The word of the week this week is gentile... that means soft and kind, right? Nope - that’s gentle! This weeks’ word is gentile, which refers to a group of people. Are you a gentile? Maybe - keep reading to find out!
The word gentile itself is from the Latin gentilis, which means a member of a people. The short and sweet definition for gentile is anyone who is not a Jew as their racial origin. In the Old Testament Hebrew, the word used for this was goyim (pronounced goy-EEM). Goyim means “the nations,” meaning all of the other nations except the Jewish nation. So are you a gentile? Unless your ethnicity is Jewish, then the answer is yes.
Why is the distinction between Jew and gentile important? In the Old Testament, the Jews were God’s chosen people. They were really the only monotheistic people - they were the only ones who worshipped only one God. The gentiles back then mostly polytheistic and worshipped multiple gods. Jews followed God’s laws given to them through Moses and the books of the law, whereas gentiles followed their own rules that may or may not line up with God’s law.
Early in the first century A.D., there was still a distinction between Jews and gentiles. The Roman political government, made up of gentiles, ruled over the Jews, although the Jews did have their own religious leaders in authority. Jesus was born a Jew, and His 12 disciples were Jews as well.
But, after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, the distinction between Jew and gentile got blurry. Jesus died for everyone - both Jews and gentiles! In Acts 11:1-18, Peter (a Jew) explains this to the rest of the Jewish believers. They were shocked that those filthy gentiles were saved, too! But in the end, they agreed that salvation is for everyone, regardless of race. This fulfilled the prophecy given in Isaiah 49:6, which says, “I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
This unification of Jews and gentiles is explained further in 1 Corinthians 12:13, where it says, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” Similarly, Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” This same idea is expressed in many other passages, including Ephesians 3:6 and Colossians 3:11.
So, are you a Jew or a gentile? Does it matter? Not to Jesus.
Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, July 26, 2012 2 comments
Jesus Christ knows your pain & suffering.
I’m sure I heard this week’s word at some point when I was a young child and the story of the crucifixion was being read in church. But if that is the case, I certainly don’t remember much about it. The earliest time I can remember hearing and actually thinking about “Golgotha” was when I was a teenager at the regional church camp. The entire assembly, close to 200 staff and campers, were gathered around the evening campfire tucked away in the middle of the woods. Except for the light from the huge campfire in the middle, the moon, the stars, and a few small torches around the perimeter of the seating area, we were in the midst of darkness. I was narrating a crucifixion skit and was reading the account of the soldiers bringing Jesus to Golgotha while others acted out what was being read. This was long before I studied or learned anything theologically or historically about the place, and I distinctly remember saying to myself afterward, “Golgotha…Now that just sounds bad!”
Have you ever thought about that? There’s a reason why prisons, both fictional and non-fictional, have names like “Alcatraz”, “Shawshank”, “Leavenworth”, and “Folsom”. Do any of those places sound pleasant? You don’t ever hear of anyone getting sentenced to serve time at Rose Garden, Sandy Beach, or Sunflower. It’s not that we can fully grasp the horror of Jesus’ crucifixion anyway, but doesn’t “Golgotha” at least give you a more accurate feeling about the situation than if it were called Palm Springs? The Bible is the best-selling book of all time, and one of the reasons is that it crosses over into so many different genres of literature. It is historical, scientific, humorous at times, romantic, and dramatic, just to name a few. It is no accident that the place where Jesus died has such an unpleasant name and that the gospel writers chose to mention it at the exact points of their accounts that they did.
From everything I’ve read, it appears that Golgotha was the regular place for criminals to be executed and humiliated just outside of the city walls of Jerusalem. Even though our Savior’s execution is the most important event in all of history for us, it still occurred within a specific system, on a specific date, at a specific time, in a specific location. God took what probably appeared to many walking by as an ordinary execution to which they were accustomed and turned it into something extraordinary.
