Man-made religion is always in a battle with the flesh. Actually, it is always a surrender to the flesh. "Flesh" is a term Paul uses to describe that part of mankind that responds to the law and attempts to fulfill requirements that will gain some type of leverage with God. It is the default mode of a race that has been alienated from God and desperately wants to be back...Keep Reading
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Everyone wants to be blessed. The problem is that we often view blessings as our gain at other’s loss. We are blessed if we win the lottery. Of course, that means that everyone else did not, and we got their money. We even tend to think that for God to bless us, others must not be blessed. And even further, we begin to feel that we are only blessed when we have more good things happening to us than are happening to others....
In marriage, the role of the husband is different from that of the wife, but the perspective and attitude are the same. Peter’s use of “likewise” or “in the same way” is common to both his instructions to the wife and to the husband and is probably referring to 2:13 where believers are exhorted to place their explicit trust in God by properly submitting to his delegated authority structures....
Since the new order has been launched in the resurrection of Jesus, every aspect of life is affected, including marriage. As all married people know, marriage can turn out to be not only different than expected, but difficult to navigate. For marriage to be anything like what God intended in the beginning, we need a new perspective. Peter is describing that new perspective in this whole section of his letter. He has already said that we have been freed and empowered to submit to God’s order by honestly respecting the delegated authority structures that allow society to function best. But just exactly how does the resurrection of Jesus affect the wife’s role in marriage?...
If we were dead, we wouldn't have struggles with flesh and frailty. But then, we would be dead. Christ has made it possible for us to have the benefits of being dead while we are still alive in our bodies....Keep Reading
Healthy things grow until they reach maturity. We expect it. If it doesn't happen, we are alarmed and try to find the cause. If we are focused on the external, we will emphasize physical growth and tend to measure progress simply in physical terms. So there are some who think a particular church is healthy because it grows numerically, even though they would admit that big...Keep Reading
There is a disqualifying form of Christianity being promoted among us. It leaves its adherents with a legalistic hangover and a deflated hope. It features some or all of the following characteristics: asceticism, obsession with angels, reliance on visions, confidence based on knowledge rather than relationship, and failure to exalt Jesus as the source, means, and goal of l...Keep Reading
Human tradition and elemental spirits (Colossians 2:8) are always looking for grounds to condemn and disqualify. We are all susceptible to judging and being judged on the wrong grounds. We continue to misjudge God's true nature and thereby misjudge each other. God has never been about setting rules for the purpose of determining who is qualified and who is not. He has alwa...Keep Reading
Before his public ministry began, Jesus met Satan in the wilderness and walked away victorious. It wasn't just his victory. He represented Adam who had faced Satan in the original Garden and lost. He also represented Israel who faced Satan in the wilderness of temptation and lost. This time both Adam and Israel won in their representative--Jesus. The new Man began a new er...Keep Reading
It is difficult getting accustomed to being free from debt when you have lived your whole life with its weight. You feel illegal, even ungodly. Actually, many of us demand to continue to live with some measure of debt. It gives some strange sense of comfort and normalcy. We think, "Surely we aren't totally forgiven. We can't just expect to be treated as Jesus the Son is tr...Keep Reading
It is true that our spiritual dilemma was much worse than we thought, and Christ's redemption is much greater than we have imagined. Because of our relationship with Adam as well as our own choices to rebel, we were dead in our trespasses. We were cut off from God. He is holy--absolutely good. We were alienated from him and unable to enjoy him or even approach him on our o...Keep Reading
The people of Israel recognized that they were chosen by God and were a peculiar people on the earth. They had been given the Law. They were commissioned to bless other nations by being a kingdom of priests. They were to act as God's son on earth. The sign that they were people of covenant was circumcision. When the new era arrived, it became clear that God had other sheep...Keep Reading
Everything God has ever wanted to say, he said in Jesus. He is the complete and final Word of God. It seems that human nature is determined to find some vital information outside of him. We have looked in magic, witchcraft, science, imagination, exotic religious cults, intriguing prophetic predictions, and fanciful interpretations of scripture, but we refuse to believe tha...Keep Reading