The gospel is good — today

Many years ago when doing evangelism training with him, a friend asked me, “what is the benefit of the gospel?  I know we get Heaven, but is there good news in the gospel now?  What good is the gospel for people today?” I don’t remember what I told my friend on that occasion, but I know […]

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Will God help me?

Cheryl Treadway and her three children were being held hostage by her boyfriend, Ethan Nickerson.  He evidently was high on methamphetamine and threatening her with a knife if she attempted to leave.  Trapped and scared, Treadway took the only course of action she could think of — she received permission from Nickerson and then ordered […]

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What will you see at Christmas?

The word “Christmas” elicits many sensory responses: the vanilla, buttery smell of spritz cookies baking, the sounds of excited children whispering with giggling anticipation about gifts and Christmas songs at church, in the car, on iTunes, and at the mall and Home Depot, the sights of houses lit up in various kinds of splendor every […]

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The second Adam

One of the most recognized names in the world of art is Rembrandt. Though he lived and painted more than 350 years ago, some would say the technique and emotive beauty of his works has been unsurpassed since then. As a testimony to the enduring nature of his work, two years ago, a matching pair […]

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Some sins are worse than others

Every sin is worthy of the infinite wrath of God. The appropriate, rightly deserved consequence of all sin (and every sin) is God’s judgment and condemnation (Rom. 6:23). Every sin is worthy of God’s wrath because every sin is an affront to the glory of God and fails to achieve the glory of God (Rom. […]

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And then came death

Martin Luther’s consciousness of his sin is well-chronicled.  While he was serving in a Roman Catholic monastery he at times would feel confident of his self-righteousness that claimed, “I have done nothing wrong today.”  And then almost as quickly he would become plagued with questions like, “Have you fasted enough? Are you poor enough?”  His […]

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Worship God

When a high school student considers her options for college, her fundamental question is, “which school will be best for me so that I can achieve my goals?” When a job applicant interviews with a prospective employer, he will ask about the compensation package — “what benefits will I receive for giving you 40-50 hours […]

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We have the grace we need

Someone reminded me this week that an oft-quoted cliché among Christians is, “God gives us grace for whatever we need.” But, my friend asked, what does that really mean? How does God give us grace? What does that grace practically look like? Paul addresses a similar idea in Romans 5:2 when he identifies one of […]

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How important is Sola Fide?

For 1-1/2 chapters at the beginning of Romans, Paul repeatedly emphasizes the doctrine of justification by grace alone (3:24) through faith alone (3:25, 28). Justification is not received through any kind of good works (4:1-8), though circumcision or physical heritage (4:9-12), or through obedience to the Law (4:13-16). It is by grace alone and through […]

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As it is Written

Everyone has phrases he tends to use repeatedly. Sometimes the words are “filler” when we don’t know what to say, other times they are affirmations that we tend to make in the same way.  For instance, I tend to use the word “absolutely” and “precisely” when giving positive affirmation of a statement. Or when seeing […]

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Suffering as a ministry

We understand that the Lord often uses suffering as a means of sanctifying us — our trials are designed to conform us to Christ.  We don’t necessarily “like” the process, but we understand that this is what God does. Paul makes that clear in several places:  “And not only this, but we also exult in […]

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The guilt is gone

Guilt might be the most notorious five-letter word in our culture.  Declarations of guilt are minimized — he’s not “guilty,” he’s just “struggling” or he “made a mistake.”  And feelings of guilt are suppressed and denied.  A New York Times article I found this week captures the cultural attitude towards guilt perfectly: A friend of […]

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Prove it to me

In our world, skepticism abounds.  Conspiracy theories flourish.  Doubters disbelieve explanations they are told.  Truth is questioned and lies are embraced.  Things that are too far-fetched to be true are accepted as true.  If it sounds “truthy” then it must be true.  Truth is subjective rather than objective — “true for me” is more important […]

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How do we use the OT Law?

My wife and I have entered another new phase of life.  We have been told by our children when they have returned home (more than once!), “Dad, I don’t do that they way you and mom do…”  It seems the “house rules” that we established when they were young don’t all apply when they’ve gotten […]

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