The entire story of the crucifixion has parts that were typical and parts that were atypical. I encourage you to read it, but I’d like to point out two very loaded examples in the verses immediately before and after the mentioning of Golgotha in Matthew 27:33. In v. 32, we see that the soldiers forced “a man from Cyrene, named Simon” to carry Jesus’ cross. Cyrene was in North Africa and was 800 miles away from Jerusalem. While it was ordinary that the soldiers would pick any random stranger to help the criminal carry his cross up the hill, it was extraordinary that, in this case, it happened to be a man who was probably a devout Jew who had traveled 800 miles to celebrate Passover and wanted nothing to do with this man who was being humiliated, yet is believed to have become an early Christian disciple after this experience (New Bible Commentary).
In v. 34, after we read that they came to Golgotha, we see that the soldiers “offered Jesus wine mixed with gall”. Matthew’s gospel says that Jesus then refused to drink it “after tasting it” (meaning he probably spit out whatever he had tasted), whereas Mark’s gospel says that Jesus simply refused it. Either way, it is clear that Jesus did not take this substance into his system. On the surface, that seems irrelevant because the “wine mixed with gall” seems like just another sadistic act attempted to make Jesus suffer even more. But actually, quite the opposite is true. The offer of “wine mixed with gall” was a typical part of crucifixions because the combination formed a sort of pain-numbing narcotic (NBC), similar to morphine or other opiates that we have today. So, Jesus’ refusal to take the “wine mixed with gall” was not a rejection of further suffering, it was a rejection of taking the easy way out! The offer to Jesus was ordinary, but his decision to willingly endure all of the suffering possible was extraordinary.
Can you think of any more difficult temptation to resist in the history of the world? You’re in the midst of the most excruciating pain and agony that anyone has ever faced or will ever face and you are given an opportunity to numb some of it, but you know that to do so would be disobedient to God. Jesus gave up his breath not long after that, so this was literally one of the very last temptations he faced. Friends, you can believe with assurance that the Scripture is true, that Jesus was indeed our high priest “who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15b). If Jesus would have taken the substance at Golgotha, it would have changed everything. He wouldn’t literally be able to say that he has been tempted in every way and did not sin, and thus there would be someone out there reading this that might be able to truthfully say that “Jesus doesn’t understand what I’m going through”. As it is, no one can truthfully say that. Take solace in the fact that no matter what you are suffering, Jesus understands at an experiential level. Surrender all to him, and trust him to guide you through it!
Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, July 25, 2012 7 comments
Old Earth Creationism is not Biblical. I said it and I am not taking it back. Sure there have been great theologians that have believed in an old earth and even some ancient Jewish rabbis. But is that justification for saying that the Bible teaches that the earth is billions of years old?
Pushing aside ancient claims, where does OEC find its justification in a modern context? If we are honest with ourselves, we know that it is not from the Bible; it is from so-called science. Today we justify the belief in an old earth from our belief that the Geologic Column represents billions of years of planetary evolution. For those who are unfamiliar with the geologic column, you might recall your elementary school days when you were taught about dinosaurs. “How did dinosaurs become fossilized? They were covered by dirt and preserved for millions of years while more and more layers of dirt gathered on top of them. So much time has passed since then, that the layers of dirt have become stratified throughout the earth.” You remember that? Its taught as fact in school, but it is really just a statement of faith. Unfortunately, the geologic column is taught as a proponent of evolution. In essence, by accepting the modern interpretation of the geologic column, a person might become susceptible to atheism because it removes God’s hand from creation.
Another piece of evidence commonly used to prove an old earth is radio carbon dating. When radio carbon dating is looked at critically, however, it is clearly seen that it is a terribly inconsistent method to date rocks and other objects. That is not to say that it is always wrong, but one would have to believe that NOTHING in the earth’s atmosphere has ever changed in order for it to be reliable. Not even evolutionists believe that. On the other hand, Young Earth Creationists recognize the discrepancies in the geologic column and in radio carbon dating. YEC’s see the geologic column as a result of the aftermath of the global flood that happened in Noah’s day. In fact, when you consider the evidence, it is actually more consistent with the worldwide flood than with the Theory of Evolution.
