Friday, March 16, 2012



Why do bad things happen to good people? Why so much evil in the world? Why are there so many different religions in the world and what is the meaning of life? Why do shoelaces always seem to break when you're in a hurry?

The world as we know it is broken. It didn't start out this way. In the beginning, all was well. In fact, it was better than well. It was (as God puts it) "very good"
(Genesis 1:31). Creation was perfect. Mankind was perfect. No pain, no evil, no unexplained bad things happening. No broken shoelaces. There was God and there was His creation and there was man, in a perfect relationship with His Creator.

And then it broke. Man was tempted; mankind fell. Death entered the scene and the corruption of the human race began a downward spiral that continues to this day. Everything we could ever desire for was there for us with only one stipulation; Avoid the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil. From our perspective, it would seem to be a no brainer. Eat from the Tree of Life and live forever or, eat from the other tree and die. One would think Adam would have simply built a large box around the bad tree just to make sure they didn't even go near it. The point is, God gave them one simple instruction and they disobeyed it. For that, all of mankind has paid the price
(Romans 5:12).

Bad things happen because of sin. We sin because we're sinners. It's in our nature. It's what we crave (even more than White Castle burgers). This explains why evil people do evil things. Why horrible things happen. Why peace never lasts. Why we get old & die (often too young). Why marriages fail, children disobey, disease destroys us, hurtful things are said, things don't go our way and shoelaces break.

THE SOLUTION:Before we can understand the solution, we first need to see the big picture. God is absolutely perfect 
(Habakkuk 1:13). Nothing in Him or about Him has a single flaw. In fact, He is so Holy and so perfect that if we were to even catch a glimpse of Him, we would be utterly consumed by His magnificence. God created all things, controls all things and knows all things. Nothing surprises Him. He is Sovereign.

Man on the other hand, is not so perfect. The Bible describes the problem of man in many places...

"The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."  ~ Genesis 6:5

"Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil." ~ Jeremiah 13:23

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?~ Jeremiah 17:9

"None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God."~ Romans 3:10-11

"We were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind."
~ Ephesians 2:3

So, the root of our problems is our heart. Every evil thing we do or desire is born in the desires of our heart.

In order to show mankind the way back to God, He had to first teach us who we are and that we can't be good enough to earn our way back. ENTER THE LAW. The 10 Commandments. The "Thou Shalt's". Every one of us has broken them either in our actions or in our thoughts. Jesus further expanded them by pointing out that even thinking lustful thoughts is the same as committing adultery. The Old Testament set the stage for the solution to mankind's' sin problem by using the Law to reveal how sinful and without hope we really are when it comes to pleasing God.

"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned- every one- to his own way."~ Isaiah 53:6

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." ~ Romans 3:23

The Bible is God's story. His plan of reconciling man to Himself. In it, we see His plan, purpose and Glory revealed. We see His patience and long-suffering displayed over thousands of years. Then, in the New Testament, we see Him doing something that is beyond human understanding; The Creator enters the world as one of His creations. The God of the universe becomes a mere man in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ came for one reason only:

"The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." ~ 1 Timothy 1:15.

He came to save that which was lost. To save man from His sins. Essentially, God came to save us from Himself. Jesus didn't come simply to perform miracles or teach us to be good, moral people. He didn't come to feed the poor or balance social injustice (at least not in the physical sense). He came because there was only one way to restore mankind to God and that was to take our place & become the perfect sacrifice. To pay the price that only He could pay.


We have strived for thousands of years to try and make our own way back to God. We've tried to earn our way through works and blasphemous religions. We've tried twisting & distorting the truth to justify our rebellious ways. We've embraced all sorts of man-centered, post-modern, pop-psycho-babble. Every single religion apart from Chrisitianity has at it's core a works-based system to try and appease God.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ goes completely against these other religions; It goes completely against what 'feels' right to mankind. Religion isn't the answer. Being good doesn't cut it. Obtaining great knowledge is futile. There is only one way and that is through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). God isn't expecting us to keep a bunch of rules & traditions; He is only asking that we turn from our ways (repent) and turn to what He has done for us on The Cross. Christianity is about undeserved grace.

