Paul shows that God has a plan for the history of men and women. Once God hid this secret. Now he makes his plan plain. Christians today can now understand it. It is the job of Christians to tell the world about it. He chose that we should be a part of his plan. God works out everything in agreement with his choice. Everything that he wants to do, he does. Everything will be as he said. They hoped in him before he came see Acts Then you, too, became united with Christ.
When you believed in him, he marked you with a special sign. So, when you believe, God marks you with a special sign. It is for those who have heard and believed. It was a stamp or mark. It showed that he was the owner. He used it when he sent something important to another person. He would use this on a letter.
It showed that everything was true and not false. It was a promise. You could be sure that no one had opened the letter and changed it. No one can break into his life. In the end, he will be safe with Jesus. Verse 14 In those days, when you bought something, you paid some money. This was only a part of the whole price.
You made a promise to the seller. You promised that later you would pay the rest of the price. It is a promise to all those who believe in him. He promises that one day he will make them completely his own possession. They will belong completely to him. Ever since that time, v16 I have never stopped thanking God for you.
And I remember you when I pray. I am always asking that he will give you great wisdom and knowledge about himself. He will show himself to you, so that you can know him better. You will know the hope to which he has called you. This power works in those who believe in him. He used the same strong power v20 after Christ had died. He used this power to make Jesus Christ come back to life again. He used his power to cause Christ to sit at his right side in heaven. Christ rules over them now and he will rule over them in the future. It is complete in him, who fills everything everywhere. Verses In the rest of this chapter, Paul prays for his readers.
He asks God to give them real understanding. He wants them to understand how wonderful and exciting the good news is. So too is their behaviour with each other. Paul says that he does not stop thanking God for them. He also remembers them all in his prayers. God made the earth, the sky and everything. We see his greatness in all that he has made. We see his greatness in the way that he provides. He provides for everyone and everything on the earth. It all comes from God. We see his greatness in this. That should cause us to wonder. He helps us to know God better. Verses We cannot understand such knowledge by ourselves.
It is far too great. God must help us to understand. To know God is more than to know facts about him. It is to know him as a person and to share our lives with him.
God called us to himself at the very beginning. He called us to be united with Jesus Christ. He called us to be holy even as he is holy This is the call that God brings to those without hope The hope is about our future. We will then be with Christ for ever. We can think about a time after our present suffering.
We can think about a wonderful future. The promise is also about what he is keeping for us in the future. It never dies. It is not like rubbish. It never disappears. The children of God are the heirs of God. They are heirs together with Christ Romans Everything that belongs to a person will belong to his heirs one day.
We do not know what it will be like. We do know that we shall see Christ. When he appears, we shall be like him. We shall be like him in our bodies. We shall be like him in his character. We shall be united with each other. It will be perfect. God wants us to know about this.
He wants us to think about it. He wants us to know how wonderful it will be. Nothing compares with that power. It is far greater than any other power. We cannot measure it. By this power, God made everything in heaven and earth. Paul describes this great power by three events verses :. It was above every title or rank that anyone can give. God made Christ head over all things. He completely fills everything in every way. There are two powers that men cannot control. One power is death and the other power is the devil. Jesus Christ won the battle over both. He can rescue us from both death and the devil.
God raised Jesus from death. He raised him to new life where there is no more death.
Most Relevant Verses
This new life lasts for ever and ever. God made him king over every power that there is. Jesus rules in heaven as king. He rules over all people. He rules over all nations. Verse 21 also includes every title or rank that anyone can give. In Genesis chapter 1, God told man to rule over all things. Christ now rules over everything. So he gives back to us the power to rule. You used to do the things that pleased the devil. We did what our physical body wanted. God was angry with us, as he was angry with them. Jesus died, but God raised him to life.
God then put him in a very high place in heaven. It is just like that for us. We were dead, but God raised us too. He placed us together with Jesus. We are close to Jesus. We are in heaven with him. This is true even whilst we live on earth. Paul first makes this clear in verse 1. Often you fail to be the person that wants you to be. Often you do not live as God wants you to live. But sometimes you do not do something that you should do. The old way to live moves away from God. Every thing that we did was against God. It moved away from God. It moved in the direction of evil things. Either we can walk with God or we can walk away from him.
Paul speaks about this wrong way to live in three ways. In the world, there are different systems. They could be political, social or money systems. It could refer to any system that does not have God in it. The people in these systems do not think about God. They do not discuss things with him. We cannot see them. However, they are there and they work in the world. It means that I am at the centre of my life. Apart from God, I live with me at the centre.
I think about myself. And I do what I want to do. There is nothing wrong with physical desires. We have many of these. Some desires are for food, sleep or sex. God made our body to want these things. But they are wrong when we eat too much. They are wrong when we sleep too much. They are wrong when we have sex outside marriage. God was angry with us. That is how we are children of Adam. It does not mean that he is in a bad temper. Nor that he hates us and he wants to punish us.