Yet, most OEC’s do not believe in evolution despite their acceptance of the geologic column and carbon dating. Why? They claim it is because of faith. But this sort of faith disregards evidence instead of dealing with it. Do we believe the testimony of Jesus despite the evidence of his claims or because of the evidence he provided? If he provided no evidence, would you still believe? This might seem like a rather harsh challenge, but I am going to leave you with a Scripture that proves that Christians should not ignore evidence, nor should they disregard the scientific method:
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you…”
-1 John 1:1-5
How carefully do you read your Bible? If the answer is not so much, then you may have missed this week’s word, since it only occurs 3 times in our English Bible. The word is Golgotha, and it occurs in Matthew 27:33, Mark 15:22, and John 19:17. What do all of those passages have in common? They’re from the gospels, and they’re during the narrative of Jesus’ crucifixion.
The word Golgotha is the name of a place, namely the place where Jesus was crucified. It’s from the Aramaic language, which was the spoken language of that time, and it means “the place of the skull.” Scholars don’t know why this particular location was called that. Some speculate that there was a rock formation that was shaped like a skull; others guess that perhaps it’s where Adam’s (the first man created) skull was buried.
So where exactly is Golgotha? Well, we don’t really know. There are some clues given in the Bible to point us toward its whereabouts. For example, in John 19:41-42 it says that the tomb was nearby, so Golgotha was likely near a cemetery of some sort. From Hebrews 13:12 we know that Jesus’ death took place “outside the city gate,” but it doesn’t tell us which gate of Jerusalem is being referenced (there were many of them). Finally, we know from Matthew 27:39 that it was near a road with a lot of foot traffic, since there were people passing by. The traditional site of Golgotha is where the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is today, just outside the Old City area where the second city wall stood.
To recap, we don’t really know why it’s called Golgotha and we don’t really know where it is. So why is it so important? Its significance is in what happened there - wherever “there” may be. Golgotha is the place where Jesus was crucified. It’s in that spot where our Lord and Savior endured the worst physical torture known to mankind at that time, so He could fulfill all of the prophecies and be able to save us from our sins and bring us closer to God. You may have certain places in your life where important things happened to you; Golgotha was the most important place for Jesus. But not only that, it’s also the most important place for all of humanity because of what happened there.
Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, July 19, 2012 0 comments
In Monday's blog, Katie did an excellent job of explaining what the word "genesis" means and why the first book of the Bible is titled as such. It is certainly the beginning of history, as in there was nothing before it. You may certainly choose to believe something existed before God, or even that God doesn't exist at all. But if you believe what the Bible says, there are no history books that talk about anything before the events described in Genesis 1 because this world wasn't even here! So even though God existed before it, Genesis really does describe the beginning of the world as we know it. And with the beginning of this world comes the beginning of God's story of redemption.
I think it is fair to say that most Christians associate redemption specifically with the cross, and rightfully so. However, the downside to that is that so many have forgotten the work that God was doing "in the beginning". In the Old Testament, the Jews looked forward to the Messiah and were saved by grace through their faith. In the New Testament and ever since, we are saved by grace through faith in the Messiah that already came to this earth and died for our sins. But even while most Christians would agree on these truths, I think that many see the God of the Old Testament as more wrathful and just and the God of the New Testament as gracious, loving, and merciful. Whether it is intentional or accidental, this is basically what is taught in Christian circles. In theology class in seminary, we learned that this is a form of heresy known as either "dualism" or "modalism", depending on whether your view asserts 2 different gods or 2 different modes of the same God. We must remember that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are one in the same! That means that if the God of the New Testament is all about redemption, so is the God of the Old Testament. We find a ton of evidence to support this truth just in the book of Genesis alone.
