• Jerry Starling

  • Search by Category

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 551 other followers
  • Pages

  • Blog Stats

    • 548,957 hits
  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Jerry Starling on READING: John 7 – Rivers…
    Jerry Starling on READING: Acts 25-26 – Be…
    No one on QUESTION: re Seed in Belly of…
    wisdumb on Church Growth in Ukraine
    Kevin on DIFFICULT PASSAGES: Mark 8:22-…
  • Top Posts

  • June 2009
    S M T W T F S
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    282930  
  • Archives

Questions – Is God’s Will Always the Same?


Question: I heard a preacher once say, that the will of God is the same today as it was from the beginning.  Seems to me, that would stand to reason. Where is it located in the Bible?  I can not find it.  Thanks.

There is no verse that says this in exactly this way – though this is a statement that is true. Within limits.

God has given specific instructions to specific individuals that are not applicable to all men everywhere. These instructions have always been within his overall, unchanging will and promoted God’s eternal purpose.

For example, God told Noah to build an ark. He told Moses to go speak to Pharaoh and demand that he release Israel from their bondage. He told Elijah to go the the brook Cherith, for “I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.”

Obviously, these specific instructions were given to specific individuals for specific reasons, all of which were within God’s unchanging purpose and will.

In the opening chapters of Genesis, God created the human race, placing them in the world He had created as their habitation. He formed man in His own image, placed Man in the Garden of Eden, and had fellowship with Man there. This idyllic existence ended when sin entered the world.

The rest of the Bible is the story of God’s plan to restore that broken fellowship with man. This involved the defeat of the tempter and the courtship of Man, not by raw power but by persuasion. The ultimate plan involved winning the hearts of men through the cross of Jesus. This was a victory of love over hate, of service over slavery, of hope over despair, of giving over taking, and of faith over violence.

God’s character has always been the same. He is love; He is truth; He is integrity; He is righteous. He is the ultimate of all of the things He wills for us to have in our character. Our ultimate triumph – and the ultimate triumph of His will – will be when we are like Him because we see Him as He is (1 John 3:1-3).

Getting to that victory from the loss of fellowship with God experienced by Adam and Eve when they sinned is the story of the Bible. It was a long, rocky road. It involved God calling a man (Abraham) to father a nation (Israel) through whom the Savior of all nations would come.

The Savior came and won by losing. He defeated death by dying and being raised the third day. In His victory, He gives victory to us as well. Our new life begins now in Him where we become “a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). In the present time, we live “in the world” but are not “of the world” because we are citizens of heaven (see John 17:16 & Philippians 3:20). But even as we live in this world, our victory is assured by faith (1 John 5:4).

Through all of this, God has been patient, for “He is not willing that any should perish, but that all come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). He “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). That is His will, His desire; He has never wavered from that, though the details of how He has worked with Man has varied over the centuries.

Thus, there was a different sacrificial system under the covenant God made with Israel at Sinai than there is today. There is a similarity between these, though, because the blood offerings under the Law of Moses are types and shadows of the reality that is in Jesus (see Colossians 2:14). Even at Sinai, God was looking ahead to Calvary where the perfect “lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world” would be slain. As the apostle put it in Galatians 3:24, the law “was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.”

A couple of verses come close to saying that God’s will is always the same. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Malachi 3:6 reads, “I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”

God’s faithfulness to His purpose of bringing the Savior from Israel kept Him from destroying this rebellious nation when their hearts were far from Him. God was patient with them until His purpose in them was fulfilled in Christ. Then, within a generation, the old Judaic system was said to be obsolete and ready to pass away: “By calling this covenant [i.e., the one that is in Christ] ‘new,’ he has made the first one [i.e., the one given at Sinai] obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear” (Hebrews 8:13, New International Version).

Much more could be said, but I trust these few thoughts will help you to understand that God’s will really does not change. He is still being patient with us today, for He still desires our salvation.

