GOD LOVED LIKE THIS

John 3:16 is perhaps the most memorized verse in the Bible. It begins with the familiar phrase: "For God so loved the world . . . ." The Greek word translated "so" can express both manner ("this is how God loved the world") and degree ("God loved the world this much"). God shows his love in many other ways, of course, but this is the supreme demonstration of God's love for human beings made in his … [Read more...]

LOOK TO YOUR GOD

The midweek ladies Bible class at our church is studying Isaiah this year and they kindly invited me to take three sessions over chapters 34-48. The occasion provided special incentive to read chapter 40 again, a passage that has encouraged and inspired me for at least that many years. This chapter begins the second major division of Isaiah, a message of comfort for Judean exiles during the … [Read more...]

DOES GOD CHANGE HIS MIND?

In view of 1 Samuel 15:35 which says that the Lord regretted that He had made Saul king, a Presbyterian brother asks: "Does God change his plans for us, depending on our responses, or does God's sovereignty mean that He 'did unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass' (The Westminster Confession of Faith)?" *** I take the passage you quote at face value. The Bible frequently represents God as … [Read more...]

ETERNAL TRUTHS

The ancient Psalms of David still refresh and encourage us after 3,000 years. Here are just three examples as relevant as today. When circumstances do not reveal God's presence, we may repeat: "How long, O YHWH? Wilt thou forget me forever? How long wilt thou hide thy face from me? . . . But I have trusted in thy steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation" (Psalm 13:1, 5). When … [Read more...]

IT’S THE HONEST TRUTH

A gracEmail subscriber wrote: "How could God be disappointed in human beings, since he knew everything before the foundations of the earth?"   * * * As happens dozens of times each week, I responded directly to her. "I do not know," I stated. "The subject of God’s knowledge of things in advance makes my head swim!" She wrote back: "Oh wow! This is a new possible way of thinking for … [Read more...]

AFRAID OF GOD?

A brother writes that "the God of the Old Testament does fierce and horrible things to people, and this makes me pretty nervous. I know that perfect love casts out fear. But I understand that I show my love by my obedience and that leaves me scared again." *          *          * The New Testament also exhorts us to contemplate "the goodness and the severity of God" (Rom. 11:22), and it warns … [Read more...]

THE ANSWER IS GOD

A gracEmail subscriber writes, "I am studying philosophy in my university courses and wonder whether it is safe for me to do so as a Christian. Some of my Christian friends in science programs wonder the same thing." *          *          * In about 1971, I had the good fortune to study briefly under Francis Schaeffer, whose books, lectures and Swiss retreat, L'Abri ("the shelter"), have blessed … [Read more...]

THE DIVINE NAME YHWH

Genesis 4:26 says that in the days of Adam's grandson Enosh, men "began to call upon the name of the LORD" (Hebrew: YHWH). Yet centuries later God reveals himself to Moses as YHWH and states that he was not known by that name to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. A gracEmail subscriber asks whether Moses inserted the name YHWH in writing Genesis after the fact or whether his ancient ancestors also used … [Read more...]

GOD’S COVENANT NAME

One gracEmail subscriber has heard that God's name is "Jehovah" and that we should always use that specific name. Another subscriber asks how "Jehovah" could possibly be the correct name of God, since the Hebrew alphabet contains no letter "j." *          *          * God identified himself to Moses as YHWH or YHVH (Ex. 6:2-4), which the Jews call "The Name" or "The Sacred Four Letters" … [Read more...]

‘CALL TO ARMS’ CALLS FOR DISCRETION

A pastor has issued a "call to arms" to his denomination, concerned that some of his brethren are non-trinitarian in theology and that others who are trinitarian are not militant enough in purging the denominational ranks. Although I do not belong to that denomination, the pastor sent me a copy of his "call to arms," The following was my response. * * *Zeal for biblical truth is entirely … [Read more...]