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.
The resurrection pertains to our salvation, but also to out our sanctification. When a Christian sets his hope both in our past death and resurrection in union with Christ, and our future resurrection at His appearing, there will be a change in our lives. The former makes the change, and the latter motivates a change. Let us examine both of these. Read and be blessed on this glorious Easter Continue reading How the Past and Future Resurrections Change Our Lives
You feeling depressed? Saddened by the various disappointments and trials of life? One of the chief ways to fight against the darkness that tries to choke our joy is by remembering the many blessing that God has given believers in salvation. Gratitude drives out darkness. It is hard to be depressed and thankful at the same time. So I have created a list of 42 blessings that we have received in salvation. These are not all the blessings, but they are a start. They succeeded in making me smile, and I hope they bring some joy to your heart as well. Each one includes a reference for you to look up in your Bibles. For your convenience, they are in consecutive order. Continue reading Defeating Depression with 42 Blessings of Salvation
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.”
My focus for this post is from verse 25. What I wish to draw from this text is Paul’s purpose for staying alive. Whatever this ambition is, to him it was worth staying alive and suffering more, rather than going to be with the Lord. Being that death is “much gain”, this task must be of incredible importance to Paul.
So for what reason is Paul remaining? He says it is for the church’s progress and joy in the faith. Before elaborating on the meaning, there are a few things I wish to point out from our text, and the book as a whole, concerning working for the progress and joy of our brothers’ faith. Continue reading True Fellowship: Increasing One Another’s Faith and Joy
What I want to address quickly is, the timing of the atonement. I wish to answer the questions, When did Jesus begin to bear the sins of His people? When was Christ abandoned? Namely, I wish to debunk the popular notion that the three hours of darkness, when Jesus says “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me,” (Matt. 27:46) was the period where God laid the sins of His people upon Him. They say that the darkness was God turning His face from Jesus, for “God cannot look upon sin” (Hab. 1:13 taken out of context).
Please note I am not at all denying the doctrine of Divine Abandonment! I believe Jesus was abandoned because Jesus says He was abandoned. But where I would differ is the starting point of it all. I believe that Jesus was bearing the sins of His people, and enduring the wrath of God in their place beginning not only the first 3 hours on the cross in addition to the latter 3, but even before the cross. I shall quickly go over four reasons why I believe this is the case. The first two are more implicit, but the latter two are conclusive. Continue reading Divine Abandonment: Was Jesus Only Bearing Our Sins For 3 Hours?
There are two types of Christians in this country: Secular and Biblical.
Secular Christians enter into “Church mode” on Sundays. They don’t swear. They don’t talk dirty. They don’t fight. They smile and get along! “I’m at Church,” is the explanation. They give their serious attention to the service but the after-service “fellowship” is the real fun. Church is a social club. It makes me feel good and I get to volunteer. If I don’t like this one, I’ll find another Church.
Biblical Christians savor Church because it revitalizes them for another week of Christian living. They often think of how this gathering will propel them to live in “the World.” While they genuinely enjoy the comradery with friends, Biblical Christians try to remember that Church is about God and not them. Faithfulness and commitment to the people of the Church, no matter how flawed, is the most important thing. Continue reading Secular Christianity vs. Biblical Christianity
I remember a couple of times throughout my secular public education where our study of literature would bring up the concept of a utopia. For one assignment in particular, I remember each student was told to write out what their own personal utopian society would be like if we could create one. As pre-teens there was mention of free pizza, no school, or a basketball court on every corner among other things. Then, with all of the students’ differing ideals before her, the teacher usurped the right to draw the conclusion that a paradise is impossible. Since what is enjoyable to one student would bore another to tears, she reasoned it to be simply a dream not to come true.
Back then I would have agreed; but now that I am saved I think differently. Believers are guaranteed “an inheritance incorruptible…reserved in heaven,” (1 Pet. 1:4). Paul prayed that the Ephesians would “know…the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” (Eph. 1:18). He prays for the Colossians that they would rejoice that God has qualified them “to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light,” (Col 1:12). Notice how the same inheritance is that of all the saints! They all are in the same utopia performing the same ideal activities. Through His perfect wisdom, God ordained to happen what my teacher had concluded impossible! Continue reading Video Games and Ice Cream in Heaven?
“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
(1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
I want to look at a text concerning the gospel. My hope is that our salvation will not be assumed because of church attendance or family relations, but that it will be assured because of personal faith in Christ and true biblical repentance. First Corinthians 15 tells us a few things about the importance of the gospel message in Paul’s preaching and in the life of a church. Observe: Continue reading Paul Preached a Saving Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)