The Gospel 15: Preach One Message

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 28, 2024 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
1 Corinthians 2:2

Paul had one message as he went out from city to city to plant churches and to make disciples of Christ: he preached Christ, and he preached the crucifixion and all that came with it. He absolutely knew far more things than that, but he saw no value in any other topic unless they could point to Christ. Paul knew the Greek culture and Greek mythology, and that’s why in Acts 17 when in Athens, Paul could not only use their own statue to the unknown God but cite two Greek poets who had echoed the truth of who Christ is, even if they did not know it. But in all his preaching, he had one goal and one destination: to proclaim Christ.

Paul understood what it means to be an evangelist. He described himself as a herald. In those days, a herald was the official “news reporter.” A herald would get a message from the king, go to the assigned town, get his soapbox, and then proclaim the message, precisely as the king gave it. The herald would only clarify when questions were asked but never depart from the message. At any point, if word got back to the king that the herald did not give the message in the exact way the king meant it, the herald would be put to death.

The prophets in the Old Testament were treated the same way. If they were going to claim to speak for God, they had to have a 100% fulfillment rate. Any prophecy not fulfilled in their lifetime was held until validation or failure took place. God had a purpose in all this: He wants any who speaks for Him to say exactly what He said and only what He said. It is amazing how God chose to use any of us at all to give His message, but He has chosen to work through weak, frail, fallible, and untrustworthy humans to get His message across. This is not what man would ever think of, but it absolutely is what a God who wants to prove without question that it was His doing and not anyone else’s.

What does this mean? It means we have no say in what the message is. I can picture many readers picking up on that and immediately thinking that everyone has to listen to what I say because I am the only one with the truth. That is not what I am saying at all. But those who think that way are doing precisely what Paul rebuked the Corinthian church for doing: searching and seeking their favorite celebrities and chasing opinions and appearances instead of chasing after Christ. If anyone takes my advice here properly, they won’t need me afterwards, because all I am doing is pointing the way. My book Biblical Foundations has a testimony of a couple getting back to Christ and their marriage being saved. I did not write about marriage; I wrote about following Christ. That saved their marriage. It wasn’t any fancy trick. It wasn’t special counseling (though I do not knock a right application for that). It was simply preaching Christ.

As I wrote over the last several weeks, the Gospel reaches every type of person; I just sampled out seven categories. It is the Gospel that has the power of God unto salvation in every area of life. The Gospel can even deliver someone from writer’s block or answer some scientific mystery by putting everything in the right perspective. Knowing the supremacy of God and how He will determine how much we need to know and when we need to know it can often remove blinders that keep us from seeing the answers. The Gospel has it all, so we need to preach the Gospel as God gave it.

One of my greatest peeves today is when I hear someone professing some very obscure teaching found nowhere in Scripture and then say that “the Gospel doesn’t change” or “it’s not necessary to deal with that to be a Christian.” Watch out for that, because most of the time, those are mere excuses to say, “I can believe whatever I want as long as I agree to a core set of doctrines, and I’ll get into heaven regardless.” That mindset is not a Christian one; it’s a humanistic position that is using God as a means for the self’s end. With that mindset, these people are not seeking after Christ because He is worthy to be worshiped; they are using Jesus as a means to get to paradise where they can celebrate eternity without any regard for their sin.

This false gospel came primarily in the mid-1800s spearheaded by Charles Finney who sought to make sinners as comfortable as possible for when they came to repent of their sins. He is the one who made the “altar call” popular and just by professing doctrines one is proclaimed to be “saved”. That is nonsense. The Gospel was changed from man needing God to save him to God needing man in heaven so He would not be lonely and from God-honoring to man-glorifying. That’s not the Gospel. I’ll address more of these issues as I continue in the series, but I will wrap up this post with these final words.

