Introduction to Hebrews

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 31, 2021 1 comments


by Katie Erickson

Welcome to this journey through the book of Hebrews! With today’s blog post, I’m going to be introducing the book, and starting next week and for the next months (maybe a year?), we’ll be walking through this book, one passage at a time. It’s important to know the context for any Biblical book you want to study, so that’s what we’ll start with today.

So you may be wondering, why the book of Hebrews? Honestly, that’s a great question! Earlier this year, I was pondering and praying about what to write on, and God led me to two different topics: the Lord’s Prayer (which I just finished writing about), and the book of Hebrews. While I’ve studied pieces of the book of Hebrews before, including going through Logan Ames’ blog post series and subsequent book on Hebrews 11, I’ve never done a methodical study through the whole book. What better way to do that than to write about one passage per week?

The irony of the book’s name relating to my current status in life is also not lost on me. I’m currently in the Doctor of Ministry degree program at Winebrenner Theological Seminary, and my research focus is the Biblical Hebrew language. The running joke in the program is that when I introduce myself, all I need to say is, “I’m Katie and I love Hebrew!” So I do appreciate the irony of God bringing this book to me as something I should write on as I’m studying Hebrew, while the book of Hebrews was originally written in Greek.

The book of Hebrews is a fascinating one for multiple reasons, but primarily because it’s different from the rest of the books in the New Testament. The focus of this book is on Jesus as the great High Priest, which is a theme not really discussed in other books of the Bible. Hebrews is classified as an epistle (a letter), but we don’t know who wrote it, who it was written to, or even why it was written. For the purposes of easier pronouns, I’ll refer to the author as a “he,” even though we can’t necessarily rule out that the author was a woman.

Hebrews is considered a letter, even though it doesn’t have some of the characteristics typical of letters in the New Testament. There’s no initial greeting, there’s no clear expression of who the letter is addressed to, etc. So why is it still considered a letter? We see in Hebrews 5:12 that the audience is people who ought to be teachers. In Hebrews 13:18-23, we see that the writer knows his audience, he wants them to pray for him, he wants to visit them, and they have a mutual friend in Timothy. In Hebrews 6:9-10, he calls them “dear friends” and seems to know them and their work fairly well. All of this evidence indicates that the author is addressing a specific group known to him.

So, if we don’t know who wrote this letter, why do we call it “Hebrews”? The oldest manuscripts of it that we have give it a title of “To the Hebrews.” While scholars don’t know for sure that this is an original title, we don’t have any evidence to refute this one. If we assume that title is accurate, then it seems that this letter was written to Jews. But, were they Jewish Christians or Jewish non-Christians? Most scholars agree that the recipients were already believers in Jesus Christ, though some doubt whether there’s enough evidence for that assumption.

The biggest debate regarding the book of Hebrews is who wrote it. We know the author was an early Christian, because Hebrews is known to have been used by other early Christian writers. Clement of Alexandria (who lived from 150-215 AD) stated in a writing that Paul wrote this book in the Hebrew language and Luke translated it into Greek. It is believed that Hebrews was accepted into the New Testament initially because of its authorship by Paul. However, there’s not necessarily reliable evidence for it being written by Paul. While Paul was a prolific writer, both the style and the themes of Hebrews are different than Paul’s typical writings. Could that be because Paul wrote it in Hebrew and Luke translated it into Greek for him? The style of Greek doesn’t match up well to Luke’s writings either (the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts), and there are no references to Hebrews in either of Luke’s known writings.

There is no evidence within Hebrews that helps us determine its author. Hebrews 2:3b says, “This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.” This indicates that the author was a second generation Christian; not one of the original witnesses but close to them. The style of Hebrews is not like any other ancient document that scholars know about.

However, that lack of evidence has not stopped historians from guessing at the author. As previously mentioned, there are many who attribute it to Paul. Reformation theologian Martin Luther suggested that Apollos wrote it. We see in Acts 18:24 that Apollos had a great knowledge of the Scriptures, which clearly the author of Hebrews did as well. Apollos is definitely a possible author, but there is no conclusive evidence for that.

Adolf von Harnack, a 19th-20th century German Lutheran theologian, believed that Priscilla wrote the book of Hebrews. Priscilla is most often mentioned with her husband Aquila. In Acts 18:26, it is mentioned that the two of them instructed Apollos, so it is inferred that they would have been strong in their Christian faith. While we have no hard evidence that Priscilla (or Aquila, or both) wrote Hebrews, the fact that a woman was the author would have been good reason to keep the letter anonymous. It was a patriarchal society where men were dominant, and if a woman’s name were on it, it would have likely been considered less authoritative.

So while there are many theories, we must leave the author a mystery, knowing that God knows that person’s true identity. Knowing who is the author of a book (or a letter) is important so we can know the perspective and worldview they’re writing from. But not knowing the identity of the author of Hebrews doesn’t mean it’s not valuable to the Bible; it just means there’s a bit more mystery surrounding it.

Regardless of who the author and the audience were, I look forward to exploring this book over the next months, and I hope you will join me in this journey!

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The Rechabites

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 28, 2021 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

Earlier this year, I did a verse-by-verse independent study through Jeremiah, and I found that chapter 35 gives a very interesting lesson. Jeremiah called in the clan of Rechab to the Temple in the days that the Babylonians were closing in on Jerusalem. Their ancestor, Jonadab, made a vow that neither he nor any of his family would ever taste or drink wine. Jeremiah brought them over and had a table full of different wines and said that God had told them to drink. This family said that their father had made that vow and they would be sure to not break it. Jeremiah was pleased and then made a proclamation to all Judah that if this family would keep their vows and their word, even when a prophet said to break it, then why would all of Judah so readily break their vows with God?

