The Sinless Life (1 John 3:6)


When the Holy Spirit came into your life the change in you was like night and day. It’s like you were given a heart transplant. Your old heart, which was captive to desires of the flesh and enslaved to sin, was replaced with a new heart with new desires and appetites. Your new heart beats with new passions and they are the passions of the Holy Spirit. This is why John can say outlandish things like this: No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. (1 John 3:6) Before I understood what was new about me, I used to look at verses like … [Read more...]

Did God Kill the Jews in AD70?


For 2,000 years prominent Christian theologians such as John Chrysostom, John Calvin, Matthew Henry, John Gill, Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes, and others have taught that the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70 was God’s doing. One unfortunate fruit of this bad teaching has been a long history of Jewish massacres initiated by people who believed they were doing the Lord’s work, or at least following in his vengeful footsteps. It’s bad fruit from a bad root. But why do so many believe that God was involved in the slaughter of the Jerusalem Jews? Because of this guy: The long shadow of … [Read more...]

How Do I Know I’m Saved?


“Are you saved? Are you sure?” These questions are sometimes used to scare people into signing up for works-based insurance, which is bad. But the questions themselves are legitimate. In scripture we are exhorted to examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith (2 Cor 13:5). As I have explained elsewhere, this does not mean we should search ourselves for sin to see if we are still saved. “For don’t you know that Christ is in you?” But how do you know that Christ is in you? What is the proof of the pudding? Is it spiritual fruit, moral behavior or what? Is it even possible to … [Read more...]

Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs


Have you heard the one about how God is recording everything you say and do, and on Judgment Day he’ll show all your dark, dirty secrets on a big TV screen? It’s a frightening thought—but it’s a fiction. God is not like that. God is love, and love keeps no record of wrongs. Not a diary, not a videotape, nothing. If he’s making a movie of your life, it’s a highlight reel, not a horror flick. God keeps no videotapes, but we may have quite the collection. They play in the dark cinema of our minds rehashing our regrets, broadcasting our bitter memories, and showing our secret shame. The … [Read more...]

The “Patience” of Job

XIR84999 Job (oil on canvas) by Bonnat, Leon Joseph Florentin (1833-1922)
oil on canvas
Musee Bonnat, Bayonne, France
Lauros / Giraudon
French, out of copyright

The Bible is full of humor and wisdom and if you don’t believe me, read this: As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. (James 5:11) This verse makes me laugh and shout for joy. When you’re done reading this post, you’ll laugh and shout too. Guaranteed, or your money back. The bit that makes me laugh There is a long tradition of preaching on the patience of Job. You know how the story goes. Job suffered great loss but endured it patiently, a pious … [Read more...]

Who are the Hypergrace Preachers?


Hypergrace, according to some, is a dangerous and unbiblical teaching that is leading people down a licentious path to hell. Apparently the “rock-star preachers” promoting this hypergrace heresy will be “held accountable for the spiritual death of millions.” By proclaiming God’s unconditional love and forgiveness, hypergrace preachers have taken grace too far, say the critics. They have made grace radical, over-the-top, and unbalanced. As someone who has been labelled a hypergrace preacher, how do I respond to this claim? Guilty as charged, amigo! Grace is the one thing that separates … [Read more...]

Is Hypergrace Biblical?


Hypergrace, according to a mainstream Christian news magazine, is a dangerous and unbiblical teaching. By proclaiming the unconditional love of God and forgiveness for all, hypergrace preachers have taken grace too far. We have made grace unbalanced and radical. Hypergrace, apparently, is unbiblical. It’s a modern invention based on a few scriptures taken out of context, and it does not reflect the whole counsel of God. This claim - that hyper or extreme grace is unbiblical - is easy to test. All you need is a Bible. Six pictures of God’s grace In him we have redemption through his … [Read more...]

The Lifter of Your Head


In Jesus’ day, only certain people were allowed to participate in temple life. Those with diseases such as leprosy had to stay away. They weren’t welcome. They were considered infectious and untouchable. But Jesus was not afraid to touch the untouchables. He went to where they were and “infected” them with his love and healing power. When we cultivate the attitude that church is a place for perfect people with perfect hair and perfect smiles, we inevitably marginalize those who are going through hard times. “You’ve got to be walking in victory every day.” But what if you’re not? What if … [Read more...]

Does James 5:15 Preach Conditional Forgiveness?

James 5v15

Those who put price tags on grace sometimes point to this verse: The prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. (James 5:15) “See - you have to confess and pray to be forgiven,” they say. “If you don’t do these things, God won’t forgive you.” Never mind that grace and works don’t mix (Rom 11:6). Never mind that God is not counting our sins against us (2 Cor 5:19). Never mind that every blessing is ours in Christ (Eph 1:3). Apparently you have to perform to be blessed. Don’t be fooled. Fall for this and you … [Read more...]

‘Stuff Jesus Never Said’ – out today!


My new book, Stuff Jesus Never Said, comes out today. I know what you’re thinking: Why did I write a book about things Jesus didn’t say? The words of Jesus may be the most important words ever uttered, yet his words have been mangled in the machinery of manmade religion. For 2000 years Jesus has been misquoted so often that many of us are more familiar with the words he never said than the words he did. “You have the words of life,” said the disciples, but for many Jesus’ mangled words have become instruments of death. Words that used to comfort and heal, are now used to inflict pain and … [Read more...]

The Gospel of Wow!


I’m going to let you in on a secret: I don’t particularly like listening to sermons. Or lectures. I know, this is a strange confession coming from someone who used to preach and teach six days a week. I have nothing against lectures or sermons – and the good ones can change the world – it’s just that I am not a particularly good listener. Tell me and I zone out. But show me and I get it straight away. It’s just the way I’m wired. I’m a visual learner – aren’t we all? – so for years I have wanted to create a book that uses pictures to convey the beauty and simplicity of the gospel. That … [Read more...]

Isaiah 45:7 – Does the Lord Create Evil?


Whenever I tell people that God is good and he is not the One making them sick nor is he responsible for the bad things going on in the world, I can guarantee that I will get two cynical responses. (1) “Tell that to Job,” and (2) “That’s not what is says in Isaiah 45.” As I have looked at the foolish words of Job elsewhere, today I want to look at the words of Isaiah: I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7) This is a stunning verse – as we shall see – but it has been used for terrible purposes. “Have you got … [Read more...]