We have one message to share: one message and one message only. Anything we have to say must have that goal and target in mind no matter where we start from. Every text of Scripture is about Jesus in some way, shape, or form. Therefore, there is a message of the Gospel that comes out of every passage of Scripture, from Creation to the Fall, to the Flood, to the Tower of Babel, to the Old Testament history, to the law, to the judges, to the kings, and to the prophets. They all point to Jesus. We are to proclaim Jesus no matter what our context is, but we are ALSO to proclaim Jesus as He is revealed and not as anything else. Many people would indeed be better off staying silent than opening their mouths and preaching something other than what God said. That is why so few of us should be teachers. It is a serious position to take, but those who do it faithfully will be greatly rewarded. I have much more to share about how to preach the Gospel and how to handle responses to the Gospel over the next few weeks.

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2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 24, 2024 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.”
I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.
- 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2

Right before this, Paul wrote about how all of us as believers are part of the ministry of reconciliation and what that should look like in our lives. Here, he elaborates more on how to live that out by living our lives as Christ’s ambassadors.

In verse 20, Paul uses the metaphor of ambassadors to describe the role of believers. Ambassadors represent their home country in a foreign land, carrying the authority and message of their homeland. Similarly, Christians represent Christ in the world, carrying His message of reconciliation. This role is both a privilege and a responsibility. When you’re an ambassador, you’re not living in your homeland but rather in a foreign territory. Our true home is in heaven with God, but we are living in this sinful world that is not truly our home.

The authority to be an ambassador has to be given to you; it's not something we naturally have. We are given authority by our relationship with Christ, but we also have the responsibility to represent Him well. As ambassadors of Christ, the opportunities to show God's love are not always easy. He loves us even when we disobey Him, but that perfect love is not often easy for us to live out. God is going to send us into places as His ambassadors, to do His work, and to bring about reconciling the world to Himself.

The phrase "as though God were making his appeal through us" emphasizes the gravity and importance of this role as ambassadors. Believers are the means through which God communicates His message of reconciliation to the world. Paul’s plea of “Be reconciled to God” is urgent and heartfelt, reflecting the importance of this message. It is a call for everyone to accept the reconciliation that God offers through Christ.

Verse 21 encompasses the heart of the gospel message. Christ, who was sinless, took on the burden of our sins. The phrase “to be sin for us” signifies the depth of Christ’s sacrifice. He bore the penalty of sin, taking upon Himself the consequences that humanity deserved.

The purpose of this sacrificial act is “so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” This statement highlights the transformative power of Christ’s work. Through His death and resurrection, believers are not only forgiven but also made righteous in God’s sight. This righteousness is not based on human effort but is a gift from God, received through faith in Christ.

This is where chapter 5 ends and chapter 6 begins in our English translations, but this is one of those times that it’s important to note that Paul did not include chapter and verse markings when he originally wrote this letter to the first-century church in Corinth. The ideas in the first two verses of chapter 6 fit well with this idea of ambassadors that Paul has been talking about.

Paul begins verse 1 with a powerful exhortation. As God’s co-workers, believers are partners in God’s mission. This partnership underscores the importance of active participation in God’s work. Paul’s plea is for the Corinthians not to receive God’s grace “in vain.” This phrase suggests the possibility of receiving God’s grace without allowing it to transform one’s life. To receive God’s grace in vain would mean to accept the gift of salvation but not to live out its implications. Paul urges the Corinthians to let God’s grace have its full effect on their lives, leading to transformation and active participation in the ministry of reconciliation.

Paul concludes this section in verse 2 with a quotation from Isaiah 49:8, emphasizing the urgency of responding to God’s grace. The time of my favor and the day of salvation refer to the present moment when God’s offer of reconciliation is available. Paul’s declaration that "now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation" underscores the immediacy and availability of God’s grace. This call to action reminds us that the opportunity for reconciliation and transformation is now. It is an invitation to respond to God’s grace without delay, embracing the new life that is available in Christ.

As ambassadors of Christ, believers carry the message of reconciliation to a broken and divided world, reflecting God’s love and grace in their interactions. The urgency of Paul’s plea reminds us that the time to respond to God’s grace is now. This passage challenges us to live out the implications of our reconciliation with God, embracing the new creation we are in Christ and actively participating in His mission of reconciliation.

May we as believers faithfully fulfill our role as His ambassadors, bringing the message of reconciliation to all who need to hear it!

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.


