For years the Lord has been done a terrible disservice over the issue of Paul’s complaint about the thorn in his flesh, and it’s time to set the record straight. If you’ve been taught that “My Grace is sufficient for you” was the Lord’s excuse for not healing Paul, then pay close attention. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then get ready for a great example of how folks distort the meaning of Scripture—either to satisfy their pre-conceived notions or justify their lack of faith. Continue reading…
The Lord wanted His people to trust in Him for their security, not in their material possessions. Had man permanently adopted these laws as his own, there would be very little poverty in the world today, and almost no war or oppression…
Many believe that Daniel 9:24-27 is the most important passage of prophecy in all of Scripture. Almost every mistake I’ve run across in studying the various interpretations of End Times Prophecy can be traced back to a misunderstanding of this passage. Let’s begin the year with an updated and expanded study of this important prophecy.
By now you see that Paul has answered the three major theological questions for all mankind in his Letter to the Romans. In addition he’s clearly defined the relationship between Israel and the Church in God’s overall plan.
Having seen that along with the blessings of salvation have come the gifts that give us the ability to respond accordingly, we continue now with Paul’s advice on living a life pleasing to God in gratitude for all that He’s given us.
We began this series from the perspective that our time is short and we should make sure we’re ordering what’s left of it around the Lord’s priorities for us. It won’t be long before the life we’ve worked so hard to build for ourselves here will be left behind. All that will remain is the treasure we’ve stored up in Heaven.
Romans 9 spoke of God’s sovereign election of Israel as His chosen. In chapter 10 we saw how in the obsessive pursuit of a righteousness of their own, they rejected the righteousness that comes from God. But the rejection was clearly temporary, its duration dependent upon their response.
We turn now from a study of doctrine to one of prophecy. A prophecy involving both Jews and Gentiles that unlocks a secret hidden from the foundation of the world. From among both, God would create a new race of man, neither Jew nor Gentile, called the Church. As Paul would write to the Ephesians, “His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two” (Ephesians 2:15) and to the Galatians, “You are all sons of God through Christ Jesus … There is neither Jew nor Gentile” (Galatians 3:26,28) and to the Corinthians, “Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks (Gentiles) or the Church of God.” (1 Cor. 10:32). It’s the Church who would inherit the Kingdom. Here’s how it happens. Continue reading…
In our last installment we completed Law School, and saw the impossible position we’ve been placed in. Because of the sin nature we’ve inherited, our own bodies will betray us no matter how hard we try to live up to God’s standard. In fact the harder we try, the more certain our failure becomes. As far as effecting our own salvation is concerned, we’re hopeless, helpless, worthless and useless. The Lord’s remedy for our situation was to offer us an unmerited pardon purchased with His own blood. Now we’re ready for a close look at the unbelievable blessing we call Grace.
Having had a righteousness from God imputed to us by faith apart from the Law, we now have the choice to live a life of holiness. No longer enslaved to our sin nature, we can rise above any self-destructive behavior that has caused us, and those around us, sorrow in the past. We’ve been given an eternal perspective, knowing that the best is yet to come. (2 Cor. 4:18) Free from the compulsive need to grab all we can, however we can, as long as we can, we can begin to live lives of peace and experience the joy of giving, in gratitude for all we’ve received.
Remember, our most important goal now is to prepare for the soon coming kingdom. (Phil 3:13-14) It’s time to start storing up our treasure there because that’s where we’re headed. (Matt. 6:19-21) Because we’ve been freed from bondage, all we need to do is decide to adopt an eternal perspective and start making the choices that accompany it. From then on every day brings us one day closer. To help us prepare, Paul will now take us through “Law School” as Romans 7 is sometimes called.
Q. Thanks for taking your time out of your day to answer my question.
I’ve been a fire fighter medic for the last 18 years. I helped more people than I can remember. I don’t write this to boast, I state it as a matter of fact.
