Hebrews 11:8-12

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 31, 2022 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.” -Hebrews 11:8-12

Abraham is considered to be the father of the nation of Israel, as many Sunday School children know from the catchy song (“Father Abraham had many sons, many sons had Father Abraham…”). While we could point out the technicality that Abraham’s grandson Jacob was the one whom God renamed Israel and whose sons’ descendants became the tribes, Abraham was the one to whom God gave the promise of becoming the father of a great nation.

This is why the author spends so many verses on just this one person when reciting the great heroes of the faith. The section on Abraham actually spans verses 8-19. The author of Hebrews seems especially fond of Abraham, as he’s mentioned ten times over the course of the letter. Abraham is clearly a great example of faith in God; he accepted God’s promises even though he really had no earthly reason to assume that they would be fulfilled. Yes, a few faithful men had come before him, but we know from Genesis 11:10-32 that it was multiple generations from Noah until Abraham lived.

For today’s passage, we start at the beginning of the story of Abraham that we have in the Bible – when God told him to leave his homeland and move to a new land. You can read about this part of Abraham’s story starting in Genesis 12. God told Abraham to move to a different land, and Abraham went. When we move to a new place, we typically know where we’re going – probably many details about the new place, too! But Abraham did not know the destination when he packed up everything to move. He simply trusted God that God would keep His promise to show him where to settle.

But even when Abraham God to that land, he wasn’t able to truly settle there; he lived “like a stranger in a foreign country” (verse 9). The land had been promised to Abraham and his descendants by God, but it was not theirs to possess just yet. Even Abraham’s son Isaac and his son Jacob were not permanently settled there, as they lived in tents there during their lives also. We know from later in Genesis that Jacob’s sons and their families ended up in Egypt after the famine, and it was not until the time of Moses when the people (by that time a huge nation) even began to travel back to this promised land.

Why was Abraham okay with this situation? “For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (verse 10). To the original audience of the book of Hebrews, the city was considered the highest form of civilization. The foundations mentioned likely refer to the strong spiritual foundation of the promises of God rather than the physical foundations of a city. God is both the designer and the one who constructs this perfect city. Many scholars believe this is a reference to the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21. Abraham wasn’t just looking forward to the promised land or even the future city of Jerusalem that would be built there but of our future perfect dwelling with God for eternity. That is the only place that God truly designed and built that encompasses God’s perfection.

Verse 11 may represent the author embellishing things a bit, or perhaps remembering the story of Sarah more fondly than how it actually happens. The author portrays Abraham’s wife Sarah as being fully faithful and having confidence in the promise that she would bear a child, even in her own age. But in Genesis 16, we see Sarah losing faith in God’s timing, so she uses her servant Hagar to try and give them a son. Then in Genesis 18, Sarah laughs when the visitors say that she will bear a child in her old age. Neither of those sound like having faith that God will do what He promised to do!

But we know that God was faithful to His promise. Even though Abraham was “as good as dead” (verse 12) because of his old age, God gave him and Sarah a son, from whom came countless descendants. Because God promised and Abraham believed, God’s promise was fulfilled. Abraham’s faithful obedience resulted in blessings beyond what they could count - more numerous than the stars in the sky or the sand on the seashore.

I know I am thankful that God does not often call me to do things that require as much faith as Abraham packing up and moving to a land he didn’t yet know. But God still does work in our lives today, often without letting us know all of the details. Years ago, I heard this idea interpreted in light of Psalm 119:105: “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” A lamp or a light on the path are not considered to be very bright. Often, they would only serve to illuminate the next step, not the whole path. God often only gives us the next step we need to take, and we need to have faith in Him that He knows the whole path that He is calling us to.

Abraham was called to take that next step in faith – move to a land that God would show him – and he did, knowing by faith that God would work it all out. Abraham was called to believe in the promise God gave him that he would have numerous descendants, even while he was getting old and still childless; by faith, Abraham believed that.

What next step is God calling you to take in your life by faith? Listen for God’s voice in your life, through prayer, through other believers speaking into your life, through reading God’s Word, or even through the voice of God speaking directly to you. And when you discern what God is telling you, have faith that God will fulfill what He promises you!

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Being a Christian 4: Worshiping God’s Way

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 28, 2022 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

One of the great tragedies of our modern American Christian culture is we have totally lost the sight of God in regard to worship. We no longer do things the way God wants them to be done but rather how we’d prefer to have them. In a way, we have turned our Sunday services into something little different than the pagan rituals of the Ancient Near East, where we seek to “appease a god” with our works, our singing, and our words (messages). We seek church congregations that offer what we are looking for and for what will satisfy our wishes and desires. Then if the church no longer provides that, we leave and move on.

I was raised in a home that taught loyalty. When you went to a church or a job or a ministry, you stuck with it until it was clear you were to move on. I have been part of 4 churches in my life now and don’t even know the beginning of how to go about church hunting. I’ve been at my current church for about a year now, and I love it. We are called “The Old Paths Christian Church.” This church, after seeing all the modernized attempts to be “seeker-friendly,” decided to go back to the old ways of doing things and get back to being what God wants us to do.

Now, God is not so specific that you have to do absolutely everything the exact same way in a legalistic manner no matter the time, culture, or language, but at the same time He does have guidelines on what genuine faith, genuine worship, and genuine religion are to look like. When Jesus spoke with the woman at the well, she complained that everyone had to go to Jerusalem to worship whereas she, as a Samaritan, had been raised that you could worship God on the mountains (the high places where the golden calves of Jeroboam were placed). Jesus said the day would come where both Jew and Samaritan could worship in spirit and truth. The problem today is that we have taken the first part of this teaching (worshiping in spirit) but we often ignore the truth part.

When I was on the mission field, we had a team from Houston, TX that was from a very legalistic church. Every boy wore a tie, and every girl wore a dress, regardless of the circumstance. As a staff, we debated if we would do the same just so we would not offend them. They were offended by the training videos we used because they had a guitar for background music. They wanted only organs for music. We actually thought they would not come, but they did. When they came out of that week, they learned that it was possible to worship God in a different way than they were used to and even if it wasn’t their preference, that it was okay to not do things exactly that way. It turned out, many from that team soon left that church.