The Gospel 14: Reaching the Saved

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 21, 2024 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Another area where evangelicalism has greatly dropped the ball is with the notion that all that matters is getting someone saved and everything else takes care of it. This reduces the Gospel to a one-time thing and ultimately nothing else matters, because once you get saved, you are in, and once you are in, you can’t lose it. This is an abuse of the “Once Saved, Always Saved” doctrine because the Gospel does not teach that you can live your life however you want once you get saved.

The Christian life has two major parts to it: sanctification (the removal of sin and the purifying of the heart/mind/soul) and sharing the Gospel with others. My pastor made this very clear in his sermon series on Exodus. He said when God rescued Israel from Egypt, they were freed from slavery to Egypt, just as we are saved immediately from slavery to sin. But it took 40 years in the wilderness to get Egypt of out Israel and likewise, it takes our entire Christian life to get the sin in our lives out so we can be ready to meet Christ as a pure and spotless Bride.

The Gospel is an ongoing process. The moment of salvation is not a one-time thing but something that started at a single point in time and continues, ongoing. It is a work that Christ started, and He will see it through to completion. That is why we can have confidence that we will not lose our salvation; if we could, then Christ would have work ruined and never finished. And that’s not the God I worship. I worship a God who finishes what He started, whether salvation or judgment. It is our job to see that we have made terms of peace with God before that judgment happens. It is still God’s job to save. We can only ask for it.

But the Christian has this war with sin that will not go away while we are on this earth. The unsaved don’t have a war with sin; they are fully indulged in it. We do have the war, and the holier we get, the fiercer the war gets. This is why we as believers need the Gospel. We do not need the Gospel just because we need reminders; we do need reminders. We need the Gospel because it is the Gospel that has the power of salvation from leftover sin and struggles. It STILL has the power to continue to deliver us.

If we are struggling and not seeing the victory of sin, there are a couple of reasons for it. One, we aren’t believing the Gospel for THAT sin. Or, we love that sin too much to want to let it go. If the latter, a follow-up question should be asked: are we actually born again? Again, I don’t knock true and real struggles. I have them myself, and that is why I need the Gospel still. I need to keep listening to the Gospel. I need to keep going back to the same message, that Christ died for sinners, and we are to give up the sinful life to be able to take on the new life. This needs to be done on a daily basis. I have learned that when I actively and intentionally deny myself and ask God what I need to do that day, my struggles with sin all but disappear. But when I do struggle, it is very clear why.

We as believers need the Gospel. We always need the Gospel. If we don’t remind ourselves of the Gospel daily, we get hard-hearted and proud because the Gospel is not being allowed to continue the work it started in us. We begin to think we no longer need the Gospel, and we can just live out intellectually correct and moral lives the rest of the way. I know this danger very well because it is such an easy trap for me. I need the Gospel, and so do you. We must never let the thought that we move on from the Gospel or that we “graduate” from the Gospel enter our minds.

It is the Gospel that enables the prodigal to return home. It is the Gospel that gives the saved the grace to seek the salvation of the lost. It is the Gospel that keeps the saved freed from sin. It is the Gospel that restrains lingering sin from getting too strong of a hold. It is the Gospel that was preached to us that makes us want to preach the Gospel to others because it has the power to save us and it can save others too. It is the Gospel that has made terms of peace between us and God. And if we truly have been saved by the power of the Gospel, why would we be ashamed of speaking of it? Over the next several weeks, I will address how to share the Gospel, how not to share it, how to receive it, and how to deal with those who will either receive it or reject it.

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.


2 Corinthians 5:16-19

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 17, 2024 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
- 2 Corinthians 5:16-19

In the previous section of this letter, Paul discussed his motivation for being a servant of Jesus Christ – a reverent fear of God, a heart-centered faith, and the compelling love of Christ. Here, he elaborates on the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection and what it means for the lives of Christ's followers. Just before this, Paul emphasized Jesus’ death and resurrection, which are for everyone.