My friend of 13 years took his life day before last. He was unique, a true free thinker. I’ve never met anyone who looked at things or quested for things in the way that he did. I’ve never been around philosophy, I took it in college but didn’t really get it. My friend Pat’s mind worked that way.
He was bigger than I am, stronger than I am, and he fought fire better than most. I considered him as my colleague, my friend. I knew his wife, his children.
I believe in God. I understand that God has reasons and I am but his servant. I do my best to do what I believe I am called to do. I am not afraid to die. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ready. I have a wife and my own kids, but I have made my peace that if it be God’s will to take me due to my job then I will not be afraid.
Pat didn’t die in a fire, he did not give his life for another. He took his. I spent part of yesterday looking to find if suicide is a sin. We are saved through our faith and not of our works. How can my friend be sent to Hell for eternity? I believe with all that I am that God is a loving God. God had to have seen that my friend was hurting and needed help. God does not punish those in need does he?
Where is my friend? God would not have given up on this man I just know it. I’m struggling with this, Can you help me know God’s plan with Pat?
Q. I have read a comparison between the doctrine of Islam and Christianity and it states that Mohammad and the Arabs are descendants of Ishmael, which Islam claims Jesus said by their interpretation of Matthew 21:42-44, would supersede the Israelite nation.
Q. Enjoy your site and have learned a lot.
I am confused about 1Cor 14: 22-25. It seems to say one thing then says the opposite. It says tongues are a sign to the unbeliever then it says he’ll say you’re mad. Then it says prophesying serves not for them that believe not, but them which believe. v24 says but if all prophesy and there comes in one that believes not,or one unlearned, he is convinced of all. Can you tell where I’m not getting it?
Q. I have a question about Genesis but first off I want to say thank you Jack for all of your help!
I am a college student and there is so much misinformation about Jesus and Christianity! I am taking a theology course on the Bible and the book that we read along with the Bible states that Moses did not write any books of the Torah and that in Genesis chapter 1 and 2 there is a conflict of how the order of things are created. The book says that in chapter 1 man and woman were created at the same time but that in Genesis chapter 2 man was created and then woman.
I was wondering if you could clarify this. This book also said that Isaac proclaiming Rebekah to be his sister is simply a copy cat story (that it never happened) of Abraham and Sarah can you help with this too? Thank you so much for your time and effort! God Bless!
Q. God bless you and your continuing work. I have a marriage question for you from a pastor’s perspective.
When and how does an illegitimate marriage move from being cursed to being blessed by God? For example, a believing wife divorces her believing husband without biblical grounds, and then shortly remarries an unbelieving husband. Now the woman is dealing with all manner of abuse issues including physical. This woman has recently been attending our church, with all these initial events in her past, and her remarriage is about a year old. She is a sincere but immature believer, dealing with the consequences of her sin the best she knows how, while living in pain and anguish.
I am unsure of the right pastoral counsel to give her concerning her marriage situation. She is hoping that her current husband will give his heart to Christ, but is that all that is needed? What is her responsibility to God and to her previous husband with regard to repentance? Is it simply a matter of her confessing and all will be made well? I understand that through confession she can receive individual forgiveness and purification, but does that mean that God will then move to heal her marriage as well, or will her marriage remain under a curse no matter what?
Q. I have a friend who lived with his girlfriend for several years, had a baby and then they broke up. They are not Christians, although He believes in God and has recently showed interest in the Lord.
His girlfriend, who he was engaged to for several months but did not marry, called the police and had him arrested with a restraining order saying he held her down and forced her to take drugs. She is now seeking to get custody of their baby and prove he is an unfit father. He is torn up as he loves his baby so much.
As a Christian I am struggling to know how to encourage him since he is my friend and he knows I am a Christian. He spent 6 days in jail and did some soul searching at that time. He is wanting to find some answers from me but isn’t really asking me the questions directly. I am finding it difficult because I don’t know the truth in his situation and I don’t feel the need to know but I am also struggling because in a way it seems much of it is reaping from a certain lifestyle. Any suggestions for how I can best encourage him without being condemning? I can’t find scriptures to give him for peace because those are generally directed to believers. I want to present him with hope…scripture please?!
