If we know the real owner of all we have, it makes a massive difference to how we approach life….God has blessed all of his children so richly. Let’s use what we have been entrusted with well and enthusiastically for His glory!
Have you ever borrowed someone’s car or looked after their house while they have been on holidays? While it is a blessing to have use of a car or house that you don’t usually have, we feel the responsibility of it. We are nervous that something might go wrong with this important and expensive thing we have been entrusted with.
And we are not free to alter the house or car the way that we might personally like. We cannot paint them a different colour or carry out renovations on the house. After all, they don’t belong to us. We are only looking after them for someone else.
That is a good analogy for what our possessions and abilities are really like. All that we have is a gift from God. We see this in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. Each servant was given a massive amount to look after by their master. Everyone involved in this knew who the real owner of the money was. When the master returned, the first two servants gave the money back with any return they had made through their work. All they had, and all they achieved, was returned to the master in the end.
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By E.J. Hutchinson — 2 years ago
Written by E.J. Hutchinson |
Sunday, August 7, 2022
“We always repeat, urge, and stuff people full of this topic about faith or Christian righteousness so that it would be preserved and accurately distinguished from the active righteousness of the law. (For from and in that teaching alone does the church come into and remain in existence.) Otherwise, we will not be able to preserve true theology, but rather we immediately become jurists, ceremonialists, legal eagles, papists; Christ is obscured, and no one in the church can be taught and encouraged rightly. Therefore, if we wish to be preachers and teachers of others, it is right that we take the greatest care over these matters, and skillfully maintain this distinction between the righteousness of the law and the righteousness of Christ.”
One might think that justification by faith alone is the easy way. In fact, just such a thing quite frequently has been thought. “What, you don’t even do anything? You wanna be a libertine or something?”
The objection has some force–but only when considered in general and in the abstract. It only has force, that is, when made a speculative morsel chewed by a mouth with no existential teeth.
“On the ground,” as it were, the situation is quite different. We humans like to be in control. We like to have something left to us to take care of. If there’s just something we can do–something to which we can point and say, “See? I did what I was told! I did good!”–we feel better, more assured. We like gold stars, pats on the back, a sense of achievement, of having done our bit.
For that reason, in particular and in the concrete there is nothing more difficult than believing that we are justified by faith alone. There is nothing more difficult than assenting to passive, rather than active, righteousness (that is, the righteousness of Christ rather than of ourselves) in relating to God.
Luther saw this, and it was one of his most important insights. Some deniers of justification by faith like to think of themselves as the mature ones, the purveyors of virtue, the upholders of Western Civilization, the builders of culture. In comes justification, out goes society, along with literature, the arts, and religion, to be replaced by licentiousness, barbarism, modernity (GASP).
By John Beeson — 12 months ago
What an incredible promise: that we, men and women, who were enslaved to the world, have been purchased by the price of the Son so that we could be adopted as sons of God! And now God invites us, who were once estranged from him, to intimately cry out to him, “Daddy!” Oh, friends, what an invitation! What a reality! Can you believe that you are a son of God?
Here is an oddity: women are never referred to as “daughters of God” in the Bible. Kind of strange, especially given how often people use that phrase. “Daughter of God” nets over 1,000 books on Amazon. In the Bible, however, the seemingly clumsy term “sons of God” is used for men and women alike.
What gives? Is this a linguistic fluke? No, unlike the Greek word for brothers, adelphoi, which often means “brothers and sisters,” the Greek word for sons, huioi, rarely means “sons and daughters,” with the complete phrase “huious kai thugateras” used instead.[i] So, while we might be tempted to add “daughters” when we see “sons of God” in the Bible, it’s unlikely that is what the author intended.[ii]
Is the lack of inclusion of daughters a patriarchal blind spot in the Bible that we ought to rectify? On the contrary: the authors of scripture used the phrase “sons of God” to lift the status of women.
Let me explain: in the ancient world, Israel included, only sons received the family inheritance. Daughters received no inheritance. They were dependent on their husband or the care of their family. If the biblical authors referred to men and women as “sons and daughters of God,” their readers might have mistakenly presumed that only men received a spiritual inheritance from God.
By exclusively referring to all the children of God as “sons of God,” the biblical authors are saying something profound: men and women are equal recipients of the inheritance of the Father. Wow! What a vision for men and women in the Kingdom of God – and two thousand years old, no less!
With this in mind, let’s re-read two of the most beautiful passages in the Bible that offer us the hope of what our sonship entails.
By Guy M. Richard — 6 months ago
Written by Guy M. Richard |
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
Sin is not something that needed to be created in order to exist. It became a possibility when God created the angels who were capable of choosing godliness or ungodliness, and it was actualized when one of those angels chose the latter over the former. This angel, along with his army of demons who joined him in rebelling against God, are responsible for promoting and proliferating sin in every generation. And, under their influence, sin has become the natural bent of every human being’s heart, mind, will, and affections.
Sin exists. That much should be obvious. We see it manifested in the world all around us; we see evidence of it within ourselves as well. Violence and hatred go virtually unchecked. Selfishness and pride run amok in so much of what we do and in so many of the decisions we make. Anger and frustration so often lurk beneath the surface, just waiting for the right circumstances to call them up. And storms and diseases frequently wreak havoc on our lives and our livelihoods. These things we all know to be part and parcel of the world in which we live. The question is, why? Why are they part of our reality? Where did they come from? Better yet, if these things are all manifestations of sin, the real question we must answer is, where did sin come from?
The problem gets more complicated, however. If God created everything in the universe and declared it to be “very good” (Gen. 1:31), and if sin is, at its root, not good—i.e., it is unrighteousness and ungodliness, as I argued in my last article—then God couldn’t have created it. But if God didn’t create it, then where did sin come from? Has it always existed? Is it some kind of cosmic opposite to God? Or is there some “sinful” being that is responsible for bringing it into the world and sustaining its influence in every generation down through the ages? And, if that is true, then where did this being come from? These are just some of the things that we will be exploring in this article. Let’s start “in the beginning” with what happened at creation.
Sin Didn’t Need to Be Created
If, as I argued in my last article, sin is ungodliness or unrighteousness or, even, lawlessness, then this means that sin is not a substance that needs to be created in order for it to exist. It is an attitude or a posture—an anti-God attitude or posture—that leads in turn to anti-God thoughts, words, and deeds. Sin is the privation or absence of godliness or righteousness or lawfulness, much in the same way that darkness is the privation or absence of light. God didn’t need to create ungodliness; it already existed as an “opposite” to His own character and will.
In addition to the passages I cited in my last article, Titus 2:11-14 clearly supports this line of reasoning. Significantly, according to the apostle Paul, we are told in these verses that Jesus “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness” (v. 14). Sin is necessarily, therefore, the opposite of law-keeping; it is the privation or absence of lawfulness. And because God’s character and will are the only bases for the law, this means that sin is nothing more or less than ungodliness. Paul confirms this interpretation by placing “lawlessness” in v. 14 in parallel with “ungodliness” in vv. 11-12. The work of Christ not only redeems us from our lawlessness; it also transforms us more and more to reflect God’s character and will over the course of our lives.
This, in turn, confirms that sin didn’t need to be created. It is the privation or absence of God, His character, and His will. All that is needed for it to come into existence is for creatures to exist who have the ability to choose to embrace God/godliness or to reject it. Therefore, when God created the angels with the ability to choose “for God” or “not for Him,” sin—which is simply ungodliness—became a distinct possibility for the first time in the history of the universe.