This passage stood out to me because loyalty to our word and loyal to God’s Word are virtually non-existent today. I all but totally understand Jesus’ grief when He asked, “When I return, will I find any faith in Israel?” Jesus is asking, “Will I find anyone actually believing me when I come back?” I’ve heard talk of a great/grand revival that will be a 3rd Great Awakening for America, and more people will be saved than in the history of mankind. The primary verse cited is in Revelation 7:9 when John sees the great multitude at the throne worshiping God beyond count. But I find such a notion of this “great revival” to have no backing because Jesus said, “Narrow is the gate and narrow is the way. Few are those who find it.” The number in heaven will be numerous, but they will be very few in comparison to those who go to hell. There has never been a majority of believers, true born-again believers, in any society and there most certainly won’t be as the end times approach. Unlike all those around them, the Rechabites kept their vows to stay faithful through the generations. Jeremiah pointed out this clan as a group who stayed on the narrow way. Who here is like them?

A key point here is that this clan kept their vows despite a prophet, a man of God, telling them that it’s okay to break it. Now, Jeremiah was testing them, not tempting them. There is a difference. If any of the clan had stepped forward, Jeremiah would have stopped them. But any other prophet of his time would have said the same thing then let them drink. There are many who claim to be prophets, or preachers, or pastors, those who claim to speak for and represent God and do nothing of the sort. Jeremiah was the only one of his time to do so. But I also want you to note how powerful the deception is.

In 1 Kings 13, an unnamed man of God, a prophet, confronted Jeroboam about his false idols. Jeroboam had just been made king over the newly formed northern Kingdom of Israel, and he made two golden calves to be centers of worship instead of the Temple in Jerusalem. This man of God rebuked him, but in and among this, God told him not to rest or eat or drink in that area. Then another prophet intercepted him and said an angel told him to come get him and for him to eat and drink. Yet he was lying. The man of God believed him and returned to eat and drink. God confronted him and before he returned home, a lion killed him on the road because he disobeyed God’s word.

I am also reminded of Nehemiah as he was building the wall. A very crafty tactic from Sanballot was to hire Shemaiah, a prophet and a man of prayer, to tell Nehemiah to come to the Temple and hide. Shemaiah was hired to say that, and Nehemiah perceived it. A man of God, someone who had been in prayer, came to Nehemiah and gave him a false message. Nehemiah spotted it.

We live in times where people “hear from God” all the time, yet none of them ever get anything real about it. If you have the time, watch this video from Justin Peters. He goes through the “Word of Faith” preachers, namely Kenneth Copeland, Sid Roth, and Paula White, who through the whole of 2020 butchered nearly every statement they made about what God told them. They never had a hint about what COVID would do, and they tried to “pray” or even “blow” it away. Didn’t happen. Then they all jumped hard onto the Trump bandwagon, and I dare say turned him into an idol. They all proclaimed he would win a second term and guess what? It didn’t happen. (Exactly how that played out was a clear case of cheating and fraud, but God put it in front of our faces and let it happen.) Yet so many still listen to them as though they “are from God.” And I’m asking, “Why do they still listen to them?”

I especially hear this issue coming from the origins debate. In recent debates I’ve had with Old Earth Creationists, they purpose to declare their position to be Biblical (when it’s not) and to say they “followed the Holy Spirit.” Therefore, we are to welcome them in. Yet, as I listen, it’s the same thing. I have made my vow as a born-again believer that I will believe and submit to the authority of Scripture (this is part of the job description of being a Christian) and this stuff is contrary to that vow. I cannot and will not partake in it. When I listen to these arguments, I can tell they are not hearing from God. Here are some clues: They love to cite “their opinions.” They often say, “I think.” When confronted with the clear text, their arguments have the form of “I don’t understand it, therefore that text must not say that.” Yet, they insert things that are not explicitly stated as being equal to the text. Quick caveat: this is also leveled at the young earth creationists for “adding geologic models” to the text, however, none of the YEC geologists I know ever put their models as being “equal” to Scripture. I hear old earth geologists do so all the time. They call it “nature,” but they aren’t talking about the full study of the natural world, but their own models.

Paul said, “If anyone or even an angel were to preach another gospel, let him be accursed.” In every single book of the NT, except Philemon, there is a charge to stand for the truth and don’t let ANYONE tell you otherwise. The Rechabites stood for their vows. The saints throughout the ages stood for their vows to the point of death. They refused to recant. Despite all the people who claimed to be for God telling them to do otherwise, they held to their convictions and God praised them for it. Their reward? They would never fail to have a man stand before God, representing and honoring Him. God will not leave those who stay loyal to Him unrewarded.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

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What Did Jesus Do?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, May 26, 2021 0 comments


by Jason DeZurik

As society begins to open up a bit from a strange year of lock down due to some very odd leadership, I thought it might be good for Christians to actually consider how Jesus Christ handled not only germs but how He handled a very contagious disease back in the times when He walked on the earth. That disease, which was quite common back then, was leprosy. It not only was quite common, but it was so incredibly contagious that a person who had contracted it needed to stay away from the general population. If a person with leprosy was somehow going to be coming into contact with people in the general population, the person with the leprosy needed to yell, “Unclean! Unclean!” wherever they went to make sure those around them knew to stay away from them so they might not catch this horrible disease. They also needed to cover their mouths in order to protect others. For those of you still wondering why someone would have to do this, it was required because if a person catches leprosy, their skin will be eaten away. A person’s fingers, toes, and even nose can be eaten away by this horrible disease, ultimately leading to death. As far as I know, it is curable today with antibiotics, but it seems to be curable if only caught early enough.

Back when Jesus Christ walked the earth, though, there was no known cure for leprosy. So how did Jesus handle someone who had a deadly disease while He walked the earth? Did Jesus Christ shy away or ignore a leper like most people did in His day? Let's find out together.

We see the following account in Matthew 8:1-4:
“When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, ‘See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.’”

Did you see how Jesus literally dealt with a person who had a highly contagious disease back in biblical times? He did this in public with a crowd around Him. He did not do this behind a closed door or “socially distanced” like so many in those times did with leprosy.