He hates evil things.http://goldenrussiatd.ru/assets/beaverton/zozax-como-rastrear.php
He hates them very much. He never stops hating them. This is because he is God. He loved us so much that v5 he gave each of us a new life in Christ. Verse 4 Paul has described the sad situation of men and women. He has spoken about the anger of God. But this is not the last word. Paul now writes some wonderful words. God wants to forgive people.
God wants to be kind, even to bad people. God has acted. We were dead, but God made us alive with Christ. He is rich in kindness. That kindness comes from his great love. His love reaches down from heaven to us on earth. We are now objects of his love. Think about what God has done to change our state. It separated us from him. God raised Christ from death. Now we have a new life with Christ and in Christ. Paul is not now writing about when God raised Christ.
He is writing about us. God raised us with Christ. Here we see three events in history. He sits there as the King in heaven. Some Christians say this in the Creed statement of Christian belief. Then he went up into heaven. Now he sits at the right side of God the Father. It does not matter what our nationality is.
It does not matter whether we are men or women. It does not matter who we are. We are a part of Christ. So we are there too. We have a new life. We know that God is real. We have a new love for him and his people. We were dead and we are now alive. It was as if we were in chains. Christ has removed them. We are free. Now we sit with Jesus on the top seat! You could not do this by yourselves, but God gave you this free gift.
Only the gift of God can do this. So you cannot tell people how good you are! He had already prepared good things for us to do. He made us so that we could do them. He writes about the reason why God raised Jesus from death. And he writes about the reason why he raised us with him. We are in Christ Jesus. It is his gift. We can trust him to give us all that he has for us. We turn to God because we are weak and empty. We turn to God because we need him. God wants to give us everything. Nor do good deeds give us this right. We would be proud if that were true. He causes us to think and to ask about him.
We can live good lives and be good people. That will be because we love God. And because we want to please him. Verse 10 This verse ends this part of the letter. It ends it with two statements. He made us in Christ Jesus to do good things. God prepared these good things for us to do. God has given us true life. We cannot give ourselves life. He has also prepared good things for us to do.
We used to do wrong things. Now we do good things. God prepared these for us in the beginning. He prepared us to do these good things. God tells us what to do. We decide whether to follow him or not. You did not belong to God and you had no hope in the world. He intended them to be separate from the other nations. Many years before, he had made an agreement with Abraham. He made them his special people. This agreement did not depend on their goodness. It had nothing to do with how good, or strong or beautiful the people were. God chose them only because he wanted to. Then all the other families could come to know him as well.
They thought that their nation was better than the other nations. They thought that he would send the people in all the other nations to hell. People could see that they were his special people. He seems to be saying that the physical sign is not important. What happens inside us is important. They were separate from Christ. They were without God in the world. They were without hope. But he wanted them to be for everyone. Therefore, they had no hope. That is, in the things that people can see see Romans That was by other people.
We should always remember this and we should be grateful. So he has made us united. He wanted to unite them with himself. So men and women from different nations should not hate each other. He told the same thing to those people who were near to him. They can now be in Christ Jesus. God has brought them to him by the blood of Christ. It was like a closed door. Now it is like an open door. The door is open to everyone. We can now come near to God our Father.
Now God brings men and women together. They find peace with God. They find peace with each other. They leave behind their differences. There were warning signs on the wall. A few years ago, someone found one of these signs. It warned also that such a person would be responsible for his own death.
This made them enemies. It was when their army entered Jerusalem. No one had destroyed it yet. Verses These verses tell us how Jesus did this. He did it in three ways:. They were also about holy days and seasons and many other things. These laws became of no use as a way to please God. Jesus said that he did not come to end the law. See Matthew chapters But he did not end the moral law. That is about right and wrong actions. Jesus came to show us how to live as God intended. He did this by the example of his own life. Paul explains it in another way. By his death, he ended these customs.
He made the law complete. He brought new meaning to it. We cannot always do right things, however hard we try. We ought always to obey the moral law. That is what God requires from us. But it is impossible for us to do this. Not to obey the moral law separates us from God. It also separates us from each other. When we do not obey God, the result is death. He will make us clean us from all that is wrong in us 1 John God accepts us not because we keep the moral law.
He accepts us because we believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus obeyed the moral law completely in his life. He took our failure to keep that law upon him. His death made it possible for God to accept us. They come not by keeping laws. Jesus put away the regulations that were about ceremonies of the law.
The moral law tells us that we are wrong and guilty. He put away that guilt too. In his body, Jesus made them friends. He made the two into one. That made peace possible between them. All kinds of people are now in one body. There are men and women. There are rich and poor. There are people in prison and free people. All are equal in front of God. There is a new unity in Christ.
Jesus has ended that. Neither are they enemies of God. Jesus has ended that too. The result of being an enemy of God is death. God gave these promises to Abraham Genesis This was when Moses was their leader Exodus They were a people without hope. God did not choose them because they were better than other nations. But they forgot why God had chosen them. Later, other people would belong to God.
These are his children. And they have peace with each other. That person might be a king. You have a friend. Suppose he is also the friend of the king. He could take you to see the king. He could do this because he is your friend. This is what happens for us. Jesus is the friend of the King, his Father.