QUESTIONS – CHILDREN & THE NEW BIRTH


Question: If I ask my 5 year old to repeat the sinner’s prayer and then I pray for her. Would that make her born again? Is there anything wrong with making a young child to repent even though she may not understand exactly what she is doing or entering into?

It is good that you are concerned about leading your young daughter into a relationship with Jesus. Jesus is very interested in children. In Matthew 19:14, when His disciples wanted to brush the children away from Him, He said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.

The chapter just before this begins with His disciples arguing about which of them was the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Verses 2-4 say, “He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.‘”

The kingdom of heaven already belongs to little children. In fact, the rest of us must become like little children to enter the kingdom.

You cannot manipulate your daughter into being born again by asking her to repeat the sinners’ prayer, by urging her to be baptized, or even by having her baptized as an infant. Jesus said the children must be permitted to come to Him – and this will be in their own good time. You cannot come to Jesus without some understanding of what you are doing.

Karl Barth, one of the most highly respected theologians of the 20th century, once described infant baptism as “a scandal.” He was looking at the established churches (state churches) of Europe where almost all people had been baptized as babies. He observed that this did not bring any noticeable difference in their lives. In fact, the people lived very secular lives, even though they nominally thought of themselves as “Christian.” He attributed this to the fact that they did not come to Christ through a conscious decision as responsible and responsive believers.

Much of what he said about infant baptism would apply to what you are asking about as well. You could do what you suggest – only to have your daughter grow up believing she is already a Christian. As a result, she might never give serious consideration to what a relationship with Jesus is all about.

In the Scriptures, people  were taught to repent, which literally means to change the mind. This demands a consciousness of sin and of their need for forgiveness that they believe is found only in Jesus. No one can “make” you repent; it must come from within yourself. She cannot possibly repent without being aware of what sin is and having a desire to leave sinfulness to walk with God. Then, as she learns to trust Jesus to forgive her, she will be able to come to him in the way the Scriptures show. (You may not realize that urging people to “pray the sinners’ prayer” to be born again is a modern development. There is nothing like this in the preaching of the apostles in the Book of Acts.)

What can you do to be leading your daughter to know Jesus? Teach her about Him. Read Bible stories to her. Pray with her in prayers that she can comprehend. Teach her how she should live and set the right example for her. Let her see that Jesus has an important place in your life and heart. As she grows in her knowledge of Jesus and in her trust in Him, she will be able to make a mature decision that will be more meaningful for her and will endure through her life.

I would like to encourage you to ask for our Bible Correspondence Course offered (at no charge) at www.Plymouth-church.com. One major section of this course talks about the new birth. A clearer understanding of the new birth on your part will help you lead her to a more mature understanding as she increases in her discernment of the things of God.

Communion Meditation (1) Who Was on the Cross?


…You shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins…. “They shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” – Matthew 1:21, 23.

Bread and Wine

Matthew records two names for our Lord in the two verses quoted above. One has to do with His identity; the other, with his mission.

He came to seek and save the lost. That is His mission. Thus, the angel instructed Joseph to “call His name JESUS.” This name speaks of Him as Savior.

Salvation, though Joseph did not realize this, demanded the cross. There was no other way, for the blood of animals could not take away sin.

Who was on that cross of Golgotha that loomed over Jesus from the time the angel first announced His birth (and before)?

The first verse of the New Testament declared He was “the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” Yet, there was much more. He is also “Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

The Son of David and Son of Abraham on the cross was also the Son of God. God came into this world in human form.

Here, I crucified Him; it was my sin that put Him on the tree.

His love for me is so great that He came willingly to die for my sins, that He might call me into renewed fellowship with Him.

God Himself; Cruel tree. Me redeemed; Now I’m free.


Next
– Our Shepherd Ruler


Previous
– A Pet Peeve About How We Observe the Lord’s Supper

What will our bodies be like after the rapture?