Let's look at it again:
- Jesus reached out and got closer to the man
- Jesus touched the man
- I think we can easily deduce, because he addressed the man directly, that Jesus in essence got eye to eye with the man and was face to face with him.

Here's a great video clip to give you an idea of what might have taken place in this situation.

Jesus did this with a man who was very contagious with a deadly disease. That is what Jesus chose to do, and then He healed the man.

All I am trying to do is to hopefully challenge you, the reader. I especially challenge you that if you claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ, that you should be willing to be fearless and act like Jesus did. Follow the example of Christ regarding our virus today that has a recovery rate that is literally over 98%.

What is there to fear? Some of you might say, “death.” Others of you might say, “pain and suffering.” This is actually true, and I am willing to concede those points. But I would then ask you, do you drive a motor vehicle, cross a busy street, use a knife to cut things, or do you ever drink or eat unhealthily? I ask because all of those things can cause death, pain, and suffering as well.

Near the very beginning of this whole situation, I had asked someone what they believed we were trying to stop. They essentially told me the death of millions and millions of people in the United States (This was when those of us in our state of Ohio were still being told that we needed “15 days to flatten the curve”). I asked this person and many other people, if millions upon millions of people do not die from this, then what? At the time, most said that we can get back to living our lives.

Yet, in my personal experience and through many conversations with many of these same people, they are seemingly now wanting to eradicate death, disease, and dying altogether. It just boggles the mind. It is incredibly shocking to me because as followers of Christ, we already know that Jesus Christ has defeated death, disease, and dying. He did this through His birth, life, death, and resurrection. I could go on and on, but I will stop here today as I wrap up this first installment of this series.

Philippians 4:6-7 states, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Focus on Christ, my friends. Let's lead in hope and not in fear.

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The Lord's Prayer: Where's the Rest?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 24, 2021 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

As we wrap up this series on the Lord’s Prayer this week, let’s start by reviewing the entire prayer from Matthew 6:9-13:

This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’

You may be thinking… where’s the rest? Perhaps you’ve said this prayer in church before, and you’re expecting something like “For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.” But, as you may have noticed, those words are not included in the Scriptures, either when Jesus gave this prayer as recorded in Matthew (above) or in Luke 11:2-4. So, why do we traditionally add that ending?

That ending, also known as a doxology or a benediction because of its form of praising God, is actually found in various forms in multiple ancient manuscripts. But it’s not always found in exactly the same form, which makes scholars suspicious that it should be included. Some manuscripts have this phrasing as, "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen." Others simply have, "For yours is the power forever and ever." Some even write, "For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit forever. Amen." All of this discrepancy shows disagreement, which indicates it was likely added in various forms by scribes.

So while this ending phrase does appear in ancient manuscripts, they’re not the best, most trustworthy, or most ancient. All of this evidence points to the fact that it should not be included as words of Scripture.

However, some scholars argue it should still be included. They say it’s very likely that Jesus (or Matthew) would not have just ended the prayer like this without some kind of blessing or praise of God at the end. Jewish prayers would traditionally end with something like this, so it would be their custom to do that. It is also unlikely that a scribe would have left this out when copying a text, especially an important prayer like this one. But these scholars are generally in the minority, based on the manuscript evidence. It would be more likely for a scribe to add a benediction at the end rather than leave one out.

So if this benediction at the end is not part of the text, why do we traditionally include some form of it when we say the Lord’s Prayer? Well for one thing, it does give a nice ending to the prayer, rather than leaving us hanging so to speak after asking for deliverance from the evil one. It is always appropriate to give God praise, especially during our prayers. We affirm that the kingdom, the power, and the glory are God’s and they should be proclaimed as such forever.

One interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer is that it represents God as the Trinity. The first part references the Father’s creation and providing for us through our daily bread. Next we see the Son’s work of forgiveness for us. Then we see the Holy Spirit’s power dwelling in us to keep us safe and not tempted by evil. So this triune phrase at the end (kingdom, power, and glory) is a reference to the triune nature of God - three persons but yet one God.

Is it wrong to include this last phrase when we say the prayer? Definitely not! The words that we pray are less important than the heart attitude and meaning behind it. I grew up in a church tradition that says “for ever and ever” at the end of the prayer when we’d pray it together weekly, and when I went to college I attended a church tradition that ended it at “forever.” I had to make a conscious effort to not add “... and ever” each time! Was one of these traditions “wrong”? Nope, they just disagreed on the specific wording, just like various manuscripts disagree as well, but the meaning was still the same.

We know that the kingdom, power, and glory of God will go on to all eternity, and we are proclaiming that each time we pray the words of this prayer. Amen!

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Repentance and Restoration, Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 21, 2021 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

Last week, I looked at Old Testament examples of men who sinned and how God handled them in the restoration process. One thing we see is that restoration never takes place unless there is brokenness and repentance. Every time someone sinned, when we see them restored, we see that person go through a period where they truly experienced the conviction of the Holy Spirit and came before God as a broken, shattered vessel, pleading for mercy. If a person refuses this, then we do not see restoration taking place. But let’s take a deeper look into what is actually happening in this process. Last week, I asked you to read Jeremiah 1:10. This is also repeated in Jeremiah 18:7 and Jeremiah 31:28.

Today I am going to focus on this pattern given of four steps of destruction and two steps of starting over. The four steps of destruction are 1) root out/pluck up, 2) pull down/break down, 3) destroy, 4) throw down. Then the two steps to restoration are 1) build and 2) plant. Each of these four steps of breaking down and destruction have their own nuances; partly for time’s sake and for purpose’s sake, I won’t be able to go into that. I can say that Hebrew and general Eastern ideas use multiple images and terms and ideas to speak about the same central message. So, in a nutshell, we see “complete total destruction” of the former, and “starting over” with the latter. Last week, I shared how before restoration can take place with an individual, that person needs to be broken and repentant. The Jeremiah passages are more specific towards a nation, but it applies to individuals as well.