Webster defines "redeem" as "to make something acceptable or pleasant in spite of its negative qualities or aspects". Wow! I was blown away by that definition. Is that not the best description of what God loves to do in our lives? The truth is, He did it before any human being was even here. Genesis 1:2 tells us that "the earth was formless and empty and darkness was over the surface of the deep". The rest of Genesis 1 reveals how God created everything that was "good" out of this initial darkness and emptiness. God loves to redeem! He loves to bring order from chaos! But that was just the beginning. Genesis 3 is littered with examples of redemptive work. While Adam and Eve suffer consequences for their sin, they don't die right away. God gives them the ability to make garments to cover their shame. He also promises that the serpent will always be under mankind. He then allows Adam and Eve to continue in their marital bliss and child-bearing even though they have sinned. In Genesis 4, God spares Cain even after Cain was guilty of murder. In Chapter 5, we see that Cain's son Enoch "walked with God". Let me just tell you that as an investigative caseworker for child protective services, I know what a miraculous work of redemption it is when a son does not follow in the dysfunction of his father because it is so rare and only the grace of God can help break such a terrible cycle. In Chapters 6-9, God redeems the earth by ridding it of all wickedness and giving mankind a fresh start. He also promises to never destroy the whole earth by a flood again and declares that the sign of this promise would be a rainbow, which is often still visible to us today. In Chapter 11, God deals with mankind's plan to put themselves above Him by scattering them and confusing their languages, rather than killing them because of their rebellion. God redeems them from the trap of thinking they can get themselves to a point where they won't need Him anymore. Hopefully, you see my point.
Friends, this is literally just the beginning. I just picked out some things from the first 11 chapters, and I'm sure I missed some examples of redemptive work even in that section. The rest of the Book of Genesis tells of God's redemptive work in the lives of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Lot, Rebekah, Jacob, Joseph, Joseph's brothers, and even Pharaoh and Potiphar as they observed Joseph's faith in his God. Again, I only named a few as there are many more examples of God's desire to redeem in Genesis. I urge you to read it and experience the beginning of not just everything Katie talked about, but also the specific examples of redemption.
Remember that Christ has been here since the beginning and the redemptive nature of our Lord has been on display since before we were even walking this earth. As you seek to grow in knowledge of the truth of God, consider His nature and how everything that has ever happened since the beginning of time, including the horrible tragedies that were not a part of His will, has been used to advance His plan of redemption. This can be a tough thing to accept because we wonder how God can allow such horrible things to happen if His plan is to redeem. Remember, we brought the darkness, the chaos, the negative qualities or aspects into our lives when we decided to sin. There are consequences for this and sometimes God doesn't choose to take them all away. But He is always offering a path to redemption, a path that makes what is chaotic pleasing and acceptable. Read the Bible and see for yourself, starting with Genesis.
When I hear the word “genesis,” I immediately think of the first book of the Bible. Perhaps that’s because I’ve been around the Bible my entire life and am pretty familiar with it. But have you ever wondered why that book’s name is Genesis?
In the Hebrew Old Testament, the first book of the Bible is called Bereshit (pronounced beh-ri-SHEET). That word literally means “in the beginning,” and that’s the first word of Genesis 1:1 in Hebrew. After all, what better place to start a book (especially one as important as the Bible) than in the beginning?
Our English word genesis has a similar meaning to bereshit. Genesis means an origin, or a coming into being of something. In the case of the Bible, the book of Genesis describes the origin of our world and how it was all created (Genesis 1-2). It also describes the origin of many other things in the world, such as sin (Genesis 3), the murder (Genesis 4:3-8), and God’s promise with Abraham to provide humankind with an opportunity for salvation (Genesis 15).
Why is it important that we know what happened at the beginning of time when the earth was created? What does that matter today in 2012? Can you imagine reading a novel, but completely skipping the first few chapters? You may be able to figure out what’s going on while reading the rest of it, but it’d sure be more clear if you start at the beginning. Knowing the story of creation is even more important than that, because not only does it tell us how we got here and why we’re here, but it shows us God’s love. God created us in His image (Genesis 1:26-27) and gives us the choice to love Him and worship Him because of what He has done for us - including creating the world. The book of Genesis is just the beginning of the history of God’s love for humankind, and it sets the stage for everything that has happened since then and everything that will happen in the future.
I challenge you this week to read the book of Genesis for yourself. Along with learning about how the earth was created, there are many stories of God’s love and provision for His people - Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph just to name a few. Check out their stories and see if God is calling you to any new beginning (or genesis) in your life because of what you learn through their experiences.