Verse 16 starts out with “so,” which could also be translated as “therefore;” this shows that Paul is building on his previous thoughts to make a point. His point is that because of the transformative power of Christ’s death and resurrection, we are to change the way we view others. He speaks against the worldly perspective, which often values people based on external factors such as status, wealth, or appearance. Instead, Paul calls for a spiritual perspective that sees people as new creations in Christ.

Paul admits that he once viewed Christ from a worldly point of view, likely referring to his time before conversion when he persecuted Christians. This acknowledgment serves as a powerful testimony of the transformative power of encountering Christ. Just as Paul's view of Christ changed, so should our view of others change. We are to see them through the lens of God's redemptive work in Christ, recognizing their potential for transformation and reconciliation.

Verse 17 is one of the most celebrated declarations in the New Testament. It explains the essence of what it means to be a Christian – being "in Christ" signifies a profound union with Him, resulting in a complete renewal of one's identity. The phrase "new creation" suggests a radical transformation that goes beyond mere moral improvement.

The old life, characterized by sin and separation from God, is gone. In its place, a new life has emerged, which is defined by the indwelling presence of Christ and the Holy Spirit. This transformation is not just an individual experience but also a communal reality. As members of the body of Christ, believers collectively embody this new creation, witnessing to the world the power of God's redemptive work

But it is important to keep reading into the next verse, where Paul emphasizes that this transformation and reconciliation are entirely God's work in verse 18. Human effort has no part in this divine act. God is the initiator and sustainer of the reconciliation process, and Christ is the means through which it is accomplished.

Having been reconciled to God, believers are now entrusted with the "ministry of reconciliation." This ministry involves more than just proclaiming the message of reconciliation; it also entails living out its reality in relationships with others. Christians are called to be agents of reconciliation in a broken and divided world, embodying the peace and unity that come from being reconciled with God.

In verse 19, Paul expands on the nature of God's reconciliation. Through Christ, God is reconciling the entire world to Himself. This global scope underscores the inclusivity of God's redemptive plan. The phrase "not counting people’s sins against them" highlights the gracious and merciful aspect of reconciliation. In Christ, God offers forgiveness and a fresh start, breaking the cycle of sin and condemnation.

The message of reconciliation is entrusted to believers, making us ambassadors of Christ. This responsibility involves proclaiming the good news of God's forgiveness and actively participating in the ministry of reconciliation. As bearers of this message, Christians are called to reflect God's love and grace in their interactions, helping others to understand and experience the reconciliation that God offers through Christ.

So what is this ministry of reconciliation? It is a divine calling to proclaim the message of God’s love, mercy, and grace to a world in need of redemption. We have broken our relationships with God and with others due to our sinfulness, and those relationships must be repaired. This ministry of reconciliation is based on God’s love and mercy to us; we do not deserve it, but He is merciful and shows us His love in this way. The message through which reconciliation happens is the gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ. This reconciliation is not just about individuals being reconciled to God, but it is God’s desire to reconcile His relationship with all of humanity.

In this passage, we see the core message of the Christian faith. Through Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection, believers are reconciled to God and called to live transformed lives. This transformation involves a shift from self-centered living to Christ-centered living, viewing others through the lens of God’s redemptive work, and participating in the ministry of reconciliation.

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The Gospel 13: Reaching the Reprobate

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 14, 2024 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The Gospel is for everyone, including those who openly and defiantly reject it. The Word of God never returns void and never fails to accomplish what it was intended to do. The Gospel is a call to sinners to repent and turn back to God, but what happens if someone rejects that call? Did we fail as a preacher? Did we fail as an evangelist? Did the message not do its job? These are serious questions because modern evangelicalism has answered these questions by changing the message and going “seeker sensitive,” literally seeking to lower the bar of acceptance so anyone can get in. That was the wrong answer because they lost the point and purpose of evangelism, which is not to win as many people as possible but to proclaim the truth regardless of who accepts it.

So how does the Gospel reach the reprobate, the ones who refuse to listen? It is like the sun. It will give heat and energy to good plants, but it also hardens hard soil. The Gospel will be received by those whom God has been plowing and preparing, but it will also harden those who have no intention of hearing it.