So, before God can restore someone, there must be brokenness. Voddie Baucham has a powerful sermon about brokenness, primarily over Psalm 51. He says if life is a highway and we are going the wrong direction in sin, getting off that highway is repentance, and brokenness is the off-ramp. If you go through a rooting out, a pulling down, a destruction, and are thrown down, “brokenness” would be an apt one-word summary of that. Another thing Baucham addresses in this sermon is how our culture despises the notion of brokenness. It doesn’t matter whether it’s theology or psychology or medicine. The avoidance of pain at any cost is our #1 goal in our culture. How do I know that? Look at how easily we were duped into shutting down our lives for a small virus. News flash. Pain is part of life. Sickness is part of life. Diseases are part of life. You know they are there. Move on. But it is through pain that we learn to do or not do things. How do we know fire is hot? We’ve felt the flames. Likewise, brokenness is the spiritual state when we realize we have sinned against God and have reaped the consequences for it.

The nation of Judah had lived in habitual sin. Ezekiel 23 depicts Samaria and Jerusalem, the capitals of the Northern and Southern kingdoms respectively, as two harlots. Samaria was bad enough as is, but Jerusalem out sinned Samaria. Both out sinned Sodom and Gomorrah, which God reduced to mere ashes. Jeremiah’s message was that God was going to completely level Judah. To save the Jews and maintain the line for the Messiah, he would send the Jews into captivity in Babylon while he cleansed the land from all the corruption done to it. God would root out all seeds of idolatry. He would pull down all traditions and thoughts that were not in agreement to God’s commands. He would destroy the idols and throw down every thought and idea that would come against Him.

When I read through Jeremiah, I kept seeing the United States, not in a replacement or theological context, but in a historical context. As I read what Judah was doing and I see what we are doing and what is happening, I see doom and destruction not merely coming but having just arrived. I do not believe God is warning us any longer about the spanking that will come if we continue down our path. I believe God is currently taking us down the path to go behind the woodshed where He will spank us. There is no turning back now; the spanking is going to happen.

But the brokenness is just one step in the process. We have a choice to make: to submit to the discipline or to defy it. There are many people who hit rock bottom and found Christ because they had nowhere else to go. But there are many others who hit rock bottom and shook their fist at God anyway. Jeremiah 42-43 gives a clear picture of this. I’ll have a separate post on that issue. We need to see our need before God and come to Him, broken and humble. Think of the woman caught in adultery or the Roman jailer in Philippi. Both came broken and seeing their need for salvation.

When we reach this point, and only when we reach this point, can God begin the restoration process. He will build and plant. It may take a while to see fruit and results. In order for God to be able to restore us, He must completely break us. He has to strip us down to the foundation, and then He can begin the process to bring us back. However, there are many false teachers who call for restoration without brokenness or repentance. You can’t have one without the other. A clear example of why that’s true is with David and Absalom. Absalom murdered his brother for raping his sister and sent himself into exile because David didn’t do anything about it. Then later, David made the grievous error of welcoming Absalom back without testing to see if Absalom had any repentance. David was wrong in how he handled Absalom, but Absalom was unrepentant and restored anyway. As a result, Absalom threw a coup and nearly succeeded. This is why God does not restore anyone until they’ve been broken. This is also why it is very dangerous to try to restore your image if it falls on your own strength. If your name falls into ill repute, then let God be the one to restore it. If that means you remain in anonymity, then so be it.

God will be the one to raise us up, and He will keep us there or put us down if He must. Our priority should be to be obedient to Christ and receive His discipline when it is called for. He may break us, crush us, smash us, or grind us to powder, but after He does that, He will bring us back and rebuild us, not only fully restored, but in even better condition than before. If you are not experiencing the discipline of Christ, that means you very likely are not saved. God does not discipline those who aren’t His. But He does judge them. Being broken does not necessarily mean you are saved. Only being restored indicates you are saved. Examine yourself to see where you stand.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

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Becoming a Godly Son

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, May 18, 2021 0 comments


by Eric Hansen

First, I want to say that I cannot speak on behalf of women, and so I will only be discussing men and not cover the other half of the biblical world.

However, as a man who knew only a sinful life for decades, it brings moments of retrospection. Would my life have been different if I knew God before some event? Would I have married my wife? If I grew up in a Christ-focused house, would I have been a different child? While I hate what if’s, they are a fact of an over-thinker’s daily life.

As a son, though, in what ways can I instill Christ as my focus, even though I’m considered an adult by all legal means? This is something that I never considered until my wife brought up how I’m still a son to a worldly father and mother, and not just the Father.

I find it much easier to help guide my wife along a Christ-focused life compared to my mom and dad, yet I’ve known them much longer. Take a look at what Paul speaks to us about in Ephesians 6:1-3: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise), ‘that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.’” This will be the main focus of how we can be Godly sons.

Where does the focus lay on who is pleased by an obedient child? Of course, the mother and father are excited that they can take their kid to church for a few hours, or a movie, and their little one will be able to sit through it when the parent tells them to. But more importantly we see Paul making the statement that we are “in the Lord” (v. 1) and that us being obedient “pleases the Lord” (Colossians 3:20). As with most of the life-application verses in the New Testament, this isn’t without prior knowledge of God’s revelation. For this, we can see in the 5th commandment: “Honor your father and mother” (Exodus 20:12). This isn’t something new that Paul or Jesus was instilling in us; it’s been a foundational decree from God since the very beginning of Israel.

When I read through these passages, though, I often find it difficult to think that this applies to me, being the age I am and of legal responsibility. But truly it holds me even more accountable the older I become. If you think about it, when was the last time you depended on your parents for anything of substance? In this world, man is often thought of as very self-sufficient, even to the point of sin (separation from God). But as we as sons grow older, we should truly be seeking more wisdom from our parents (Proverbs 6:20). We all know that soon enough our parents won’t be with us in this world, and we shouldn’t take them or their knowledge for granted. We must stop asking ourselves what we can do to become better and instead seek wisdom from our parents. Even if they made horrible decisions, that knowledge can help guide us as to what not to do, much like the bulk of the Old Testament’s teachings.

