Labor to Enter His Rest (Hebrews 4:11)

Migrant-Mother-Dorothea-Lange

The other day a strange man approached a young girl and offered her candy if she would get in his car. Thankfully, the girl knew all about stranger danger and quickly walked to a shop where she was safe. I know you’ve heard this sort of story before but this was different for us because it happened on the street where we live and the girl was a classmate of one of my daughters. She was walking home when it happened so you can guess what every parent in our school is now thinking. That could’ve been my little girl! I mention this story because a few years ago this incident would’ve sent … [Read more...]

50 Scriptures Inclusionism Can’t Explain

girl-bible

“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” (Heb 2:1) Being careless with God’s word can cause people to drift away. This is why I am opposed to the doctrine of inclusion for it distorts and twists scripture and, as a result, some have drifted away. Inclusionism teaches that Jesus died not as one of us but as all of us and that humanity was included in his resurrection and ascension. Since “all are in Christ,” everyone is now reconciled, justified, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Spirit whether they believe it or not. … [Read more...]

Myth 12: The Hyper-Grace Gospel Makes People Lazy

Lazy-Homer

“Grace is a soft gospel for soft Christians,” say the critics. “Grace promotes passivity and laziness.” It does? I guess somebody forgot to tell Paul: By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. (1 Cor. 15:10) This is not a Grammy speech. This is Paul giving us the secret to his success. Paul was a tough-as-nails church planter. He wrote letters that would shape the world for 2,000 years. How’d he do it? “I didn’t make this happen,” said Paul. “God and I did it … [Read more...]

How Do We Read the Commands of the New Testament?

House Rules

How should we read the commands of the New Testament? A legalist will insist we read them as commands that must be obeyed. After all, didn’t Jesus say, “If you love me, you will obey my commands?” He did, but he wasn’t preaching law-based obedience. He was saying obedience is a fruit, not a root, of a healthy, loving relationship. Live by the law – any law – and you fall from grace. You set aside the cross and trample the Son of God underfoot. It makes no difference whether you keep the law to be saved, sanctified, or sanctimonious. Being faithful to the law is being unfaithful to Jesus. … [Read more...]

Grace Disco – Out Today!

Grace Disco_med

In a couple of months Escape to Reality will be five years old. Five years isn’t a long time, but my goodness, a lot of water has gone under that bridge. Truly grace is a fast-flowing river that will take you a long way in a short time. Here’s a comment I received from a kind reader: “I have learned more truth in less than one month following E2R than I have learned in 21 years of religion.” Does this mean I am the world’s greatest teacher? Nope. But Jesus is the Truth I have written about in every article here on E2R. Indeed, he is the Reality in E2R. (Incidentally, I have a theory that … [Read more...]

Keep Plowing or Die! (Luke 9:62)

cow_plow

Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62) Is Jesus calling you to a life of unswerving service? Is he saying, “You’re here to work and work hard”? Well if he is, then he’s contradicting what he says here: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matt 11:28) See the problem? In one verse Jesus exhorts us to “Plow” and in another he says “Rest.” Plowing is hard, back-breaking work. You can’t plow and rest at the same time, so which is it? “It’s both,” says the mixed-up … [Read more...]

Is it Wrong to Ask God for Forgiveness?

forgiveness

“Beware the grace Pharisees who jump on you if you dare to ask God for forgiveness. They will say you’re operating in unbelief and legalism.” This claim is sometimes made against those who preach grace. Because we say God has forgiven all your sins, apparently it’s wrong to ask him to forgive you. Apparently asking God to give what he has already provided is an insulting sin. But I don’t buy it. It’s true that God has forgiven you, but if asking helps you to receive, then by all means ask! There is nothing wrong in coming to the throne of grace in your hour of need to receive mercy … [Read more...]

Herod’s Death and the Wrath of God

Herod

The Old Testament writers record a brutal history of divine wrath that came to an abrupt end at the cross. Before the cross, wrath was poured out on… - a world hell-bent on violence and self-destruction (Gen 6:13) - Sodom and Gomorrah on account of their “grievous sin” (Gen 18:20) - the slave-owning nation of Egypt (Exodus 7-11) - a generation of sinful Israelites (Heb 3:17) - the Amorites because of the “full measure” of their sin (Gen 15:16) - Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu (Lev 10:2) - ten fearful spies (Num 14:37) - the rebel Korah and his men (Num 16:31) - the pagan enemies of … [Read more...]

Message to E2R Subscribers

Normally when you publish a book you seek endorsements from famous people. However, for my next book – a compilation of Escape to Reality’s Greatest Hits – I’m seeking endorsements from ordinary folk who have been blessed in extraordinary ways by my message of grace here on E2R. Is this you? Would you like to write a short endorsement for my forthcoming book? If so, please use the contact form below to send me: Your short endorsement (2-4 sentences) Your first and last name Your occupation and city Here are a couple of examples to show you the sort of thing we’re looking for, … [Read more...]

What Pleases the Lord?

boy scout

Scripture exhorts us to “find out what pleases the Lord” (Eph 5:10). Do you know what pleases the Lord? You do! You are his dearly-loved child and your heavenly Father is thrilled to bits with you. You need to know this otherwise you will spend your life trying to earn what you already have. You’ll fall prey to those who say, “You need to improve yourself to please the Lord.” Or “You need to clean yourself up before God will be pleased with you.” Such messages will distract you from God’s grace. They will draw your attention to your sin instead of his Son. They will cause you to fall from … [Read more...]

What is Godly Sorrow?

tears

“For godly sorrow worketh repentance…” (2 Cor 7:10). What is godly sorrow? Apparently it’s when the Holy Spirit makes you sorry for your sin. “God grieves over you, you sorry excuse for a Christian. You have become an enemy of God!” There are some who insist you must weep and wail when you repent. “You need to show some godly sorrow,” they insist. “Repentance must be marked by regret, tears, and grief-stricken anguish.” In other words, if you don’t weep, your repentance isn’t genuine. Spurgeon had a different view: A curious idea men have of what repentance is! Many fancy that so … [Read more...]

The Big House – Out Today

Big House

My first children’s story has just been published. It’s called The Big House and it comes out today. It’s a story about two siblings, Theo and Audrey, who discover that their new home is full of wonders. But one door leaves them in a strange and empty land from which they must embark on a desperate journey back—a journey that will not only reveal their deepest fears, but take them beyond their wildest dreams. In a word, The Big House is a story about a father – a father who is greater and more amazing than his children know. As I mentioned in a recent post, I wrote The Big House … [Read more...]