Pharoah is such a great example of this. He endured all ten plagues and his heart only got harder and harder. God finally convinced him to let Israel go in the emotional grief of the loss of his son, but even that grief turned to outright rage when he chased after Israel only to get buried in the Red Sea. God gave him more and more evidence, and all that did was make his heart harder and harder. Some people get so stubborn that any rebuke will only make them hate further.

By giving the Gospel message to the reprobate, God shows such great mercy by still offering the opportunity to get saved. Cain is another example. He refused to do things God’s way and got mad when he was rejected. But God still offered Cain a way out. Cain refused to take it and killed his brother over it. But the offer for rectification was there. This makes Cain’s rebellion even worse because he was offered a chance to make things right and knew it and intentionally refused to take it.

The word gospel literally means good news, but the good news requires the bad news for the good stuff to be able to work its magic. The bad news is that each of us is a stubborn sinner set in our ways with no intention of departing from them unless God miraculously pierces through our hard hearts. Only the Gospel can do that, but there are some whose hearts the Gospel will only harden further. The bad news is that we are all condemned already, and without divine intervention, we will all be going to hell. The good news is there is a way out and there is a means of salvation. But the bad news is that rejection of that offer only seals the doom that is already placed upon us.

The Gospel enables none to have an excuse when they face God on Judgment Day. Those who receive the Gospel and submit their lives to Christ will have Jesus be their defense attorney and intercede on our behalf. Those who reject the Gospel will have all the evidence laid before them showing every time where they heard the Gospel and refused it. There will be none who have an excuse. There will be none whom God will hold accountable who did not hear. God judges based on the light and truth someone has heard and received or rejected. So the innocent child who died before having a chance to hear, let alone understand the Gospel, will be judged according to God’s righteous standards including what they had access to. But those who have heard cannot use those who haven’t heard as an excuse.

The Gospel will save those who God has chosen to save, but it will also harden those who love their sin and want to stay in it. And as with King Saul, there comes a point where God says, “Enough! He can no longer be saved!” God did that with the Flood too. He gave Noah 120 years’ notice, and while there are some who may have been saved had they listened and gotten on the ark, God knew none would, and thus only Noah and his family were saved. Yet for 120 years the message of warning and salvation was preached even in just the building of the ark.

The message of the Gospel is not to be taken lightly. It also is not able to be received at anyone’s convenience. It can only be received when God offers it. It tells that every person is given the opportunity to be saved, and it only further reveals the condemnation of those who reject it. The Gospel is a two-edged sword. It rescues and saves those who receive it, and it judges and condemns those who reject it. The Gospel does the latter to the reprobate.

However, the Gospel is still needed by another group of people (among others because this study is not comprehensive): the saved. Yes, the Gospel is for those who have been born again as well.

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.


2 Corinthians 5:11-15

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 10, 2024 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
- 2 Corinthians 5:11-15

Since way back in 2 Corinthians 2:14, Paul has been discussing the apostolic ministry. He has described the privileges of being an apostle, competence for serving in this way, the old and new covenants and how that relates to their ministry, and the suffering and rewards of being an apostle, including having confidence when faced with death. Here, Paul continues to talk about apostolic ministry but in the context of motivation for serving God in this way.

Paul begins this section in verse 11 by acknowledging the fear of the Lord. This fear is not a paralyzing terror but rather a profound reverence and respect for God's holiness and justice. Recognizing the reality of God’s judgment (as mentioned right before today’s passage in verse 10), Paul and his companions are motivated to persuade others about the truth of the gospel. This truth includes both sharing what God’s Word says about Jesus and the Kingdom and how we should practically apply it to our lives. The apostles’ transparent and sincere lives are open before God, and they hope that is evident to the Corinthians as well. This verse highlights the integrity and earnestness of Paul's ministry, driven by the awareness of God’s omniscience and the desire for others to come to the same understanding.

We see Paul’s humility in verse 12 where he clarifies that his intent is not self-promotion but rather to provide the Corinthians with a reason to be proud of their association with him and his ministry. This is in contrast to those who boast about external appearances and superficial achievements. Paul’s focus is on internal, heart-centered transformation and genuine faith. By emphasizing the importance of what is "in the heart," Paul challenges the Corinthians to value authentic spirituality over outward appearances. Being transparent before God and other people so that they can see the state of our hearts is more important than simply appearing as good to others but in an unrighteous manner.

