The Law Written on Our Hearts is not the Ten Commandments

Law in our hearts

“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time,” says the Lord. “I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” (Heb 10:16) “This is obviously a reference to the law of Moses,” says the law-preacher. “The Ten Commandments were written in stone, now they’re written in the hearts and minds of God’s people.” Not true. Here are seventeen reasons why God has not written the Ten Commandments on your heart: 1. The law inflames sin (Rom 5:20) and the strength of sin is the law (1 Cor 15:56). Why would God want to stir up sin in your life? 2. The law … [Read more...]

Two Good Books on Healing

Healing the sick

When you’re sick, the last thing you want to hear are pithy, powerless platitudes from people who are healthy. What you want to hear is good news from someone who has experience healing the sick. This is why I recommend two outstanding books on healing. Diving Healing Made Simple, by Praying Medic The first book is probably the most practical, down-to-earth book on healing you’ll ever read. There’s no hype, just good instruction from a paramedic who has met and healed many sick people. (An ambulance medic who wrote a book about divine healing. Brilliant!) Here’s a taste: God is the only … [Read more...]

What about Ananias and Sapphira?

Thenardier

Recently in Connecticut, a pastor stood in front of his church and confessed to the sin of adultery. Then the pastor fell down dead, right in front of everyone. This proves that God expects his people to live holy lives and if they don’t, he’ll kill them. Of course, that’s complete nonsense. The story is true - a Connecticut pastor really did die - but the interpretation is all wrong. The fact is, God doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve. But what are we to make of Ananias and Sapphira who, like the poor pastor, dropped dead in a church (Acts 5:1-11)? The bizarre deaths of Ananias and … [Read more...]

The Number One Verse on the Old Covenant

It_is_finished

Some time ago I published a list of the top 12 verses on the new covenant. It seems only fair that I also give some air-time to the number one verse on the old covenant. Here it is: “It is finished” (Joh 19:30). What is finished? That old rule-keeping order that demanded perfection from you without lifting a finger to help. The writing was on the wall but now it’s on the cross (Col 2:14). Your sins have been forgiven and the books have been closed. The old has gone and the new has come. Sounds like good news to me! Happy Easter! … [Read more...]

The 9 Lies of Religion

Truth v lie

“I came into the world to testify to the truth,” said Jesus. “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37). These are strong words. If Jesus put them on his Facebook page he’d get roasted. “Jesus, how dare you claim to have the inside track on truth? Why must we take sides? How ungracious. How divisive. What gives you the right? Who do you think you are?” Jesus testified to the truth because only the truth can set you free. Religion, on the other hand, keeps you bound with half-truths, bent-truths, and damnable lies. By religion I mean the universal quest for … [Read more...]

Continue in the Grace of God

cycling uphill

In the New Testament we are exhorted to continue in God’s kindness (Romans 11:22), continue in the faith (Colossians 1:23), continue in the teaching of Christ (2 John 1:9), and continue in what we have learned and been convinced of (2 Tim 3:14). In short, we are to continue in the grace of God: When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God. (Act 13:43) In the mind of the secure believer, these are healthy exhortations that lead us in the path of life. But … [Read more...]

The Parable of the Shrewd Manager (Luke 16:1–8)

Unjust Steward

The strangest parable Jesus ever told was about a man who cheats on his boss and is then praised for doing so (see Luke 16:1–8). The parable of the shrewd manager (or the unjust steward) is puzzling. What is Jesus trying to tell us? That it’s okay to cook the books, diddle the figures, and engage in white-collar crime? No, Jesus isn’t encouraging dishonesty. He’s telling us how to plan for the future: And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. (Luke 16:9, NKJV) The punchline of the parable is “make … [Read more...]

Consider the Severity of God (Romans 11:22)

two-faced

Whenever I tell people about God’s goodness, I can just about guarantee that someone will call for balance and say I should also preach on God’s severity. Then they will quote this verse: Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. (Rom 11:22, NKJV) “You see, God is kind, but he’s also severe, so watch yourself! God has given you a chance to repent, but now you have to prove you were worth it by getting your act together, otherwise it’s the chop for … [Read more...]

Myth 8: Hyper-Grace Preachers Disregard the Words of Jesus

follow_me

“Hyper-grace preachers say the words of Jesus are not for us. They have no authority and are irrelevant to the modern church.” One of the strangest claims made against hyper-grace preachers is that we are dismissive of the pre-cross teachings of Jesus. In point of fact, hyper-grace preachers are the only ones taking Jesus seriously. When Jesus is preaching law, we say that’s authentic law, not to be taken lightly. And when Jesus is revealing grace, we bow in awestruck gratitude. We would not dare re-interpret his words with qualifiers and caveats. In contrast, those who preach a … [Read more...]

Conditional Acceptance? (2 Corinthians 6:17-18)

grubby kid

“God loves you just as you are and not as you should be.” That’s the gospel of grace in one sentence! Manmade religion says you have to clean yourself up before you approach the Lord, but grace shouts, “Come as you are!” So how do we explain this passage which seems to say something different: Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. (2 Cor 6:17-18) This sounds like conditional acceptance, as though we have to purify ourselves before … [Read more...]

“A.D. 30” by Ted Dekker

AD30

A few years ago someone recommended I read a novel by Ted Dekker. I forget which one it was but I couldn’t finish it. Then a month ago someone suggested I read his latest book, AD 30, and I couldn’t put it down. It’s a masterpiece! AD 30 is exactly the sort of book I wish I was good enough to write. It’s an historical novel that follows the trials and travels of an outcast woman as she seeks to save the very people who have rejected her. It’s a gutsy book because one of the characters in it is Jesus, or Yeshua in this story, and anytime you write fiction about the Lord you run a risk of … [Read more...]

Judged by the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:31-32)

fatal_communion

Are you good enough to take communion? To me, this is an absurd question. It is exactly like asking whether you are good enough to hear the gospel. But to many it is not an absurd question. It is a serious question because a wrong answer could make you sick and kill you! From whence comes this ridiculous notion? It comes from misunderstanding Paul’s instructions about communion (see 1 Cor. 11). If you’ve ever done communion in church, you may have heard that you need to examine yourself for sin and that if you don’t you could get sick and die. This is utter nonsense, as I explain … [Read more...]