Through this I am not saying we are to blindly listen to what we are told, whether we are a child or not. We should test all teachings we hear against the Bible, which is the authority worthy enough for rebuking (2 Timothy 3:16). Instead we should listen to what we are told, question what doesn’t sound correct, and pray on what to do with what we know now. The same goes for when we are corrected. Whether it is our parents or a stranger who comes to us and tells us we were wrong, we need to be open to the possibility that we were wrong, but also question it if we disagree with the statement, not bicker and argue because our ego got scratched.

The Messiah was no stranger to being submissive to His earthly mother and father as well. Luke 2:51 highlights this, and Jesus further exemplifies the laws; even more, Jesus was obedient to the Father and His will even until He died. As Jesus did then, we must now too still submit to our parents regardless of how old we are. If you disagree with this statement, then I ask you to find a verse in the Bible that demonstrates righteousness that comes from ignoring our parents. As Christians, we can often think we’re doing the right thing but yet actually be acting against His will. A common aspect of this is “I feel in my heart God is saying …” But in reality God speaks to us through the Bible, not through our hearts. There’s no new revelation bestowed upon us that isn’t in His Word, so when we “feel” these things, we should seek God’s Word above our feelings or emotions.

Whether you’re 5 or 75, we will always be considered a son to the Father. We are an infant He wants to see dependent on Him instead of trying to survive off of their own well-being. This isn’t to say we cannot grow our own crops, build our own churches, or start our own families. But we need to seriously remember who we are the son of and where that takes us in both times of joy and strife.

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The Lord's Prayer: "But Deliver Us from the Evil One"

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 17, 2021 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

Today’s phrase of the Lord’s Prayer, “But deliver us from the evil one,” is the continuation of the sentence that we looked at last week in Matthew 6:13: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

The conjunction (“but”) at the start of this phrase implies that it’s the opposite of the previous one. Instead of leading us into temptation, we pray for God to deliver us from the evil one. But what exactly does that mean?

The verb used here for “deliver” could mean to spare from, save from, preserve against, protect against, rescue from, or deliver out of. All of those have the same general idea; rescue us from something where we cannot rescue ourselves. The specific meaning here somewhat depends on how we interpret the previous phrase; see last week’s post for more on that.

The next important phrase here is “the evil one.” While the Greek noun here is not specifically the name of Satan, it is clear that this is who is meant if this word refers to a person. There are multiple other occasions in the New Testament where this same word clearly has the context of referring to Satan specifically. Many English translations also simply leave it as “evil” rather than “the evil one.” The Greek isn’t clear on that, as the same form of the word could either mean a person (the evil one) or a thing (evil in a generic sense). Either way, we need to be delivered from evil or the evil one; we cannot do it ourselves.

We as humans don’t like to consider ourselves as helpless, but that’s exactly what we’re implying in this phrase. If we could save ourselves from the evil one, why would we need to ask the Lord to do it for us? Without God’s power working in us, we as humans are powerless to deliver ourselves from the evil one. We are powerless to resist the temptations of evil. We are selfish human beings and we want the pleasure that comes with sin, the way of the evil one. After all, if sin weren’t enjoyable, we wouldn’t do it!

But does God really have the power to deliver us from the evil one? Remember, this prayer is ultimately addressed to “Our Father in heaven,” so that’s who we’re asking for this deliverance. For evidence of that, read about when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness in Matthew 4:1-11. Jesus was fully human, just like us, so He truly felt the devil’s temptations. But Jesus turned to the Word of God and the power of His Father to be able to resist the devil. Jesus needed the Word of God to deliver Him from the evil one.

We, too, have this same power available to us! We have the whole Bible to use to resist the temptations of the evil one. We can’t do it on our own; we need Jesus (the Word) to deliver us from the evil one through His power. Without this power of God, we are powerless against the evil one.

Needing God’s deliverance is definitely not a new concept in the Bible. We see that need as early as Genesis 3, right after the first humans disobeyed God. While Adam and Eve may not have specifically acknowledged that need, God was already making a plan for their deliverance (and the deliverance of all humanity) through the person and work of Jesus. Every human who has ever lived since then had needed God’s deliverance. We have all sinned and disobeyed God. We cannot rescue ourselves, because we know that the penalty for our sin is death, and a dead person cannot raise themselves.

But by God’s grace, He gives us the opportunity for salvation, for deliverance! Remember Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We should be amazingly thankful that Jesus was and is God’s plan to deliver us from the ultimate evil, the death penalty that we deserve for disobeying God. It is because of Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection that we may have life instead of the death we deserve, and we may be delivered from evil.

When you pray “deliver us from the evil one,” remember who it is that is doing the delivering - it’s God, not us! We can’t deliver ourselves even from temptation, must less from the penalty after committing sin. Be thankful today that we can pray this prayer, knowing that God’s power is available to deliver us from any evil that may come in our lives.

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Repentance and Restoration, Part 1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 14, 2021 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

Those who have been following me the past few months have heard that I believe the U.S. has entered a state of judgment. I don’t believe it is coming anymore; I believe it is here, with only a matter of time for it be carried out. Yet, for the Christian there is hope. We need to share that hope. We will go through a time of fierce persecution. It will cleanse and purify us, but in that there will be a restoration process. Many people want revival and for us to get back to where we once were. Unfortunately, in order for that to be possible, we have to first go through trouble. This is God’s pattern.

Our sin is ultimate against God, first and foremost. That sin breaks our relationship with God. It doesn’t damage it. It doesn’t hinder it. It doesn’t merely “block our blessings from God.” It cuts us off from God. Despite that, God seeks to save us and to restore us. But He has a process for how He does this. Today and next week, I’ll look at this process.

