As long as we have been acquainted with Satan, we have seen sin and destruction. As long as we have been familiar with God, we have seen love and benevolence. That’s why John will go on later to assert, “God is love” (4:16). There can be no richer way to say that love is from the beginning because there is God, the same yesterday, today, and forever.
For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another (1 John 3:11, NKJV)
John’s first epistle is indeed a love letter, not only because it communicates the love of God to us but also because love is a dominant theme. He uses the term “love” over 40 times. He comes at the topic from just about every angle imaginable.
He began the chapter by speaking of the love of God the Father to us. He has just told us that a distinguishing trait of being born of God is a love for the brethren. Now John tells us just how old is this message of love: “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another” (1 John 3:11).
Love is not just a New Testament message. There are those who will try to set the Old Testament against the New by saying the Old had to do with justice, judgment, and wrath, while the New has to do with mercy, grace, and love.
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By Remley Gorsuch — 10 months ago
Biblical theology tells the story of God’s redemption throughout history, tracing themes that run from Genesis to Revelation. Most often, this is described in the overarching timeline of creation, fall, redemption, and consummation (or restoration). Leading children to read the Bible through a lens of Biblical Theology (or a redemptive-historical perspective) is important.
Biblical Theology can be a pretty scary term. It sounds a bit like another field of study reserved for the guys in the pulpit or the ones teaching at our seminary halls, but it’s much more than that. It’s important in the discipleship of our children.
What is Biblical Theology?
Reformed theologian Geerhardus Vos defines it this way: “Biblical Theology is that branch of Exegetical Theology which deals with the process of the self-revelation of God deposited in the Bible.”(1)
But . . . what does that mean? Focus on that word process.
Biblical theology tells the story of God’s redemption throughout history, tracing themes that run from Genesis to Revelation. Most often, this is described in the overarching timeline of creation, fall, redemption, and consummation (or restoration).
Leading children to read the Bible through a lens of Biblical Theology (or a redemptive-historical perspective) is important. It’s primarily important because it’s the way God reveals himself in Scripture, but there are also some other reasons worth noting.
5 Reasons to Teach Kids Biblical Theology:
It gives them God-centered perspective.
The Bible isn’t me-centered; it’s Christ-centered. When we read the Bible, we need to know that it’s speaking firstly about God, his character, and his plan. For example, while the story of David may show children how to be brave or how to follow God, the bigger picture shows how God is faithful to preserve his people and how he offers himself as a perfect King.
It gives them a firm foundation.The Bible isn’t just a compilation of stories or laws; it’s a larger story of God at work. This truth helps them understand that God has been at work in the world, is at work in their lives, and will continue to work out his perfect plan. From that vantage point, the past has purpose and the future has hope.
By Chris Thomas — 2 years ago
Bring your bruises to Jesus. He will not break you off and caste you aside. That little bit of flame that remains, the small glow that just burns in desperate defiance of the approaching night, he will not snuff it out. The breath he breaths on you is to fan that smouldering wick into flame again. The hands that hold you now are not to caste you aside, but to draw you near.
I am a reed, but not like others.
I suppose I should be. I grow by the quiet waters of a sheltered pond. In the late Summer evenings I watch the same dance of the Dragonfly as she gently kisses the smooth surface and momentarily shatters the mirrored sky. I grow beneath the sprawling branches of an ancient tree that drinks the same water I do. I grow among my brethren, other reeds who bow their heads each evening, only to lift them again to greet the rising sun, nodding with the warm breeze that carries the smell of earth and harvest. I don’t grow alone.
I am a reed, but not like the others.
Oh, it may appear I am the clone of those who gather round me; tall and straight I stretch toward the sky. The creatures of the wetland make their home around my feet, the birds of the air come to harvest from my crown, and like my brethren, one day the workers from the village will come and harvest us to weave into their art. We reeds have a noble calling. But I am not like the others.
I am wounded. The fibres of my being have faltered. Where others stand strong and secure, I feel the soft place within, the weakness that threatens to topple me. While others sway with the gentle evening breeze, I fear that their breeze will be my storm. Rather than sway, I bend, and I know that one day the bend will become a break.
I am bruised.
When the other reeds of the river are woven into tapestries of beauty, I will not be wound around my brothers, I will still be standing here, alone. Or worse, I will be hewn in half and thrown down; a bruised reed broken and left behind. I’m sure it is only a matter of time. Like the fire that burns the chaff away, when it has done its intended work the labourers of the field stamp out the smouldering remains. Or like the nightwatchman who blows out the candle before the smouldering wick stings his eyes with unwanted smoke, so my tall crown will be cast down to the mud in which I stand.
By Stephen Kneale — 2 years ago
A life that seems to have no interest in Christ and his church nor pays any heed to his commands is not a living, active faith promoted from within by the Holy Spirit. It is a non-existent faith. It is belief that some words you said years ago is good enough to deal with your sin once and for all and to secure a place in Heaven for you. I’m afraid that isn’t a teaching you will find anywhere in the Bible. Apart from ongoing, active faith in Christ there is no salvation and telling people otherwise is not loving them, it is actively encouraging them on their way to a lost eternity.
I have lost count of the number of times I have heard a story approximating the following. Somebody has grown up going to church, hearing the gospel and made a profession of faith or prayed the sinners prayer. They apparently go on with the Lord for a bit until, eventually, drifting away from the church and Christ. If pressed, they might still say they believe, but there is absolutely nothing about their lifestyle that gives any indication that this is any more than mere words. For many, there isn’t even a claim to love Jesus.
This sort of story does the rounds and few Christians wouldn’t be able to tell you of one they know about. But I have also noticed, with troubling frequency, how many people under those circumstances still want to insist that person is a believer and belongs to the Lord. There is no sign of fruit, no evidence of belief and often no understanding of the gospel. But nonetheless, we still hear that the Lord still has them, for some reason. This concerns me deeply for two reasons.
First, it doesn’t do anything to help those people come to Christ. If we continue to affirm that somebody is a believer who has clearly departed from the faith, we are doing nothing other than comfort that person all the way to perdition. In all honesty, I cannot wrap my head around why you would want that for your family and friends. Why would you want them to go on in the false belief that they’re alright as they are by telling them the profession they made years before – despite every evidence to the contrary that it ultimately wasn’t genuine – are somehow still believers?
If we claim to love our family and friends, we surely can’t be content with affirming them in beliefs that are actively damaging to them. They don’t need our reassurance that they’re safe in the Lord; they need the gospel. They need to hear that they aren’t okay and, if they carry on as they are, they will remain outside of Christ and face all the disastrous consequences of being so. To comfort somebody as a believer, to affirm faith that clearly doesn’t exist, does them no favour at all. It is actually damaging the very people we claim to love.
I have heard similar things said to comfort believing parents regarding their unbelieving children. But again, it might feel nice to tell people that the Lord still has their children, but we don’t actually help them or their children by pretending it is so. Instead, helping people see the reality of the situation – that without ongoing, active faith in Christ there is no salvation and that is effected by the Holy Spirit, who is obviously absent in the heart of someone who has no concern for holiness – means they can continue to hold out the gospel clearly to those who need to hear it.
I appreciate with family and friends it is not always the easiest thing to do. Especially if the gospel is considered to be something we have heard hundreds of times before and have no interest in it.