The Scriptures are clear that it is God who saves the lost from their sins (Psalm 3:8, Jonah 2:9), and that He has determined to do it through the hearing of His word. Thus we read, “faith comes through hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17, NKJV). And again, “It pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (I Corinthians 1:21, NKJV). It is the gospel that is “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16, NKJV). If we want to reach those who are on the wide road which leads to destruction, to show them how they may be reconciled to God for all eternity, we must study and learn what the Scriptures teach. Too many people and churches have left the diligent study of the word of God in their efforts to reach a world that will be cast eternally into the lake of fire, for a man made method of becoming like the world in order to reach the world. However, it is the “Holy Scriptures which is able to make you wise for salvation throught Jesus Christ” (II Timothy 3:15, NKJV). Therefore, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15, NKJV). As this verse shows, this studying takes work, hard work, but we need to forsake our petty efforts to entertain the world into the Kingdom, and become dependant on the Lord and His word once again, obeying Him because we love Him(Proverbs 3:5-7, John 14:15, 21).
Posted by Brian on September 10, 2007
Posted by Brian on December 2, 2006
How seriously do Christians take the gospel in our day? Even more, how seriously ought Christians to take the gospel in our day? In response to the first question, I think I can confidently say that many today love the message of the gospel, and earnestly study, propound, contend, and defend it at all costs. I am also convinced, however, that there are still many who have become too apathetic and careless with the precious good news of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is evident by the shallowness of doctrinal understanding, lack of recognizing how the gospel relates to every aspect of life, and the lack of recognizing those who hold false teachings, and a false gospel. Why is this? It is because professing Christians do not take the gospel as seriously as they ought, and as a result, many hardly read their Bibles, except maybe a verse or two in their daily devotions. Many are not willing to go deeper in their study of the Bible than what they hear in Sunday school and church. How can such a professing Christian say they love the Lord and His gospel?
How seriously ought Christians to take the gospel? The apostle Paul took the gospel so seriously that when he wrote to the church of Galatia to rebuke them for allowing some to teach among them who were teaching a distorted version of the gospel (Galatians 1:6-7, to see this verse, enter it into the “Biblegateway Search” on the sidebar.), he declared, “Even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9).
Indeed, we can understand why the apostle Paul takes the gospel so seriously when we consider that it is through the preaching of the gospel, and that message alone, that God is pleased to save those who believe (1 Corinthians 1:21). Therefore, after rebuking the Galatians, Paul writes, “For do I no persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10). If we desire to be fully pleasing to the Lord, and see Him glorified in every area of our lives, then it ought to be our earnest desire to be faithful to Him and His gospel at all costs. Also, if we know anything of the tremendous grace given us in the Lord Jesus Christ, how He set us free from both the penalty and power of sin; if we have experienced the love of Christ poured out into our hearts, the forgiveness given us because Jesus paid the death penalty on our behalf, and imputed His righteousness to us so that we may be declared righteous in His sight, though we still sin, then ought not the love of Christ compel us to be diligent to rightly divide the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15), so as to implore others to be reconciled to God with answers and defenses, and a thorough knowledge of the Word of God in season and out (2 Peter 3:16, 2 Timothy 4:2)?
Is there any greater message to know and proclaim than the salvation of our souls through faith alone in Christ and His death and resurrection alone? Is there any greater message worth contending for? If not, then let’s be diligent to learn the glorious details of the gospel, how our jobs or school studies relate to it, and how to defend it.
Here is a brief summary of the gospel: If you are not a Christian, please read it. This is the core message of all of Scripture, and the most important thing for you to know. It will determine your relationship with God, and what will happen to you after you die.
Posted by Brian on December 2, 2006
Many atheist argue that Christianity cannot be valid because the existence of evil is inconsistent with a God who is omnipotent (all powerful) and omni-benevolent (all good). French philosopher Charles Baudelaire once wrote, “If God exists, he must be the devil.” This was his analysis as he observed the world around him filled with death, suffering, pain, and injustice. Indeed, how can there be an omnipotent, omni-benevolent God who is sovereign while such evils seem to prevail? Would such a God permit these things? Death and suffering, however, are not inconsistent from the nature of God and His perfect design. When God created all things, He declared that it was all “very good” (Gen 1:31). God did not create Adam and Eve as robots that were forced to love and worship Him. He gave them the ability to make choices, and in so doing, allowed for Adam and Eve to have the ability to choose to love and worship Him, or reject and rebel against Him. God warned Adam that the day he rebelled against His command to not eat from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he would die. As Scripture continues, we learn that Adam and Eve ate of that tree, and they fell into sin along with all of their progeny. This brought the death and suffering that we know today into the world.
While God is love, omni-benevolent, and omni-potent, He is also just. He will not let creatures exalt themselves over and above the Creator. In His goodness, He will not let lawlessness reign, but punishes sin by death (Rom 6:23), even the everlasting torment of the “second death” in the “lake of fire” (Rev 20:14). It was the sin of people that brought suffering into the world. As people continue to live in a sin cursed world, they will continue to experience the justice of God in punishing sin that is committed against an infinitely holy God. If God did not punish evil and demand order and righteousness, surely He would be the devil. We see then that God’s justness is good. God is justified, and man is left fully responsible for the condition of the world as we see it today. This is fully consistent with realty.
But God’s goodness extends far beyond His justice in the world. He has mercy on all who are alive by the fact that they are still alive and not ushered directly to hell to burn forever. Scripture teaches that, “He gives to all life, breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25, NKJV); every breath that is taken is drawn from the grace of God extended to sinners. God has gone to insurmountable heights by demonstrating ultimate goodness and love by taking on flesh and blood in order that He might bear the penalty for sin on the cross and reconcile a great number of otherwise recalcitrant people to Himself, “The just for the unjust” (1 Peter 3:18). There is nothing inconsistent with the character of God and the evil we see in the world today. When seen from the Christian perspective it actually demonstrates that God is not only omni-benevolent, but it also allows us to see that goodness demonstrated through multiple facets of God’s character and actions.
There are, however, problems for atheists on the issue of the problem of evil. Where, for example, do they get the notion that evil exists? If there is no God, from where a transcendent, absolute, objective standard for right and wrong, truth and error can be traced, then the notion of the existence of evil is a purely subjective opinion. For all atheists know, what they call evil may be good, or good, evil. Atheists have a problem because if there is no standard from which an evil deed can rebel (except the standard based on their mere opinion), then atheists themselves have to answer the question, “What about the problem of evil?” Ronald Nash, in his book Worldviews in Conflict writes, “The interesting point here is that few naturalists (atheists) seem to have realized how their reletivist approach to good and evil disqualifies them logically from being advocates of the problem of evil. Whenever they seek to embarrass Christians by describing a given evil, they do so in terms that simply are not consistent with their naturalistic understanding of things.”