It is critical to know the character of God and the nature of sin before I can move on here. God is a righteous God, a holy God, a just God. Sin is an utter defiance against God. God cannot dwell in the presence of sin. Not because sin is so powerful that it repels God like kryptonite. Rather, it is God being merciful and not destroying that sin on the spot. When we have sin in our lives, in order to let us live any longer, God has to withdraw Himself or He will crush us in His holiness and purity. So what has to happen for peace to be made?

The simple answer is the cross. Jesus died on the cross to take the penalty for sin. How was David able to get back in right standing with God after his sin with Bathsheba? Most people answer: because Jesus would take the penalty on the cross and David had put his trust on the coming Savior. But there is a detail that not many people catch. For David to be restored, he had to be broken. He had to recognize what his sin truly was and whom it was against. He had to turn from that sin, long to be freed from it, and fall at the feet of his Savior. David expressed this process in the greatest penitent song ever written: Psalm 51.

But David did something that few will: David presented himself before God, broken and humble. What do most people do? Continue on their sinful path until God stops them. Think of Jonah. During the storm, Jonah didn’t confess his sin. He insisted on being thrown overboard so he’d drown and not have to go to Nineveh. God obviously had other plans. In Jonah’s case, God stopped him and broke him. Spending three days inside a large fish (or whale) has that effect. It took extreme circumstances to get Jonah to finally submit to God’s command.

There’s a pattern here: 1) God’s command, 2) sin, 3) rebuke, 4) brokenness, 5) restoration. Let’s go through this with David. David was supposed to go to war, but he stayed back. He saw Bathsheba, committed adultery, and then murdered her husband who refused to unintentionally cover David’s sin. Then the prophet Nathan rebuked him. David realized ultimately what he did and wept before God, writing Psalm 51. Upon repentance, David’s relationship with God was restored (though the consequences for his sin would follow).

What about Jonah? God commanded Jonah to go preach to Nineveh. Jonah ran from God. God sent a storm against that ship where Jonah hid and then sent a large fish to swallow him. Jonah repented. God then gave him the command again and sent him on his way. Same pattern.

God always does things His way and we always see Him using the same pattern. But let me address what happens when the process isn’t completed. King Saul was one case. Let’s look at 1 Samuel 13. God commanded Saul to wait for Samuel for a sacrifice. Saul got antsy and impatient. He offered the sacrifice just as Samuel arrived. Samuel rebuked him, but there was no brokenness. No interest in repentance. No desire to be made right with God. As a result, no restoration. God gave Saul a second chance. He commanded him to destroy the Amalekites. Saul spared the best of the spoils. Samuel came to rebuke him. Again, no brokenness. No Godly sorrow. And this time, no further chances to be restored. Saul spent the rest of his reign in rebellion against God, plagued by evil spirits, and paranoid of the one whom God said would take over this throne.

We play the part of the sinner in breaking our relationship with God. God initiates the restoration process. But we have to man up and take responsibility for it. We’d never seek that restoration on our own. That’s what our sinful nature is like; we are in constant rebellion against God. It takes God to initiate the restoration process. After we’ve sinned, God rebukes us, we respond in brokenness and repentance, and then He restores us.

But there is more to this process. Next week, I am going to zoom in to the breaking and restoration processes. News flash: it’s not a pleasant time to go through, but it’s the most valuable and worthwhile process we could ever experience. Get a quick preview by reading Jeremiah 1:10.

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The Lord's Prayer: "And Lead Us Not Into Temptation"

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 10, 2021 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

We are into the last verse of the Lord’s Prayer today: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13). Today, we’ll look at the first phrase of that verse - “and lead us not into temptation.”

This phrase is a tricky one for us to understand theologically. Remember that this whole prayer is addressed to God (“Our Father in heaven”). Do we believe that God would actually lead us into temptation, that we need to ask Him not to do so? What is Jesus telling us by giving us this phrase in this model prayer?

First, let’s look at the verb - lead. In the original Greek, this verb has a wide range of meanings and is used in a variety of contexts. It can mean to lead into, bring into, etc. It’s a compound verb, meaning that it’s a root verb plus a preposition that makes a new verb. The preposition part of this verb is commonly translated as “in” or “into,” and the rest of it commonly means to bring, lead, bear, or carry. This compound verb can also have a causative idea to it, like to cause someone to lead into or bring into. In some contexts, it could even mean to announce or to drag into. So, it’s not necessarily an easy verb to translate.

The potential translations of this verb cause a theological dilemma for us. Does God actually cause us to be tempted and put us to the test to see if we’ll obey Him? We do see God testing Abraham when He commanded him to sacrifice Isaac, his only son (Genesis 22:1-18). We also see in Exodus 16:4 that God tested the people of Israel by giving them manna each day, to see if they would obey His very specific instructions to trust in Him for provision. In the New Testament, we read 1 Corinthians 10:13 which says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” God won’t let us be too tempted, and He will give us a way out.

Some Biblical scholars have suggested that these words of Jesus had a different meaning when He originally spoke them. It is likely Jesus would have spoken this in Aramaic, which was the commonly spoken language of the day, whereas the gospel accounts were written in Koine Greek; the two are very different languages, both in alphabet and in structure. There is speculation that the Aramaic would have been causative or permissive - “and cause us not to enter…” or “allow us not to enter…” But since we only have the Greek text, we cannot know if that was the intention.

The next main concept in this phrase is the word “temptation.” This is another word that can have a variety of meanings in different contexts. It can also mean a trial, persecution, a test, enticement, etc. A test or a trial has the idea of attempting to learn someone’s character by seeing how they react to a particular situation, whereas temptation or enticement is the idea of luring something into doing something they should not do. Which one of these meanings is correct here?

