“Christ is risen from the dead, having trampled down death by death, and having upon those in the tombs life bestowed!” “This is the night on which Christ broke the prison-bars of death and rose victorious from the underworld!” “This Jesus God has raised up again – to this we are all witnesses.” “Because I …
Tag: Christian Living
You Only Will Be My Crown
For You, O Christ, I renounce the world And You only will be my crown And You only will be my crown And You only will be my crown For You, O Christ, I despise the world All its riches I cast off as loss Its fame, recognition, and values And I follow You, Christ, …
What It Really Means to Take the Name of the Lord in Vain
“You shall not take the name of YHWH your God in vain.” “Father, hallowed be Your Name.” God is Holy. His Greatness – His Truth – His Love – His Goodness, all these call us to approach Him and to speak His Name with reverence and with joy, not flippantly, not carelessly, but meaning what …
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The Crucifixion and the Meaning of Compromise
“Let us go, therefore, to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.” “Woe to those who go down to Egypt, who trust in horses, who rely on chariots because there are many of them, and on horses because of their strength. YHWH also is wise and can bring disaster; He will not retract His word …
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Asking God “Why?” and Declaring His Goodness
Some people think that one should never ask God “Why?” about anything. Others seem to be very interested in asking God “Why?” about all kinds of things. Asking God “Why?” is not necessarily doubting His goodness or His love. It depends on why you are asking “Why?” and on what you are asking. Sometimes, asking …
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One Body, Many Members or Together and Alone
This article is probably not what you might expect from the title. There is a very real sense in which all Christians understand all other Christians. Most truly and most importantly, we live the same life, which is Christ. We were baptized with one baptism into one body. We are indwelt by one Holy Spirit, …
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What’s Amazing is What God Does: The Place Where Courage Is Impossible
No matter what happens to you, however horrendous, you will not suffer even insignificant harm – you will not be harmed or damaged in something as minor and seemingly unimportant as a single hair of your head. This is staggering, and it rules out all possibility of what the world means by courage. The whole value system of the world is built on men trying to be gods unto themselves, to find strength, meaning, purpose, power in themselves; as Christians, all of this is done away with (and we must be willing to accept it; we must not fight it when the world scorns us, we must not try to convince the world that we are not really so weak and pitiful as all that, but we should accept its scorn and disregard with joy, rejoicing that we have been counted worthy to be counted among the scum of the world, the off-scouring of all things, with our Savior, going to Him outside the camp). We recognize how completely weak and helpless we are as creatures and we rely on God's strength and God's care. We are strong when we are weak not because there is some strength that works through the appearance of weakness... What is amazing is not the endurance or the joy of the martyrs. What is amazing is not the willingness of Christians to die for their Lord: what is amazing is that their Lord died for them, sinners. Knowing that God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us, it is obvious that we would gladly die for Him. The least we can do is to consider our lives not our own but His – He bought them with His blood. We are only slaves dying for our Master, creatures dying for our Creator, redeemed sinners dying for the Perfect Sacrifice and Savior, pardoned rebels for our King. That we should both live and die for Him is nothing. What means something – what staggers belief – is that the Master died for His slaves, the Creator died for His creatures, the Perfect One for defiled sinners, the King for rebels and traitors. “If we live we live to the Lord and if we die we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or we die we belong to the Lord, for to this end Christ both died and lives again, that He might be the Lord both of the dead and of the living.” “You will be betrayed even by friends and family, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all men because of Me, and not a hair of your heads will perish.”
Temples of the Holy Spirit and Living Sacrifices
It is like the parable of the talents. He loans us all we have, including our bodies and our minds. Spending your whole life trying to take care of your body and eat healthy because you say to yourself, “I belong to God; I should take care of myself,” is like the servant who buried his talent and then said to his master, “Master, I knew you were a hard man, taking what you did not sow and harvesting what you did not plant. So, for fear of losing it, I buried this, your talent. Here is what belongs to you.” We may just as easily be called upon to lose it all for His sake; and, this is no loss, for it was His to begin with. He has the right to demand it back whenever He pleases, in whatever way He pleases, and in whatever portions He pleases... Do not sin; do not live for yourself; do not live or act or choose for your own pleasure; “You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.” All your functions, all your parts, are to be at His disposal. Everything you do should be an act of worship. You should use your body in a way that is worthy of your calling as saints; in a way that is worthy of the Lord Jesus... God Himself lives in us. How dare we unite the very temple of God, the members of the Lord, the Lord Himself, with sin and unholiness? Because we are temples of the Holy Spirit, all sin is sacrilege – sin committed against that which is holy.
(Part II) Who Are You That You Fear: I, Even I, Am He…
There is a lot of talk about assurance of salvation, whether it is possible, how it is to be had, whether it is necessary, on and on and on. I really do not think it is the point. The point is simply this, “It is not I who lives, but Christ who lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” It's not about whether or not you or I can lose eternal life... It's about the fact that Jesus Christ is eternal life. It is all about Him. How many times did He say, “I am He?” Let us cease to look at ourselves and instead look to Him. “You have been buried with Him through baptism into death.” Salvation – everything – is about Christ. “He who descended is also He who ascended that He might fill all things.” Salvation means that we die and are raised in Christ. This is the way to conquer fear. Fear of what will happen to me? God loves me and is in control of all things. He is sovereign and He loves me as no other can love. This is eternal comfort, but it is not even about eternal comfort; it is about the fact that He is good, that His love is real, that He is YHWH. (How I wish I could say this without using words like I!) Even though I should not know His love, not know His goodness, even though I should forget all that I have ever known of Him (unless He continually gives me the knowledge of Himself I must forget it, for it is knowledge of eternity, eternal knowledge; it is not the kind of thing a creature can keep; it must be continually received by grace through faith,) even though I should turn my back on Him... still, He is good. He remains unchanged. He is Love. He is YHWH – I AM WHO I AM – I am He.
Hypocrisy in the American Church: A Scandal and Disgrace
This is a glaring example of hypocrisy. Professed Christians are acting in shameful ways, clearly violating the commands, rather, the character of God, living in public sin and bringing disgrace to the Name of the Lord. To pile shame upon shame, they try to insist that unbelievers, who do not call on the Name of the Lord, live in a way that they deem honorable and righteous. It is as though they clean the outside of bowl and platter while allowing the inside to be dirty. It really seems that there is some conspiracy afoot to try to make the Church and the world look as much alike as possible. Are Christians not meant to shine like the stars in a crooked and depraved world? Are we not called to live such blameless lives that though they slander us they are ashamed to do so? Are we not meant to walk as He walked, as His Spirit molds us into His likeness? Is this not to be our confidence on the day of judgment – that as He was, so are we in this world?