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.
John the Baptist burst on the scene with such power that people wondered if he could be the Messiah. He identified Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah.
In explaining what the Messiah would do, he didn’t refer to anything Jesus did in his earthly ministry. He pointed to Jesus’ post-resurrection work and used an agricultural image to do so. The message was plain to those who heard John, but it’s obscure to us today.
After Matthew described how Joseph decided to go through with his marriage to apparently unfaithful Mary, he added a comment: “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means God with us).”—Matthew 1:22-23 NIV
We might be tempted to think that, of course God is with us. Naturally. God is everywhere. But that’s too hasty. The standard warning in such cases is that we shouldn’t take it for granted. Actually, however, we should take it for granted: God granted us his presence by grace.… Read the rest
Does the Bible contradict itself? Isaiah 43:18 says, “Do not remember the past events; pay no attention to things of old” (HCSB). But plenty of other scriptures tell us to remember, including Isaiah 46:8-9, which says, “Remember this and be brave; take it to heart, you transgressors! Remember what happened long ago, for I am God, and there is none other.”
Of course, carefully examining the verses in context show what God wants us to forget and remember—and why.
Familiar rituals surrounding Christmas and Easter help illustrate the problem. They can draw our attention to God’s work. Or they can substitute for thinking about it.… Read the rest
Nicodemus plays a small but important role in the New Testament. He appears in three chapters in John’s gospel. His exchange with Jesus in John 3 includes probably the best-known verse in all Scripture, John 3:16.
What do we know about Nicodemus and his background?
He was a Pharisee. Therefore, he may have been educated as a rabbi.
He was a ruler of the Jews.
His parents gave him a Greek name.
Jesus fascinated him.
Let’s take a closer look at him, and then his relationship with Jesus.
If people know nothing else about Christianity, they know that it doesn’t approve of sexual sin. Unfortunately, large swaths of the church have forgotten that.
Child abuse and sexually predatory behavior scandalize both church and society. Too many people who grow up in the church reach adulthood without learning biblical standards of morality. Children of ordained ministers shack up with their blessing. High ranking denominational leaders favor homosexual marriage and ordaining homosexual clergy.
Many point out that Jesus himself said nothing on the subject of homosexuality. As if that means he had no objection to it. But homosexuality is a kind of sexual sin.… Read the rest
Christmas, it seems, ought to be such a beautiful time. We celebrate the birth of a darling baby to wholly admirable parents. A bright star shone. The angels sang. The shepherds left their flocks to see the baby. Magi came from a great distance to offer gifts fit for a king. All is calm and beautiful.
Except for Herod.
“When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi” (Matthew 2:16 NIV).… Read the rest
Jezebel is the name of an ancient queen of Israel. She is notoriously one of the most evil women in the Bible.
Jesus criticized the church at Thyatira in Revelation 2:18-29 for tolerating “that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess.” Her parents never named her Jezebel. Jesus invoked the name of the ancient queen to show what spirit animated her teaching.
We don’t normally think of Jesus as intolerant. It is clear, however, that whatever he didn’t tolerate two thousand years ago, he still doesn’t tolerate. “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NKJV).
Unfortunately, the spirit of Jezebel has reared her ugly head in America in recent decades.… Read the rest