Index by Subject

Pressing Toward The Goal

Goal

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)

The apostle Paul was not shortsighted. His vision reached beyond this present world to that above where he stored his heavenly treasures. Yet, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption” (1 Corinthians 15:50). So, Paul wished to “attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:11). While all men will be raised in the end (cf. John 5:28-29), those who long for the “resurrection of life” must live in such a way to attain it. So, Paul pressed on.

The Christian should always view life through a spiritual lens. He should “not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). While this should already be our daily focus, the new year is a good time for introspection, and improvement. Spiritual goals and resolutions should outweigh the physical. In 2018, heaven should be our constant focus. We, like Paul, should “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Continue reading » Pressing Toward The Goal

Get Behind Me, Adversary

Some people think of Satan as a being straight from mythology while others describe him as an impersonal evil force in the universe, but the Bible clearly portrays him as both real and personal.

He is a creature of God that chose to exercise his free will toward wickedness and to exert a negative influence over humanity. Jesus Christ was sent to the world to bruise his head and destroy his power, so that, as disciples of Christ, we might find victory over the sin that so easily ensnares us and gain Heaven instead of Hell.

It is appropriate that we comprehend Satan to be our adversary and that we recognize we are at war with him because he is certainly waging war upon us. Like Jesus, we want to cry out, “Get behind me, Satan” and back up that exclamation with action.

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Another Ox Goes to the Slaughter

In the sixth and seventh chapters of the Old Testament Proverbs, the ancient writer of wisdom lays down some timeless warnings for his son concerning the danger presented by “the evil woman” (6:24). Along the way, however, he alerts us all to the perils of sexual temptation and immorality through evil women and men.

The hedonism of this world has infected Christianity to the point that new excuses are being created every day to allow for the tolerance of sexual immorality. Standards of attire, behavior and repentance are being cast aside by the soothing self-delusion that nothing evil will result. In these proverbs, though, we find unalterable truth and a reality that must force us to ask wisdom to be our sister and understanding our near kin. No matter your age, marital status or gender, sexual immorality is an issue that must be soberly considered.

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The Temptation of Jesus

Matthew 4:1-11

The three synoptic gospels (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; and Luke 4:1-13) record the temptation of Jesus following His baptism in the Jordan River. Mark records only that He was in the wilderness for forty days, and there tempted by Satan. Matthew and Luke record three specific temptations, and agree exactly in both the nature of the temptations and Jesus’ response to them. We will use Matthew’s account here.

The temptation of our Lord was a necessary part of his experience on earth. The Hebrews writer said that “in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God” (2:17). As such, in that He “has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (2:18).

Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness, and after fasting for forty days, “the tempter came to Him.” Both Matthew and Luke record the words of Jesus in response to those temptations of Satan.

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Editorial: The Mechanism of Sin and Temptation (James 1:12-18)

In the first chapter of the book of James, verses 12 – 18, James writes,Blessed {is} the man who endures temptation; for when he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.”

 

This text is one of my favorites in the entire book of James. And it is characteristic of the entire book. James takes a very difficult concept that was much misunderstood in his time, and is may I add very misunderstood today, and presents the truth concerning that concept with clarity and simplicity. I can’t imagine anyone misunderstanding what he has written in this passage, if they take the time to examine closely his reasoning. Continue reading » Editorial: The Mechanism of Sin and Temptation (James 1:12-18)