Question: Will we be reunited with our earthly bodies after the rapture and then be made into glorified bodies?
Off hand, I think of only three passages of Scripture that deal significantly with your question. 1 John 3:1-3 is the shortest of these – and one that gives the least information. What it does give, however, is most assuring and should be sufficient to satisfy our desire to know. This passage simply says,

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this home in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Our future is assured. God’s love already causes Him to call us His own children. This separates us from the world that does not know God. Yet, John says that we do not know what we shall be. All we know is that we shall be like Him. When our Lord returns and we see Him face to face, seeing Him will complete our transformation into His likeness.
When we have this hope, which is confident expectation coupled with earnest desire, in us we will even now purify ourselves as He is pure. That is, we will already be making progress in our transformation into His likeness.
Knowing that we will be like Him should satisfy us. Human curiosity wants to know details – but we would not understand them if they were given! If you are one of God’s children, when Jesus returns, you will be like Him. Note that John does not say we will be like Jesus was after His resurrection. John saw Jesus in His resurrected body and saw Him ascend back to the Father, yet he said we do not know what we will be like – except that we will be like Him. Do not worry about it! The promise of God should be sufficient for us.
Fortunately, for our curiosity’s sake, we are given a little more information in two passages from the pen of Paul.
The first of these is 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, a passage often read at funerals because it, too, offers great hope to the believer.

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

At the trump of God, the dead in Christ will rise from their sleep in Jesus. Living believers will be caught up together with the risen saints, and together they will meet the Lord in the air to be with Him forever.
Nothing is said, though, about what sort of bodies either of these groups will have. But to be with the Lord forever – and to be in His likeness because we see Him as He is – should be sufficient for us.
Unfortunately, human curiosity is strong! Among the questions the church at Corinth had sent to Paul was one asking (as you have) about the body we would have in the resurrection. Perhaps this question was asked sincerely, but I suspect it was asked to argue against there being a resurrection of the dead. At least that was the issue Paul addressed in 1 Corinthians 15 where verses 35-54 answer this question. I will not take the space to quote this entire passage (20 verses), but will summarize it instead.

You ask, “How are the dead raised and what kind of body will they have?” Don’t you realize that the seed dies and is reborn in a plant that is not like the seed? God gives each plant its own body that pleases Him. So also with bodies of flesh. Even now, there are different kinds of flesh: human, animal, fish, and fowl. There are also heavenly (celestial) bodies and earthly bodies, each with its own kind of glory. Even the sun, moon and stars have different kinds of bodies and differ from each other in glory.

This is the way it will be in the resurrection. The body that is sown in corruption will be raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor & weakness; it is raised in glory and power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. First we are natural; then we are spiritual. As we have born the image of Adam, the natural man, we will bear the image of the heavenly Man, the second Adam.
Flesh and blood do not inherit the kingdom of God and corruption does not inherit incorruption. We, natural beings that we are, will not all sleep (die), but we will all be changed. At the trump of God, the dead will be raised incorruptible and we will all be changed. The corruptible, mortal will become incorruptible and immortal. Then, death will be swallowed up in victory!
This summary expresses most of what Paul said. He still did not describe the incorruptible, immortal body. He just said it is spiritual, heavenly, and “the image of the heavenly Man.” It is not like the mortal, corruptible, natural, fleshly people we are now.
In all of this, neither of these writers (nor any other writer of the Scriptures) speak of a “rapture” in which living saints will be caught up to be with the Lord while life goes on upon the earth for another thousand years. This is a fanciful theory based in human deduction more than in God’s revelation. The emphasis in Scripture, when speaking of the return of the Lord, is not on the events that will transpire – though they will be awesome – but on the lives we should live now as we anticipate and desire His return. As John said, if we have this hope, we will purify ourselves as He is pure.
Your specific question, then, seems to lie among those secret things that belong to God (see Deuteronomy 29:29). Let me encourage you to look more to what God has revealed to us that we might do them!
I hope these words will be encouraging to you as you fix your eyes, even now, on Jesus who is the author and perfecter of our faith.
Respectfully yours,

Question: Will we be reunited with our earthly bodies after the rapture and then be made into glorified bodies?