He is also the door, the way in John He gives us the right to come to the Father. And you are part of his family. You are like the other stones. You depend on them. Christ Jesus is the most important stone in the building. But they did not own land.
They had no rights. They are all citizens together. They are citizens of King Jesus. They are also in the family of God. They are all together his children. God is their Father. Jesus Christ himself is the chief corner stone. Paul first speaks about the base of the building. Jesus Christ himself is the most important stone. All the other stones fit into him.
All the stones will then be straight and level. All the other stones depend on this important stone. It is the most important stone. This stone holds the building together. When they received it, they spoke it. What they said happened. They also include other people such as Paul himself, Barnabas and Silas. In Jesus, the building grows. Jesus Christ is the most important stone. He holds together both groups of stones.
In him, they grow together. They can grow because they are like living stones 1 Peter They come to Christ. Then God builds them together. They will be like a house where God himself will live. But God is so great that we cannot contain him in a building. In it there was a clear, bright light. It showed that God was near. God did not make the new building out of stones.
All the people together are the family of God. It is present in every age. It is all over the world. And you will understand why he did this. He gives these promises by Christ Jesus. Paul does not finish this sentence in verse 1 but see verse They had put chains on him. Paul wrote this letter from prison.
But now he has new understanding. Now he thinks about himself as a prisoner of Jesus Christ. He thinks about his whole life in a different way. Both good and bad events happen in his life. But Jesus controls his life. He is sure about that. So Paul is in prison. He is there because of them.
Commentary for Revelation 17–22
Moreover, it is for their benefit. Now he is able to tell them the good news. Both share in the promises. God gave these to Abraham.
It was dangerous to their religion. But what really put Paul there was what he taught. He must use it in a responsible way. What God made known to him, Paul must make known to other people. In many religions, only those who belong can understand. They hide it from other people. They are truths that God makes known to us. However, these truths are not just for a few chosen people. They are for everybody. Now he wants us to know about it. He wants them to become one people. Both groups share that promise. And he made me his servant to tell people his good news.
His power worked in me to do this. He gives us these gifts in Christ. His riches are very great. We shall never know how great they are. God, who created everything, hid his plan from his people. He hid it through all the past years. Christ gives us courage and confidence so that we can come close to him.
Verse 7 God gave Paul the power to tell people the good news. Paul knew that he was not strong enough. Paul thinks about himself like this because he feels so weak. He also remembers that he was once an enemy of God. He used to put Christians in prison. God has been so kind to him. So now he thanks God. God has given Paul a gift. No one can measure them. They are like wealth at the bottom of the sea. It is so deep that you cannot bring it to the shore. This wealth is the greatness of God. It is the riches of his wisdom, knowledge, beauty and power.
This wealth is not money and possessions. The death of Jesus has made this possible. But there is even more wealth. We will share the life of Christ in heaven. This wealth is greater than anything that we can think of. Moreover, it is for ever. It means to bring light to something.
He has many different kinds of wisdom, which he wants men and women to learn. God wants them to know about it too. There is no other way that everybody can know it. God has made known the secret of his plan to Paul himself. We have seen the complete plan of God. First, he shows his plan to Paul. This is by the spoken message. So they see the immense wisdom of God too. God is working out his plan in history.
The whole world is included. Verse 12 Paul has been speaking about the great plan of God in history. But in this verse, Paul explains what this means to Christians now. We can now come straight to God. We can come without fear. We can come at any time. It is like a little child who runs to his father. That is how it is with us.
Praise God! Verse 13 Paul is suffering and he is in prison. Paul knows that there is a reason for this. It will benefit his Christian friends. He warns them not to be sad or afraid. Paul is certain about this. There is no better way for God to achieve his purpose. Then your lives will be like plants with roots in the ground of his love. You will be able to understand that his love is immense. It is so very wide and long and high and deep. I pray that he will fill you with the whole nature of God. He can do so much more than we can ever ask or think.
His power is very great and it is working in us. However, sometimes they would kneel. This would show a great desire to pray. Ezra prayed like this Ezra Jesus prayed like this. He fell to the ground in the garden. Stephen prayed like this just before he died Acts He is completely loving. He is completely powerful. He provides everything that we need. He looks after us. He corrects us when we go wrong. A human father does all that he can for his children. Our Father in heaven is much greater. His ways with us are perfect and complete. It is his greatness. We see it in the powerful way that he made everything.
He made it all out of nothing. Moses climbed Sinai Mountain to meet with God. There was thunder, lightning and a thick cloud over the mountain. Thunder is the loud noise that we hear during a storm. The noise was very great. It caused everyone in the camp to tremble with fear. The inner person is the place where we experience our feelings. We can be happy. We can be sad. We can be angry. We can hate people.
The inner person is the place where we think about things. It is where we make decisions. It is the centre of a person. He works from there to change us. There he gives us his love. It is as if we have deep roots. It is like the roots of a strong tree. They go down deep into the soil. His love gives strong life to the roots. He holds us firmly. In Christ, we are safe and we can grow. It is also like the firm rock under a building. With hard rock underneath it, the building cannot fall down.