A few weeks ago, a friend and co-worker of mine was talking with me about the problems that she and her husband have "with the Christian religion". Her claim that the religion itself is what bothers them made me instantly skeptical because I've spoken to many people in the past who have said the same thing, but really were just turned off by individuals they met along the way. So with my curiosity piqued, I asked my friend what she and her husband have against the Christian faith. Sure enough, she started telling me about how her husband was raised Catholic, but it was shoved down his throat. She also shared that she had been raised going to church, but members of her husband's family and church made a big deal out of their disappointment that she would not convert to Catholicism. She and her husband have since denounced their faith due to the pain and frustration they experienced from interactions with other Christians. So even though they say they have problems with the Christian religion, their issues are not really with the faith at all, nor are they with Jesus Christ!
I encouraged my friend that I understand how she feels, for there are many in the Church that do not accurately represent the life, love, and teachings of Jesus. But I also challenged her to go directly to the source and see for herself what Jesus actually lived, taught, and modeled. I asked her to read the gospels, because she'll probably find out that Jesus isn't hardly anything like most of the people she has encountered in the Church to this point. Now, I'm not just trying to bash the Church here. But there is a reality that we all need to face: It is only because of God's grace that we can accurately represent Jesus even part of the time. For a majority of the time, we are a very poor representation of him because of our sin, our pride, and our agendas. We also have to face the fact that it was the religious figures who were enemies to Christ throughout the gospels. The authority figures of God's people (the Jews) were the very ones who persecuted God's own Son! They pushed their own agendas and attempted to submit Christ to their beliefs rather than submit their beliefs to Christ. If you read the gospels, you'll discover that there isn't much difference between then and now.
As Katie said, the gospels are about the good news of Jesus Christ. What amazes me most about the gospels is how their method of composition so closely resembles the very message of the One about whom they are written. The writing of the gospels was far from an exact science. There wasn't necessarily a set of rules or guidelines that was followed. Two of the four authors are not said to have ever even spent time with Jesus in person. Only Matthew, the former tax collector who left his post to follow Jesus (Matthew 9), and John, also known as "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (John 21), walked with Jesus while he was alive on this earth. Luke tells us at the beginning of his account that information about the things that have been fulfilled was "handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word" (1:2). Mark most likely received the information in his account from the Apostle Peter. So whether we want to admit it or not, even the original writing of the gospels came from information that was passed on by word-of-mouth. While rules and commands are included within, they are not the main focus. Rather, the love and mercy that can only be found through RELATIONSHIP with Jesus takes center stage. Four different authors present four different views, emphasizing different things based on their target audiences. Each account introduces something fresh, because real life situations and encounters require it.
All of this is true about the life and message of our Savior. It's not about facts, figures, rules, and religion. It's about encountering Jesus through a RELATIONSHIP! Everything isn't always black and white. There are shades of gray that can only be explored through RELATIONSHIP. Jesus doesn't handle every situation and every person the same way. He brings something fresh into your life because he knows exactly what you need, when you need it, and how you need it. If you've been taught that Jesus is nothing more than a religion-pusher and agenda-driver, or if you've encountered such people who claim to worship in his name, I urge you to take time to read and meditate on the gospels. You will encounter something challenging, refreshing, and inspiring unlike anything you've ever experienced before as Jesus draws you into a RELATIONSHIP with him.
My grandma is a storyteller. Not just a person who enjoys telling an occasional story, but she really loves telling them and is very good at it! She tells silly stories, sad stories, happy stories, funny stories, and all types of stories you can imagine. She even tells stories on the TV channel for the senior community where she lives. She’s been a member of a Story League where she lives for many years now. It’s a gift that she has which she really enjoys sharing with others.
Stories are important to us because they help us remember events. Our brains like to hear things in a logical sequence, such as in a story. We all know that “Once upon a time...” commonly begins a story, and “they lived happily ever after” often ends one. The events in between are in the order they would happen, so we can put ourselves into the story and pretend as though we’re living it ourselves.
But what does that have to do with this week’s word, gospels? Well the gospels are stories about the life of Jesus. We have four gospels in our Bible - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, with each gospel named after its author. Each writer had a different way of looking at the same story - that of the life of Jesus. They all tell the same story of how Jesus came to earth, taught others, healed the sick, and lived out the prophecies about Him that He would die on a cross and be raised again. Even though each tells it from his own perspective, they all tell that same important story.
