Sports

It is possible to make an idol out of just about anything that is good in this life. John Calvin once said that our hearts are “idol factories.” We tend to want to take God off His throne, and put just about anything else in its place, from wealth, happiness, and health up to and usually including ourselves. Even Christians are not exempt from doing this sort of thing.

There is an idol in our community that I wish to attack. It is consuming us in many ways, though not an evil thing by itself. Few idols are bad things in and of themselves. Who would say that health, wealth, and happiness are bad things in and of themselves? However, the moment we start to depend on it for what we want out of life, it becomes an idol. This idol is crowding out many other worthy things that we could do with our lives. This idol is taking up too much of our time and resources. I am talking about sports.

There is a great pressure especially for high school students to engage in these sports. If all the students do not participate in all the sports, then the program often simply cannot work at all. There are often few options for a sports team if it wishes to compete at all. This is understandable. However, sports can then participate in the fever that often grips small communities, the fever that if we do not do something, we will lose our community entirely. This is similar to people who are drowning. They panic, and if the person trying to rescue the drowning person is not careful, then the rescuer will drown too, because the drowning person will clutch at them in a panic, and down they both will go.

Am I against sports? No. It is not a bad thing in and of itself. However, what is more important, church or sports? Music or sports? We have had one Linton student go on to professional sports. Count them, one. How many of our high-school students will go on to professional sports? I think if we were honest with ourselves, we would have to admit that very few do. It is simply a fun thing that high-school students do for a while. But high-cultural things surely are more important, are they not? Music can be done all one’s life. And yet where is music on the radar screen? We are having difficulty merely getting people to come out for the Christmas program. This should not be. And we cannot schedule anything for any day other than Sunday, because there are sports events constantly.

Church events are carefully circumscribed within a very small boundary. Wednesday night is possible (sometimes) for church events, and Sunday is possible for church (though many abuse the fourth commandment in this regard). There is no other time in which any church event can be held, except for holidays.

Is this merely the frustrated ravings of a musical pastor snob? I hope not. Philippians 4:8 says this: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, thing about these things.” Presumably this would imply that the better things are worth thinking about more of the time. Are our priorities wrong?
Of course, it is possible to make an idol out of culture. Again, we can make an idol out of anything. At the moment, however, I do not see that as a danger in our community. If someone were to say that to me, I would chalk it up to a knee-jerk reaction to having their own idol attacked. We are to worship God only, and serve Him only.

Maybe we should shorten the sports seasons. Maybe we shouldn’t have sports year round. Are sports taking up so much of our time, that we cannot spend our time on what could really save our communities from extinction, namely, church events, and higher culture (which are a much more solid basis for a community)? Sports (especially high-school sports) does not draw companies to areas, and it does not prevent cultural stagnation.

Let me stress one more time that I do not think sports are inherently evil. But I do think we have made an idol out of them. Let us reconsider.

Hebrews, installment 3

Here is the third article I wrote.

Hebrews 1:5-6 (ESV): For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? And again, when he brings the first-born into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”
From verse 4, we saw last time that Jesus is superior to the angels. For the rest of the first chapter, Paul is going to prove that assertion by a series of Old Testament quotations that he applies to Jesus Christ.

Paul is sermonizing here, which means that he uses skills of rhetoric to get his point across. So, when he says “To which of the angels did God ever say,” he really means that God never said anything like this to any of the angels. Again, he is supporting the point he made in verse 4. Notice also that Paul says “God says.” Paul views the Bible as the Word of God. It is not just Isaiah, David, or Moses speaking: God is speaking.

First, he quotes Psalm 2:7, a royal Psalm having to do with coronation. Ultimately, the Psalm refers to Jesus Christ, though immediately referring to David or Solomon. But what does “today” mean? Scholars are divided on this issue, but the best explanation seems to be that at the time-point of Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus entered into a new phase of Sonship (the phase of exaltation). Probably Romans 1:4 supports this understanding (“declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead”). “Begotten,” then, in Hebrews 1:5 does not mean that Christ had an actual beginning here, or that He was born, coming into existence. Rather, it means the same thing as “first-born” does in verse 6, which is “pre-eminence.” When Jesus was resurrected from the dead, in other words, He acquired a new pre-eminence, an exaltation, that He did not have while He was on earth.

