There is a famous go-to verse in Second Peter for those trying to say that Paul’s letters are confusing and hard to understand. Peter’s words are frequently taken to mean that we cannot properly interpret many of the theological discourses in Paul. His statement has often been used as a cop-out in (losing) debates over a Pauline text. But is this really what Peter meant? Is he really telling his audience that they should throw in the towel and give up on Pauline exegesis? I encourage you to read the entire context in which the verse is found (see passage below), and then we will get into reasons why we can still understand Paul, and why this verse does not teach that we cannot: Continue reading Are Paul’s Letters Hard to Understand? Rethinking 2 Peter 3:16
The Shack, written by William P. Young and adapted to film in 2017 by Lionsgate media, tells the story of a man named Mackenzie who loses his daughter to a brutal murderer. In his grief, he is later summoned to the shack in which his daughter died by the Holy Trinity manifesting themselves as a black woman, a mid-eastern man, and an Asian woman. The film attempts to provide a Christian understanding of how human suffering and evil can exist when an all-powerful beneficent God exists. However, it ultimately fails to provide either a Biblical or comprehensive solution to the problem it addresses.
“[Jesus] gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age according to the will of God our Father.”
The statement is at the introduction of Paul’s letter and seems to simply be an outburst of doxology. He is overwhelmed at the tremendous mercy of Christ. However, from verse 6 of this chapter we can glean that Paul is not merely rejoicing in this faith. Rather, he is strategically stating the true gospel right out of the gate. You see, the very next thing Paul mentions after this work of Christ is that the Galatians are falling into a different gospel. Thus his statement in verse 4 is that real, saving gospel from which the Galatians are deviating. They had lost focus of the cross. Continue reading Jesus Delivered Himself to Deliver Us (Galatians 1:4)
In our original post on the Golden Chain of Salvation we looked at Romans 8:30 as our key verse. There we examined each stage in the process (predestination, calling, justification, and glorification) and concluded that, by God’s power, the links of the chain cannot be broken. If one part of the chain applies to somebody, we know the rest will too.
Now we will continue on in Romans 8 where Paul elaborates upon and solidifies what he has already said about the golden chain. Bringing up Christ’s death and resurrection Paul shows how our security is rooted in God’s justice (vv. 31-34), and in His love (vv. 35-39). Christians are hammered with opposition and trials in this life, but because Jesus died for us we can rest assured that nothing can “unlink” us from the chain of salvation. Continue reading The Cross and the Golden Chain of Salvation (Romans 8:31-34)
Sin absolutely is universal. The Bible gives us a clear answer to this inquiry: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). In its original context, that statement comes after Paul spells out the doctrine that all humans, whether Jew or Gentile, are under sin. This has been the point of his letter since the end of the introduction. This letter is all about the gospel, and one cannot understand salvation without a knowledge of sin. Further, when we grasp the universality of sin our worldview will be better equipped to interpret the evil and pain in this world. Continue reading Is Sin Universal? Answers From Romans
There has been war throughout human history. Where does war come from? How will they end? Is there hope for world Peace? These are questions in the hearts and minds of people throughout the world. The United Nations was even founded in an effort to maintain and seek world peace. After the Second World War its purpose was stated in its charter: ‘We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind,…’ (http://www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/preamble/index.html)
“These whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified” (Romans 8:30).
Paul had just said that God is working all things for our good (v. 28), and that we will be conformed to Jesus’ image (v. 29). Continuing that thought, he explains that the plan of salvation is secure, and how God brings us into that conformity. The teaching in this sentence has rightly been called The Golden Chain of Salvation. Nobody can be at one link in this chain without all of the others being true. Anybody who is justified before God is so because they were first predestined by God, and because God followed through with His purpose to save them by also calling them. Anybody who is justified will by no means fall away, but God will complete their salvation and bring them into eternal glory. The verse could have the same meaning if it had only said, “all whom He predestined, He also glorified.“ Continue reading The Golden Chain of Salvation, Romans 8:30
The book 1 Timothy was written by Paul the apostle to a young evangelist who often served with him. He is absent at the time and wishes to instruct Timothy on how to run the church. Our passage for today, chapter 1 verses 12-17, is a digression. His mention of his commission to preach the gospel in verse 11 sparks a rant about how he was considered faithful despite his former sins. He picks up his thought again in verse 18 mentioning again the command back in verse 3. In this paragraph Paul give us insight into the gospel and his personal testimony. I want to draw particular attention to his past sin. Paul shatters the notion that people can be too bad to make it to heaven. If you are in that thought process concerning yourself, may Paul’s testimony show you just how merciful Jesus is. Continue reading Paul the Chief of Sinners Was Shown Mercy
The Galatian church had fallen prey to false teachers, and many of its members were being drawn away from the pure gospel of grace alone. Paul writes the letter to rebuke them and get them back on track. Here we can glean insight and many practical tips for how we can recognize and defeat false doctrine in our churches. Continue reading 10 Lessons From Galatians on False Doctrine and Its Teachers
Today I want to address that which is both a highly neglected Christian responsibility and a highly underappreciated Christian privilege. The exhortation from Scripture goes as follows:
“Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.” Hebrews 13:3