Q. I was married to a non-believer who after many years of marriage chose to leave the marriage based on our differences. I wouldn’t allow certain behaviors in our home, drugs, drinking, and other illegal activities, for my safety and my child’s. He attributed my resistance to my faith (not to mention they were illegal) and told me I wasn’t any fun. He didn’t want to live with the rules and ethics that I needed and lived by, and even felt judged though I didn’t, because I asked him to keep these things out of our home. We went to counseling with a Christian counselor who met with us together and separately, who eventually told me our marriage was over because there was no desire on my husband’s part to be my husband and give up the things that were destroying our marriage, my love for him, my trust in him and my respect for him. We remained separated for 4 years before mutually filing for divorce and now today are on good terms and he respects my faith as mine, though he wants nothing to do with it.
I was told by the marriage counselor that my divorce was permitted by 1 Corinthians 7:15, and that if I remarry, it would not be adultery (Matt. 5: 30-31)
Can I have your opinion on this verdict? I have met a great man who I am interested in, but he would like further clarification as he too is a Christian and there was not infidelity in my marriage that led to the divorce.
Q. My question is on 1 Samuel 3:10, in the verse it states that the LORD came and stood and called Samuel as the other times. The Hebrew word for “came” is bow’ which could mean (to enter, come in)… and the word “stood” in Hebrew is yatsab which means (station oneself or present oneself). Then in verse 21 in chapter 3 it states that the LORD appeared again to Samuel. The word for appeared in Hebrew is ra’ah which could mean (to be visible).
So I guess my real question is, was this a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ, as in other times in the OT?
Q. It is a fact that the battle that brings Russia’s invasion of Israel to an end results in the destruction of “all men of war,” Ezekiel 39:20. This ought to make it obvious that the battle described in Ezekiel 38:21-22 and 39:1-6 is the very same battle commonly referred to as “Armageddon.” Compare Isaiah 34:1-6, 63:1-6, Revelation 14:19-20, 16:12-16, and 19:11-21. It is quite plain that “all men of war” are destroyed in this same battle in which the Lord destroys Russia and her allies, Ezekiel 39:20.
If this battle should then occur before the Tribulation, as some teach, or even right after the beginning of the Tribulation, as others teach, then who would fight during the Tribulation? Remember, “all men of war” are destroyed in this battle. I take this to mean that every human being who has “war” in their heart will be destroyed from among men. Who then would fight during the Tribulation if “all men of war” have already been wiped out when the Lord destroys Russia and her allies? Well…??? What do you think Jack? Is this right?
Q. I question your statement that “scholars have looked for centuries for a fresh water lake the Israelites could have crossed and of course none exists.” I believe that you are mistaken.
The “Red Sea” by which Moses led Israelites on their exodus from Egypt was not the body of water now called the Red Sea. The Hebrew word is Yam Suph [soof], meaning “Sea of Reeds.” It is now believed that the Sea of Reeds “was perhaps located at the Southern extension of the present Lake Mensaleh.” (The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, Volume 4, Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1962, page 21)
G. Ernest Wright (Biblical Archaeology, Abridged Edition, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960, page 38) writes, “They chose ‘the way of the wilderness by the Reed Sea’ (Ex.13.18) This, and not ‘Red Sea’, is the correct rendering of the Hebrew Yam Suph, and it is highly improbable that we should identify it with the northern arm of the Red Sea known today as the Gulf of Suez.”
I feel sure that in the light of this information you will amend your previous answer to the Reed or Red Sea question, so as not to mislead your readers. What matters is not the location of the miracle of God’s providence, but the fact of it occurring. That the scene was most likely – from the available evidence – to have been the lake and not the sea does not diminish God’s power, not his care for his people.