THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CHRISTMAS

THE TWENTIETH DAY OF DECEMBER IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN. The greatest miracle associated with the birth of Jesus, I suspect, is not the conception of a child in Mary's virgin womb. No, the greatest miracle in this story is the incomprehensible accomplishment that Christians call the Incarnation--a bona fide reality driving all that happens later and making it all … [Read more...]

IF JESUS IS MESSIAH, WHY IS WORLD SUCH A MESS?

THE SIXTH DAY OF DECEMBER IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN. The Jewish leaders sitting before me were in Houston from several states, guests of B'Nai B'rith for a week of continuing education and self-improvement. Waiting to teach, advise and encourage them were a physician, a psychologist, a financial planner, a personal trainer, and a rabbi. My assignment was to explain in … [Read more...]

JESUS AS THE ‘WAY’

THE TWENTY-FIFTH DAY OF OCTOBER IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN. A gracEmail subscriber observes that most Christian churches he has known emphasize Jesus more than they emphasize God his Father. However, Jesus identified himself as 'the way' to the Father, making Father God the destination to which Jesus is the route. Is this a problem? * * * Throughout John's Gospel … [Read more...]

HIMSELF OR OTHERS

THE EIGHTEENTH DAY OF OCTOBER IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN. Dereliction. Darkened sky. Now abandoned. Anguished cry. Godforsaken. "My God, why?" For our sake, Jesus experienced the “suffering of death” (Heb. 2:9; 13:12). Death by crucifixion was intentionally and notoriously painful. One who looks closely at the English adjective "excruciating” quickly finds at its … [Read more...]

SECURITY AND ASSURANCE

THE TWENTY-THIRD DAY OF AUGUST IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN. A gracEmail subscriber writes that he often feels insecure regarding his standing with God. Does that mean he is lost? * * * Not at all. There is an important distinction to be made in this matter, and that is the difference between security and assurance. Security involves our actual objective condition. … [Read more...]

DOES FAITH REQUIRE NO DOUBTS?

THE NINETEENTH DAY OF AUGUST IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN. A gracEmail subscriber writes: "As hard as I have tried to believe in God and Christ, for over 40 years I have never conquered my doubts. At rare times I can almost say, 'I know,' most of the time the best I can do is pray 'help my unbelief'. I try hard to please God. The harder I try, the more inadequate I feel. … [Read more...]

BE ASSURED, NOT AFRAID

THE NINTH DAY OF AUGUST IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN. A recent email pleaded, "I have been searching for years to find some assurance of salvation. I know my weaknesses, I pray continually for forgiveness. I don't know why I'm able to tell you all of this, but I do love Christ, have been baptized, and want to go to heaven. I just want some peace in my heart." * * * Hear … [Read more...]

THIS IS HOW GOD LOVED (2 of 2)

THE TWENTY-NINTH DAY OF MARCH IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN Click here for Part 1 We are thinking about three sentences in a context, of which John 3:16 is the second, central, and climactic sentence. The statement that God "so loved" does not describe the intensity or extent of his love (as if it said "s-o-o-o loved") but rather tells "how" God loved--it is the same … [Read more...]

THIS IS HOW GOD LOVED (1 of 2)

THE TWENTY-SECOND DAY OF MARCH IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN We are familiar with Jesus' comforting words in John 3:16 about God's love and the believer's eternal life. But, as my preacher Jeff Christian noted recently, we often read or quote verse 16 in total isolation, are surprised to discover that the verse has a context, and are shocked to realize what that context … [Read more...]

Jesus fulfilled law and prophets (Part 2 of 2)

  THE EIGHTH DAY OF MARCH IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND FIFTEEN   A gracEmail subscriber asks why God would throw out the Old Testament and replace it with another; why he would begin with an attempt to redeem sinners through a system of law-keeping, then switch to a system grounded in grace ; and please explain the statement that "the law was given through Moses; … [Read more...]