Legalism is definitely not the way to go regarding living the Christian life, but neither is its equal and opposite twin: antinomianism. While legalism would say, “You have to absolutely everything exactly my way,” antinomianism would say, “You can do whatever you want to do.” Both extremes are very dangerous. When a man began doing ministry using Jesus’ name, the disciples wanted him to stop because he wasn’t “one of them.” Jesus said, “This guy is acting in faith and believes Me. Don’t stop him. He’s on our side.” The disciples were an example of legalism. We often think of the Pharisees for their legalistic approach, however Jesus rarely chided them for legalism. Rather, He chided them for hypocrisy. In their attempt to over-control things so people would not sin, they themselves frequently did not do the very things they preached.

But the Bible lists the problems with antinomianism even more than it does legalism. We have to worship God the way God wants to be worshiped, and we cannot do things our own way and think God will approve of them. The first time man sought to do his own thing was in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve made their own clothes, covering themselves with fig leaves. Not long after, after God showed them the correct way for a sinful person to worship, their sons made their first sacrifices. Abel brough the best of his flock, a blood sacrifice, and Cain brought fruit of his own labor. It wasn’t merely the heart attitude that made God reject Cain but also the type of sacrifice. It wasn’t what God wanted and how God wanted it. God wasn’t being picky; He was making a point. You can’t worship God just however you want.

Nadab and Abihu, the eldest sons of Moses’ brother Aaron, had been commissioned as priests. As the first born, Nadab was in line to take Aaron’s place as High Priest. They did not follow God’s instructions and offered strange fire before the Lord. God burned them to death and did not allow Aaron to even mourn for them.

King Saul saw the worship of God just as the pagans around him did – a means of appeasing the gods, which is why he felt he could justify offering the sacrifice when Samuel tarried. This cost him his throne. David, the man who sought after the things of God and the heart of God, knew God’s heart regarding sacrifice and refused to offer that which cost him nothing. However, when bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, in his excitement, David did not obey the Lord in how the Ark was to be carried. He put it on a cart rather than on the shoulders of Levites, and when the oxen stumbled and the cart was about to tip over, Uzzah, in his zeal to protect the Ark, touched it and God smote him on the spot.

If you think this is just for Old Testament times, read the book of Acts. Ananias and Sapphira thought they could worship God by joining in the giving to the pot by selling their own property. But they kept some of it and declared they gave everything. They lied to God and to the church, and God smote them for it. Simon the sorcerer saw what God was doing and asked for the Holy Spirit’s baptism so he could have this power, too. Peter pronounced a curse on him, too, but Simon at least somewhat repented of that.

Today, worship is often no longer worship as God defined it. The singing is more of a concert than it is actual worship. The sermon is not about proclaiming God’s word but rather about giving a motivational speech. And the church is seeking to draw people in instead of seeking the worship of God. If we believe Christ is the head of the church, then He should operate as the head of the church, meaning Jesus should dictate what our worship should look like. It’s not about appeasing what each of us wants; our opinions have no weight here whatsoever. But when was the last time that your church actually sought the will and mind of Christ in how the congregation is to worship God? Or did they rather seek what the congregation wanted or what church leaders wanted?

Church is to be done God’s way and not based on our preferences. My church does its singing differently than what I am used to and even different from my general preferences in terms of style. If I had my way, I’d prefer the modern contemporary style, but fit with better doctrine. But my former church and current church don’t do that. And guess what? That’s fine. Because they aren’t worshiping me in either case.

But where is God in our worship? What role does He play? How have we consulted Him in what He wants? Few churches are asking these questions. My current church has, and they are going after what they believe should be the best for their congregation. Is it perfect? Of course not. But at least we are pointing the right direction. Worship is to be done God’s way. He has told us how He prefers to be worshipped, and we need to be obedient to those principles.

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Hebrews 11:4-7

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 24, 2022 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.”
-Hebrews 11:4-7

In the first section of chapter 11, we learned about what faith is – “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (verse 1). That introduction was necessary so that all of these stories that follow will make sense. In today’s passage, we look at the first few of those stories, which demonstrate the faith of those who lived before the Flood.

The first example of faith that the author of Hebrews chooses is Abel. You can read more of Abel’s story in Genesis 4. The highlight of Abel’s faith was that he brought a different offering to God than his brother Cain did. Abel, who kept the flocks, brought the best portions from some of his firstborn. Cain was a farmer, and he just brought some of his harvest as an offering to God, not necessarily the best parts as Abel did. God was pleased with Abel’s offering because he offered up the best, but God was not pleased with Cain’s offering. This made Cain jealous, so he killed his brother – the first recorded murder, and in only the second generation since the perfection of the Garden of Eden.

The author of Hebrews reports that God commended Abel as righteous (verse 4) because of his faith. Abel believed that God deserved his best, and it was that attitude that showed his faith in God. Even though Abel has long been dead, his faith is still important for us to consider today. We, too, must have the right motivation when bringing our offerings to God, whether they be offerings of our time, money, or talents.

The next example that the author of Hebrews gives in verses 5-6 is Enoch. We don’t know a lot about Enoch from the Biblical account, but what we do know about him can be found in Genesis 5:18-24. He is also mentioned in Luke 3:37 and Jude 14. The important fact about Enoch is that he was “taken away” from this life. The author of Hebrews believes this means that he did not experience physical death. Why did God not let Enoch die? We know that God was pleased with him and he walked faithfully with God, but other than that, it’s a mystery to us.

The author of Hebrews elaborates a bit on this concept of pleasing God by telling us that it’s only possible by faith. We have to have faith in God in order to believe in Him and seek Him, and when we seek God we will be rewarded by Him. That doesn’t mean that we’ll all be simply taken away from this world rather than experience physical death, as rewards from God can come in many forms. But it is impossible to please God without faith, so faith is essential!

The next example we see is that of Noah (verse 7). Noah’s story can be found in Genesis 6-9. Noah was warned about the coming flood that would bring God’s judgment to the whole world, but God also gave Noah instructions about how to save himself and his family. Noah had no way of knowing about the coming flood other than God’s warning, so he had to take it all on faith that he needed to build the ark. Noah’s faith in God led to the salvation of his family.

