In our experience, some things are lawful and others illegal. In that regard, 1 Corinthians 6 has a very odd juxtaposition of ideas.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Some people might be thinking, “No. The serpent tempted Eve.” Not quite. Adam and Eve in Genesis represent the entire human race. They started in a perfect place, the Garden of Eden. It took both the man and the woman to forfeit that position in what we know as the fall of man.
Genesis begins with three momentous events:
God created the heavens and the heavens and the earth, culminating with the creation of a man.
God planted the Garden of Eden, and while it grew, he gave the man the dignity of naming the beasts and looking for a suitable helper.
Record drought in California. Record flooding in Louisiana. Earthquake in Italy. Insurance companies call these and other natural disasters “acts of God.”
Is God trying to tell us something?
Someone, it seems, always comes out of the woodwork to say that a particular disaster God’s judgment on—take your pick—homosexuality, abortion, taking prayer out of schools, or whatever other issue riles them.
Does the Bible contain contradictions? It can appear so.
Paul wrote, “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law” (Romans 3:28), and a few lines later, “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God” (Romans 4:2).
James, on the other hand, wrote, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? . . . You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:21, 24).
Upon close examination of these verses in context, however, the apparent contradiction disappears.… Read the rest
God told Jeremiah, “Go down to the potter’s house, and I will give you my message there” (Jeremiah 18:2, NCV).
Today if you go to a potter, you will probably see him or her working on a potter’s wheel operated with an electric motor. Before the invention of electric motors, potters at a wheel operated a treadle with their feet.
The technology doesn’t matter. The wheel doesn’t matter. Then as now, the potter formed the clay with his hands.
Jeremiah’s potter started to make something and was not happy with how it turned out. He crushed the clay back into a ball, but instead of making the same thing, he decided to make something else.… Read the rest
Over the past several decades, the church has become embarrassed over the fact that almost exclusively male imagery—and exclusively masculine pronouns—have always been used to refer to God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). In our day and age, how are women supposed to relate to male deity at every turn? The same way men ought to relate: God is our husband. In Scriptural imagery, God is masculine to the extent that all of creation is feminine to him. God is male to the extent that all creation is female to him. Rewriting hymns and traditional prayers and retranslating the Bible into gender-neutral forms does not broaden our understanding of God.… Read the rest
Christians look forward to the resurrection of the dead, as promised through Jesus’ own resurrection. What about the resurrection of the living?
Many of us go through life doing the same things, including making the same mistakes, over and over. Someone has observed that a rut is nothing but a coffin with the ends knocked out. Just as there is new life after physical death, so is there new life after stagnation. Lazarus died physically, but we can take his death and rising from death as a metaphor for reawakening to new life after a period of spiritual slumber.
Have you ever had to deal with a totally unreasonable person? What about some bosses you have had, or perhaps a neighbor or even family member? I know there are times in my life that, if I had Godlike powers, say, a thunderbolt to wipe someone off the face of the earth, I would have cheerfully used it. That’s the way of sinful humanity. We’re much more prone to exercising judgment than grace.
The Bible knows its share of tyrants. Daniel 2:1-13 introduces Nebuchadnezzar when he was about 25 years old. A seasoned military leader, he had only recently become king.… Read the rest