In the world around us we see many claims that there is no God. Atheism is supposedly on the rise. But does Atheism actually exists? Do people really believe that there is no God? I would contend that the answer to that question is absolutely not. There are no true Atheists.
Now the Atheist will kick and scream saying that I am wrong. But that is just a ruse. It’s a kneejerk reaction to the thing they so desperately want to avoid, God. But deep down, all Atheists know that God is real and that he exists.
19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ro 1:18–22.
It is plainly known to them. And although they knew God. Paul doesn’t leave this as a possibility, it is a definite. They know God exists. They know he is real. They try to claim wisdom and superiority in intellect, but they are foolish.
They have been so deceived by their own lies that they truly want to believe that there is no God. But they are wrong. They know this deep inside.
One only has to look around to know that there is a creator. We did not just happen. We did not just pop into being. We did not just evolve. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.
I have mentioned that I have been teaching a course on world religions to a youth group and tonight we finish up with a session on Secular Humanism. Now, I know at first you may not think that Secular Humanism is a religion, but it most definitely is without any doubt. After all, it is a system of belief that tries to make sense of the world around us and our purpose in it. That, by very definition, is a religion.
As I was preparing for the class tonight it amazes me to think about just how far the Secular Humanist worldview has penetrated our culture and society. It is in everything. It is in the television programs that we watch. It is in our politics. It is in our schools, especially in our schools. It is in our courts.
We see Secular Humanism rear its head each day this week as we watch the protests demanding the right to kill and murder unborn babies. We saw it a few weeks ago as a football coach has to fight for his right to pray. Secular Humanism is a real and present danger.
And this is the agenda of the world. Secular Humanism puts forth propaganda. It lies about creation. It lies about science. It lies about history. It lies about Christianity. Why? Because they want to destroy God and anything that has to do with God. They cannot and will not rest until God has been completely eradicated from society. That is what their belief necessitates.
And isn’t this exactly what the power of this world wants? Isn’t that his goal?
But praise be to God we know that he does not win. It may look like he is winning, but we know he suffers ultimate loss. We need to keep preaching the truth, keep our heads on the Savior, and know that this too will pass.
At the beginning of Philippians chapter three, Paul tells the church to rejoice in the Lord. Now, this doesn’t seem extraordinary because we know we are to rejoice in the Lord. That is a theme we see over and over in Scripture. But what is extraordinary about this instance is what we have seen discussed in the first two chapters of the letter.
In chapter one, Paul talks about his personal suffering for the Gospel. He does not know whether he is going to live or die. But whichever way it is, he is going to count it as gain and rejoice. And in chapter two, he talks about the suffering of Christ on the cross for the glory of God and for our salvation. He further discusses the trials that have awaited him and also Christ’s servant, Epaphroditus, and how he almost died in the service of Christ.
And after all of this, Paul says to rejoice in the Lord. Why? Because the Gospel has advanced, Christ is exalted, and God is glorified. That is the key, the advancement of the Gospel, the exaltation of Jesus Christ and the glory of God. That is what our lives are to be all about. That is to be the focus.
After all, Romans 11:36 says:
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (ESV)
Everything in this life is to be for Christ. For God. For His Kingdom and for His purposes. We are not our own. We are merely servants, vessels to be used for His glory. Let us not forget what our role is and to spend today and each day rejoicing in the Lord.
I was recently in a conversation where it was argued that theological debates, particularly Calvinism vs. Arminianism, are not useful to the church and belong only in the realm of academia. As I pondered this statement I wondered if there is any truth to it? Do some theological conversations only belong in a classroom or academic journal? Are there areas of theology that should not be discussed or debated within the church? My answer to this question is no. No, we should not reserve certain theological topics for academia. But why?
I am sure that the sentiment of leaving things to academia is the idea that they hurt evangelism or the mission of the church. But what exactly is the mission of the church, within the church? For the purpose of this article I am talking about the church worship, service, meetings. I am no referring to the body and what our mandate from Christ is in going into all the world.
The mission of the church is to disciple the body of the church. To train, to educate, to worship God, to glorify God, to learn more about God. That is the purpose of the meeting of the church. To encourage, to lift up, to strengthen. The purpose of the meeting of the church is not evangelism. The church service is not for the unsaved. Now, do not get me wrong on this, I am not saying the unsaved should not be welcome in a church service. They should. And I pray that they are converted as well. But what I am saying is that our services should not be designed with the unsaved in mind. The purpose of the services of the church are for the believers.
So back to the question of theological debates. I not only believe that they are proper for the church, they are necessary. We should all be wrestling with Scripture. We should all be striving to know God better in all aspects. We cannot effectively do that if there are areas of theology that we shy away from because they are uncomfortable or can lead to heated opinions. So have the discussions, have the debates, but make sure that we are doing things in love, something I do not always follow.
I have been studying the book of Philippians for a few weeks now and something in Chapter One stood out to me like it has not before in the past. Paul is writing that famous verse, “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) I’ve heard that verse all my life, I have always known what it meant, but did I truly know what it means? Well now I do.
The following verses are so beautiful as Paul shows his great love for the church and the people of God. He says that he is hard pressed between the choices of going to heaven and seeing the savior, or to continue the work of the Lord here on earth. What a statement!