Noah’s building of the ark was an outward sign of his internal faith in God to keep His promises. Noah was obedient to God, and in that respect, he condemned those who were disobedient to God. Even if God didn’t give the command to others, they would have seen what Noah was doing and had the opportunity to ask him about it so Noah could have shared his faith with them. But when the wicked people of that time didn’t listen to Noah, they were condemned to die in the judgment of the flood.

Because of Noah’s faith, he was called righteous. In fact, he is the first person in the Bible to be referred to as righteous (Genesis 6:9). He believed what God said, and he acted on it, which made him right in God’s eyes.

What can we learn from the examples of Abel, Enoch, and Noah? We need to have the right motivation when giving back to God. We need to be faithful to God in all that we do, and to have faith in God even when we can’t see Him or understand what He’s doing. When God tells us to do something, we need to act on it to live out our faith. Our faith is not just an attitude, but it’s a way of life – being obedient to God in all that we do, to the best of our abilities.

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Being a Christian 3: Superstitious Symbols

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 21, 2022 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Growing up, one of my favorite songs was by Michael W. Smith titled “Cross of Gold.” I mostly enjoyed the beat then. When I heard it again now as an adult, I see the song in a totally new light, and I see how important that message is today. The gist of the song is addressing the person who wears a cross on a necklace and is asked why they are wearing it. Is it just a symbol? A piece of jewelry? A fashion thing? A charm? Or is there something much more to it?

I have asked multiple times: “Why do we call ourselves Christians?” The ones who are truly born again and regenerated with the new nature know why. Those who are fakers will not be able to answer that question correctly. Why do we wear Christian T-shirts? Why do we have a cross as a piece of jewelry? Why do we even carry that Bible around? American Christians have turned our symbolism into superstition, and we aren’t the only ones.

What do I mean by turning the very symbols of our faith into superstitious items? It’s not anything new. We see a clear example of this in the history of Israel. Israel sinned in the wilderness and God sent fiery serpents to kill people. He then had Moses forge a bronze serpent and hang it up on a pole so that anyone who looked upon it would be healed and saved. This would be a picture or an image of Jesus on the cross. Several hundred years later, king Hezekiah began to do some reforms and he sought to clean out the nation from all its idols (and they were many). One of the idols he had to destroy was this very same bronze serpent. Why? Because Israel had turned it into an idol, a superstitious symbol and image that they turned to for hope and help and healing instead of God.

When God showed Himself at Mt. Sinai in Exodus 19, He came in thunder and smoke and fire, but He did not take any physical form. Why? In Deuteronomy 4, He said He would not take any physical form because Israel would take that form and create an idol out of it, turning to the idol instead of Him. God knows the tendencies of mankind.

Israel didn’t just fail in this regard. They turned even the Law into religious superstition. They turned the sacrificial system into a superstition. The purpose of the sacrificial system was to constantly remind Israel of the severity of their sin and to look forward to the eventual Savior who would do it once for all. Yet, it did not take long for the sacrifices to be nothing more than ritualistic rites and essentially superstitious means of getting God’s favor. That was king Saul’s excuse for disobeying God twice. He offered a sacrifice, something only a priest/prophet could do, not the king. Then he used sacrifice as a cop-out for being caught in disobedience. Saul never saw the weight of the system. David, on the other hand, did. When he sinned by taking the census, he went to make his sacrifice and he made sure it cost him something. He understood the mercy of God, but he also took the wrath and high standards of God seriously.

Today, we fall into the same traps. We turn to physical images to give us hope and encouragement. We go to church as routine and as religious rite, but how often do we actually go to church to meet God with other believers? Why are we even going to church to begin with? The majority of Christians today no longer believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven, and they believe that you can get to heaven by doing good deeds (recent polls put these figures at 60+%). They think that by going to church, they will please God and He will let them in to heaven. It’s the same religious superstition of the Ancient Near East. They sought to win the gods’ favor by sacrifices, prayers, praises, and good deeds. Ultimately, their idea is to use their good deeds to strongarm the gods into granting their favor. Today, it’s no different. We have this thing called “The Law of Attraction,” which essentially is a way to attempt to make the world’s energies come give you want you want. It’s half pantheism, half demon worship. And yet our most popular preacher in this country, among others, openly teaches this. It’s superstition, religious rite, and completely devoid of their purpose.

A friend of mine, Jody Ayers, made a very interesting comment on this issue. She pointed out that all these rituals, talismans, symbols, idols, and even things like circumcision, the sinner’s prayer, or whatever are all cheap replacements for genuine repentance. We seek these things to ‘protect ourselves’ instead of seeking God with a broken heart and calling upon His grace and mercy to save us.

Christianity is NOT one of these other religions. It tells us explicitly to never place trust in an icon or a picture or image. Those are idols. It also tells us to avoid any religious rite that is done by routine. There are religious rites that we Christians have: we have the Lord’s Supper and baptism. Each of these have instructions on how they are to be taken and carried out. Sure, each local church congregation has its own methods, procedures, etc., but so many of these things are done because “we’ve always done it that way,” not because “we want to follow what God wants us to do.” That’s one thing I like about my current church. We definitely do some things that other people will find weird. We have an elder ring a bell (a triangle) to signal the start of the service and to prepare our hearts for worshiping God and hearing the sermon. We then have someone bring the Bible up down the aisle up to the pulpit for the “call to worship.” I often feel like it’s marching the U.S. flag to the stage for an event. We do things with purpose, and we have Scripture to support why we do what we do (for these two cases it is to treat the gathering of believers seriously and the Word of God with reverence). But we do not do these things as though they give us any special standing with God, nor to garner nor earn His favor. We do it as a means of setting our hearts right to do things God’s way, not our own.

Why are you a Christian? Why do you look to that cross? Why do you look at a picture of Jesus? Why do you take Communion? Why do you go to church? Is it because you actually are a Christian, because you love Christ and seek to do things God’s way? Or have you simply created your own superstitious religion in hope to “get in,” seeking God’s blessing but not seeking God’s face? I know I’ve done church too many times by rote. God will not be pleased with mere religious ritual. He wants a heart that longs for Him. Calling upon some kind of talisman will do you no good. Only the true God can save you. This sounds so basic, yet most of our churches today are not teaching this stuff. I’m going to continue exploring this as I continue this series.

