The wrath of God has come upon them at last (1 Thess 2:16)

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In our ongoing series on the wrath of God, there is an important scripture we have not yet looked at. It’s this one: For you, brothers, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last. … [Read more...]

What is the “Coming Wrath”?

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“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?” When John the Baptist said this to the Pharisees and Sadducees, what did he mean (see Luke 3:7-8)? What is the coming wrath? And is this something we should be concerned about? Some commentators say John was referring to the destruction of Jerusalem. The venerable Victorian Adam Clarke says the coming wrath refers to “the desolation which was about to fall on the Jewish nation for their wickedness.” But this doesn’t square with what Paul said to Gentile Christians: They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve … [Read more...]

The Bible is not a Rule-Book

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Imagine it’s your wedding day. You’ve had the ceremony, and you’re starting to relax when the minister hands you a gift, a thick book of Marriage Rules. “Read this,” he says. “The secret to a happy marriage is found within.” You open the book with interest. Inside you discover many rules and guidelines: “Be honest, be kind, always tell the truth, listen well, keep your promises, say ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ freely forgive, don’t covet your neighbor’s wife,” and that sort of thing. Initially you think, This is gold! I want a successful marriage, so I will do everything this book … [Read more...]

What about God’s Wrath?

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The other night my little girl was on the toilet when she started yelling. “There’s a spider!” Normally, I would encourage my kids to face their fears and deal with spiders on their own but I could hear panic in my daughter’s voice. Poor kid. Stuck on the porcelain throne she was in no position to deal with a terrifying spider. Time for Daddy to be a hero! I charged into the bathroom like a grizzly bear. “Where is this terrible creature that dares to frighten you, sweetie?” She pointed and I saw a tiny black spider on the floor. I pretended not to see it. Then I planted my foot on it as … [Read more...]

Grumble and Die? (James 5:9)

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If you went to Sunday School you probably know that the Israelites grumbled in the wilderness. And you may also know what God did to them when they grumbled. He slaughtered them (see Ps 106:25-26)! “So let this be a lesson to you, children,” says the historically-minded teacher. “You grumble, you die.” What a frightening thing to hear, especially if you are a child. Will God really kill us if we grumble? “Oh, no Paul. That’s so old covenant.” Okay. So how do we read this verse which is found in the New Testament? Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The … [Read more...]

Alternatives to Hell

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You may have been raised with a picture of judgment that says sinners go to hell where they are tormented for eternity. Unless you say the magic words of a formulaic prayer, you will burn forever along with all the babies and children who never got a chance to put their faith in Jesus. Unsurprisingly, this traditional picture of hell has come under attack from those who cannot conceive of a good God doing such awful things to his children. But what is the alternative? If the wicked aren’t roasted alive, what does happen to them? Let me suggest three alternatives: 1.    Dwarfs in the … [Read more...]

Does God Scourge Us? 7 Reasons to say “No!”

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Much of what we believe about discipline in the church is informed by the old covenant. For instance, if you think God’s discipline entails punishment in any shape or form, you’re living in the past. You haven’t seen the cross (Is 53:5). Think about it. If the cross was the once and final solution for sin Hebrews says it is, then you would not expect to find any scriptures in the new covenant linking sin with divine punishment. And indeed, there are none – except this one: For those whom the Lord loves he disciplines, and he scourges every son whom he receives. (Heb 12:6, NASB) As we saw … [Read more...]

Is the Christian Race a Marathon?

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In the Bible, Christianity is sometimes compared to a race. But what kind of race is it? Is the Christian race like the marathon, something to be endured rather than enjoyed? And is it true that only those who endure to the end qualify for the kingdom? You might think so to read verses like these… Heb 3:6 We are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast. Heb 3:14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first Jas 1:12  Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he … [Read more...]

Endure to the End and be Saved

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Is the Christian eternally secure or does he need to take steps to ensure he doesn’t fall away? This is the Big Question we have been asking in our series on eternal security. So far we have looked at scriptures that seem to connect our salvation with our perfect and sustained obedience. Soon I will look at those that seem to link salvation with our abiding or continuing. But today I want to starting looking at those scriptures that have to do with endurance. Here is the question: Can a Christian can lose their salvation if they fail to stand firm or endure to the end? There are 22 … [Read more...]

What About Hell? 10 Things To Know

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A few people have asked for my views on hell. I have never written on hell before. Like the weather on Uranus, hell is not a subject I think much about. I’m unlikely to come up to you at a party and say, “Hey, what about hell?” Hell is just not on my radar. But I appreciate that hell has become something of a “hot” topic lately, another shibboleth if you like. On one side are those who say, “Hell is hell and you’re just going to have to accept it.” On the other side are those who find it inconceivable that a good God could cook his kids in an eternal roasting pan. So what is hell? Is … [Read more...]

Standing Secure on God’s Promises

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Ever broken a promise, not kept your word, or been late for an engagement? Of course you have. Now you know why many Christians are worried sick that they may fail God. After all, isn’t the Bible full of exhortations to hold fast, continue, and endure to the end? It is – but not so that we might get something we don’t already possess in Christ. As you may know, I spent the summer studying some 300 scriptures pertaining to this issue of eternal security. I have to be honest and tell you my motives were mixed. The pure motive was that I simply enjoy studying scripture and I wanted to settle … [Read more...]

Once Shaved, Always Shaved?

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I have a beard so you may find this hard to believe, but I shave every day. Most men do. I understand many women also shave regularly. Perhaps you were shaved at one time, but that doesn’t mean you are shaved now. You have to work to stay shaved. You may profess a belief in shaving but faith without regular shaving works shaves no one. Shaving is a tricky business. You need to hold fast when you shave. You have to work out your shaving with fear and trembling because only he who stands firm to the end will be shaved. I’m grinning as I write this. Why? Because apparently being shaved and … [Read more...]