When Jesus Speaks Harshly

July 15, 2021 // 21 Comments

Since I preach grace, I am often hit with the accusation that I have not read the harsh words of Jesus. The argument seems to be that because Jesus spoke harshly to the Laodiceans, Sardians, etc., he’s not as gracious and loving as I make him out to be. Like the Hulk, Jesus has an angry side that grace [...]

Beware the Lord with a Sword

June 16, 2021 // 9 Comments

What will you do with the Lord with a sword? I am referring to the picture of Jesus found in his letter to the church in Pergamum. In it Jesus introduces himself as “The One who has the sharp two-edged sword” (Rev. 2:12). Why is Jesus holding a sword? And what does he plan to do with it? Should I be [...]

Who are the Nicolaitans among us?

September 5, 2019 // 27 Comments

The Nicolaitans are the boogeymen of the Bible. Since the scriptures say almost nothing about them – except that they were false teachers whose deeds Jesus hated (see Rev. 2) – they are a blank sheet onto which we can write just about anything. If there is a group in the church that disagrees with the [...]

The axe at the root (Matthew 3:10)

December 9, 2015 // 47 Comments

A ravenous wolf, such as Jesus described in Matthew 7, is someone who uses threats to extort money or service from others. If you were such a person, God forbid, you might to use the following verse to threaten the saints: The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good [...]

Strike her children dead (Revelation 2:23)

June 18, 2015 // 25 Comments

Five years ago I began Escape to Reality by looking at Jesus’ words to the churches of Revelation. My question then was: How do we reconcile Jesus’ harsh words with his heart of grace? And there are no harsher words than these: Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls [...]

Does God scourge us? 7 reasons to say “No!”

June 18, 2013 // 78 Comments

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 12:6 – Does God scourge his kids?

June 11, 2013 // 137 Comments

Everyone has a mental picture of God. Perhaps you think he is distant, aloof, angry, even terrifying. Possibly you envision him holding a whip in his hands… For those whom the Lord loves he disciplines, and he scourges every son whom he receives. (Heb 12:6, NASB) Yet your heavenly Father is not like this. How [...]

How Does God Deal With Me When I Sin?

March 15, 2013 // 129 Comments

Lately I have been thinking a lot about my sin. Don’t panic. I haven’t done anything stupid. It’s just that I rarely think about my sin as sin. Let me explain. I know I am far from perfect. I make mistakes. I confess that occasionally, I sin. And when I sin, God corrects me. So why am I telling people God [...]

Conviction vs correction

February 28, 2013 // 79 Comments

What I say: “God never convicts us of our sins.” What they hear: “God is oblivious to our sins. He never corrects us nor rebukes us.” What they think: Hebrews 12 says otherwise so Paul is in error. This issue of conviction of sins is fast becoming an unnecessary shibboleth among Christians. Sincere [...]