Verse 18 The love of God is wide. It is for everyone in the world. So it is for them. It is long enough for all time and every age. The root is love in the inner person. It is not love in the head and the mind. It does not mean knowledge in the mind. Also, a person does not receive this love only for himself. We share this wonderful love with each other. Indeed, I think most Christians probably struggle with understanding this point. I know I used to.
My lack of understanding here came from my small understanding of who God is. The more I began to learn about who He is and how great He is, the more this idea of Jesus paying the penalty for me began to make sense. Let me see if I can help some. This is of course true 1 John , but it is also only one aspect of who God is.
God is also just and holy. His wrath alone is mentioned over times! But, Jesus also spoke about hell more than anyone else in the bible! The very verse people quote above that said God is love 1 John is immediately followed by this passage that talks about wrath and justice. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to satisfy His wrath and take away our sins.
Did you catch that last part? In fact, the justice of God is the reason we know what love is. We see that God is love because God is just. The two go hand-in-hand. Let me explain why. Anger is not always bad, it can be a righteous virtue. Anger is the correct response to injustice.
God is aroused slowly and often withholds His response Ex and Ps but He does get angry with sin. In fact this response from Him is necessary. So why is this response from God necessary? The bible says that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom Ps We need to first start our understanding of God with an understanding of His justice and holiness before we can rightly know what His love is.
Paul starts out his presentation of the gospel in Romans with discussing the wrath of God Rom This is why Paul starts here. God is just or righteous same word in Hebrew and Greek. He does not and cannot overlook evil. If God did not punish all sin he would be unjust, unrighteous. He must be angry because of sin because God is good. His anger is directly linked to His goodness. God hates sin Prov and Zach I believe if we understood how holy God really is it would totally blow us away.
We would feel so dirty and ashamed of our sin. I think one day when we fully understand how ugly our sin is, we will start to grasp how we have wronged God. Both must be upheld. Both are equally important aspects of His character. One cannot be ignored in favor of the other or God would no longer be God. He cannot act outside of His very nature. If God just turned His back on all the evil, all the wrong things done in this world and just let it all go, He would be unjust. He must punish evil or He is no longer just. It applies to my sin and yours.
Wayne Grudem, theologian and Professor at Phoenix Seminary says it this way. But, the Justice of God also required that God find a way that the penalty due to us for our sins would be paid for he could not accept us into fellowship with himself unless the penalty was paid. Here Paul says that God had been forgiving sins in the Old Testament but no penalty had been paid—a fact that would make people wonder whether God was indeed just and ask how he could forgive sins without a penalty.
No God who was truly just could do that, could he? It is not helpful for us to ask which one is more important, because without the love of God, he never would have taken the steps to redeem us, yet without the justice of God, the specific requirement that Christ should earn our salvation by dying for our sins would not have been met. Both the love and justice of God are equally important.
There are some big ideas and large words in that quote. But hopefully it helps you to get a picture of the situation. God is just and therefore cannot let the penalty go unpaid. Jesus volunteers to pay the penalty so that God can remain just and display His love for us in a way that is completely unbelievable. Nope, the debt had to be paid. The only way was for God to pay it Himself. He was the only one qualified to pay it.
He alone was without His own sin. It had to be Jesus or we were doomed to hell forever. When Jesus went to the cross for us, God literally placed all of the guilt from our sins on Jesus Isa , When Jesus was on the cross He became so filthy with our sin that God could no longer look upon him. God turned away, and for the first time in history Jesus felt separation from His Father. These verses tell us that it was God Himself that actually placed our sins on Jesus. But how could this be? Some have objected that it was not fair for God to transfer guilt to an innocent person, but we need to remember that it was actually Jesus who volunteered to pay the penalty.
There was no coercion. Jesus voluntarily went in our place. The difference, of course, is that in this situation it was an unjust debt. In our situation we owe it, big time! Hopefully that helps some. As a Christian of many years I am still so young in my journey and it is a constant learning curve for me. Raised in a non-christian house I have been surrounded by non-christians all my life. My acceptance of Christ as a teenager was something that disturbed my non-christian family and to this day, they still question my faith.
Their disbelief is primarily that God is a figment of ones imagination and is a means by which people seek solace in times of need or by which people try to control others. Therefore they want no part in it. On the other hand they feel that in saying humans are sinful and wrong Christians are passing judgement and trying to impose their beliefs on others. We are bigots and we are doing a horrible thing by trying to indoctrinate them and most especially their children.
For me to tell them in any way shape or form that they are being sinful and are doing wrong would cause them to feel anger and hatred towards my faith and to detest the fact that I love the Lord with all my heart. Nina, thanks for the comment and question. First I would just like to encourage you to keep pressing on fighting the good fight. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for you to stand by your beliefs in such a hostile environment. Remember that God says you are blessed when you are persecuted for His name. In fact He says to consider it joy!