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Crazy Things Theistic Evolutionists Say: Entropy Again

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, January 20, 2022 2 comments

by Steve Risner

This is a follow-up on my last post concerning entropy and, hopefully, we’ll be able to leave it be for a time. I’m writing in response to some strange (what I’ve even regarded as crazy because, frankly, some of it is the whackiest stuff I’ve seen an evolutionist say) things a theistic evolutionist said in a group on Facebook. I love the group because, while it is truly an atheist’s troll den, it serves to provide me with information to write on. This information can be things they say Biblical creationists say. It might be things they think are great arguments for their position. Or it might be arguments against the Bible or creation. Either way, I get a great deal of material from such groups, although they can try one’s patience a great deal. Honestly, I need to work on how I respond to character assassination and personal attacks. I need to cool it, but I let it get away from me sometimes. Jesus is working on that with me and I’m grateful. Moving on to the point…

Entropy is a measurement of how much energy can be used for meaningful work in a system. Basically, as energy gets used or transformed, some of it is always wasted. Eventually, no energy will be useful for work. That’s called “heat death.” If you ask Google what heat death is, it will say, “a state of uniform distribution of energy, especially viewed as a possible fate of the universe. It is a corollary of the second law of thermodynamics.” It just means energy is dispersed such that it cannot be used for anything useful. This results in “death.” Associated with the Second Law of Thermodynamics (which talks a great deal about entropy) is the idea that a natural system will tend to degenerate into a less organized state as time goes on. I believe these two things work against abiogenesis and universal common descent. I’ve explained a little as to why in my last post.

Basically, the idea is that simple chemistry in a warm pond (or where the currently popular version of the humanist origins myth says abiogenesis happened) will not, with the application of undirected energy, produce the sophisticated, highly complex structures that are essential for a life form to exist. The difference between even amino acids (which are fairly complex in comparison to water or salt) and proteins and DNA in their complexities is astronomical. But we are to believe that undirected energy (that’s critical) can cause amazing amounts of order from a disorganized soup of chemicals. It’s a hard case for them to make, in my opinion. I realize many will want to suggest it’s settled somehow. But it really is not settled at all on any factual basis. It’s just settled in their imaginations.

To highlight what I feel was an important point from my last post, consider that while those who propose we should all believe the humanist origins myth (the Big Bang, chemical, stellar, and cosmic evolution and abiogenesis leading to universal common descent) will say entropy (that measurement of disorder that always tends to increase) only applies to closed or isolated systems (depending on which person you talk to—closed or isolated). But the Second Law of Thermodynamics works in all systems that are left undisturbed. Dr. John Ross of Harvard University states:

“… there are no known violations of the second law of thermodynamics. Ordinarily the second law is stated for isolated systems, but the second law applies equally well to open systems. … There is somehow associated with the field of far-from-equilibrium thermodynamics the notion that the second law of thermodynamics fails for such systems. It is important to make sure that this error does not perpetuate itself.”

So be sure not to fall for this trick of the evolutionist. And while order can increase slightly in a system because it decreases elsewhere, there is a major difference between order and complexity. A complex system of data storage and retrieval is not the same as crystallization (this is the example I’ve been given numerous times of order increasing naturally). A crystal is an organized lattice work of a particular chemical makeup. Google explains it as “a piece of a homogeneous solid substance having a natural geometrically regular form with symmetrically arranged plane faces.”

If you smash a crystal, you get smaller crystals. If you cut it into pieces, you get more smaller crystals. This is because it’s a repeating pattern of chemicals organized in a very plain and predictable way. This is not true of a life form. If you smash a cell, it’s no longer a cell; it’s a number of complex parts that no longer function together. If you cut a turtle into a million pieces, you no longer have a turtle. It’s not a repeating pattern of order. It’s a highly specialized, complex, and orchestrated number of processes and structures that make it what it is. You lose that if you smash it or cut it up or whatever. Do you follow? Do you see the difference between order and complex?

Applying energy to the system will cause the breakdown of order to occur more quickly. We are supposed to believe that applying energy to a warm pond caused it to organize and become highly complex. This defies science and experience as we all know this isn’t how applying undirected energy works. And undirected energy is all the naturalist has. They cannot call on anything supernatural or unnatural because that violates the major crux of their belief system. So, they are left holding a bag of miraculous events—everything I listed above as tenets of the humanist origins myth—but cannot explain them naturally so they make up very interesting ideas on how some of it could happen (which is usually wishful thinking) but doesn’t help them explain that it did happen.

The high level of order and complexity we see in living things and, quite likely, the universe as a whole, can only be accounted for by a Creator—a Designer. How foolish to say a watch has a maker but a watchmaker does not. One is a complicated machine that cannot be accounted for without an intelligent cause. The other is an astronomically more complex machine that not only built the watch but imagined its design and created it from raw materials. But one has a maker while the other doesn’t. Do you see the contradiction? Do you understand the absurdity of the humanist origins myth? It’s self-contradictory.

Without an intelligence behind it, energy cannot be employed to create high orders of complexity. Without intelligence to harness and utilize available energy, regardless of the type of system, we see the universality of the Second Law of Thermodynamics is a plus for creation and not so good for anti-Biblical origins tales. Paul writes for us in Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Unbelievers are without excuse. But I think believers are as well—believers who can read the Word of God and know exactly what it’s saying but reject that and accept something completely unbiblical. And to think this whole discussion was brought about by a Christian who thinks he’s doing a service for the Lord by preaching a message contrary to the one we find in Scripture. It’s bizarre to me how some people work.

In this regard, I think it’s important to note that the Lord warned us against hanging on to the philosophies of the world while living the Christian life. In 2 Corinthians 6:14-16a Paul writes, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?” And then in verse 17 he tells us, “Therefore, ‘Come out from them and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.’” We are to avoid blending our faith with the faiths of others. We are to avoid joining our faith with foreign ideas that are completely contrary to what Scripture tells us.