Paul addresses criticisms that he and his companions are "out of their mind" in verse 13. This accusation likely stems from their zealous and unconventional approach to ministry. Paul asserts that if their actions seem irrational, it is because they are wholeheartedly committed to God. On the other hand, if they appear rational and sensible, it is for the benefit of the Corinthians. This verse highlights the dual motivations of Paul’s ministry: an uncompromising dedication to God and a thoughtful concern for the well-being of the believers. Paul emphasizes that he is not motivated for his own selfish gain but that it is all for God’s glory, as he had previously written about in 1 Corinthians 10:31 and 2 Corinthians 4:15 among other places.

In verse 14, Paul reveals the driving force behind his ministry: the love of Christ. This compelling love is not just an abstract concept but a powerful, active force that motivates and directs his actions. Paul is deeply convinced of the foundational truth that Christ died for all humanity. This sacrificial death implies that all have died to their old, sinful selves and are called to live a new life in Christ. The universality of Christ's atonement is emphasized, underscoring the fact that the gospel message is truly for everyone.

Paul concludes this section in verse 15 by explaining the purpose of Christ’s sacrificial death. It was not just for the forgiveness of sins but also to transform the lives of believers. Those who have received this new life are called to live not for themselves but for Christ, who died and was resurrected for their sake. This verse shows us the essence of Christian discipleship: a life lived in response to Christ's love and sacrifice, characterized by selflessness and dedication to God’s purposes.

This section gives us some great insights and applications to our daily lives as followers of Jesus Christ.

First, Paul’s motivation is deeply rooted in the fear of the Lord, a reverent awareness of God’s holiness and justice. This fear drives him to persuade others about the truth of the gospel. In our contemporary context, cultivating a healthy fear of the Lord involves recognizing His sovereignty and holiness, which should lead us to live lives of integrity and urgency in sharing the gospel. We, too, should have that fear, awe, and reverence of the Lord.

Paul emphasizes the importance of heart-centered faith over superficial appearances. This challenges us to evaluate our own lives. Are we more concerned with how things look on the outside or with genuine transformation and spiritual depth on the inside? Living an authentic Christian life requires transparency, sincerity, and a focus on internal character rather than external praise from others.

The compelling love of Christ is the driving force behind Paul’s ministry. This love is not passive but active, urging us as believers to live sacrificially and passionately for Christ. The call to live for Christ rather than for ourselves is central to Paul’s message, and it should be central to our lives as well. This involves a radical reorientation of our priorities and desires. As believers, we are called to live in a way that honors Christ, reflecting His love and grace in our interactions and decisions. This means putting aside selfish ambitions and embracing a life of service and dedication to God’s will.

Reflect on your own life this week. Are you driven by a deep reverence for God and a passionate love for Christ? Are you focused on genuine spiritual growth and transformation? Are you living for Christ, seeking to honor Him in all that we do? May Paul’s words inspire and challenge us to live faithfully and fervently for the one who died and rose again for 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.


The Gospel 12: Reaching the Wounded

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 7, 2024 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

This is the topic that triggered me to write this series. It was a comment made by my church’s teaching elder that the Gospel is not merely for the repentant sinner but also for those who have been sinned against. Understand first that every single person has sinned and therefore every single one of us does, in fact, deserve to suffer the effects of that sin. So let me get it on the table here that there are no such people as “innocent victims.” No one is innocent. Bad things only happened to one good person and His name was Jesus of Nazareth. Every one of us has sinned, and most of what we deal with and face is usually a result of our own sin and our own stupidity. We need the Gospel to deal with that.

However, this post is particularly for those who have been sinned against. Again, to reiterate, every single one of us has sinned and every single one of us has sinned against others. This is why the Gospel is the only valid solution to all of it, not mere vengeance. What kind of sins are we dealing with? We have all dealt with people lying to us, not keeping promises, stealing things from us, ignoring us, mocking, slander, etc. It is to the point where we mostly brush those things off our backs because it happens so frequently.