So often we get caught up in our yearning to see the savior that I think we honestly forget why he has us here in the first place. There is work to be done. We should be glad that we are here to continually serve others for Christ.
One of the classic arguments against election and predestination is the argument that we have free will and we all have the opportunity to come to God. But is that really true? This depends. It depends on what you mean by free will. Let’s look at what the Bible says about who will seek God.
First, let’s talk about free will. What is it? If by free will you mean every man is free to choose what he desires then, yes, I agree, there is free will. But if you mean that we have an equal choice with no influence or determiners then no, we do not have free will.
Does this align with Scripture? Yes. The proponents of free will, the humanistic definition of free will, suggest that people come to Christ on their own free will. They make this choice all by themselves. The problem is, Scripture says otherwise. Romans 3 clearly tells us that nobody seeks God.
as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.
Romans 3:10-11 English Standard Version
Nobody comes to Christ on their own. They, that is we humans, in our natural state do not want God. We want to be left in our sin in our own ways. That is the reality of the human condition.
Jesus told us that nobody comes to him without the Father (John 6:65). The Father has to grant someone to come to the Son. It is the Father who has decided who will be saved, not us. We don’t want it. Jesus also said that the Father must draw the individual to him (John 6:44). The word for draw, literally means to haul or drag. It’s not a simple, “come to me” and we follow suit. It is something God has to change within us.
So is there free will? Again, that depends on how you define free will, but nobody comes to God without God.
One of the most controversial subjects in all of theology is the subject of the atonement. For whom did Christ die? Did Jesus die for every person who ever lived or did He only die for those who would place their trust in Him?
One verse that those against the doctrine of limited atonement point to is John 3:16.
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Jn 3:16.
The argument is that because of the use of the word world we see that Christ died for every individual who ever lived.
But there is a problem with this assertion. John 3:16 does not say that Jesus died for the entire world. What does the verse actually say? It says God loved the world. But what does world mean?
The Greek word, κόσμον (kosmos) does mean world. And in the context of John 3:16 it is referring to creation. The argument can be made, legitimately, that it is also referring specifically to people of the world. I agree with this assessment. However, that still does not say that Jesus died for every individual.
The next part of the verse says that God gave His only Son. God loved the world and, as a result, He gave his Son up. But for what purpose did He give Christ? It was not to pay for the sins of every individual. At the end of the day, if you argue for Christ dying for all individuals that is your logical conclusion, that He paid for the sins of everyone. No, it says that whoever believes.
Now, I will say that I do not believe that this verse actually deals with the question people try to make it answer. I do not believe it deals with who Christ died for. But we know from other passages, which will not be dealt with in this article, that He laid His life down for the sheep (John 10:15). The only thing John 3:16 tells us is that Christ, at minimum, died for those who would believe in Him.
In the past week we have heard many reports about the instability in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Iran. We hear about wars and rumors of wars. We hear about the politics. We hear about imminent attacks. The 24/7 news cycle puts us in a state of fear, anxiousness and worry.
But in these troubled times we need to remind ourselves what Paul said to the Philippian church. Be anxious for nothing (Phil. 4:6-7).
So what are we to do? The answer is simple. Pray. We are to pray and read the Word of God. We are to rest in His arms knowing that He is the one who makes the decisions. He decides our futures. He decides what will or will not happen to us. Our lives do not rest in the arms (or weapons) of men but of God.
What did Jesus say?
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:26–34 (ESV)
We do not need to worry about what tomorrow will bring. Tomorrow will take care of itself. All we need to concern ourselves with is that we are right with God and that we are spreading His Gospel to a weary land.
It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is past us and we are already full-swing into another Christmas season. Christmas movies are on, presents are being purchased, trees and lights adorn the country. All of these things are fun, exciting, and part of the celebration of Christmas. But what exactly are we celebrating? John’s Gospel gives us the answer:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
John 1:14a (English Standard Version)
We are celebrating the fact that the God of the universe thought enough of His elect that He took on flesh to walk on this earth as one of us. He faced the same trials and temptations yet he remained sinless. He took our place on the cross and took our penalty for our sins in his death. He brought us salvation and redemption that we might have eternal life. There is no greater love.
We often hear that Jesus is the “Reason for the Season.” But do we really take this to heart? Do we really understand the magnitude of what happened on that first Christmas? Do we really think about Immanuel, God with us? Do we consider what Christ did for us on the cross? Does it make a change in our lives?
These are the things that we need to dwell on this Christmas season. And not just Christmas, we need to think about these things every day of the year. So let’s remember what we are celebrating. We are celebrating the Word becoming flesh to dwell among us.
One of the most dangerous positions in theology today is to deny the Deity of Christ. This is one of the leading dangers to the Church. The Deity of Christ is undeniable according to Scripture. It is plainly evident from the pages of Scripture. This post will examine only one of those passages.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
John 1:1-18 English Standard Version
John opens his Gospel with a proclamation that Jesus is God. The Word was in the beginning with God and the Word was God. And who is that Word? Jesus Christ.
The Word (God) became flesh and dwelt among us. Christ is that person. Christ is God. There is no denying it.
We must stand against any teacher who tries to claim that Jesus is not God. Some say that the Word was just an idea of God’s. But that goes against the very fabric and context of the passage.
No, Jesus is God. Period. We need to stand firm on that truth.