What else are theistic evolutionists doing but this very thing? God has called us out of unbelievers. Of course, our origins beliefs will be contrary to those of the world. They hate God and anything associated with Him. Creation can only exist because of the Creator, so they make up silly stories about expansions and the evolution of everything that defies science, reason, and experience. But they have to because they must reject the Creator, no matter how foolish their stance is. Richard Lewontin said this on this topic: “…we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated.” At least he was good enough to admit it.

More next time – I’ve run out of space again!

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Theme of the Year and You

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, January 18, 2022 0 comments

by Eric Hansen

Fellow Worldview Warriors blogger Charlie Wolcott wrote a post on New Year's Eve talking about the movement of creating a theme for a given year on how God will bless you. As someone who isn’t a part of the “Word of Faith” movement, yet does set a yearly theme, I thought it would be beneficial to provide a side thought on this topic.

Charlie makes a great directive in adding “how God will bless you” to his topic. I think as Christians we should acknowledge the blessings God does give us, but they are within His will, not ours. There are definitely areas where people will make statements such as, “2022 is the year God will give me a million dollars a month!” Of course, we know God is not an ATM or a vending machine as it’s not scripturally supported anywhere.

But instead, I implore you to determine if having a theme for a year, month, or day is chastising the concept of faith.

Since 2019, I’ve personally had a theme for each year. I reflect near the end of the year to see what areas I’m weak in, and I pray to God about what He wants me to strengthen in the coming year. It may not even be an area I see, such as the first year it was patience. During my reflection, I didn’t see an issue with my patience, but God did.

What we need to do is evaluate what the purpose is of our actions. As humans and Christians, we should be growing, expanding, and looking forward. I’m just as guilty as the worst for staying complacent; it’s why I was in a relationship for 3 years too long. That experience alone taught me, even before I truly believed in Christ, that I need to grow and learn from experiences.

If you’re someone who needs or enjoys structure, it may benefit you to have a theme for a season. Due to my ADHD and introvertedness, I’ve discovered journaling has helped me. While the structure of the journal can change, I have some foundation. For example, for the month of January, I’m tracking my mood in the morning and evening, along with making a conscious effort to be a better husband. I’m doing this by structuring the expectations I set for myself. If you’re familiar with the bullet journal method, you’ll quickly understand.

I look at each year as being a season, and within that season there are sub-seasons. So in 2019, my main season was growing in patience, and I experienced various flows that either helped or regressed my growth. But each one taught me yet a new lesson on pivoting. Sometimes the pains were pleasurable; other times I felt like quitting. But, my focus wasn’t on me but on God.

While I can’t remember what my theme was for 2021, in thinking back during that time I can easily see where I did and did not grow. God definitely ran me through the ringer so to speak a few times, and there were times I regressed. But the only expectation there was of God was His forgiveness and blessing of strength and guidance.

There’s no reason either for this to happen only on January 1 each year. If you end up reading this post at any point of the year, start then if you like. Just like exercise, the best time to start may have been yesterday, but today is only tomorrow’s yesterday.

For me, any theme for any intent should be Jesus-centered. Things like “self-development,” “self-esteem,” or anything else prefixed with “self” is idolatry. We are made in the image of God, meaning at each of our core is God in some fashion; this is NOT, however, saying we are “little Gods.” To get a better sense of what I mean, Rick Lawerence wrote a great book I recommend reading: Jesus-Centered Life.

If you’re interested in starting a process like this but are not sure where to start, prayer and petition to God is where I would start. Ask for Him to soften your heart, open your eyes, and guide you in the process. Once God directs you to an area to focus on, seek His guidance on how to accomplish change. Journal if you like, start off running if you want, or go at a comfortable pace if you feel that’s best. It’s a very personal journey that people can only support you on, not tell you what to do.

Ultimately, it’s up to us on an individual level to listen to the Spirit on whether we should embark on any situation, how to navigate it, and when to pivot. God didn’t call us to stay still and keep complacent. We should continuously look to grow in the Spirit, Word, and love of God. If that includes theming a Jesus-centered development, then let it be so.

For me, my 2022 theme will be “Jesus First”:

Do you have a theme or word for the year? Share it in the comments!

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Hebrews 11:1-3

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 17, 2022 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”
-Hebrews 11:1-3

These verses begin what’s often known as the “Hall of Faith” chapter of the Bible – it’s like a Hall of Fame but for heroes of the faith. But before digging into those stories, the author needs to first establish what faith is.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we often talk about faith, but do we really know what faith is? Even those who claim no religious beliefs have faith. We have faith that the chair we sit on will hold us. We have faith that the brake pedal in our car will work when we need it to. These examples of faith are based on reason and experience; based on the countless times the chair hasn’t broken and the brake pedal safely stops the car, we believe that will remain true. But if you have an experience where a chair breaks when you sit on it and you fall to the floor or the brake line goes out in your car, your faith will be shaken.

But what about faith in God? Should our faith in God be different than our faith in material things? If so, how?

Let’s start with the definition that the author of Hebrews gives for faith: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (verse 1). It’s interesting that in Greek, this verse actually starts with the verb – “is.” That’s unusual, so it places emphasis on that word. It’s a present indicative verb, which means it’s stating a fact in our present reality. Faith simply is; it’s not something only in the past or the future, but it is a present reality of today.

What is faith? It is confidence in what we hope for. That word confidence can also be translated as substance. Something is made more “real” to us when it has substance to it – things we can feel and see. Having faith gives substance to things that appear to have no substance, and in that we can be confident. Faith is the basis of all that we hope for. We can’t see everything that we have faith in, but we have confident hope in those things.

He also says that faith is assurance in what we do not see. The word for assurance often means a proof or a test of something, many times used in a legal context. Faith is how we can test and provide proof for the things that we don’t see with our eyes. It’s not a physical test but a spiritual one; do we really believe by faith what we have been told, even though we can’t see it?

The author further describes faith as “what the ancients were commended for” (verse 2). The “ancients” often means “elders,” which could be people who are elders either due to age or dignity. It can also refer to forefathers – those who have gone before us. Here, it is an introduction to what is to come. Starting in verse 4, the author begins to list many forefathers of the faith who were commended for how they lived out their faith. They weren’t perfect, but they did their best to live by their faith in God and the confidence and assurance that gave them.