But for this post, I want to talk about the really deep wounds. I want to address those wrongs that are so painful and grievous that we really do want to see that person dead for justice reasons, not mere anger. The rape victim is violated for life and their body will always recall what happened to it. A murder victim is a lost life, and those attached to that victim will bear those scars for life. A kidnapping victim, especially one that endures physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse during that captivity, will always remember. It is bad enough when a stranger does these things. It is so far worse when this is done by a trusted person, either in the family or worse than that, a pastor. When those closest to you and those whom you trust the most betray you, it is the deepest and most brutal wound that a person could receive. They would endure years of the brutality of strangers rather than face such betrayal and deception.

I am not a counselor. I am not a victim of such horrific experiences. So, I truly cannot emotionally relate to those who have such experiences, nor will I try. But first, this is the wrong way to address it. A few years ago, an author sought to deal with such things, and he did so via a book titled The Shack. I applaud William Paul Young for being willing to tackle such things, but that is where my praise for him ends. This book, coming from an “Emergent Church/Progressive Christian” worldview in which universalism is a key unwritten doctrine, completely butchers the nature of sin, the character of God, and how righteousness and justice would win in the end. Those who have been severely wounded, like the character Mack had been when his daughter was kidnapped and murdered, would have a difficult time with Young’s solution, because all it boiled down to was, “You can’t say he did wrong, and he will be saved anyway.”

The solution to such severe wounds is not handwaving off the sin and letting it go. It is not “everyone gets to heaven.” It is the Gospel that will heal such wounds. Getting revenge will not heal such wounds. Even God executing justice will not heal such wounds; it only deals with the bad guy. The Gospel heals such wounds. We cheer the hero’s victory over the villain, however the wounds are often still there. It takes the healing power of the Gospel to close those wounds, disinfect them, and heal them. There will be scars, at least for this life, but there will be healing. One of the biggest problems we have are people who don’t want healing because their gaping wounds give them an excuse for their anger and their problems, so they can play the victim. God does not want us to play the victim but the victor, and we can only have victory by walking in the victory that comes from the cross and the resurrection.

It is Jesus who heals these wounds. Let me emphasize here that Jesus is the only one who truly understands the suffering of an innocent victim. Because He shed His innocent blood for us, who are not innocent, He is able to heal us. Isaiah said that by His stripes we are healed. Each of us has sinned, and God has allowed sinful people to act sinfully. It is not the victim’s fault that someone sinned against them; it is the sinner’s fault they sinned. But if God were to prevent the child rapist from raping, in His righteous justice He’d have to stop the victim of child rape from his or her own sin, too. It is not wrong to want justice when someone commits a crime. But we have to remember that each of us is guilty, too. While most reading this will not have murdered or raped or betrayed, actually we have. We have all broken each of the commandments either in deed or in the heart. Just because God has restrained our sin more than He has restrained others’ sin does not mean we are better people. Each of us deserves the death of the rapist, the murderer, or the traitor. And the Gospel is the only answer for both the culprit and the victim. We have all been victims of grievous sins in some way, shape, or form, and we have all been the culprits of such sins. None are innocent. If God were to deal with us “fairly,” we’d all be in Hell.

If God can save a lying, stealing, cussing, murderer and adulterer at heart like me, he can save those who do such things to me as well. I know our sinful tendency is to seek revenge. But it is also the tendency of those we betrayed to want revenge against us as well. For many, they do not know what they are doing, and only the Gospel can solve that problem. The very people whom Paul betrayed and murdered would be the first to welcome him into heaven. But those who commit such sins and do not repent, well, the Gospel has a message for them and it will not be a message of comfort. Yes, the Gospel reaches out to the hardened reprobate sinner and accomplishes its work in them, too. That is for next week.

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.


2 Corinthians 5:1-10

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 3, 2024 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
- 2 Corinthians 5:1-10

While this feels like a new section since it starts a new chapter, what Paul writes here is directly connected to what came before it at the end of chapter 4 – the challenge to cultivate an eternal perspective while here on earth. Paul builds on that theme by looking at the sources of our divine comfort for believers who were possibly facing imminent death for their faith – possessing a perfect spiritual body, being transformed by the Spirit, and experiencing fellowship with Christ.