My advice to you would be to wage a campaign of prayer. Prayer is SO powerful! It is usually the first thing we talk about but the last thing we do. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work in your family; to convict them of sin and prepare the way for you to share. If your family made it clear that they do not want you to try to persuade them to believe, I think you should respect their wishes and pray that God would soften their hearts. Yiu cannot do anything to save them. Apart from a work of God in their hearts giving them faith, they will not hear or understand your words.
This is what Paul tels us in 1 Cor Consider fasting in and praying. As you pray for God to work in them, also pray the the Holy Spirit will fill you with the power to live like Jesus. If they see a real change in you, how you react, how you serve, and how you love, they will see your faith as a source of strength, not a crutch to help the weak. They will know your faith is real when they can see it lived out. Repay evil with kindness. Love when you are attacked.
You cannot do this in your own power. It will have to be God working through you, this is why it is important to pray for Him to do this work in your heart. Confess your sin. Repent of anything God shows you that needs to change. Your focus needs to be on your life. As you do this eventually God wil begin to make headway into their hearts. God can use your life as contrast to theirs and point out their sin.
He will guide you and show you when the proper time is to share why there is a change in you. This part takes some discernment so pray for that as well. As a general rule, wait until they ask you what is going on. When you do speak about God be sure do do it from a position of humility, acknowledging your many faults and showing thanks for how much God has saved you from. There are times when it is appropriate and necessary to point out their sin, but if they are seeing you and Christians as judgmental, then the best approach may be to talk about your sin and what God has saved you from.
Paying or not paying taxes has nothing to do with being a religion. It has absolutely nothing to do with if they are religions or not. Is that what you think? The word religion certainly has many definitions like many words in the English language. I have done this very clearly in my blog above. Do you disagree that Christianity is not a religion by the definition that I gave? No argument there. We agree. However, this is not the common use of the word. There is much more implied there than that they believe in a god of some kind.
Also, people can believe in the existence of a god but not be religious and not belong to any religion. I believe in the existence of my wife. Belief is absolutely necessary in order to have a relationship. This is no different than the fact that I believe in the existence of my wife because I know her.
That is not intellectually honest. In it, a Christian is supposed to obey God without question. The fact that we are communicating shows that at some level we ARE having a relationship. I may not be able to see God, but I can and certainly do hear Him and feel Him. My relationship with Him is undeniably real. Since I am the only one who can testify what MY relationship with God like, I think I am in the best position to comment on it.
He is very real. He speaks to me frequently in unmistakable ways. He stirs my heart and my spirit and moves me to want and desire new things that I never thought I would ever desire before. It is only someone who knows God, who has experienced this same thing that can understand this or will believe it.
But, once you have, there is no doubting it. My relationship with Jesus is as real to me as any earthly relationship. In so many ways it is deeper. It is one of mutual love. That is what you cannot understand without experiencing it. The relationship between me and my Savior is not one of slave to master. It is one of close brother to brother. It is one of son to loving Father.
I gladly choose to obey because I love Him and I know that He knows what is best. His plan and His way is the best way. It is in my best interest to follow Him because He knows everything all ways and has chosen the best path for me.
Additionally, He is continually at work in my heart changing me. He gives me new desires and I find that I no longer want to go my way. There are certainly times when I disobey and go my own way and not His. However, without fail this turns out to my detriment and to the detriment of those I love. When I repent and turn back to His way He is always there with open arms welcoming me back and helping me want to grow.
What arrogance to think that we can tell God what is right and that He is wrong. It is simply a fact that God is right. It is His very nature. He cannot be un-right. Right and wrong only make sense in relation to God. Without an external God separated from His creation there is no such thing as objective right an wrong. We would have no concept of right or wrong apart from God.
Everything would be purely subjective. So, of course God is right. I have a real relationship with my earthly Father. However, there are certainly times when we disagreed. Yes, this was wrong. There were consequences when I disobeyed. He was still my father and I was still his son. I still have a relationship with him in fact a very good one.
I am not his slave just because he gave me healthy boundaries, set rules and called me to obey them. They were for my safety and well being. Do you think that perhaps my Dad may have know a few more things that I, as an 8 year old boy, did? Is it possible he might have known better than I did if it was a good idea for me to go walking around town at midnight?
Perhaps the almighty God of the universe might know a little bit more than you do? You are a sinner. Like all of us you have chosen to rebel against the holy, just and good God of this universe. You have thumbed you nose at Him and and the sound of submitting to Him is like nails on a chalk board to you. You would rather continue to go your way because you have believed the lie that you know better than God what is good and right for you.
If you only could see the truth that of what you are missing. If you only knew that the real freedom, the real joy, the real hope, the real life is only found when you fulfill the purpose for which you were created and repent of your way and let God lead. It is my prayer that you will. There is a real eternal hell at stake here. Just as God cannot be un-right, He can also not be unjust. His very character is just. He must punish evil and sin. If He overlooked it He would be unjust.
