The Resurrection, Christian Death, and Prayer

Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and we shall rise with Him.

As Christians, this is our hope and our confidence. This is what we mean by living. This is our life in living and in dying.

Because of this, there is no reason for us to fear or avoid death. There is no reason for us to try to do whatever we can to put death off for as long as possible. For Christians, death is the consummation of life, the fulfillment of life, the entry into an experience of life more full and abundant. It is an event to be greeted with joy, to which to look forward. If we truly believe that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, that we shall see Him upon death, and that we will be raised with Him to live forever with Him, then there is no reason for us to want to defer death, to escape death for the present moment, to flee from death.

This shapes our entire lives. Continue reading “The Resurrection, Christian Death, and Prayer”

Christian Marriage and Virginity (or Single Life): Glorious Privilege

I do not understand why some Christians think that the married life is inferior and less glorious than certain other vocations. I do not understand why some Christians think any life without marriage is, well, inferior to marriage, less happy than marriage, less fulfilling than marriage, and so forth.

Marriage is – like martyrdom – a glory, a blessing, and a privilege of which no one is worthy except through the merits of Christ. It is ordained by God and cannot be broken or dissolved. It is one of God’s illustrations of the love of Christ for His bride, the Church, all of God’s people, and His union with her. Continue reading “Christian Marriage and Virginity (or Single Life): Glorious Privilege”

Waiting on God

“Wait for YHWH; wait patiently for Him.”

“You watchmen over the house of Israel, give YHWH no rest until He establishes peace for Jerusalem.”

“We yearn for You, more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.”

“O God, You are my God, I shall seek You early. My soul yearns for You, my body thirsts for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

A mother is cooking a dessert. Her child goes over to the oven every half-minute and asks, “Is it done yet, Mom?” In exasperation, the mother says, “Be patient!” When the dessert is removed from the oven, the child asks, “Can I eat it now?” to which the mother responds, “It has to cool still. Wait, please, will you?”

When God says, “Wait for Me,” or “Wait patiently,” He does not mean what the mother in this story means by patient or wait. Continue reading “Waiting on God”

The Faithfulness of Christ: Why You Don’t Have to be Brave or Strong to be a Witness (Martyr)

“If we died with Him, we will also live with Him. If we endure, we will also reign with Him. If we disown Him, He will also disown us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.”

“But do not worry about what you are to say or how you will answer, for it will not be you who is speaking, but the Spirit of your Father who is speaking through you.”

“For no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit, and no one speaking by the Holy Spirit can say ‘Jesus is cursed.’”

The Christian’s very confidence is that Jesus Christ is the Faithful and the True. It is because Jesus Christ is faithful that we can confess Him and not disown Him, not because of any faithfulness in ourselves. Continue reading “The Faithfulness of Christ: Why You Don’t Have to be Brave or Strong to be a Witness (Martyr)”

Have You Ever Heard of God?

“God is in heaven and you are on earth; therefore, let your words be few.”

“YHWH is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him.”

When Moses approached the burning bush, God said to him, “Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” The presence of God demands reverence: fear, holy fear, is not too light a word. This reverence, this holy fear – joyful and wonderful only because, in Christ Jesus, we know God as our Father, but not the less holy, or the less fear, or even the less terrible, for in Jesus Christ, God, in all His magnificent holiness, is our tender and loving Father: Jesus’ death and resurrection did not change God, it changed us and our relationship to God – this reverence and holy fear must be present when we approach God, when we are in His presence. Continue reading “Have You Ever Heard of God?”

Jesus the Fulfillment of the Law

Jesus said, “I came not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it.”

It is a repeated theme, that Jesus died, was buried, rose again, and ascended, “in accordance with the Scriptures.”

The Apostle Paul writes, that all God’s promises are “Yes” and“Amen” in Jesus; He is God’s “Yes” and “Amen” to all His promises.

The Law is prophetic; its purpose always has been to point to Jesus Christ, God’s All in All, the One God the Father exalts over all creation, the One who descended to both the heights and the depths that He might fill all creation. Jesus is the One of whom God declared, “Serve YHWH with fear; rejoice before YHWH with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” The Law exists solely to bring people to Him.

Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophecies. He came to be the fulfillment of the Law and the prophecies. Continue reading “Jesus the Fulfillment of the Law”

The Death By Which Peter Would Glorify God: Grace, Forgiveness, and Gratitude

After Jesus rose from the dead, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, three times he asked Peter, who had denied Him three times during His trial, “Do you love Me?” The third time, Peter was grieved because He asked Him the third time, and said, “Lord, You know all things. You know that I love You.” Jesus said to Him, “Feed My sheep.” Then He said, “When you were younger, you girded yourself and went where you pleased. When you are older, another will gird you and stretch out your hands and take you where you do not want to go.” He said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then He said to him, “Follow Me.” Peter followed Him, and turned to see John also following. He asked Jesus, “Lord, what of him?” The Lord said to him, “What is that to you?” Continue reading “The Death By Which Peter Would Glorify God: Grace, Forgiveness, and Gratitude”

The Real Prosperity Gospel: If Then You Who Are Evil…

God has a wonderful plan for your life.

Jesus offers you the Best Life.

God wants you to be happy.

The Prosperity Gospel.

“Who among you, if your child asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if you child asks for an egg, will give him a serpent? If then you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!”

All of these statements are true. The problem with those who think that God promises them cars, and houses, and clothing, and luxuries is that they believe that God promises too little. They have never tasted and seen that YHWH is good, and so they want little things, unimportant things. They want faded happinesses, broken toys, mud pies, cardboard houses, rocks and snakes. Continue reading “The Real Prosperity Gospel: If Then You Who Are Evil…”

The Sovereignty of God Glorified in Human Freedom

God is in control. No one can thwart His purposes. No one can hold back His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?” Whatever happens, happens because He has willed it so.

Amazing, right?

Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the ruler over everything that happens, in all its largeness, in all its smallness.

This is glorious. This is wonderful. It is part of what it means that God is God. It is what we mean when we say that God is King over all the earth.

God did not just create things like rocks or trees, which simply exist – because He sustains them – and can do neither right nor wrong. God also created angels and humans, beings to whom He gave the amazing power to do right or to do wrong, to love or to hate, ultimately, the choice whether they would love Him or love themselves. He gave them wills, for the purpose that they should love Him, adore Him, and that He should share His divine life and joy with them, but with the very real possibility that they would rebel, loving and adoring themselves instead, and preferring self-contained death and misery to Him. Continue reading “The Sovereignty of God Glorified in Human Freedom”

In the Image of God

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet is without sin.”

“For in order to be a suitable high priest, He had to be made like His brethren in every way, sin excepting.”

“He is the image of the invisible God.”

“He is the radiance of His glory and the exact imprint of His nature.”

“’Let Us make man after Our image, in Our likeness.’ So God created man in the image of God; in the likeness of God He created him.”

The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Son, Word, and Image of the Father was incarnated and became man, in the womb of a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit. Many thousands of years earlier, God made Adam out of the dust of the earth in His own image. Continue reading “In the Image of God”