While this seems somewhat too easy, it's actually the hardest thing for a human being to do... die to self; submit and put all of our trust fully in Christ. Why so hard? Because our human (sinful) nature is self-centered and we love our sin. Because we think quite highly of ourselves and we seek to gain recognition for our own goodness. It's not in our nature to lie down and submit but, that's the call of the Gospel...
Let go, Let God.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

NO GREATER LOVE- What John 3:16 looks like

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."
~ John 3: 16
"For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." ~ Romans 5: 6-10

Who exactly did Christ die for on the Cross? Before you answer that question, you must first consider what actually took place on the Cross. Did Christ's death actually atone for the sins of every single person or did it simply make salvation possible for all men? If infact the wrath of God was poured out on His Son for all people, then why is there a hell? If the Cross only represents a potential redemption, then in order to receive the free gift of salvation, one must 'do' something to earn it. Since we know that salvation is not the result of our good works, then we are left with only one thing: Christ's death on the Cross actually accomplished something; He actually paid for the sins of people.
Those who will be saved.

"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." ~ John 15: 13

"...even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep." ~ John 10: 15 

"This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
~ Matthew 26: 28

While the sacrifice Christ made was in some sense intended for all men (the whole world),
His blood was not shed in vain; Not a drop was wasted. All whom the Father has given the Son will be saved.

"All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out." ~ John 6: 37

"...and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified."~ Romans 8: 30

Those references in scripture to "all" or "the whole world" with regard to God's love demonstrated through Christ's death on the Cross are best understood to mean 'many' and not specifically that every single person ever born will be saved. The "whole world" refers to the children of God scattered throughout the whole world. From every people group throughout time will be those who are saved.
All of mankind, even those who reject Christ as Lord & Savior, have benefited from the effects of the Cross in some ways. Through God's immeasuable mercy, He has temporarily withheld His wrath and the instant consequence of sin; death. Both the saved and the unsaved enjoy the goodness of God's mercy. From the air we breath to the simple pleasures in life, all of it comes from a loving God who desires that none perish. Salvation is available to all & there is nothing we can do to earn it.

Believe. Repent. Trust.

One Way:  Jesus Christ.


For a more detailed explanation of Atonement and what took place on the Cross, check out John Piper's article,

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bold Christianity: "The Jesus You Can't Ignore"

"The way Jesus dealt with His adversaries is in fact a serious rebuke to the church of our generation. We need to pay more careful attention to how Jesus dealt with false teachers, what He thought of religious error, how He defended the truth, whom He commended and whom He condemned—and how little He actually fit the gentle stereotype that is so often imposed on Him today.

Furthermore, His attitude toward false doctrine should also be ours. We cannot be men-pleasers and servants of Christ at the same time."
~ John MacArthur ("The Jesus You Can't Ignore")

In the ever-growing sea of "How To" books out there targeted towards the Christian (or spiritually minded "seeker"), there are a few that actually focus on the true biblical model for the Christian life rather than what Jesus can do for you. I've been reading a lot of John MacArthur books lately and I must say they are a refreshing break from the feel-good, best-life-now, purpose-driven books that are tickling the ears of so many Christians these days. His topics are controversial but his approach is purely biblical. Everyone of his books have caused me to go deeper into the word and evaluate where I am in my own spiritual walk.

Don't get me wrong; there's nothing wrong with a book that encourages you or motivates you to get more out of life. The problem is, how much of what we read actually aligns with what the bible teaches? Sure, we can find a verse to support just about every man-made method for improving your life but, we need to be asking ourselves, "is this the heart of God's message to us or is this just another self-help book sprinkled with verses taken out of context to fit the author's agenda?"

What I'm drawn to in MacArthur's books is the way he conveys a point from the biblical context and not just from his own life experiences. The focus is not on him nor is it about taking scripture and twisting it into something in order to build self-esteem. In fact, the focus is not on ME at all but rather, the basic principles of the Christian faith. Things like the Gospel, the Cross, discipleship, true repentance and salvation. Reading his books won't necessarily cause you to feel good about yourself but they will convict you and awaken you to the truth of God's word. Anything that sends you back to the bible and inspires you to further examine your heart & motives is a very good thing.

In his book, "The Jesus You Can't Ignore", MacArthur explores more on a common theme in several of his books; truth. Not just any truth but the truth according to Jesus Christ. In this day and age of post-modernism, moral relativism, tolerance and a growing emphasis on re-thinking God and the bible, we can be easily distracted from the core biblical principles like truth and recognizing false teaching. This is not a topic that is very popular in many churches today but one that Jesus and the Disciples spent a good deal of time teaching on. If we are supposed to be followers of Christ, doesn't it make sense that we should be passionate about the truth He taught? We should know how to defend this truth and recognize when it is being distorted, diluted or twisted.

Over at his blog, "Possessing the Treasure", Mike Ratliff has an excellent review of not only this book by John MacArthur but, why this topic is so important to everyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ. I think you'll find this to be one of those topics that will reengage you in your walk to be a bold servant of Jesus Christ.

((read Mike's review here))