The second quotation comes from 2 Samuel 7:14 (parallel with 1 Chronicles 17:13). The context in Samuel is the covenant that God made with David. So what Paul is saying in Hebrews is that ultimately the covenant made with David has its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Again, there is an immediate reference to a promise about Solomon in the Samuel passage. However, Solomon is a type of Jesus Christ. A “type” is a person, thing, action or idea that points forward to something better. For instance, the temple and the tabernacle are both “types” of Jesus’ body, as He Himself says in John 2:19 (“Destroy this temple”). There are types all over the Old Testament. The Old Testament is a treasure hunt for types that point us to Jesus Christ. So Solomon the lesser son is a type of Jesus Christ, the greater Son.

At the beginning of verse 6, we have a small translation problem. The New King James Version and several others read this way: “But when He again brings.” Other translations, including the English Standard Version, read this way, “And again, when He brings.” The question is, does the word “again” mean another quotation (the ESV rendering), or does it mean a second bringing of Christ into the world (the NKJV)? Again, scholars are divided. I think the best rendering is the ESV version, given the frequency with which the word “again” introduces yet another quotation elsewhere in Hebrews (see verse 5 and 2:13, for instance).

Does “bringing the first-born into the world” refer to Christ’s Incarnation? Probably not, if the resurrection was just referred to in verse 5. The term “world” must be defined by the context, which in this case is 2:5 “the world to come.” For Hebrews, time is divided into two ages: the “now” age and the “coming” age. What is interesting, however, is that the “coming” age has invaded the “now” age, and that this happened at Jesus’ resurrection. A new age started with Jesus’ resurrection (that is why we worship on Sunday). At the time of Jesus’ resurrection and consequent exaltation into heaven it was appropriate for all the angels of heaven to worship Jesus. That is what we must do as well. We must “kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and we perish in the way” (Psalm 2:12).

Hebrews 1:1-4

Here is installment number 2.

Last time we looked at Hebrews 1:1-2a. Today we will look at 2b-4. Here are the first four verses, again given in the English Standard Version: 1 “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”

This is all one long sentence in Greek. Most translations end verse 2 with a period to help us understand. This paragraph serves as a table of contents for the entire sermon/letter. The first verse and the first part of the second verse tell us about God revealing Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ. Now, in the second part of verse 2, Paul goes on to tell us more about the Son Jesus Christ. Paul is answering this question, “What is so great about Jesus Christ?”

The first thing that Paul says about Jesus is quite remarkable. The Son has been appointed heir of all things, even though he was also the instrument of creating all things. The Son is both Creator and Inheritor. This might not make sense to us, but we have to understand that there are different periods in the life of Jesus Christ. Christ has always existed for all eternity. That is one of the things that this text tells us. But then, the Son also came to earth to be born of a woman, born under the law (Galatians 4:4). This is called Jesus’ state of humiliation. The best explanation of this state can be found in Philippians 2:5-11. Christ took on our human nature and joined it to his divine nature, making one person. It was as this God-man that Jesus underwent death in order to be raised from the dead (which we just celebrated at Easter). After that, and because of His obedience to God’s law, the Father rewarded Jesus with this inheritance that Paul speaks of here, namely all things. So Jesus is the Son of God from eternity past who created the world, and yet also came into the world as a man, taking a road that led to the cross and resurrection. This in turn made Him worthy of inheriting the world, from the Father’s point of view.

In verse 3, we have exalted language indeed to describe the glory of Jesus Christ. Paul tells us that the Son is the radiance of the glory of God. We could think of the sun being like the Father, and the beam that the sun shoots out being like the Son. You cannot separate them, though they are distinct. You cannot see the sun except by the beam: so also you cannot see the Father except through the Son. We might say that Jesus is a “chip off the old block,” or at the very least, “like father, like son.” The words “exact imprint” refer to the practice of stamping a coin. In this case, the Father’s nature is stamped so clearly on the Son, that you can know what the Father is like by looking at the Son. In fact, they are of the same substance. They share the same being. They are different persons, but they have the same being. What a mystery!