Off hand, I think of only three passages of Scripture that deal significantly with your question. 1 John 3:1-3 is the shortest of these – and one that gives the least information. What it does give, however, is most assuring and should be sufficient to satisfy our desire to know. This passage simply says,

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this home in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Our future is assured. God’s love already causes Him to call us His own children. This separates us from the world that does not know God. Yet, John says that we do not know what we shall be. All we know is that we shall be like Him. When our Lord returns and we see Him face to face, seeing Him will complete our transformation into His likeness.

When we have this hope, which is confident expectation coupled with earnest desire, in us we will even now purify ourselves as He is pure. That is, we will already be making progress in our transformation into His likeness.

Knowing that we will be like Him should satisfy us. Human curiosity wants to know details – but we would not understand them if they were given! If you are one of God’s children, when Jesus returns, you will be like Him. Note that John does not say we will be like Jesus was after His resurrection. John saw Jesus in His resurrected body and saw Him ascend back to the Father, yet he said we do not know what we will be like – except that we will be like Him. Do not worry about it! The promise of God should be sufficient for us.

Fortunately, for our curiosity’s sake, we are given a little more information in two passages from the pen of Paul.

The first of these is 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, a passage often read at funerals because it, too, offers great hope to the believer.

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

At the trump of God, the dead in Christ will rise from their sleep in Jesus. Living believers will be caught up together with the risen saints, and together they will meet the Lord in the air to be with Him forever.

Nothing is said, though, about what sort of bodies either of these groups will have. But to be with the Lord forever – and to be in His likeness because we see Him as He is – should be sufficient for us.

Unfortunately, human curiosity is strong! Among the questions the church at Corinth had sent to Paul was one asking (as you have) about the body we would have in the resurrection. Perhaps this question was asked sincerely, but I suspect it was asked to argue against there being a resurrection of the dead. At least that was the issue Paul addressed in 1 Corinthians 15 where verses 35-54 answer this question. I will not take the space to quote this entire passage (20 verses), but will summarize it instead.

You ask, “How are the dead raised and what kind of body will they have?” Don’t you realize that the seed dies and is reborn in a plant that is not like the seed? God gives each plant its own body that pleases Him. So also with bodies of flesh. Even now, there are different kinds of flesh: human, animal, fish, and fowl. There are also heavenly (celestial) bodies and earthly bodies, each with its own kind of glory. Even the sun, moon and stars have different kinds of bodies and differ from each other in glory.

This is the way it will be in the resurrection. The body that is sown in corruption will be raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor & weakness; it is raised in glory and power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. First we are natural; then we are spiritual. As we have born the image of Adam, the natural man, we will bear the image of the heavenly Man, the second Adam.

Flesh and blood do not inherit the kingdom of God and corruption does not inherit incorruption. We, natural beings that we are, will not all sleep (die), but we will all be changed. At the trump of God, the dead will be raised incorruptible and we will all be changed. The corruptible, mortal will become incorruptible and immortal. Then, death will be swallowed up in victory!

This summary expresses most of what Paul said. He still did not describe the incorruptible, immortal body. He just said it is spiritual, heavenly, and “the image of the heavenly Man.” It is not like the mortal, corruptible, natural, fleshly people we are now.

In all of this, neither of these writers (nor any other writer of the Scriptures) speak of a “rapture” in which living saints will be caught up to be with the Lord while life goes on upon the earth for another thousand years. This is a fanciful theory based in human deduction more than in God’s revelation. The emphasis in Scripture, when speaking of the return of the Lord, is not on the events that will transpire – though they will be awesome – but on the lives we should live now as we anticipate and desire His return. As John said, if we have this hope, we will purify ourselves as He is pure.

