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...]

JESUS THE LIBERATOR

THE SIXTEENTH¬†DAY OF AUGUST IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN. It's a simple truth but exceedingly profound--Jesus came to rescue sinners, not to condemn them (John 3:17). We already know that we are sinners; we do not need anyone to tell us that. Deep inside we know our private addictions and secret compulsions, whether to pride, self-centeredness, lust, alcohol or other … [Read more...]

Jesus’ personal prize and inheritance

DAY TWENTY-TWO OF FEBRUARY, YEAR OF GRACE TWENTY FIFTEEN A gracEmail subscriber writes: "The author of Hebrews says that Jesus "for the joy that was set before him endured the cross" (Heb. 12:2). What is that joy? Paul prayed for his converts to know "the riches of [God's] glorious inheritance in the saints" (Eph. 1:18). Is this saying what it sounds like? Are the saved themselves somehow a … [Read more...]

MORE ON THE UNPARDONABLE SIN

A gracEmail subscriber asks about the sin which will never be forgiven, mentioned in Matthew 12:31-32 and Mark 3:28-30. What is the "unpardonable sin?" Can someone commit it today? * * * This is the only time the Bible specifically states that a sin will never be forgiven. The situation involved unbelieving religious leaders who accused Jesus of performing miracles by the power of the devil, … [Read more...]

UNPARDONABLE SIN

A gracEmail subscriber asks: "What is the sin mentioned in Matthew 12:31-32 which Jesus says will never be forgiven?" * * * This warning statement follows Jesus' exorcism/healing of a man who had been both blind and mute (Matt. 12:32). Since the Pharisees reject Jesus' authority as a teacher, they cannot afford to acknowledge the divine source that empowers his works. Yet they cannot deny the … [Read more...]

SANCTIFICATION AND LAW

A gracEmail subscriber asks: "What role does the Law of God given through Moses play in our sanctification? Should the believer continually revisit the Law in order to remain convicted of sin? Or is that out of place for one who has been liberated from the penalty of the Law?" * * * Galatians 5 tells us that Christ has freed us from law as a governing (and always condemning) principle. Instead … [Read more...]

SIN’S DOUBLE CURE – 2

Do you remember the story of the adulterous woman whom Jesus forgave and gave a second chance? Although the story is not in the oldest and best Greek manuscripts, we still love it, for it sounds like something that we imagine the Savior doing and saying. It also illustrates Jesus' two-part remedy for sin referred to by the beloved hymn "Rock of Ages" in the lines: "Be of sin the double … [Read more...]

SIN’S DOUBLE CURE – 1

Those who write enduring hymns and spiritual songs usually reflect their highest ideals and their moments of deepest intimacy with God. For that reason, we sometimes find ourselves singing words that overstate our own true commitment, challenge our actual spiritual state and convict us of our present laziness and mediocrity. Anglican clergyman Augustus M. Toplady (1740-1778) expressed just such … [Read more...]

FREEDOM FROM SIN’S POWER

"How can I overcome temptation to sin?" a gracEmail reader wonders. "No matter how hard I try to resist, I still do what is wrong." * * * Every conscientious Christian asks the same question at some time. The only key to victory over sin is the supernatural power of God, available to us because of Jesus our representative and accessed by faith. Remember that Satan's power over humankind flows … [Read more...]

JESUS WILL DELIVER YOU

We Christians need to know that Jesus brings life, not condemnation (John 3:17). We already know that we are sinners. Many of us live in condemnation much of the time. Deep inside we know our private addictions and secret compulsions, whether to pride, self-centeredness, sexual lust, alcohol or other drugs, rage, power, money, possessions, or whatever. We know by experience that we cannot break … [Read more...]