At the beginning of verse 3, we see the first occurrence of a recurring theme in this chapter: “By faith.” For most of the chapter, “by faith” introduces some person’s actions from the past. Here, however, WE are included in it in the present. This is what we need to do with our faith: “we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”

Creation is the first thing that happened in our world that we must believe on faith. No one was around to personally witness the act of creation, but we see evidence of it everywhere. Any theory of the origin of our world (even non-Biblical ones such as the theory of evolution) require faith to believe it; no one was there to see and experience it.

Based on this understanding of creation, that God formed it all at His command, creating what we see out of what we don’t see, everything else is possible! If we believe that God spoke everything into existence, God must be able to do whatever it is we need Him to do in our lives. We did not create everything around us, therefore we are not in control. God did create everything out of nothing, therefore He is in control.

This understanding of God is how we can live our lives by faith in Him. We do not need to be secure in our own abilities, just in the ability of God to do whatever He needs to. Our faith does not need to be blind faith, but it can look at what God has done. God created everything out of nothing, including creating us, so we know that God loves us and cares for us. This is just the first example of many we’ll see in this chapter about how we can have faith in God because of what He has done.

What or who do you have faith in? Do you have confidence and assurance in God, the creator of the universe? What has God done in your life to prove Himself faithful? God has shown to be faithful to so many people since the beginning of time, so He will surely continue to be faithful to us as well. Of that we can be completely confident!

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Being a Christian 2: Relationship or Religion?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 14, 2022 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“I don’t have a religion. I have a relationship.”

How many of you have heard this tag line to distinguish themselves from other religions? I hear it all the time, and I’ve even used it a number of times. But it’s not true. No one who has thought this through can claim this. Everyone has a religion. Everyone has some deity they worship whether it be Jehovah, Allah, an idol, nature, or themselves. Everyone worships something. And everyone has a “code of ethics” that comes with their religion, God or no god. So, sorry, everyone has a religion.

But Christianity is unique. The religion is rooted in both a relationship and a creed. No other religion actually proclaims a personal, intimate relationship between the deity and the people. God repeatedly proclaimed His relationship with Israel as being unique and not like those of the other nations. This is not a mere acquaintance nor a friendship. It is described as a marriage. Some theologians have suggested that the Ten Commandments could actually be the wedding vows between God and the nation of Israel. Then due to Israel’s repeated unfaithfulness, Scripture even declares that God divorced Israel. The Christian’s relationship with Christ is also compared to that of marriage. Paul spends a fair amount of time of Ephesians 5 making this connection.

The Christian faith has both relationship and religion. There is the personal connection with God, which only happens via the supernatural regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, and there is the religious aspect, which calls for moral adherence and obedience to God’s commands. There must be both parts to it, and they work holistically. Paul makes it absolutely clear that our salvation is by grace through faith in Ephesians 2:8. But James said that faith without works is dead. Jesus Himself said that those who are His family are those who obey His commands. Then there is the other aspect: all law and no relationship becomes legalism. In studying church history, there is always the pendulum swing between legalism and antinomianism (a moral free-for-all). Church generations tend to swing back and forth between one extreme and the other. In the 90s, there was the sexual purity movement. Today, it’s a free-for-all, and the “New Reformation” teachings are back to stoicism, with pure theology and no emotion. The same is true about the relationship and religion aspects as well. When the church sees something wrong between the religious aspects, they overreact and focus on just relationships. That’s where we are right now. But we are also seeing that the relationship aspect is devoid of moral stability, and we are moving to come back to center, at least for a moment.

You cannot have a relationship with someone you don’t know. The Bible does not deal with acquaintances when it comes to how God relates to His people; it deals with the deepest kind of intimacy. Marriage is the closest relationship a man can have with a woman, and the epitome of this relationship is in sexual relations. The Bible often uses the term “to know” to describe this. I want to be careful how I say this, but it is absolutely necessary for the image I am trying to give here. When a husband has sex with his wife, he puts his seed into her, and she conceives. Nine months later, a child is born. In Christianity, Christ, the husband, puts His seed into us, and that seed produces salvation (among many other things). When Jesus told the many who call Him “Lord, Lord” “I never knew you,” Jesus was saying, “I have had no intimate relationship with you. My seed is not within you.” You will not get into heaven by proclaiming yourself to be a Christian, nor by simply saying you have a relationship with Christ. You only get in by Jesus saying, “I know YOU.”

Isaiah warns about our day in Isaiah 4:1. Before that in chapter 3, Isaiah describes the sinful state of Judah and then describes how God takes away 11 positions of strength of a nation, from military strength to leadership, to quality speakers, to food and water supplies, to the economy, etc. With these 11 strengths gone, a nation is devastated. Side note: look at today – most of these strengths are gone from the U.S. too. In that day of destruction, in that day of judgment, seven women will go out to one man to make a marriage of convenience. They will do their own thing and they will stay out of the man’s way; they just want the name of the husband so they could take away their reproach, so they would look good before man. David Wilkerson taught that this was a picture of Jesus, when numerous people would come to Him, proclaim His name, but never have any real intimate relationship with Him. This is the kind of relationship that is nominal at best and again, there is no seed of growth. It’s all a work of self and the flesh. It’s a man-made religion with no relationship. Let me make something clear here: the majority of those who say they have a relationship, not a religion, very likely are in this boat. Why? Because they boast of a relationship with Christ but show they have no interest in what Christ actually wants: obedience.

I am going to dig into this issue as I go through this series. Christianity is a faith in which salvation is by the grace of God, but there much more involved than just a casual belief on our part. It is not enough to say you know Christ. It is not enough to just say a prayer and be saved. There must be life being produced within us. It takes the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit to make that seed of Christ grow within our “womb” so that it bears life. That which does not produce fruit will be cut off and cast out. Read the Parable of the Sower. Read John 15. That which bears no fruit will be cut off. What kind of fruit are we bearing? Is the seed of Christ within us? How can we know? I will be answering these questions as I continue this series.

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Hebrews 10:32-39

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 10, 2022 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
For, ‘In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.’
And, ‘But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.’
But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”
-Hebrews 10:32-39

In the previous section, the author of Hebrews gave stern warnings to those who continually choose to disobey God. Interestingly, the NIV text (quoted above) omitted a very important word at the beginning of this passage: the conjunction “but.” The conjunction is present in the Greek text, and I believe it’s very important for the author is distinguishing between those who have chosen to fall away from the faith and the believers whom he is addressing in this passage.