Your specific question, then, seems to lie among those secret things that belong to God (see Deuteronomy 29:29). Let me encourage you to look more to what God has revealed to us that we might do them!

I hope these words will be encouraging to you as you fix your eyes, even now, on Jesus who is the author and perfecter of our faith.

A Pet Peeve About How We Observe the Lord’s Supper


If I were to trot out all of my “pet peeves,” you might think I am a “right peevish person” – which I am not. I can grumble along with most people, but my “peeves” do not cause me to lose my temper or my friends. In fact, usually they are not even expressed. This one, however, is one that I do express – and, I believe, for good cause.

My pet peeve about how we in the churches of Christ observe the Lord’s Supper is that in far too many instances little or nothing is said about why we observe this Supper other than to read the accounts of the “institution” of the Lord’s Supper with maybe a comment to the effect that we are commanded to do this every Lord’s Day.

Naturally, since we exist as autonomous congregations, the practice varies from congregation to congregation. In fact, one church I attended for more than ten years (six and a half of which I served as one of the elders) had a practice of no comment at all prior to the Lord’s Supper. A visitor or new convert could attend for years and have no idea what this was all about! That was when I began to be vocal (in the elders’ meetings) about our need for better instruction on the purpose of the Lord’s Supper – and how we should participate in it.

My fellow elders were willing enough for me to make brief comments when it was my turn to preside at the table, but my example was followed by very few (if any) others. Since no one person was charged with leading at the table very often, the congregation hardly noticed a thing!

My present congregation is an exception to the above peeve. Most of those who “preside” at the Table have excellent comments.

There is such a wealth of Biblical material for us to address legitimately at the Lord’s Table that I hardly know where to begin. On a given Sunday the assembled group in probably half the congregations will be told how the Lord instituted this memorial on the night in which He was betrayed. To me, this  is evidence of the lack of thought that goes into our observance of what most of us will declare is the very purpose of our assembly!

I am not even sure that most of our people realize just what we are to remember. Ask most church members what we are to remember in the Lord’s Supper, and you are most likely to hear that we are to “remember the Lord’s death.” So, many people find the sad songs about the suffering of the Savior to guide their meditations during the time of “partaking” of the bread and cup.

In reality, Jesus said, “Do this in rememberance of Me” (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24-25), not “of my death” but “of Me.” Now, in remembering Jesus we will certainly remember His death, but we will also remember much more, and there will be more of joy than of tears in that rememberance! After all, the Lord’s Supper is the foretaste of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb of God and His holy bride, the saints of all ages! Hence, it should be more of a festival than a  funeral.

Partially as an effort to do something about my pet peeve, I have been writing a “Communion Meditation” for the congregation where I serve as one of the elders. These have been in our bulletin each week for the past three years.

It is my intent to include one of these “Meditations” as a regular part of this blog. They are brief, usually 250 – 300 words in length. They are based on many different parts of the Scriptures, and they all focus on Jesus and our relationship to Him. After all, “Communion” comes from the Greek word koinonea, which also means fellowship. Hence, Communion is about fellowship or relationship, much more than it is about mourning the death of One Whom we love. After all, He was raised from the dead three days later! Yes, He paid an awful price for our salvation, and we are right to grieve for our sinfulness that made it necessary. But He was also raised again for our justification (see Romans 4:25).

This alone should make the Lord’s Supper a Celebration, not a Mourning.

Click here for the first in my current series of Communion Meditations. This series is based on the gospel of Matthew, and it is my intent (which may or may not be fulfilled) to use each chapter of this narrative gospel in these meditations. Again, I invite your feed back and comment.

What is Truth?


This is a favorite question of a cynic. Pilate responded to Jesus’ declaration that He came into the world to bear witness to truth with this question. Then he turned away. As one who is committed to truth, I dare not turn away from pursuing this question.