The next part of the verse tells us that Jesus Christ not only has created and inherited the universe, but He also sustains the universe by His powerful Word. It should be an alarming fact to us to know that without Jesus’ sustaining power, we would instantly dissolve. This should make us think twice before offending Him by not believing in Him. At the same time, it should comfort us to know that Jesus does in fact sustain the world. God did not simply wind up the world as a toy, and then let it go. No, God still cares about this world. “Word of His power” is a Hebrew form of expression meaning “powerful Word.” This Word is the same Word that spoke the universe into existence.

What Jesus has done on earth is what is mentioned next. He made purification for sins. This refers to our sins. Jesus died for our sins by His death on the cross. This is a once-for-all purification. It happened once. For all time, Jesus has cleansed the sins of the church. That is salvation as Jesus accomplished it. It is applied to us by the power of the Holy Spirit when we become united to Jesus Christ by faith. After Jesus accomplished this great salvation, He went into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. “Majesty on high” is a way of avoiding the name “Yahweh.” This is another hint that the sermon was addressed to Jews. Jews have a fear of using the Lord’s name in vain. So they do not pronounce the name “Yahweh.” Instead, they say, “Majesty on high,” or “the Name.” The important point to be considered is that Jesus had the victory. Sitting at the right hand of the king meant the highest possible honor. Sitting at all was thing that only kings did in a throne-room. And then sitting at the right hand was the place of honor.

Verse 4 is something of a transition to what follows. Here Paul begins to say that Jesus has become much higher than angels. Angels are not even in the same league with Jesus Christ. In the rest of the chapter, Paul will be proving the Jesus Christ is superior to all the angels. The name referred to here which Jesus has inherited can be no other than the title “Son” that Paul mentions in verse 5. “Son” has all the connotations of inheritance. In what way Jesus became “Son” is difficult to describe. However, it is set out in Romans 1:1-7, especially verse 4.

Especially in this season, we need to ask the question, “Who is Jesus?” The answer to that question has the most profound implications for our lives. Is Jesus merely a “great moral teacher?” Or is He a liar, or a madman? Or is He the ruler of the universe, who cared enough about you (yes, you) to come to earth and fix what you had made wrong. It is our sin for which He came to make purification. Here is the real kicker: because Jesus is exalted to the highest place, then if we are united to Him by faith, we will be exalted to Jesus’ right hand! We will share in that glory!

Hebrews

I have been writing these articles for the local newspaper. So I thought I would publish them here as well.

It has long been my opinion that the Christian community has suffered from a “glazed-eye syndrome” when reading the Bible. Especially in communities such as rural North Dakota, Bible reading is the norm for most families. However, many people have never really read the Bible in the sense of asking questions about its meaning. People are in such a hurry to apply the Bible to their lives (a very laudable goal, and the true goal of Bible reading in the end) that they do not take the trouble to find out the meaning of the text that they are seeking to apply to their lives. If there is supposed to be a balance between explanation and application in sermons, for instance, there tends to be a distinct lack of balance in favor of application at the expense of explanation. It is in the hope of correcting this imbalance that I intend to offer a series of explanations on Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews. The explanations will end in application, never fear. However, we must know why it is that the text tells us to believe in Jesus Christ and to act accordingly. If we do not know why, then we will be swept along by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14).

I propose for us to study the book of Hebrews, since it is so little understood in the Christian community today. Paul argues very differently than we would today. The arguments sound foreign to our ears, especially when it comes to sacrifices, Melchizedek, rest, and genealogies. Nevertheless, the book has immense importance for our understanding of Jesus Christ, and the sacrifice He became when He came to earth.

Did Paul write Hebrews? Most scholars today say that Paul did not write Hebrews. It does not matter much for our purposes whether Paul or someone else wrote it, unless a denial of Pauline authorship also implies a denial of the book’s inspiration and inerrancy. I believe it does not. However, I also believe that Paul wrote Hebrews.

Paul probably preached this sermon to Greek-speaking Jews (though a few Gentiles might have been present). The method of argumentation follows closely what the Jewish rabbis did in their interpretation of the Old Testament. This style of argument would have baffled a normal Gentile. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that the Jews were the recipients of this sermon. However, they were well-educated Greek speakers. The Greek of this letter is highly polished and refined (and therefore difficult, argh!).