Those in the audience of this letter are the ones who “received the light” (verse 32). This verb sometimes refers to baptism, but that is not necessarily the case here. What’s important here is to note that these are believers in Jesus Christ who have been enlightened to faith by the gospel message.

The next phrase refers to enduring a “conflict full of suffering.” The Greek word translated here as conflict has the idea of athletic competitions to it. This word was often used for early Christians, comparing them to spiritual athletes. In those early days, the Christian life was a strenuous one where they encountered much suffering.

Verses 33-34 explain this suffering in greater detail. There are two groups of believers referred to here – those who were actively persecuted, and those who suffered because of their association with the first group. Those in this first group were insulted and persecuted in a public manner; this wasn’t just persecution occurring in their homes or churches, but they were made a spectacle of in public areas.

The second group is guilty by association so to speak. They were present when others were publicly persecuted. They sympathized with prisoners. They allowed their personal property to be taken away from them, knowing that material things were not what was important in life.

Prisoners were not treated well back in those days. Today, while prison is not considered a great life, prisoners do have their basic needs taken care of – food, shelter, etc. In those days, that was not the case. Prisoners would be dependent on their friends or family to bring them food to keep them alive and for any other items they needed. While this is something that Jesus commanded His followers to do (see Matthew 25:34-36), it was risky for those visiting prisoners. They would be associated with the prisoners they visited, and they could potentially be accused of the same crimes.

These believers “joyfully” allowed their possessions to be taken away. The text is unclear as to whether this confiscation happened by the authorities or by violent mobs, but regardless, they did not remain attached to material possessions. They knew that the message of the gospel was much more important than owning possessions. They knew that the hope they have in Jesus Christ could not be taken away from them.

In verse 35, the author gives some encouragement to those who had endured all this. They had placed their confidence right where it belongs – in Jesus Christ – and he encourages them to keep it there. While they may not be rewarded with a comfortable life on earth, they could be certain that they would be richly rewarded in their eternal life with Christ.

The author encourages them to persevere through whatever may come in verse 36. The verb used here is hupomone, which has the meaning of actively or positively enduring something and being steadfast in that. They would need to continue to endure whatever persecution came their way; Christianity is a way of life, not just a momentary thing. When they continue to do the will of God, they will receive the fulfillment of the promises that God has given them.

As is typical for the author of Hebrews, he then gives them some Old Testament Scripture verses for encouragement in verses 37-38. He quotes from Habakkuk 2:3-4. (For more on the context of that passage from Habakkuk, check out this post.) The author reminds the early Christians that Jesus will come back for them, and until that happens, they need to continue to live by faith.

He further explains this point in verse 39 by emphasizing that the believers are those who have faith and are saved, they are not the ones who shrink back from the difficulties that this life may present. The author has confidence that he and his readers will be among those who continue on in their faith. With this verse, he sets up what is to come in the next chapter – a further discussion on faith and those who have gone before and have lived it out.

Are you among those who have been enlightened by faith in Jesus Christ? If so, be encouraged to keep living out that faith! Today in America, we are not (yet) facing the public persecution that the early church faced. If they could continue to live out their faith in spite of those difficult circumstances, so can we! We are to be encouraged just as they were, to continue to persevere in our faith no matter what this world throw at us.

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What Does it Mean to be a Christian?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 7, 2022 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

My church takes membership seriously. We ask people who wish to be members to take the classes so they would know how our local congregation does things, and the elders also do interviews with each person who fills out an application to be a member. In the application, we do not merely ask for personal information, but we ask if applicants have read the by-laws, the specific church doctrines, and to list any disagreements they have with certain doctrines that are taught. We have had members apply and upon realizing that the church’s direction and their direction aren’t aligned, they have walked away peacefully. But another part of the application is to give our testimony of how we became believers.

I don’t have a “gutter to glory” testimony of living a lifestyle of sin and being delivered from it. I grew up in the church and on the mission field. I am the “poster-child” of what it looks like to be a sound Christian by appearance. I know the language, I know the morality, I know the doctrine, and I made my profession of faith when I was seven. But as I was filling out my application, I began to think about my testimony.

A few years ago, I went through a period in which I examined myself to see if I was saved. Why would I do that? Not only is that a command to the church (we are to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith rather than assume we are saved), but I was going through a transition period. For most of my life, if I were to be asked why I was a Christian, I could give a variety of reasons, but ultimately it would boil down to “I was raised that way.” This is a critical issue I wrote about several years ago in a post titled “Don’t Ride Your Parent’s Faith.”

For so much of my Christian life, I rode my parent’s faith. I went to the same church with them until earlier in 2021. I have lived with them my entire life until literally right about when this is being posted with the only exception being when I lived at my college apartment (and still went to church with them every week). I am now at my own apartment (or about to be) as my parents are moving from Texas to Michigan. This transition began about 8 ½ years ago when I did my fencing spiritual warfare presentation for my former church and was baptized as an adult. A few months later, I began the Cadre program at the Creation Truth Foundation, and I started my time here with Worldview Warriors.

In those years, I began to transition from sharing the faith of my parents to having and claiming my own faith. It didn’t happen in an instant. Not everyone’s moment of salvation is really an instant event. Sometimes it happens over a sequence of time or is recognized in that time frame. Today, if asked why I am a Christian my answer still includes, “I was raised that way,” but it is much deeper than that now. Today, I can say, “I have studied the Bible and the claims both for and against it, and I have found that Biblical Christianity is indeed the only true religion.” That’s the one-sentence intellectual side of things. However, just knowing the intellectual side of the faith is not enough.

It is absolutely vital to have correct doctrine. If you know anything about me, I am a staunch defender of the doctrines of the faith and the integrity of Scripture. But one thing I am learning is that it is fully possible to have 100% correct doctrine and still go to Hell. When I look at what Jesus said about true and false believers, there was always something more than having sound doctrine. You still have to have sound doctrine; the Apostles would actively remove people from the church for teaching error. But having truth by itself as mere intellectual statements is nothing more than dead faith.