The only hope of escaping this punishment is the fact that Jesus agreed to take this punishment for those who repent and agree to let God lead. Jesus stepped in on the cross and took our punishment, the penalty that we rightly deserved so that God could remain just and so that we could live. This was the only way both could be satisfied. If you do not repent and place God in His rightful position of Lord of your life, you will pay for your own sin in hell for all eternity. However, if you swallow your pride, admit you are wrong and that He is right, and place your trust in Him, you can live forever with Him in a love relationship that will grow and grow for eternity.
This is the most rewarding and wonderful relationship you could ever have. I know from personal experience. I was where you are now. But I gave in, I realized my way was not the right way. I realized that I was drinking out of the toilet when I was being offered fresh, purified water.
I came to Him dirty and full on sin and my own pride. I laid it all at the foot of His cross and repented and it was all gone, in an instant. He took it all upon Him and suddenly I was set free in a way I cannot express. I have never been the same since. I am a new person. I truly do desire this for you. I will pray for you and I am here if you have any questions. The greatest thing he has never known. Matiny, This is a good question.
You are referring to John Ironically and most likely not coincidentally , it is a subject that was directly discussed in the sermon preached at my church on the same day you posted your comment. I highly recommend that you listen to this sermon. I think it will help answer your question and provide you with my perspective in better detail.
The sermon above is much more thorough than I can be here, but I will try to give a quick summary of my thoughts. The scriptures are very clear that we, as New Testament followers of Jesus, are not under the specific and direct commands of the Old Testament law. This can be clearly seen in numerous Scripture passages. A few are: Eph. The Mosaic Law was not intended as a universal and eternal reflection of the will of God. It was intended for a particular time, place and people.
In Christ, it is no longer binding. Abel, Noah, Abraham and many others were declared righteous before the law. Moses, Joshua, David, the prophets and many others born under the law were declared righteous not through obedience to the law but through faith in the promises of God. Now, in Christ, we relish in the final revelation of the fulfillment of the promises in the coming of the object of the faith Jesus Christ who alone justifies.
We are not under the law but under grace Romans However, this is not a passport for living how we want and thumbing our nose at God. But what is the law of Christ? This can be answered by looking at a few verses. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. The law of Christ is love; love for others and love for God. Jesus tells us that love fulfills the whole law Matt We are called to love. By doing so, we fulfill all the intent and purpose of the rules of the law without needed to obey the letter.
Jesus actually modeled this for us when He was on earth. That is where the passage you asked about comes in. Look at the verse the immediately follows the one you quote, John You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. He gives us the Holy Spirit to help us with this commandment to love.
Thus it is actually His work, not ours. The Holy Spirit empowers us and helps us love overcoming our selfishness. He says that if you try to obey part of the law then you are obligated to keep the whole thing. As we place our faith in God, he changes our hearts. The Holy Spirit helps us to genuinely love God and love others. This faith works itself out as love in our lives. Therefore, those who have faith will love, and thus, fulfill the law of Christ. Not sure i understand your post. These things themselves have no moral implications. They are just things. How they are used and why they are used is what is relevant.
It is always about the heart. Pradeepa, The short answer to your question is that it is because of sin. Sin always divides. As I explained in the post above, sin separates us from God. It also separates us from each other. We see this every day. As a result of sin, marriages split up, friends part ways, relationships are strained, etc. Relationships are always impacted when we sin usually our horizontal relationships with others, but always our vertical relationship with God.
We repeatedly see this example in the Bible. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, they became separated from God. We see this with the Nation of Israel.
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When King Solomon sins by worshiping idols, the result is that his kingdom is divided. It is split into two kingdoms Israel and Judah. The once unified Nation of Israel is torn in two as a result of this sin. This is similar to what has happened to the Church. However, when Jesus left, Satan remained.
His desire is to spread dissension and division Romans The Church has a real enemy that is continually warring against it to try to create as much division as possible. Additionally, Christians still have sinful natures. We are far from perfect! We still sin. Sin also has the effect of clouding our minds so that we cannot perceive things correctly. It tends to skew our interpretation of things. Thus, there were many disagreements of how to interpret various things in Scripture. The result of this sin is that divisions came up.
Sometimes they even fought over these disagreements. In most cases these disagreements and different interpretations of Scripture were not major, but were more minor. However, it is the proclivity of mankind to focus on our differences instead of the more important points we agree on. Some of these points of disagreement are listed in my post above what day of the week to meet on, forms of music to use, ritualistic prayers, dietary requirements, etc.
These things are minor points and should not cause fellow believers in Christ to divide. But, all too often, our sinfulness comes out and we fear those who do not agree with us. In addition to these minor points, theological differences caused division. Many of these differences are about concepts about God and how He works that are very difficult for us humans to understand such as the role of human free will in relationship to the sovereignty of God.
Other theological points of disagreement centered on who should be baptized and how. Instead of bearing with one another and allowing each other to disagree on minor matters like this, churches split up over them. They formed whole organizations of churches around their way of thinking. Groups who believed that the right way to baptize was by immersing the person in water instead of sprinkling water over them split off.