We do not have a solid answer on that from the text of this passage. This phrase could indicate that we’re asking God to not cause us to be tested to check our character, or it could indicate that we’re asking God to not allow us to be led into doing something that would be disobedient to Him.

Since we know that all of Scripture agrees with itself, let’s look at James 1:13-14 to help us with this. That passage tells us, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.” Based on that, we see that God does not tempt anyone, so the translation of our phrase in the Lord’s Prayer cannot indicate that God causes temptation to happen in our lives. It’s our own evil desires, the sin that lives inside each of us, that causes temptation in our lives, not God. So praying that God would not cause us to be tempted is like praying that God would not sin, which we know is true. So perhaps this word should be translated in the Lord’s Prayer with the idea of testing rather than temptation.

But this translation also causes difficulty for us. We know that we will face testing or trials of many kinds, and that we should face them with joy. James 1:2-4 tells us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” The word translated here as “trials” is the same Greek word as the one we’re looking at in the Lord’s prayer.

Jesus Himself, earlier in the sermon where we find the Lord’s Prayer, told us, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12). We will be blessed when we experience persecution, which is definitely a type of trial.

So if we need to experience trials in order to produce perseverance and maturity as James says, and Jesus Himself tells us we will be blessed for being persecuted, why would Jesus tell us a few verses later to pray that we don’t experience trials? As humans, our innate desire is to live an easy life, free of difficulties. Jesus knows that; He lived a human life as well. But, we also know that in this sin-filled world, we will not live a life free of difficulties, especially when we commit our lives to following Jesus.

Our prayer to “lead us not into temptation” is a prayer asking God to spare us from the trials of life, whatever they may be; but when they do come into our lives, those trials should be faced with joy and the realization that they are helping us mature in our walk with God. Whether God causes temptation or testing in our lives or not, we know that He is sovereign and will be there to guide us through whatever He has in store for us.

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The Historicity of Scripture

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 7, 2021 1 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

The Bible is unique, more than any other “religious” book. The Bible is rooted in history. The Bible is the only book whose claims about the core worldview questions are rooted in history. It’s the only holy book that is actually rooted in reality. The Bible doesn’t merely record history with perfect accuracy; it showcases God’s direct involvement with history.

Archaeology is a study of the past through physical artifacts. So far, we have found a minimum of 25,000 archaeological finds in the Middle East, and not one of them disagrees with any statement made by Scripture. We’ve found countless things that perfectly match the Biblical account. We have a tomb that matches Joseph in Egypt. We have Jericho in the exact condition Joshua describes. We have found historical records of the people and places Luke describes including the officers as they climbed their ranks. Now we haven’t found absolutely every little thing, obviously, but there is not one thing we have found that contradicts the Bible. Any claims of contradictions nearly always deal with the dating, which is actually the least reliable aspect of archaeology. Everything about that find matches the Bible perfectly, except the date. Well, perhaps the date should be re-evaluated.

The skeptic often will then pull the “Spiderman Fallacy.” The Spiderman Fallacy is this: Spiderman takes place in New York City; we have a real New York City, therefore, Spiderman was a real person. So, the argument thus says: “So what that we found Jerusalem, or a coin with David’s sign on it? That doesn’t mean it actually happened.” The Bible has a history that could be compared with Tolkien’s Middle Earth. It’s got the full genealogies, the royal lineages, prophecies, a “Christ-figure” (Gandalf), a Satan-figure (Sauron or Morgoth if you go further), an origins myth, an ending, just about everything. So skeptics try to compare the Bible to these fictional narratives in order to discredit it and dismiss it. But there is a major problem with this thinking. None of these fantasy stories ever reference real people or real events. On occasion a fiction story may describe pop-culture such as a movie or a book, but it will not cite a real person or a real historical event. Any that do are called “non-fiction” books. The Bible records the history of His dealings with man. God is the main character of this grand story called history.

When I deal with origins, this is one of the key issues I face with atheists and old earthers. There is an adamant stance against treating Genesis 1-11 as history. And the few old earthers who do treat parts of it as history diminish the claims it makes about history. Where do they get these ideas from? The answer is simple: false scholars who try to use the Ancient Near East mythologies to say the Bible’s origins story is also a mythology, not history. Then, they try to play educated with us and try to tell us we need to look at the culture back then and try to understand how the Ancient Near East would have understand the passage, not in our modern 21st century scientific mindsets. Let me say this straight up: these people are liars and they are doing the exact opposite of what they claim. THEY are the ones looking at Genesis from a 21st century mindset (thinking our modern science should make us re-think what the Bible actually says). What is more is that by these arguments, they show they have NEVER studied the Hebrew culture, the primary audience who heard and read Scripture. They studied the Babylonians, the Persians, the Hittites, the Egyptians, but not the Hebrews.

If you want to know what the Hebrews thought, try reading their Holy Books. Read the Bible. It tells you how they thought. And a key to their thinking is everything about their faith is rooted in history. Their image of God being a Savior, a saving God, is rooted in the REAL Exodus from REAL slavery from a REAL Egyptian power. They considered themselves as God’s people because of a real, physical father of their faith, Abraham. They believed in a real Creator with a real Creation, and to this day they run their calendar as though Genesis 1-11 is actual, literal history.

The Hebrews then took it further. All the spiritual truths they believed and taught flowed out of the literal, historical events. This is what the skeptics and OEC teachers don’t see. Their arguments say that we need to look at the spiritual side of things and ignore the history. All that matters is the spiritual lessons. Really? This is actually a variation of Gnostic teachings that the physical reality is bad, and the spiritual reality is good. It puts everything in the ethereal and “out there,” but nothing concrete, tangible, and something we can grip. Now, we are to live by faith and not by sight, but faith is something concrete. It comes with evidence and it’s something firm we hold onto.

