And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”...

Epaphras and Luke

Epaphras and Luke

Colossians 4:12-15, “12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you...

Gracious Speech

Gracious Speech

Colossians 4:5-6, “5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Mahatma Gandhi was the leader who secured India’s independence...

Serving the Lord Jesus, in All of Life, for His Glory

Serving the Lord Jesus, in All of Life, for His Glory

Colossians 3:18-25, “18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they...

Is This Why Birds Sing?

Is This Why Birds Sing?

Is This Why Birds Sing? The return of springtime means many of us will hear birds singing! After winter—and migration—birds return and grace our days with their chirping and singing. Birds fly. Birds build nests. And birds sing! Singing birds are one of the joys of...

The Word of Christ

The Word of Christ

Colossians 3:1-17, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden...

God-Given Growth in Christ

God-Given Growth in Christ

Colossians 2:16-19, “16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you,...

God in Christ

God in Christ

Colossians 2:8-10, “8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you...

A Perfect, Eternal Union

A Perfect, Eternal Union

Colossians 2:9, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,” How is Christ, after His ascension, localized in heaven and yet with His people no matter where we are (Matt. 28:18–20; Acts 1:6–11)? According to His humanity, Jesus is not on earth, but...

Wisdom Loves Company

Wisdom Loves Company

Twenty-one years ago, The Discovery Channel followed a group of sailors in their quest to become US Navy SEALs. The program, known as Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, is one of the most physically and mentally challenging endeavors in the world. One...

The Mystery of Mercy

The Mystery of Mercy

Getting young kids ready for school in the morning is memorable. One morning, I told my two-year-old to leave his book and put his boots on because it was time to leave. He shut his eyes, whined a little, and then walked right into a door. At that point, he turned to...

Human Philosophies

Human Philosophies

Colossians 2:8, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits[a] of the world, and not according to Christ.” Despite the fact that the Christians in Colossae were standing in...

Walking in Christ Jesus

Walking in Christ Jesus

Colossians 2:6-7, “6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Practically speaking, that which is principally required of us when...

Paul’s Presence in Colossae

Paul’s Presence in Colossae

Colossians 2:4-5, “I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. 5 For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.” Satan is called the master deceiver...

Christ Our Wisdom

Christ Our Wisdom

Colossians 2:3, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” As we begin our study today, again note that the historical background of Colossians is essential to understanding Paul’s purposes in writing as well as applying his teaching rightly....

Of Biblical Proportions: Habits of Thought We Need in Troubled Times

Of Biblical Proportions: Habits of Thought We Need in Troubled Times

I was looking at a child’s drawing the other day, amused that the dog in the picture was as big as the house, the people’s ears as big as their hands. One sign of an immature artist is a lack of proportion.  A sure sense of proportion is needed for biblical wisdom....

Love and Assurance

Love and Assurance

Colossians 2:1-2, “For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of...

Spurgeon and Calvinism: Recovering Our Evangelistic Fervor

Spurgeon and Calvinism: Recovering Our Evangelistic Fervor

To be an effective evangelist, you must be sound a theologian. For many, the word “Calvinism” has the connotation of dead and dry orthodoxy. Calvinism, however, is evangelistic by nature and demands evangelistic practice within the life of the church. In the...

Miracle of Forgiveness

Miracle of Forgiveness

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I haven’t seen a miracle in a long while.  Don’t get me wrong.  I know full well that this feeling is not because God isn’t performing miracles and transforming lives.  Instead, it is mostly because I often fail to “Lift my eyes...

Proclaiming Christ

Proclaiming Christ

Colossians 1:28-29, “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” Addressing a congregation that...

What Does the Gospel Have to Say About Everyday Life

What Does the Gospel Have to Say About Everyday Life

What Does the Gospel Have to Say About Everyday Life? Thirteen men were gathered together in an upstairs room, enjoying a meal of celebration. They had traveled far and long; finally, their journey was at an end. Partway through the meal, the leader rose from the...

The Riches of God’s Mystery

The Riches of God’s Mystery

Colossians 1:27, “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” As noted yesterday, Paul uses the term mystery to refer to a truth that was partially and dimly...

A Mystery Now Revealed

A Mystery Now Revealed

Colossians 1:25-26, “of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.” Mystery religions that promised...