Groups of churches that believed that infants should be baptized at birth joined together and separated themselves from churches that believed only believers in Christ should be baptized. The result was that the Church, as a whole, lost out. In most of these cases there are correct points on both sides as well as some errors and over reactions. We cannot put God in a box, and the reality is that we need perspective of the whole Church to better understand Him.
By surrounding ourselves with only the people who think like us, everyone loses. I look forward to the day when Jesus returns and there will no longer be any denominations, nations, or any other divisions; only followers of Jesus. God will correct all the wrong thinking in all of us, align us and help all of us to see and understand more of Him than we can now. That is my short answer, I hope it helps some. Pradeepa the various different denominations to my understanding have come about much in the same way that cultural differences come about.
When the disciples were sent out to all the ends of the earth to spread the Good News, they naturally came across people from very diverse backgrounds and cultures which resulted in slightly different traditions and practices within the one faith. I imagine a lot of this is reflected in the various different denominations that you come across today. Nina, Thanks for the response.
However, that is not really historically accurate. The Church had already spread over the entire known world. At this point it split in two. It further divided when the Protestant Reformation occurred in the 16th century. The king of England also split the church in because he wanted to get a divorce. Hi, I heard that when people die, instead of going directly to heaven or hell, they sleep until the day God would comes back and question us about our sins. I was just wondering if that was correct? It is false teaching. The bible never teaches that. There are several clear bible passages that directly contradict it.
Jesus claimed He would never die John and They are clearly alive and not asleep. The apostle John sees saints alive in Heaven when he is taken there by an angel in Revelation. So Christians, why is your religion more valid, than say, Hinduism? What is so veeeery believable about Christianity that you take it above all other religions? I pointed out a few in a previous blog, such as how Christianity is unique in the fact that is about God coming to man instead of man […]. Alex, This is a good question.
I chose to write a blog post to answer it. This will allow me a little more space to more fully address your question. See blog linked below:. Your entire essay here can easily be undone by the first sentence of your fabricated definition for religion.
DS, thank you for the comment. In fact, it seems you have completely missed or intentionally avoided my entire point. Yes, Christianity is a system of beliefs that one adheres to.
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That is not my point, though. I was very specific in how I defined religion. Christianity is unique in that it is a belief without requiring anything more than believing. It is this last part that characterizes religion. Religion says you have to EARN it. In Christianity the work is already done by God. All that is necessary is to trust is His work. Jesus earned it for us on the cross.
Everyone has a belief that they adhere to. Religion is not just believing something. Religion is a belief that requires you to to do something to earn favor from God. This is why Christianity is so different from the others. Religion is the reason why they are killing us innocent Men Woman and Children.. The end result was complete failures.
I believe God has chosen me to share Gospel among Hindus and will use some of the teaching shared here on this blog. I have goose bumps from reading all of this. To everyone who responded so kindly to the people who had questions and doubts, may God bless you. All I know is that my life has dramatically changed since I invited Jesus Christ our Lord into my life. I am not religious, but instead have a wonderful relationship with Him.
As I have learned over the years, trying is religion. If you let Jesus captured you heart you would not be trying anymore because you will be living it. Let Jesus capture your heart. Tubs, Thank you for your comment. I must disagree with you, however. That is not at all what I intend to say with this blog post. It totally depends on WHY you are trying. It should be clearly understood that the bible calls us to try to live how God wants us. We are to try to live like Jesus did. There are countless more I could list. The above verses among many others make it very easy to see that as Christians we are indeed called to strive, toil, work, obey, and labor.
Not just trying but trying very hard! When then, does it become religion? The answer to this question is what I was attempting to explain in this blog. It is all about why you are working. Why are you trying? Do you think you can make him love you more by doing good things? If so, THIS is religion. If you think it is like earning a reward, then you are working from religion.
However, that is not why Paul and the other New Testament authors worked hard. Paul understood that his good works were worthless. I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.
I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. Paul understood that he had to discard these attempts to earn favor from God and rely only on God to make up the gap and save him.
However, it was the understanding of how much grace and mercy God had shown him that made him want to work so hard. He worked hard out of love for God and a desire to show gratitude with his life. He also worked hard to gain an eternal reward in heaven. God promises that he will reward all the work that is genuinely done for His glory. So, it is not trying that is religious. If so, then we should just do whatever we want.
That is NOT biblical Christianity. We are still called to try and try as hard as we can. But, our reason for trying has changed. We now try out of love and gratitude and in expectation of an eternal reward that will never fade away. I also work as an Engineer at The Boeing Company. Glad I could help. God bless. I am doing a research paper on Christianity vs Religion how being a Christian is religious or a religion. Good morning Mr.
Driscoll How are you? I do believe in the Word of God. I do believe Christianity is not a religion of system of rules it is based on relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. Their are so much cult religions out their in the world that is based on a system of rules by man. Since we have a relationship and believe in our Lord Jesus Christ. The enemy wants to hurt us by killing us off because we believe in our Lord Jesus Christ and not a false God.. I suppose everyone is free to make up their own definition of words, but you can hardly blame the rest of the world for not acknowledging your invented definition.