Richard Wurmbrand, a Romanian pastor who was tortured for 14 years in Communist prison said this: “A man really believes not what he recites in his creed, but only the things he is ready to die for.” Anyone can state a doctrinal statement; that’s how so many false teachers got into the church. They proclaim to believe whatever they needed to believe to get in. But a false convert/teacher would not defend those teachings, especially when presented with evidence or a claim that seems to contradict it. They will readily question those teachings in light of what they truly believe. They will not question the false teaching for favor of the doctrines they proclaim.

One example I’ve seen recently is when I dealt with someone who proclaimed to believe all the core doctrines of Christianity including that it was Adam who brought sin and death to mankind. But he also believes that the earth is billions of years old. When I asked him how he handled human fossils dating to hundreds of thousands of years old, he danced all over the place questioning everything from the definition of a human to the definition of death, but he never once questioned the dating methods. That’s what he really believes – not so much the doctrines of Christianity, because he let his doctrine be challenged by the dating method, not the dating method that challenged his doctrine. What you believe is what you will defend. If you don’t give it much weight and if you really think they are secondary issues, you won’t take a defensive position when someone challenges said teachings.

What you believe requires action. Faith demands action. If you are going to proclaim faith in Christianity, it calls for action. Jesus repeatedly told His followers that those who belong to Him are those who obey His commands. You can’t obey commands if you have wrong doctrine. So, you must have correct doctrine so you can obey it. One of the commands Jesus gave is to count the cost. While salvation is indeed a free gift and while we cannot work to deserve it, do not think that living this life is going to come without a cost. To follow Christ means to abandon and surrender your old life to get the new life. This is not being taught in most churches today. What is instead being taught is to add “Jesus” as a final accessory to your current life. This is not Christianity. The Gospel instead teaches that to receive Jesus, we must put to death our old way of living so that we can embrace the new life.

This is an introductory post in a series I will do about what it means to be a Christian. In no particular order, I will address that the Christian is meant to be the light of the world and to be a holy people. This means we are to be unique and separate from this world. We need to stop being schizophrenic Christians – people who talk theology before Christian friends and act like secular people in front of unbelievers. I’ll look in detail about the characteristics of the “ex-Christian” based on proclamations I have heard such people give. I’ll address compromise and how to test a movement or teaching. While sound doctrine will be a key structure to what I’ll be addressing, I am going to go over much more than just sound doctrine – how we are to live out in practice these truths. As I go through this series, I want to first examine myself, then I will examine my audience, and finally, I want to examine how the Gospel addresses the issues. I don’t want this series to simply challenge you or me; I want it to change us. Will we let the truth change us?

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.


Hebrews 10:26-31

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 3, 2022 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” -Hebrews 10:26-31

In the previous section, the author just encouraged his readers to draw near to God in faith, hold fast to hope, and encourage one another in love. Following that, you may be expecting some more “warm fuzzies,” right? Wrong! In this passage, the author gives his readers some hard consequences.

Now, keep in mind that even those who have been saved by grace through their faith in Jesus Christ will still sin, even intentionally. That’s not who the author is addressing here. He’s talking to those who commit apostasy – abandoning the beliefs that they once had. These people have “received the knowledge of the truth” (verse 26). The language here for “deliberately keep on sinning” refers to those who are habitual or continual sinners. Yes, we all sin (often!) but true followers of Jesus Christ desire to break that pattern rather than desiring to continue to live in it.

Note that the author uses “we,” to show that he’s not looking down on those who keep on sinning. The author recognizes that he, too, is a sinner and could fall into this trap – which is why he provides such stern warnings for himself and his readers.

What happens to these people? They have a “fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire” (verse 27). Clearly, the judgment for those who willfully and continually turn away from God is not a good situation. This is a serious judgment that they will be facing. These are not people who are neutral toward God but rather His enemies, those who are actively fighting against God.

In verses 28-29, the author gives an argument that goes from a lesser offense to a greater one. Rejecting the law of Moses was bad, and that person would die for that sin. But the author then elaborates on how much worse it is to reject Jesus. Since the way of Jesus (grace) is so much greater than the way of Moses (the law), the punishment for having that knowledge and willfully turning away from it must also be so much greater.

There are 3 charges listed for this offense: trampling the Son of God underfoot, treating the blood of the covenant as unholy, and insulting the Spirit. The expression of trampling underfoot was considered one of strong hatred; this judgment will be inflicted on the person who has this strong and passionate hatred for Jesus. The blood of the covenant represents Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross. It is what has made us holy in God’s sight, but this judgment will be inflicted on the person who does not consider Jesus’ sacrifice as something holy. Finally, the person deserves this judgment when he insults the Spirit. The Spirit is the person who works faith in us, so actively going against that faith is an insult to the Spirit.

In verse 30, the author quotes parts of Deuteronomy 32:35-36. As the author has often quoted the Old Testament throughout this letter, he expects his audience to be familiar with the words of the Scriptures. He points out that it is God who judges the people. Revenge and judgment both belong to God. It is not up to us to condemn another person when they turn away from God. We are called to encourage one another (verse 25), which may be needed in an extra measure when a person is willfully sinning against God, but it is not our place to judge them. We do not know what is in their hearts, only God does.

The author wraps up this condemning passage by emphasizing again that this is a “dreadful thing” (verse 31). This word translated as “dreadful” also means “fearful”; it’s from the same Greek word as in verse 27. The author is clearly pointing out how afraid we should be of these things happening in our own lives.

We often think of the hands of God as being a good image – God creating with his hands (Psalm 19:1), God giving us the Ten Commandments with His finger (Exodus 31:18), God’s loving hands of protection (Isaiah 41:10), etc. But in this case, the hand of God represents the tormenting judgment on God’s enemies.

This is one of those passages that reminds us that the Bible is not all happy encouraging words. Passages of warning and judgment like this one are necessary to help us keep our lives in the proper perspective. We do need to be careful to not fall into the trap of continual sin and intentionally living our lives in disobedience to God. Those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ have the Bible to tell us the right way to live. We know what God desires of us. Yes, we all fall short of that, but it’s all about the attitude of our hearts. Do you desire to please God with your life, or do you desire to be God’s enemy? The choice is yours.

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