In verse 1, Paul contrasts our present, temporary bodies with the eternal, heavenly bodies promised to believers. The "earthly tent" symbolizes our physical bodies, which are fragile and temporary. The "building from God" represents our resurrection bodies, eternal and perfect. This assurance of a heavenly dwelling provides hope and perspective amidst the trials and sufferings of this life. A friend of mine wrote a children’s book called Grandpa Tom’s Tent based on this verse; it helps children (and adults) understand when loved ones pass away by showing that our earthly bodies will fail but our spirits will live on in heaven when we have faith in Jesus.

Paul acknowledges the tension and discomfort of our current existence in verse 2. The "groaning" reflects our yearning for the fulfillment of God's promises and the complete redemption of our bodies. This verse captures the Christian experience of living in the "already but not yet" reality of God's kingdom – already redeemed but not yet fully realized. We don’t know the nature of this “groaning” from this passage, but based on Romans 8:19-23 and Philippians 3:20-21, we can guess that it deals with Paul’s frustration with knowing he would one day be perfect in heaven yet still needing to deal with all of the imperfections and brokenness here on earth.

Paul uses the metaphor of clothing to describe the transformation from our earthly bodies to our heavenly bodies, which is highlighted in verse 3. To be clothed signifies being fully embodied in the new creation, while being naked implies vulnerability and incompleteness. The promise here is one of complete and secure transformation, leaving behind the vulnerabilities of our current state.

Verse 4 is very connected to the thought in verse 2, bringing back the idea of groaning and being burdened in this life. This verse also adds a vital detail: the desire to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling. This longing is not just for relief from suffering but for the full realization of eternal life, where mortality is overcome by the fullness of life in Christ. This verse refers back to 4:16: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” The inward spiritual transformation swallows up the outward body that is wasting away, so that one day we will live in perfection.

In verse 5, Paul emphasizes that God Himself has designed us for this eternal purpose. The gift of the Holy Spirit serves as a "deposit," a foretaste and a guarantee of the future inheritance. This assurance is rooted in God's faithfulness and His commitment to bring His redemptive plan to completion.

The confidence mentioned in verse 6 stems from the assurance provided by the Holy Spirit. However, Paul also acknowledges a current reality: while we live in our physical bodies, we are not yet in the full presence of the Lord. This verse highlights the tension between our current state and our ultimate hope. The confidence highlighted in this verse is in contrast to the groaning from verses 2 and 4. We may groan while on this earth, but we still have confidence in God’s redeeming work.

Verse 7 is often quoted: "For we live by faith, not by sight." This succinct yet powerful statement captures the essence of the Christian walk. Living by faith means trusting in God's promises and unseen realities, rather than relying solely on our physical senses and present circumstances. It calls believers to a life of trust and reliance on God's word and His Spirit.

Paul reiterates his confidence in verse 8, and he expresses a preference for the ultimate reality – being in the full presence of the Lord. This longing to be "at home with the Lord" reflects the deep desire for communion with God that surpasses the temporary comforts and struggles of earthly life. Because of this, Paul sets forth a practical goal in verse 9: to live in a manner that pleases God. Whether in our current earthly bodies or in our future resurrected bodies, the aim is to live a life that honors and pleases God.

Finally, in verse 10 Paul brings a sobering reminder of accountability. Every believer will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and receive recompense for their actions. This judgment is not about salvation – which is secured by faith in Christ – but about the evaluation of our lives and deeds. It underscores the importance of living faithfully and responsibly, knowing that our actions have eternal significance.

This passage is a source of great comfort, reminding us that our earthly struggles are temporary and that a glorious future awaits. It challenges us to live by faith, aiming to please God in all we do, and to remain ever hopeful of the day when we will be fully at home with the Lord. As we navigate the complexities and challenges of life, this passage anchors us in the steadfast hope of eternal life and the faithful promises of God.

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.