We get our word gospel from the Greek word, euangelion (you-an-GEL-ee-on). Literally, euangelion means “good news.” The story of Jesus is good news - the best news in fact, because it can provide you with an eternity in heaven with God! The gospels are the story behind that short-and-sweet bit of good news, and they expand on it just like my grandma includes plenty of details when she tells a story. That same Greek word is where we get our word evangelism, which means to tell others about our faith in Jesus.
What have you done with the gospels lately? Have you read them? Have you told others about them, and encouraged them to read the gospels as well so they get all the details? I challenge you today to pick one of the gospels and read it all of the way through, just as you would read a story or hear one told. It is truly the best story you will ever read.
About a year ago, I heard my best friend and closest brother in Christ put our word for this week and its relationship to human beings in a context that I had never heard it put before. It changed the way I view our responsibility in "bringing glory to God". What my friend said and often prayed was this: "Lord, please give me the grace I need to glorify You". What an amazing and critical truth that my friend discovered! "Bringing glory to God" is part of the Christian-ese (to steal Katie's word from Monday's blog) that we often hear in and around the church. However, the reality of God's nature and presence is that He brings glory to Himself through everything that He has created, including human beings! We really shouldn't talk about the act of bringing glory to God like it's something we can will ourselves to do. Let's not give ourselves too much credit. Any created thing must rely on its design from the creator to do the purpose for which it was created. Human beings are no different. We were created to bring glory to God like the rest of creation and are reliant on our Creator to do so. Since our flesh and sin threatens our very purpose on a daily basis, we are in desperate need of God's grace just to be able to do what we were created to do.
Katie did a wonderful job in Monday's blog of defining this very difficult word. I've also heard it described as the "shining out of God's presence". I want to focus this writing on the reality of human beings being created to do that very thing. An Old Testament passage that really spoke to me on this matter is Isaiah 6. I would encourage you to not only read, but also meditate on this Scripture. In Isaiah 6, the prophet explains an experience he had that you and I should not envy. He actually SEES THE LORD! It may have been a vision, but you can tell from his writing that it was as real as can be to Isaiah. And trust me, you DO NOT want to see the Lord in all of His glory without Jesus acting as your go-between, which would have been the situation for Isaiah. The glory of the Lord literally terrifies the prophet because he knows how unworthy he is to experience it. Even the seraphs, angels who are dazzling in appearance and sinless, are afraid of the presence of the Lord. "Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying" (v. 2). They did not want to see nor be seen by the Lord. Isaiah goes on to describe the details of what he saw, including the train of the Lord's robe filling the temple, a throne, smoke, the whole earth filled with the Lord's glory, and the violent shaking of doorposts and thresholds. He then essentially freaks out because he realizes the consequence of seeing the Lord as an unclean (sinful) man (v. 5). We then see the removal of guilt and the atonement of his sins, restoring him and setting him free to do whatever it is the Lord has created him to do (v. 7). In vv. 8-13, we find out that Isaiah's purpose is to go and speak a very hard truth of God to the people. This shows us that God's glory does not always mean pleasantries. His presence and holiness means judgment for those who have not accepted atonement for their sins. It also means restoration and growth for those who experience punishment if they accept God's glory in their lives from that point forward.
What amazes me about that story is the fact that God very easily could have just left Isaiah out of it. The initial verses that are so descriptive of the scene of God's glory prove that He needs no one and nothing to show that glory on the earth. Yet, He chooses to allow Isaiah to be a crucial part of the process of bringing it to the people. God does this even though He knows it won't be easy. He allows the process of atonement to run its course, rather than just zapping Isaiah with some "perfection juice" and forcing him to be what he is not ready to be. God allows Isaiah to first see His glory, which humbles the prophet to the point that he is willing to accept atonement. Once he is cleansed and realizes that it is only grace that has made this atonement possible, Isaiah wants nothing more than to do as the Lord asks and proclaim His glory to the people.
