Paul compares our bodies to a tent – fragile and temporary. But one day we will trade in our earthly tent for a glorious dwelling. Our sin-riddled lives, worn by the years lived in a falling-apart world, will be turned in for solid, permanent lives, handmade by God. Mortality swallowed up by life.
For we know that if our earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal dwelling in the heavens, not made with hands. Indeed, we groan in this tent, desiring to put on our heavenly dwelling, since, when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. Indeed, we groan while we are in this tent, burdened as we are, because we do not want to be unclothed but clothed, so that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment.
2 CORINTHIANS 5:1-5
In this passage, and its context, Paul is encouraging the believers in Corinth to live by faith, not by sight. Our bodies appear to be falling apart and life is being swallowed up by death, but we hold onto the hope that they are giving way to greater things.
Paul compares our bodies to a tent – fragile and temporary. But one day we will trade in our earthly tent for a glorious dwelling.
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By Virgil Walker — 3 months ago
The words teach and teaching are mentioned 212 times in the scriptures. Christianity, unlike any other worldview, is an intellectually rigorous worldview. For far too long, we’ve delegated education to public school systems. Only recently have Christians taken a stand, as we’ve witnessed the proliferation of homeschooling across the country. The next phase of growth, however, will require true vision and sacrifice as followers of Christ re-stake our claim in the area of education. It will be imperative to build our own colleges, universities, and seminaries, unyielding to the cultural onslaught we’ve witnessed in the last decade.
Ruby Bridges was the firstborn child of Abon and Lucille Bridges. The Bridges were farmers from Tylertown, Mississippi. As a black family living in the segregated south in 1950, they were aware of their limited options for work. The Bridges relocated to New Orleans to pursue better job possibilities. This family, like many, realized the importance of hard work and education in climbing the ladder of success, and they wanted better opportunities for their children.
In the same way that the Bridges sought opportunities in their day, parents today continue to seek the benefits of hard work and a decent education for their children. Unfortunately, public schools are no longer institutions focused on children’s primary education; they’ve become experimental laboratories of indoctrination for kids. Today, students are used as test subjects for the latest notions proposed by modern critical theorists.
No longer is education the prescription for success that it once was. The hard work of achieving academic excellence is ignored. Poor academic performance among students receives the majority of attention, supporting the notion that institutional racism is the root cause and that educational reform is therefore necessary.
Education has changed dramatically from the days of Abon and Lucille Bridges in the 1950s. I’d argue that education was better at preparing children for success during the ’50s than it is today. And the results can be readily evidenced in higher failure rates, low achievement scores, and programmatic government dependency.
During the 1950s, racism and segregation had taken their toll on black families like the Bridges. However, education was still seen as a priority for most blacks. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the percentage of blacks unable to read or write at age 14 decreased from 79.9% to 1.9% between 1870 and 1979. From 1870 to 1940, perhaps the most heinous period of segregation and Jim Crow, we witnessed the most significant drop in illiteracy (79.9% to 11.5%). This tremendous improvement brought black students parity with their white counterparts regarding literacy.
By 1969, organizations such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress had begun to assess reading, mathematics, and other important educational indicators. Long after the civil rights struggle, the black power movements of the 1970s, and even the beginnings of critical race theory in legal studies, there has been a persistent drop in scholastic achievement in black communities.
Between 1992 and 2019, blacks experienced a 10-point drop in overall academic performance, expanding the gap with whites. While a 10-point decline may not appear to be noteworthy, a closer examination of the figures reveals the looming disaster that awaits scores of children in the coming years.
Armstrong Williams cited information from the National Assessment of Educational Progress in an essay published in The Hill in 2022. Williams writes,
In California, 90 percent of (black) students cannot do math or read well. In New York, the figures are 85 percent and 82 percent. In Illinois, it is 86 percent and 85 percent. In Texas, the numbers are 84 percent and 89 percent. Maryland sits at 86 percent for math and 80 percent for reading… In Georgia, the numbers are 86 percent and 82 percent. In Missouri, it is 89 percent and 88 percent. And in Washington, D.C., the numbers are 85 percent and 87 percent.
As indicated, there has been an observable reversal of progress in educational achievement. But how is this possible, and what is the root cause?
Is Racism the Problem?
How can educational advances earned during a more difficult period in American history be so readily squandered during a period of immense opportunity? Is racism to blame for the obstacles that students face?
Most academics would say that racism is the root cause of putting black pupils behind. Many papers and published studies cite corollary anecdotal evidence to prove the narrative of racism. Furthermore, many of the proposed solutions to correct the problems (i.e., less policing of students, easier testing, more funding, etc.) can be easily refuted by pre-Brown v. Board of Education examples like Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C.
