Faith does not come from us. It doesn’t originate from us. It’s not initiated by us. The Bible seems to make this clear. But does this mean we can’t have faith without God flipping a switch in us? No.
Here’s the thing: if God had no part in our faith, then we could say, “I believed in God without any help at all!” This isn’t biblical. But it also doesn’t mean that God directly causes some to have faith and some not. What would be the point of Paul’s argument in Romans – that no one has an excuse not to have faith in God – when, in fact, they do have an excuse; God never gave them faith! Simply doesn’t make sense, and it’s because we’ve misunderstood something about faith.
Faith is always the second step. Continue reading
There really is so much tied into the word “faith” that I’m not sure where to begin. A starting point, though, is the Bible separates it from works.
Faith is not an action. Continue reading
God knows everything and so why should we pray? Do we need to pray if he already knows all? -SC
This is probably one of the most important questions to be answered that I’ve come across. This was asked by a friend using the Ideas? page and it’s one that plagued me for years.
Some of this has been addressed in my previous post on prayer, so I would ask that you read that one first before diving into this one, since I’ll be building on what I said there. The part I’m going to focus a little more in this post is the “why” part in the question above. Why should we pray? Continue reading
Have you ever gone through the Book of Job?
I’ve been reading it with some guys on (some) Monday nights, and not only has it sparked some lively discussion, but it has really gotten me to think about how old some biblical concepts are, specifically the concept of a Christ.
Job is allegedly one of the earliest written books of the bible. And while he is Semitic, he’s not an Israelite. So what we have through this book is an ancient perspective on God, as seen through the eyes of a non-Israelite, meaning we also have a nearly undeveloped image of God. Job does not have the Exodus event to draw on, or the Law to refer to. There is no Abrahamic covenant, or promise of reconciliation through the seed of that covenant. All Job has is the raw, unrefined, basic understanding of God’s operation with humanity. If for nothing else, this book of poetry offers us a fascinating insight on, what is essentially, the Old Testament equivalent of a non-believer, and how this “Gentile” (for lack of a better word) sees God.
With a specific filter. Suffering.
Two worlds. One choice. No middle ground.
This is where we find Pontius Pilate. With an alleged criminal brought before him, Pilate is faced with a decision he cannot back out of. Crucify an innocent man to appease the world? Or follow justice and release him?
Using the masterful imagery that the fourth gospel is known for, John portrays Pilate’s struggle visually. Outside of his house, not able to come in for reasons of ritual, awaits the Jewish accusers. Inside, segregated from the world, awaits Jesus. And bouncing between the two locations is the man who’s decision this is. Pontius Pilate. Governor. Prefect. Decision maker. Continue reading
Every time I read Paul’s epistles and try and get a feel for who the guy was, I almost always reach the same conclusion; I don’t much care for him.
I’m sure he’s a nice enough guy and everything, but I don’t think I could spend much time with him. He always strikes me as having a bit of a pretentious, know-it-all attitude that’s hard to be around. I could be flat out wrong of course. After all, I’m basing this off of some 13 letters he wrote to struggling churches, some while he was in jail, so I’m sure that’ll color it up a bit. I’m just saying that, at this point, we probably wouldn’t be BFF’s.
But there is a passage of scripture that he wrote that makes him the most relate-able person in scripture to me. Continue reading
“No one has greater love than this – that one lays down his life for his friends.”
–Jesus the Christ, Gospel of John
How blasphemous would it be to disagree with his statement here?
Kind of a rhetorical question, I mean you don’t need to answer it, but I did want to say that I wasn’t sure I was completely behind him on this one.
And what I mean is that I’m not sure that’s the greater love.
Now, there’s no arguing that it’s love, even great love, but the greatest love? It may be for some, but it’s not for me. For me, it’s not that he died for me (though my appreciation for that knows no bounds).
The greatest love is that he lived for me.