Mark 10:15 – “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (NIV 1978)
My Musings – The faith of children is amazing. They have not yet allowed their faith to be polluted and diluted by the so-called ‘wisdom” of this world, which God calls foolishness.
My Advice – Never allow yourself to lose the childlike faith that you began your life in Christ with. Intellectual attacks against the simplicity of the Gospel are common and sometimes compelling (at least on the surface). But in the end it comes down to faith.
Or possibly the work of a Cereal killer?
James 2:14 -24 – What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. (NIV 1984)
My Musings – Early in his post-reformation ministry, Martin Luther referred to the Epistle of James as Continue reading “A Rigor Mortis Faith”
Study 7: An Invitation
So now, just like Nicodemus, we know the what, why and how of being born again. We know that God began with a plan for us. We spoiled the plan by our disobedience, resulting in separation from God and the prospect of spending eternity in Hell. We cannot make it right again by our own desires or efforts. They all fall short of what God requires. Yet, in His love and mercy, God still has a plan for our salvation. Through Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins, and His victory over death and sin by His resurrection from the dead, we can be reunited with God. By putting our faith in Him we can be born again. All we need to do is repent, believe and receive. The gift has been purchased. It is freely offered to all. The question is, will we respond by accepting the gift?
Jesus concluded His discussion with Nicodemus by saying: Continue reading “Study 7: An Invitation”
Study 6: Our Response
God offers the only remedy that works. But to end the separation, to get to the other side where God eagerly awaits us with open arms, we have to take the bridge.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
We are not mystically transported to the other side without our knowledge simply because Jesus died on the cross. While it is true that He died for all, not everyone accepts Him. Nor are we herded across to the other side against our will. We can reject Him. There is no toll charge, no price that we can pay to gain the crossing. The price has already been paid. We simply have to accept Him and the sacrifice that He made. In so doing, we willingly cross over the bridge that He built back to Him. We cross over from death to life. We are born again. Continue reading “Study 6: Our Response”
Study 5: God’s Remedy
Sinful man is separated from a Holy God. Not because God moved away from us, but because we moved away from Him. Yet everything that man has ever tried to end the separation has been unsuccessful. And what’s more, there is nothing we can do on our own that will ever be successful. Thus, the answer to the question – “what must we do to be saved?” – is all too clear. There is nothing we can do. But God was not satisfied with that being the end of the story. He still has a plan for us. His love and grace provides a remedy that is acceptable to Him. It is in fact, the only remedy that is acceptable to Him.
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12) Continue reading “Study 5: God’s Remedy”
Study 4: Man’s Remedies
Aware of His separation from His creator, if not also of the dire consequences that he faces, down through the centuries man has sought his own solutions to bridge the gap. But no matter how well intentioned or sincere, all of man’s so-called remedies fall far short of bridging the gap or of building a stairway to reach our creator. They leave us perplexed, frustrated, and perhaps a bit frantic, yet still seeking the answer to an age-long question: what must I do to be saved?
It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. (Romans 9:16) Continue reading “Study 4: Man’s Remedy”
Study 3: Our Problem
Trouble came to paradise. Apparently, being made in God’s image, living in a perfect world, being in fellowship with God, and yes, even God’s love were not good enough for us. We wanted more. We wanted things that He did not intend for us. We also wanted to be like God. And these desires gave way to disobedience. Sin entered into God’s creation.
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. (Isaiah 59:2) Continue reading “Study 3: Our Problem”