The book of Hebrews is a word of exhortation (13:22), of which the main point is the high priestly work of Jesus Christ (8:1). “Word of exhortation” is another way of saying “sermon.” The fact that Hebrews is a sermon explains why some of the normal greetings (which we would expect in a letter) are “missing” from the beginning of Hebrews. Hebrews ends like a letter, however. Therefore we must suppose that it was a sermon that got turned into a letter. In chapter 8, verse 1, when Paul says that “the point in what we are saying is this,” what he is really saying is that this is the main point of the sermon: we have such a high priest. He is referring to Jesus.

And now for the first few verses of the book: 1:1 “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2a. but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” I give you here the English Standard Version, which, in my opinion, is the best translation available.

This passage works by a series of contrasts. The main contrast is that of revelation itself: revelation through the prophets is contrasted with revelation through the Son, Jesus Christ. The first contrast is that of time: “long ago” versus “these last days.” This refers to when the revelation was given. The second contrast is between the “many times and in many ways” with “by his Son.” The first term refers to the fragmentary character that Old Testament revelation had, since it happened over a long period of time. Jesus, on the other hand, is a unity, a whole. He fully revealed the Father to His people all at one time. The third contrast is that of the means of revelation: God used many different ways of communication in the Old Testament to reveal Himself to the people, such as dreams, signs, miracles, speech, writing, etc.; in Jesus Christ, there is only one way to see the Father revealed: in Jesus Christ Himself. The fourth contrast is that of the recipients: God spoke previously “to our fathers,” whereas in this time, He has spoken “to us.” The fifth and final contrast is that between the prophets (“by the prophets”) and the Son (“by the Son”). This refers to the people through whom God chose to reveal Himself.
It is important to remember, however, that there are significant areas of similarity between these two ages of revelation. In both it is God who does the speaking. Secondly, the Old Testament’s message does not contradict the New Testament. We cannot believe that there is a contradiction between the Old and New Testaments if we are to maintain our Christianity. Jesus says that the entire Old Testament is written about Him (Luke 24:24ff and John 5:46). As Augustine says, “The Old is in the New revealed; the New is in the Old concealed.” This is the reason why Paul quotes the Old Testament so much in this sermon. The Old Testament points to Jesus Christ.

So, now for application: in whom will we trust? Do we trust what the world will say to us, or will we trust what God says (and has said in the past) to us? God tells us to believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the ultimate and final revelation of who God is. Jesus ushered in a new era by His death and resurrection. No longer are we under the shadow of the unclear and lonely Old Testament. We have the full light of day. Woe to us, if we do not heed its words (see 2:1)! We must have Jesus Christ as our high priest. Why? Because we are sinners. As Paul will say later, “without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sins” (9:22). Therefore, there needed to be a sacrifice. In the Old Testament times, that meant an animal sacrifice. However, “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Therefore, a better, more perfect sacrifice was needed, in fact, Jesus Christ, the spotless lamb of God. Believe in Him.

My Redeemer Lives

I recently did my fifth funeral in a year since I started my ministry here in ND. People responded very well to this sermon on Job 19, so I will post it all.

You feel like your world has been torn apart. And indeed, it has. The death of a loved one tears your world apart. All the security you thought you had vanishes. Everything is up in the air, and is vague and shadowy. You don’t know about the future. You don’t know whether there is a God, and if He does, why did He allow this to happen? Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? That question is so often asked, that Rabbi Kushner wrote a book of that title. However, that last question is fundamentally wrong. It assumes that people are good. The question that we should be asking ourselves is, “Why do good things happen to bad people?” That is a much more fruitful question in the end, and will change our perspective. But in Job’s case, the issues are more complicated.

Job was, as you will remember, a man of good standing in his community, and before God. Satan came along in God’s courtroom, and said that Job was only righteous because God had protected him, and given job all these blessings. Satan said that if God took those blessings away, then Job would curse God to His face. God allowed Satan to test Job for two reasons: one was to test Job’s faith, and put in the crucible of suffering, that it might be found to be pure gold. The other reason was to put Satan to shame. And that is indeed what happened. Job did not curse God, even after Satan had taken away all ten of Job’s children, all his livestock, all his servants except the ones who came to tell Job all this bad news all at the same time. The only person left in Job’s family was his wife, and Satan even turned her against him. She was the one who told Job to curse God and die. But Job worshipped God and said, “Naked I came into this world, naked I shall return; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Then Satan said to God, “Ah, but his life was not threatened in all this. If I threatened his life, then he would curse you to your face.” God allowed Satan to go to round number two, although in both cases, Satan was only allowed to go so far. In the first round, Satan could not touch Job’s person. In the second round, Satan had to spare Job’s life. From that we learn that evil is controlled by the absolutely sovereign God. Thus far can evil go, and no farther. God keeps a very tight leash on evil. But Satan did afflict Job with painful boils.