Folks, this is exactly how it is supposed to be in our lives! Think about the Apostle Paul in Acts 9 as well. He had an experience where a "light from heaven", which is simply another description for God's glory (the Greek word there could be translated this way), flashed around him and humbled him to the point where he became willing to do anything God required of him as a simple response to the grace shown to him. As Christians in 2012, we too are called to go anywhere and do anything God asks of us in response to His great love and grace poured out to us. We need grace to glorify Him just as we were created to do. Once you fully experience and understand the magnitude of this grace, there is no other appropriate response than to let God's presence "shine outwardly" through your life into everything you do and every soul you meet!
Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, July 4, 2012 2 comments
To start off, I’m going to come right out and state that this topic will not prevent a person from being saved. This is simply an issue in establishing truth and defining the true nature of the Biblical God. Why should a Christian not believe in an old earth? First of all, the simplest answer is that it does not agree with a simple understanding of Scripture.
The Catholic Church has had a bad reputation for quite some time now in the eyes of mainstream Protestants. One of the biggest complaints Protestants have brought against the Catholic Church throughout history is that they have at times suggested that only their priests are able to truly understand and interpret Scripture. Such a view has led to corruption and terrible atrocities.
But that is exactly what overcomplicating simple Scripture does. Can the common person understand Genesis chapters 1-11 without a teacher of some sort to explain its meaning? A person ought to be able to understand Scripture without a guru standing over his or her shoulder.
Second, Old Earth Creationism, in just about every form, teaches that death occurred before sin. Why has nobody ever seen a dinosaur? Because they went extinct before mankind was created? How could this happen if death did not enter the world until sin entered the world? The Bible tells us that sin did not enter the world until Adam and Eve sinned. This would change the Bible’s meaning when God declared his creation to be “good.” Is it good that creatures with the breath of life should die?
Last but not least, Jesus himself testified toward certain events in the first few chapters of Genesis. He declared that in the beginning, God created them male and female. He referred to Noah as a real person. He acknowledged the worldwide flood as being an actual event. He talks about Abel’s martyrdom. Jesus seemed to have interpreted the first book of the Bible quite literally.
At this point you might be wondering, “How does Jesus acknowledging the creation of mankind, Noah, and Abel have anything to do with the age of the earth?” Unfortunately, you will have to wait for a more thorough response to that question in a future post. For now I will simply state that OEC commonly views the Genesis creation story (including chapters 1-11) as either poetic or as a “second creation,” as I explained before. The idea that Genesis is poetic suggests that it is not a reliable account of creation. The idea that it only describes a “second creation” is derived from bad logic and twisting Scripture. I wish I could go into more depth in this one post, but my time is up. Stay tuned, there is plenty more to come.
A few years ago I was in a women’s group at the church I attend, and we were blessed to have some “newer” Christians there with us. As we were discussing, those of us more experienced Christians kept using various Christian-ese sort of words, and the leader could tell that the newer ladies were puzzled. So she stopped us and asked us to define some of those words; one of them was this week’s word, glory. I recall that word in particular was hard for us to define. We use it all the time, but what does it really mean?
The first place I go to try and understand words like these is my Theological Dictionary. It defines ‘glory’ as, “Exalted praise and honor. Glory is an attribute of God.” It further defines ‘glory of God’ as, “The divine essence of God as absolutely resplendent and ultimately great. The praise and honoring of God as the supreme Lord of all.” It lists some Bible passages to help out a little more: Revelation 21:23, 1 Corinthians 10:31, and Philippians 2:11.
As you can see from those definitions, glory is hard to define - especially when talking about God! Our human brains cannot understand God, so it is difficult, if not impossible, for us to define his attributes, or characteristics.
We do know that we should be in awe of God’s glory, because nothing on earth compares to it. The most beautiful summer day is completely ugly and dim compared to God’s glory. The most majestic sights on earth pale in comparison to God’s glory. He is so majestic and awesome that we simply cannot comprehend it. God’s glory can refer to God Himself, or it can refer to heaven as in Colossians 3:4, since heaven is simply being in God’s eternal and infinite presence.
God’s glory is one of the reasons we worship Him, because He is so much greater than us. We need to live our lives to honor Him because He is our glorious and majestic Creator. Nothing on earth can compare to God’s great and glorious essence.