Amanda, First off, thanks for the comment. I hope you understand that what I have written comes from a desire to help you and others. It is certainly perfectly fine if we disagree on this. I appreciate your point that many dictionaries and other sources do not define religion as I have done here. I know and understand this. The truth is that there is not great agreement on the actual definition. I surveyed several sources with widely differing definitions. There are also many that include my definition as one of the definitions for religion, so I am not out in left field by myself here.
Consider these:. From Dictionary. From the freedictionary. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion. I could certainly site others. Notice the use of practices, obligation, activity, devotion, and rituals above. The point here is that there is certainly a use and way in which the word religion can mean exactly what I am saying here. I think this gives me some room to point out that there is a major element contained in all of all the world religions that is absolutely missing in Christianity.
That just comes down to an argument over how you want to define religion. The point is that there is something vastly different about Christianity. This is the point you are missing here. There is something common to all religions that is absent in Christianity. But this is not true. Belief is NOT something you can chose to do. It is not an action. It is a state of being. It is like the color of your skin.
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No you could not. You could think about a pink elephant but you do not actually believe it is floating over your head. This is because your will does not control your beliefs. You believe what you think is actually true based on the evidence you observe. Rules are about choices.
Rules govern behavior, not mental states of being. Additionally, I agree that Christianity depends on belief. Belief is a requirement, but this is not an action you perform. If you possess it, it is something given to you by God. This is made clear in the bible in Ephesians Similarly, all other religions require belief. Even non-religions require belief. Everyone has belief. This is because it is a state of mind. You believe something.
You cannot be absent belief. Yes, Christianity requires belief, but so does anything else. So does Buddhism, Islam, Shintoism, or even atheism. But, there is a fundamental difference about Christianity from all the other world religions that you are refusing to acknowledge: that is all that is required. Every other religion adds to this works, rituals, acts of service, essentially requiring you to earn it yourself.
This is the point I am trying to get across here. Jesus has already done all the work for you. He has earned your redemption and restoration. He has actually dealt with sin and evil and addressed it something no other religions does. Christianity is the only one to address the problem of evil and offer a solution. I am certainly not that smart. Is this not an accurate statement? Think about it for a moment. What other religion has God doing the work needed to make it right Himself?
I sincerely wish you the best, Amanda. I pray that you will not see this response as argumentative. Regardless of whether you and I agree on if Christianity is a religion or not, I hope that we can both agree on the vast, amazing way in which it is different and unique. I hope that you will spend some time considering how different Christianity is. I truly think that it is the only one that makes any sense. I do not understand how anyone could think that sinful, flawed humans can try to earn our own way to a perfect and holy God.
How can I expect a perfectly just God to overlook the things I have already done? I can never earn this. Then here is the offer of Christianity: God offers to pay it for me. This actually makes sense, since He is the only one qualified to pay it. This allows Him to remain just, punishing the evil but also to display His love by not giving me what I deserve. Maryjo, Thanks for the comment.
I absolutely agree with you. God saved us not because of our works, but he also has called us to do works which he has appointed for us. Consider Eph This idea is made explicit. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. I talk some about this idea in some of my response to comments. I am so glad I found this page. Thank you so much for clearing things up for me.
I have a question for you philipians. Could you please help me understand the tithe in the Church. There is so much controversy on this topic. I thought that was something that was done only in the old testament.
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I would greatly appreciate your help in helping me understanding this topic. Abby, thanks. You ask a very good question about tithing. Hence the word tithe. Many Christians will mistakingly try to apply this to us today, but I never do so. Like many New Testament ideas it is much more ambiguous and fuzzy than the old Law. In some ways the law was easier because it was so cut and dry.
The New Covenant is all about relationship and listening the the guiding of the Holy Spirit. There are very few cut and dry rules. Because we each have the Holy Spirit we are given much more freedom to listen to His individual guidance for each of us. This does not mean it is easier now or that the call to holiness is less high.
It just means we need to put out a little more work to determine what we should do. We should pray and ask the Spirit to help us know how much we should give. He says whoever loves this life will lose it but whoever gives up this life will gain life John It is all or nothing Romans The call in the New Testament is much higher. It could mean that, but most likely not.
He has given it to you so that you can use it for His glory. Your money is like the talents given to the servants in Matthew God has entrusted it to you so that you can make wise use of His money. We should alwyas be looking for what will bring the greatest glory to God. Ultimately, we will all answer for what we did with it. You can bring glory to Him by loving and caring for your family. He calls us to do this. I have found that you cannot out give God. My personal experience is the more I give the greater He blesses me. Give sacrificially enough that it hurts and requires faith.
Give regularly to your local church body. And give cheerfully. God loves a cheerful giver 2 Cor If you give out of compulsion you might as well not give at all. These three principles are good general guidelines to help you. Christianity or Churchianity is so institutionalized that it, in my opinion, is totally different from following Jesus. I try to follow Jesus and not the religion called Christianity. I do not agree with a lot of christian views. Edwin, Thanks for your comment. I think responded to yourself.