Authority: Romans 13 in the Context of Life in America

A while ago I was reading a book where the following was recounted, in more detail: a man is preaching about Jesus to a group of people who’ve gathered to listen. Another man shows up and tells him to stop. He ignores the man telling him to stop until he notices that the man is a police officer, at which point he perceives his demands to be authoritative and complies.

I don’t wish to criticize the individual in question. I don’t know the particulars of the situation; maybe he was blocking a route and it really was appropriate for him to move. What really bothered me about the story was actually where and how the writer told it; he was using it to illustrate the weight of authority. As such, it is singularly unhelpful and even harmful. Continue reading “Authority: Romans 13 in the Context of Life in America”

The Humiliation and the Glory

The Infinite One who encompasses the worlds, the Lord of Majesty, becomes a baby in a woman’s womb.

The Lord of Love and Faithfulness is betrayed with a kiss of devotion.

He is bound with ropes that can not exist for a moment apart from His active will by men who can not breathe except that He allows it.

The King in whose presence the seraphs cover their faces and feet is mocked and spat upon by sinners.

The King of all kings and Lord of all lords is sentenced to death by a conquered people and a mere government official. Continue reading “The Humiliation and the Glory”

(Part II) The Promises of God: Prayer – Whatever You Ask

Over and over again, Jesus said things like, “Whenever two or more of you agree on anything that you ask in My Name it shall be given you,” or “Whatever you ask in My Name, I will do,” or “Until now you have not asked for anything in My Name. On that day you will ask, and I do not say that I will petition the Father on your behalf; no, the Father Himself loves you, because you have believed in My Name,” or, this, in 1st John, “Now, if we ask for anything according to His will we know that He hears us, and we know that if He hears us then we have what we asked of Him.” Continue reading “(Part II) The Promises of God: Prayer – Whatever You Ask”

Why The Believers Were Shocked by Peter’s Release: It Wasn’t What They Were Praying For!

I was just reading an interpretation, which I can’t let go, of that part in Acts where the believers are praying for Peter and then can’t believe his release in a Bible Study guide a friend received. The interpretation, which I have seen in more places than I can count, was that that the believers didn’t really expect God to answer their prayers; they’d seen James killed and they were desperately praying for Peter’s release but they didn’t really believe that God could or would answer their prayers.

I’m going to be honest. I can’t stand that interpretation. That’s why I’m writing this article right now. I don’t think the believers were praying for Peter’s release at all. They’d seen God deliver Peter from prison before; Continue reading “Why The Believers Were Shocked by Peter’s Release: It Wasn’t What They Were Praying For!”

(Part I) The Promises of God: Introduction and Psalm 23

First, I’m going to give you some background for why I believe it is necessary to address the staggering nature and meaning of God’s promises. Then, I am going to go through Psalm 23 in the light of other Scriptures. I would like everyone to keep in mind throughout that all the promises are made in Christ and ultimately are Christ, even as we are told “Jesus Christ His Son, who is the only true God and eternal life,” and that it is in Christ that all the promises are “Yes and Amen.”

There is an unfortunate problem in America. There are a lot of people who don’t want to warn would-be believers to count the cost of discipleship. They shrink from telling people what Jesus did: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. Anyone who loves father or mother or wife or brother or lands more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Continue reading “(Part I) The Promises of God: Introduction and Psalm 23”

What Jesus’ Words Mean in the Context of the Holiness of God

God is holy. That does not just mean that He is pure and sinless. It does not even just mean that He is righteous. God’s holiness means that He is pure, sinless, and righteous, but it is more than that. God’s holiness means that He is completely Other. He is Himself and completely unlike any of His creation (there is a kind of likeness between God and His creation, but I cannot go into that here, and I believe that that is just another way in which God is so holy, so other, so completely unlike His creation, that even that statement must be qualified).

Generally, we associate light with holiness. The Bible also does this and there is great truth in it, but so that we may see how far beyond our thoughts is the reality of God’s holiness, God also gives us images of darkness and destruction for His holiness. Continue reading “What Jesus’ Words Mean in the Context of the Holiness of God”

(Part II) The Wonder of the Trinity: Father, Son, Spirit

We tread on very holy ground here. How sacred and unfathomable are the mysteries of the Trinity and the union of the Persons of our Triune God! Let us approach with care in reverence and awe, and take warning that if we think that we have grasped Him with our minds, it is not God upon whom we gaze.

This mystery of the relationships of the Persons of YHWH is far deeper, higher, and wider than is the truth that God is One. It is hidden under His train, veiled by the unapproachable light and the rainbow like an emerald that is round the throne. Let us take care that we do not seek to delve into the hidden things the knowledge of which God has reserved to Himself alone, but approach in worship to receive that which He would disclose to all His children, to whom His gift is Himself. All we see is but a sliver of the Infinite One, and words are so poor; I can only point, and hope that someone might see that which I have seen or greater yet, or at least realize that that which they think they have seen they have not seen, for they have not seen rightly. Continue reading “(Part II) The Wonder of the Trinity: Father, Son, Spirit”

(Part I) The Wonder of the Trinity: God is One

God is One. There are three distinct Divine Persons.

These two truths have been held by Christians throughout the ages. They form the basis for our understanding of the faith. With the doctrines of the Person and Work of Jesus Christ and the Incarnation they stand at the very center of the Christian faith. Indeed, without a right understanding of the Nature of God and the Trinity the mystery of the Incarnation is nonsense, and without the Incarnation the Cross and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ are equally nonsense.

In order even to understand the incomprehensibility of the Trinity, we must have an understanding of the truth that God is One.

This means more that there is only one God. I would like to say that it means that God is God. Continue reading “(Part I) The Wonder of the Trinity: God is One”

The Image of God and the Firstborn over all Creation: God must be all in all

It is only fitting that in all things good God should reign supreme, that everything that is not rebellion, that is, defiance against His nature and law, God should fill. There shall be no goodness had by any creature, no good role held or enacted by any creature, that does not belong to God!

This is fulfilled in God’s Messiah. You may say that it is against God’s nature to obey, to submit, to suffer limitations or pain, to die. I say that it is against God’s nature for there to be any goodness which is not His – in fact, I say that it is downright impossible for there to be any goodness which was not first God’s Continue reading “The Image of God and the Firstborn over all Creation: God must be all in all”