And then his “friends” come to “support” him. A great job they did! They thought they were wise. They thought they knew why Job was going through all this pain. The reason obviously must be a specific sin on Job’s part. The book of Deuteronomy said that sin will always bring consequences. Since there were rather obvious consequences in Job’s life, the three friends assumed that there must be some obvious sin in Job’s life. The real question is, “Who is wise, and who knows the real situation of Job’s suffering?” Job doesn’t know about what happened in the courtroom of God. He doesn’t know about Satan. All he knows is that he believed in his God. He knows that it isn’t because of some great sin in his life that these trials have come upon him. He knows that he is a sinner. But he is in a good relationship with God, and he repents of his sin. The three friends obviously have it wrong as well, since they don’t know about Satan either. They thought that there was a one-to-one correspondence between sin and consequence, and that the relationship between sin and consequence was reversible. You see, sin always brings consequences. But just because there are consequences, doesn’t mean that sin was the thing that caused the consequences. It could have been something else. And it was in Job’s case. The reason for all these calamities coming upon Job was that Satan wanted to show God how smart he was, and God wanted to test Job’s faith in order that Job might grow. That is the situation of the book of Job.

The three friends and Job then get into this huge long debate. And it is important to know that Job doesn’t always say the right thing in these debates. He wishes he had never been born, or that he would die. That’s in chapter three. He accuses God of going too far in chapter 6.

Ultimately, what Job wants is to come face to face with God Himself. Job wants to be justified. That’s in chapter 14. He wants God to know that Job is in the right. Job is extremely honest with God, and lets God know exactly what he is feeling. You know, there is this attitude among Christians today that God should never know what I am thinking. If He did, then I would be ashamed. People who think like that need to read Job, and they need to read the Psalms. If you are angry at God, then you need to tell Him. If you are scared, then you need to tell God. Whatever you are feeling right now at the death of your loved one, you need to tell God honestly. Here’s a secret: God can handle it. God isn’t going to feel threatened. And, God knows already what you’re really thinking, so it’s useless to hide it from God.

In that context, we have this marvelous statement of faith from Job in chapter 19. In verse 23, he wants his words etched in stone for posterity. He wants to be justified in the eyes of those around him. He wants to be in the right. Notice the increasing endurance of the writing materials: first a scroll, then on lead, and finally on rock itself. What words would be recorded? These words: I know that my Redeemer lives.

What is a Redeemer? Well, say that you had to sell your property because you went bankrupt. Someone in your family would redeem it for you: that is, they would pay off the debt so that you could have the land back again. Say you had to sell yourself into slavery. Someone related to you would buy you back, and then you would be free. That person is a redeemer. In our day, if you have to pawn something at a pawn shop, you have a certain amount of time to redeem it, after which it becomes available for sale. Well, why does Job need Redeemer? He has spent a lot of time saying that he was innocent, and that he was not suffering these terrible trials for the reason that the three friends gave, but because of some unknown reason. The fact is that he sees himself as sold into God’s hand, and he needs someone to redeem him from God. Who will do that? God’s Son.