A favorite quotation, found on the city hall of Detroit and many public libraries is, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” These words came from the lips of Jesus, who prefaced them by saying, “If you continue in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).

In another place, Jesus prayed to His Father, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth” (John 17:17). Yet truth is more than the words spoken by Jesus or even the words that have come from the Father. Jesus Himself declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

Jesus is Truth incarnate. He is also the Word of God incarnate. John’s gospel opens with the announcement, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14).

Jesus Himself is Truth, for He is the living Word of God in a way that letters on a page can never be.

This in no way belittles or demeans the Bible as the written Word of God.

Jesus spoke highly of the Scriptures, the Writings that came from God, when He declared to the Jews of Jerusalem, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39).

All parts of the Scriptures testify of Jesus. Before the resurrected Jesus left His disciples to return to the Father, “He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me” (Luke 24:44). These were the three divisions of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament. All of these testified of Jesus.

The tragedy of the Jews is that they did not get the point of their own Scriptures – and so they missed seeing Jesus there. They labored long to discover all of the nuances of the Law, while missing the beauty of the One of whom the Law testified.

As a Jew zealous for the Law, Saul of Tarsus sought to destroy the name of Jesus along with all who called on that Holy Name. As the Apostle zealous for the gospel of Jesus, Paul declared, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Timothy 1:12). Note how Paul personalized his faith. He did not say, “I know what I have believed.” He said, “I know whom I have believed.”

Paul’s faith was not in a written (or unwritten) creed made of propositions about God and His way. His faith was in the Living Word that is Truth. That his faith was trust is apparent, as he continued “I am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him.”

Paul was committed to truth because he was committed to Jesus. From the time Jesus made Himself known to Saul on the Damascus Road, Paul’s commitment to truth made a u-turn. Before, he was zealous for the minutia of  the Law; afterward, he was committed to knowing Jesus!

He himself wrote of this change: “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

That is what commitment to truth meant to Paul.

Commitment to Truth, i.e. commitment to Jesus, meant more to him than the position he had enjoyed among his fellow Jews. It meant more to him than the confidence he had in the things of the flesh, as he sought to save himself by his blamelessness with regard to the Law. It meant more to him than his identity of a Hebrew of Hebrews and a Pharisee of Pharisees.

Commitment to Jesus is what commitment to truth must mean to us as well. How can the traditions of our fathers compare to the excellency of knowing Jesus? How can the rituals of law make us become what fellowship with Jesus will lead us to be? How can the works of righteousness according to the flesh empower us as does sharing in the death and resurrection of Jesus – especially when we walk in that death unto life day by day, crucifying self to allow Christ to live in us?

If I am truly committed to truth, I will be committed to knowing Jesus, to walking with Him intimately in my life.

It is this truth that will sanctify me and set me free. It in this truth that I will be able to “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made [me] free” (Galatians 5:1a). It is commitment to this truth that keeps me from being “entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1b).

Hello world!


My Mom used to say that “Fool’s names and Monkey’s faces are always seen in public places.” So, why would I want to be a blogger?

The obvious reason is that “everyone else is doing it,” so why not me too?

A less obvious reason is that various people have encouraged me to do more writing. They seem to think I have something worth saying and that I can say it in a way that is worth hearing.

When I was young, I wanted to wait to publish until I knew more; as I grew older, I learned more – but I also became aware of how much I do not know. This made the urge to publish diminish.

Yet, I find myself commenting on other people’s blogs, books, and articles. Will I only react to others’ material – or will I have something significant to say of my own? The answer to that remains to be seen. My wife says I have trouble keeping my mouth shut in Bible class – and I guess she’s right. Most of my life I’ve been the teacher – and old habits die hard. Maybe this blog will give me the opportunity of continuing to teach through the electronic page.

I hope to make friends of many of you through this blog. Give me your feed-back – and even your ‘push-back.’  Maybe we can learn from each other and grow in the likeness of our Lord.

%d bloggers like this: