God, the gospel, and the nations’ obedience

When God chose Israel as his special people and covenant partner, it was his intention through them ultimately to bless the world. "By your descendants," God promised Abraham, "shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 22:18). God blessed Israel so that, through Israel, all nations would be blessed. The chosen people prayed: "May God . . . bless us, that thy . . . [saving power] may be … [Read more...]

Walking through a strange land home

Do you ever feel a longing for home, but a home not of this world? If so, there is a very good reason, and First Peter just might be what you need to see you through this day. Written originally to Christians in five Roman provinces, it is clearly a legacy for the church at large, consisting of individuals Peter describes as God's chosen ones but strangers in this world. That double (and … [Read more...]

SCRIPTURE AT ITS BEST: SATURATION

A gracEmail subscriber writes: "I want to grow in my relationship with God, but I'm now struggling with where the Bible fits into the equation. How do I approach scripture to apply it to my faith journey?" * * * The best place for learning how to approach scripture is Scripture itself. The 39 books that we call the "Old Testament" were regarded as sacred writings by the Jews before there … [Read more...]

TIMES WHITE-HOT WITH PROPHETIC MEANING

When one comes to view human history as God views it, that person understands very well why our times fairly bristle with excitement. The mere mention of the ancient prophetic writings--their secrets long judiciously hidden, leaves us white-hot with apocalyptic expectation, eager to experience all that God has prepared for his People. That is not surprising considering the facts. Joined to Jesus, … [Read more...]

THE END HAS COME — ‘ALREADY’ BUT ‘NOT YET’ (2)

When God raised Jesus from the dead, it was as if he called out "Number One" and the Resurrection began. Then he paused -- for a length of time no one knows but God alone. One day he will announce, "Number Two!" and Resurrection will continue. That will mark the End of the world, and Judgment Day will follow. Yet because of Jesus' resurrection and the descent of the Holy Spirit, we see that the … [Read more...]

THE END HAS COME — ‘ALREADY’ BUT ‘NOT YET’ (1)

I recently noted that, in the person of Jesus Christ, the End of the world has come to us in advance, and that those who finally will be saved were both judged and acquitted in Jesus their representative. Bible scholars sometimes call this "realized eschatology." A Texas brother inquires whether I agree with the notion held by some, that Jesus' Second Coming occurred in its fullness in A.D. 70, so … [Read more...]

END-TIME PEOPLE (2)

A gracEmail subscriber asks, "What does the Bible mean when it says that we are living in the end-time? How is that true since we live almost 2,000 years after such statements were first made? If this is the end-time, how should that affect the way we live?" * * * The resurrection of Jesus and the pouring out of God's Spirit on believers were two of several eschatological or end-time events … [Read more...]

END-TIME PEOPLE (1)

A gracEmail subscriber asks, "What does the Bible mean when it says that we are living in the end-time? How is that true since we live almost 2,000 years after such statements were first made? If this is the end-time, how should that affect the way we live?" * * * First-century apostles and prophets repeatedly declared that the end-time had begun. Paul writes that the night is almost gone and … [Read more...]

THE END HAS BEGUN

A gracEmail subscriber asks how the New Testament writers could say that the end is near, since 2,000 years have now gone by and world history still continues. * * * The Jews in Jesus' day expected Messiah to come at the End of world history. This End would not be recognizable by a calendar but by End-time events. When Messiah came, God would make atonement for sin, raise the dead and pour out … [Read more...]

THE PAUSE IN THE END OF THE WORLD

A gracEmail subscriber reacts to a recent column: "This line caught my attention, 'during this pause in the End of the world . . . .' With all that is happening what insights might you offer? I've always thought the Lord could come back in my lifetime." . . . And well he might, for Jesus himself urged: "Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" … [Read more...]