Filling Up Christ’s Afflictions

Filling Up Christ’s Afflictions

Colossians 1:24, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,” Questions about the sufficiency of Christ due to false teaching that emphasized...

Persevering in Gospel Hope

Persevering in Gospel Hope

Colossians 1:23, “if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation[a] under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.” Perseverance of the saints is the...

More Thinking and Less Amusement in Worship Music

More Thinking and Less Amusement in Worship Music

Many Musical Expressions Food is wonderous. I resonate with author and speaker Paul David Tripp when he says, “For me, I love how much of the glory of God is edible!” I agree with every word of Tripp’s good confession. Bread, fruit, ice cream, chocolate, and beef-...

The Goal of Reconciliation

The Goal of Reconciliation

Colossians 1:21-22, “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,” Having spoken of the majesty and...

Cosmic Reconciliation

Cosmic Reconciliation

Colossians 1:15-23, 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him...

From Darkness to Light

From Darkness to Light

Colossians 1:9-14 “9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him:...

Proper Christian Growth

Proper Christian Growth

Colossians 1:9-10, "9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him:...

Her March Isn’t Over: Supporting Single Moms Who Choose Life

Her March Isn’t Over: Supporting Single Moms Who Choose Life

Her March Isn't Over: Supporting Single Moms Who Choose Life Another January has come to an end, and another March for Life is in the books. This year was unlike any other in the past due to social distancing, but the goal was the same, and the passion has not waned....

The Fruit of the Gospel

The Fruit of the Gospel

Colossians 1:5b-8, “5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day...

Risk-Taking and Trusting God

Risk-Taking and Trusting God

Risk-Taking and Trusting God I never anticipated having church members tell me that going to church is too risky. COVID-19 has melded together, going to church and risk-taking. I am asking questions now that I have never asked before in ministry. Is it worth the...

The Grounding of Hope

The Grounding of Hope

Colossians 1:3-5a, “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard...

Prayers in Ruth

Prayers in Ruth

Prayers in Ruth One of the best ways to learn how to pray is by listening to the prayers of others. Children learn from the prayers of godly parents and older saints in the church. New believers are both encouraged and exhorted in prayer meetings with the fellowship...

To the Saints in Colossae

To the Saints in Colossae

Colossians 1:1-2, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To the saints and faithful brothers[a] in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.” As we learned in last year’s study of the new covenant’s...

A Final Appeal

A Final Appeal

A Final Appeal (Hebrews 13:22-23) I appeal to you, brothers, bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. You should know that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom I shall see you if he comes soon. After the beautiful benediction...

How to Learn How to Make Your Spouse Feel Loved

How to Learn How to Make Your Spouse Feel Loved

Perhaps at church, you’ve seen a couple and wondered, “What makes their Christian marriage distinct?” Maybe you’ve noticed that they communicate well together or they complement one another well, or they seem to do all of those things and are better together? Over the...

God’s Equipping

God’s Equipping

God’s Equipping (Hebrews 13:21) Hebrews 13:21, “equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Equipping with Everything Good As the author...

The God of Peace

The God of Peace

The God of Peace (Hebrews 13:20) Hebrews 13:20, “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant.” Who God is As Hebrews ends, we find a beautiful benediction in 13:20-21....

Pray for Us

Pray for Us

Pray for Us (Hebrews 13:18-19) Hebrews 13:18-19, “Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner.” A Prayer Request In...

The Christian Life and Singing

The Christian Life and Singing

Here in Colossians 3:15-17, Paul is talking all about the Christian life. He goes into great detail in explaining how Christians are to live saying we are to have compassionate hearts, with love for one another, in submission to God, in thankfulness to the Father. But...

Obey and Submit to Your Leaders

Obey and Submit to Your Leaders

Hebrews 13:17, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Obey and Submit Church leaders,...

Dark Hour, Bright Promises: Praying The Promises of God

Dark Hour, Bright Promises: Praying The Promises of God

Have you been discouraged as of late? For most of us, this past year has been overwhelming. If we are being quite honest, this past year has taken its toll on many of us. Is there any encouragement in the Word of God for us today? When all around us seems so dark and...