This passage is really about Resurrection. Look at the second part of verse 25: “And that in the end he will stand upon the earth.” That last word “earth” is literally the word for dust. The Redeemer will stand upon the dust. That is, the Redeemer will stand exactly where Job is sitting right now. Remember that he is sitting on the ash heap, the dust heap. Job is saying that the Redeemer will take his place. That is how he will be redeemed. Job knows that he needs to escape the wrath of God that is justly due to sinners. At this point, you might be wondering, “Wait a minute. Job has been saying that he’s innocent, but now he says he’s guilty. What’s going on here?” Job knows two things. First he knows that no one is righteous before God. In chapter 7:21, Job says, “Why do you not pardon my offenses and forgive my sins?” He knows that he has sinned. He asks the question, in case all these trials really had come upon him because of his sin. But Job had made sacrifices all his life to God in repentance for sins committed. But Job knew that they were not enough, and that he needed more. At the same time, Job knew that he had not sinned himself out of a relationship with God. So in that way, he was both innocent and guilty at the same time. He was innocent of the sin that the three friends said he was guilty of, and yet Job was guilty of being a sinner. And so, he needs a Redeemer. Job needs a Redeemer! He was the one described in the very first verse of this book as a man who was blameless and upright! Just think about that for a minute. Here was a man blameless an upright, who still needed a Redeemer! that should give us all reason to pause and reflect on our own lives.

In verse 26, Job says that he himself will see his Redeemer, even after his skin has been destroyed. That is quite a strong statement of faith. He believes not only that his Redeemer lives, and will continue to live, but also that he himself will live to see his Redeemer! In verse 27, he is even more emphatic that it will be he himself who sees God. His identity will be restored to him in the resurrection from the dead.

What Job really believes in here is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ came to redeem sinners. That means that all sinners are in need of redemption. We are all sinners. All you need to do is to read the first three chapters of Romans. This is vitally important to understand, since it is because we are sinners that there is death in the world. That gets to one of the questions that plagues us, “Why did God allow this to happen to our loved one: why did God allow him to die?” The reason is that humanity sinned. Adam sinned. Death came into the world. That is the punishment for sin that God told Adam would come into the world if he disobeyed God’s command. Adam was acting as our representative. And so we all sinned in Adam. That means that we have a sin nature inherited from Adam. G.K. Chesterton was once asked to write an essay on what was wrong with the world. He got the prize for the shortest answer when he wrote, “I am.” But that is really true. If we looked long and hard at ourselves, comparing what we are to what we should be, which is perfection, we would have to say that we fall far short. The punishment for sin is death. There is no way to avoid that consequence, even if we do believe in Jesus Christ. Here, my friends, right before your very eyes, is the consequence of sin in the world.

The question is, “Is there a solution?” The answer is a resounding, Resurrection “Yes.” Jesus Christ came to die for sinners. That means that His death was for our redemption. We were sold as slaves under the wrath of God, which we justly deserve. We owed what we could not possibly pay. And so, Jesus Christ came to pay that price. He paid the ultimate price. He suffered the complete wrath of God poured out on sinners, so that we would not have to pay that price, if we trust in Jesus. Do you know that your Redeemer lives? Do you know that you will see Jesus stand in your place on that great judgment day? Do you know that He will be your lawyer, and say, “This person is not guilty, because I gave him my righteousness?” That is what our beloved deceased believed. He still has to undergo death. But he has not one, but two resurrections. His soul was resurrected from the dead when he believed in Jesus Christ. His body will be resurrected on that last Great Day of judgment. Oh, we’ll all be there. But the great Difference will be between those who are redeemed by the blood of the lamb, and those who have not been redeemed. Which will you be? I counsel you today that if you do not believe that your Redeemer lives, then you have only a judgment of doom to which you can look forward. That is what Job says about his friends in verse 29: “You should fear the sword yourselves; for wrath will bring punishment by the sword, and then you will know that there is judgment.” There is judgment coming. The question is, “Will you be judged as a redeemed person, or as a non-redeemed person. Now is the time to surrender to Christ. You may not have another chance. Death came suddenly to him, and it could come anytime to you. How do you know whether you will even reach your home alive? But if you are redeemed by the great Redeemer, it doesn’t matter when you die. You will go to be with Jesus, your Redeemer, and await the resurrection of your body. He is in no pain. He is in the bosom of Abraham, a metaphor for heaven. He awaits the resurrection of his body. As we saw, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Will your death be precious in God’s sight? Then trust in Jesus, your Great Redeemer, for He lives.

quotation

Here is a very interesting quotation I found on the Reformation21 blog (posted by Ligon Duncan):

“The incarnation is the pattern for all evangelism. Jesus Christ was totally in the world yet wholly uncontaminated by it.” (Everett L. Cattell)

Tell me what ya’ll think.

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