O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting? – 1 Corinthians 15:55 These are powerful words from the Apostle, Paul, who argued that the power of death had been broken. Death, in antiquity, was not very well understood. In the time of the Patriarchs, there was no concept of an afterlife. Any form of immortality or everlasting life was as a long life, which is one reason why so many of the early figures of the Bible were said to have such extraordinary long lives, or with progeny. This is why the “sacrifice of Isaac” was such a powerful test for Abraham (Genesis 22) and he was seen as the “Father of Faith”. Isaac was his only link offspring with Sarah and was Abraham’s only way to achieve eternal life. Later, the concept of “sheol”, loosely translated as “pit” or “grave” emerged. This was a placed where souls went after the bodies died off. It was a place with no activity or worship. It was notContinue reading »

In Genesis 1:26-27 we read how man was created in the image and likeness of God. Many theologians call this beginning of humankind the “order of creation”, wherein man was in perfect harmony with God. Sin, and consequently death, corrupted the order and the harmony was compromised. Because man sinned, the image and likeness of God had changed. We were no longer the pristine representations of God. The image of God, which we were given, was broken and the likeness was shattered. We live with this broken image and shattered likeness today. The New Testament gives us hope; that Jesus redeems us. The Greek term for “redeem”, lytron, literally means “ransom”. He is giving us back our worth by paying our debt and freeing us from the grip of sin. Are we worth saving? Have we lost all of our original connection with God? Perhaps, all is not lost and we still retain some of the original order. Jesus offers us hope in his teaching that “no one comes toContinue reading »

Many people, men in particular, are always seeking to increase their stature, finances, careers; in a word, Power. Yet, they limit themselves to our physical world for avenues of increased power. It is easy to forget the simple, yet enduring, message of the Gospel. In Mark 6:1-6, we see Jesus returning to His home town, Nazareth. They listened to Him teach, but did not see the Son of God or the Messiah. They only saw the little boy who grew up in their midst and, therefore, did not give His words any authority. Mark is explicit in saying that, other than a few trifling healings, Jesus could not work any miracles because of their lack of faith. Matthew softens this a bit by saying that Jesus would not perform miracles (Matthew 13:56-58). Miracles are glimpses of the Kingdom and Power of God. This short story does not suggest that the power of Christ is dependent on our acceptance or approval. It is saying that through OUR FAITH we can access the infinite powerContinue reading »

Abortion has become a timely issue; it is in the forefront of politics and religious debates. Many people, from both sides of the debate try to derive some Biblical position on the subject of abortion. There is little in the Bible which speaks directly to the subject. Although, there is a writing, called the Didache (meaning “teaching”), that is dated to the Apostolic Church, c. 70 AD, that condemns abortion and infanticide. Many scholars agree that there is little on the subject for several reasons; infant mortality was high and terminating pregnancies was not a practical matter, children were a sign of blessing from God, such practices were viewed as abominable by the Biblical peoples, and it was seen as going against the commandment of “do not kill”. This does not mean that the bible should be factored out of the discussion. Genesis 2:7 gives us a teaching that strongly condemns abortion. The steps to becoming a living person are clearly described. It is significant to note that the BibleContinue reading »

A Christian man, who was running an orphanage in Korea, was arrested and sentenced to death on charges of rebellion against the government. He was to be shot. However, when the communist leader heard about the orphanage he had second thoughts. Killing the man would mean many Korean children would be abandoned again, and so he decided to kill the 19-year-old son of the Christian instead. That should teach him a lesson. So it happened that the son was shot in front of the weeping father. Many years later, the fortunes of war had changed and the man who had ordered the killing had now been arrested himself and was charged with war crimes. What was going to be his penalty? He was to be shot. When the Christian heard about it he pleaded for the life of the man, saying: “Killing him will not solve anything. Give this man to me so I may teach him and he can help me in the work of caring for abandoned children.”Continue reading »

How could marriage ever be a sin? Isn’t marriage God’s will for our lives? Look at all the happily married couples in our church. How could God ever frown upon such a beautiful sight? If it weren’t for marriage you wouldn’t be around young man. These are thought you may have right now as you read the title of this article or perhaps you have some different thoughts. Regardless where you find yourself in life, be it married or single, everyone seems to have strong feelings regarding this topic. I should mention from the start that I have nothing against marriage, but with a divorce rate near fifty percent both inside and outside the church, I have to wonder if marriage is the best option for everyone. This seems like an odd thing to say in a society where junior high girls look at bridal magazines in the hopes of eventually finding someone to be happy with for the remainder of their lives. Yet it is this attitude that has causedContinue reading »