Long before the Brown v. Board of Education decision, Dunbar High School was a segregated high school. The school was underfunded, had students from all socio-economic strata, and had a penchant for discipline. During segregation, this all-black high school consistently graduated men and women who would be firsts in their area of expertise.
By Justin Dillehay — 11 months ago
We don’t have to live in terror of the final day. We can be preparing for it. Because for those known by Jesus, the final day won’t be some huge disruption. It’ll simply be a heightened continuation of the relationship we already enjoy with him now, by faith. So let’s examine ourselves and ask not only “Do I know Jesus?” but “Does Jesus know me?” Let’s live in such way that he’ll not be ashamed to call us his brothers and sisters on that day. And let’s not be deceived, because this is too good to miss.
Christians may disagree over what constitutes the scariest passage in the Bible. But most would agree Jesus’s concluding words in the Sermon on the Mount rank near the top.
Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matt. 7:21–23)
It’s frightening to think about going to hell. It’s even more frightening to find out too late that you’re going to hell when you thought you were going to heaven. And still more frightening to think that not just a few, but “many” will have this experience. Some people think they’re Christians, they call Jesus “Lord,” they even do mighty works in his name—and yet they’re not truly saved and never were.
When reading this passage it can be tempting to throw up our hands: Who then can know if they’ll be saved? It sure seems like a huge gamble. You do your best to follow Jesus, but who knows whether you’ll get smacked down at the end.
But that’s not Jesus’s goal here. He’s not trying to confuse us or rob us of assurance. True, he doesn’t want us to be deceived, but neither does he want us to live in terror or uncertainty about our final state.
So let me offer two ways to maintain—and even build—assurance in the face of this frightening passage.
1. Recognize What It Means to “Do the Father’s Will”
In verse 21, Jesus describes the one who will enter the kingdom as “the one who does the will of my Father.” But what exactly does that mean? Judging by the context, it must mean more than simply saying “Lord, Lord” and doing mighty works in Jesus’s name. So how can we know if we’re doing the Father’s will? And do we have to do it perfectly?
To see the answer, we should note that this is only the second time in the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus has spoken of “entering the kingdom of heaven.” The other is the Sermon’s theme verse, Matthew 5:20: “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Comparing these two passages, we can say that “doing the Father’s will” is parallel to possessing a greater righteousness. So by implication, Matthew 7:21–23 is describing those whose righteousness did not exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees.
Here’s why this matters. When Jesus says our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees, he’s not saying “Do what they did, only better.” It’s not that the Pharisees didn’t try hard enough—it’s that they were trying really hard at the wrong things.
By Keith Evans — 4 months ago
We must stop thinking that depression is merely physical in origin and cure. It’s not. It never was. We are bodies and souls, and we must care for both bodies and souls comprehensively and well.
Will you forgive me a short foray into my particular field of study? You see, my undergraduate degree is in psychology, and I currently teach biblical counseling. So you would be sympathetic if I were to say that counseling, the care of the individual, and an understanding of the human person is immensely interesting to me. I trust you would also see the practical and personal application that the field has to all of us, right? Therefore, if we were to discuss the cause of depression for a moment, then, you’d appreciate the importance and relevance, wouldn’t you? I ask all of these rhetorical questions because I’m about to launch into a discussion about a major paper that was published in the field of psychology/psychiatry just last week (July 20, 2022) and I don’t want your eyes to glaze over—at least not right away—so stay with me!
In a landmark systematic review released last week in the journal of Molecular Psychiatry, researchers concluded that the “chemical imbalance” view of depression has no evidence to support the alleged cause of depression. Here is where you might be asking “so what?”, and perhaps your eyes are already hazy. Well, if you have been attentive to psychological medication advertisements and commercials, at least since the 90s, you’ve likely heard of “the chemical imbalance” theory of depression. Or, if you know someone who is taking psychological medications, you’ve likely heard them reference “a chemical imbalance in their brain” a time or two if you’ve discussed the topic with them. Or if you yourself have sat down with your doctor about psychological medication, you likely heard him explain about the chemicals in your brain and why you feel the way that you do. That is because this notion of depression originating in the brain has been dominant in the western world for the past 30+ years (and has at least been around for the past 60). In fact, 80% of surveyed adults believe depression is caused by a chemical imbalance.¹ But last week’s conclusive study marks the end of such a theory (or at least should mark the end). The paper decisively concludes by saying that it is time to acknowledge that this particular theory of depression has no empirical evidence to support it!²