The Hebrews didn’t just tie their spiritual understandings to history, they also used their history as images and as pictures of their future. That’s why they looked to a military commander to rescue them from Rome – because all their saviors in the past saved them from physical enemies. They thought Rome was the next one to be taken out. They failed to see the spiritual images involved with their history. Todd Friel has a spectacular book called Jesus Unmasked, and in it he goes through the Old Testament – the history, the Tabernacle, the miracles, the Exodus, the manna, the Temple, everything – and shows how all of it is pictures and images of Jesus. God used the Hebrew understanding of how their history played a big role in how they thought to present Jesus Christ and the Gospel.

Now let me make this clear. The spiritual meanings in Scripture DO NOT work unless you understand the physical meaning first. Jesus told that to Nicodemus. If I speak to you of earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I speak about heavenly things? A number of the Young Earth Creation organizations use this verse to point out that if we don’t understand Genesis, how can we understand the cross? There is validity to this. The physical images are what makes the spiritual images concrete, and they also keep the spiritual lessons from getting off base.

I will also ask this to those who only want the “spiritual lessons” out of Genesis: “Is your salvation just spiritual? Or is it real?” It is a real Creator, with a real historical creation, who dealt with a real Adam and Eve who committed a real original sin, who issued a real divine judgment and curse upon creation and man, and who then set out the chain of events to establish His plan for a real salvation, by sending Jesus as a literal man, to die on an actual cross, to pay for the actual sin debt, taking on the real wrath of God, and making a real salvation available to all man. He is also going to bring all real things to a close, make every person face real judgment, and then set our fate to a real Heaven or a real Hell. Everything about the Bible is real because its Author is real. The Author of Scripture, God, is not a distant idea out there. He is a real, actively and intimately involved, sovereign God, who loves us and holds us responsible for our choices and actions.

We are called to a real faith. To be actually saved. To be a literal new creation. To be reconciled to the real God. We live in a real world, under the authority and sovereignty of a real God, who recorded actual history through actual authors of Scripture. Is your faith real? Or is it some distant quasi-religious feeling? I preach a message on reality and I proclaim a real, historical Jesus who is still real today. And I proclaim a real salvation from a real Hell, because that is what the Bible teaches. Is your faith real? Is it rooted in history? Or is it just a “spiritual experience”?

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The Lord's Prayer: "As We Also Have Forgiven Our Debtors"

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 3, 2021 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

With this phrase of the Lord’s Prayer, we’re jumping into the middle of a sentence. The whole sentence is, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). To get the context of the first phrase, check out last week’s post.

Asking God to forgive our debts (our sins, our disobedience, our wrongdoing) is only half of the whole concept of forgiveness. We sin, make mistakes, and disobey God, but others also sin and make mistakes against us. How do we handle those who have sinned against us?

The key is in the conjunction. Asking God for forgiveness when we sin against Him is great, because we know that He is faithful and will forgive us when we are truly repentant of those sins. But the important conjunction here is the word “as.” It also means like, according to, in the same way, or just as. Notice how emphasizing the conjunction highlights the meaning: “Forgive us our debts, in the same way as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Well, that just got more difficult!

How are you doing at forgiving others? Perhaps you need to forgive someone for a direct sin against you. Perhaps you need to forgive someone for a way they sinned against God, where you also felt the negative consequence of that sin. Perhaps you need to forgive yourself for wrongdoing that you know you committed or negative feelings you’re harboring against someone else. Any of those situations require us to be the one doing the forgiving of the wrongdoing.

When we put this whole verse together, we see that we cannot separate God forgiving us of our sins from us forgiving those who have wronged us. We would all love to always be on the receiving end of God’s forgiveness, but it’s much more difficult to be on the giving end of forgiveness to others.

Notice the timeline of verbs in this verse. The first half is us commanding God to forgive us (an action in the future), while the second second half says that we “have forgiven” our debtors (an action in the past). That appears to indicate that we must forgive others in order to earn God’s forgiveness, but I do not believe that’s how our loving God works. We know that being forgiven is not based on our work, but on the work of Jesus Christ in the cross. Ephesians 1:7 tells us plainly, “In [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”

While this was originally written in Greek, it is believed that Matthew (who wrote this gospel) was Jewish, so he would have spoken Aramaic in daily life. Early Christian scholars believe that Matthew actually was thinking of an Aramaic verb tense here in this second half of the verse that would be more accurately translated like a present perfect - as we should forgive our debtors in the way that God forgives us. The verb tense used in Greek often indicates past action, but it can also mean habitual action in the present. This means that it could be translated “as we habitually forgive,” which lines up with the Aramaic thought that Matthew may have had.

Another school of thought is that it’s all about our attitude. We do not need to earn God’s forgiveness by forgiving others, but we need to demonstrate an attitude that would make forgiving others possible. If we are truly repentant of our sin and we see how badly we have been disobedient to God, then the sins of others to us are really quite small in comparison. When we realize that we are asking God to forgive an enormous sin - what we have done that’s disobedient to the God of the universe - anything that any human can do against us is miniscule in importance.

Sure, it hurts me that someone told a lie to me. But it hurt Jesus even more that all of humankind sinned against God, and all of that punishment was heaped on Jesus on the cross. While all sin is sin, the magnitude of sinning against God is so much greater than offenses between humans. Surely we can forgive what that person has done to us if Almighty God can die for the forgiveness of all of humanity’s sins against Him!

God’s Word has much to say about forgiveness that helps us interpret this section of the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus gives additional teaching on forgiveness in Matthew 18:15-22. This phrasing of the Lord’s prayer is echoed by Jesus in Mark 11:24-25, where Jesus is teaching after HIs triumphal entry into Jerusalem: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

The Apostle Paul also teaches us about forgiveness. Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” John echoes these thoughts in his first letter. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Does being forgiven by God depend on us forgiving others? No, it depends on the work of Jesus on the cross that has already been accomplished. But, we do need to be truly repentant of our sin in order to receive that forgiveness, and if we truly have a repentant heart, then we should not be harboring grudges or ill will against others who have sinned against us.

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