Monthly Archives: June 2015

The First Thing to Teach Children

When Josh was somewhere between 2 or 3 years old, he was playing in the living room in our apartment in Lake Forest, Illinois (an apartment within a mansion – another story). His toys were scattered on the floor, and I noticed that he was stepping on the little trucks and such. Fearing that they might break, I warned him, “Hey buddy, don’t step on your toys.”

I’ll never forget. While holding my gaze, he slowly lifted his foot up and placed it on one of the little playthings, never breaking eye contact.

The little sinner.

But it was okay, because it turned into a wonderful opportunity to teach my son about his need to obey me. It’s the first thing that every child needs to learn:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6:1 (ESV)

I heard James MacDonald teach once that this verse is not written to children, but parents. Good thought…in actuality, it’s probably both. But of course, it is parents who must first understand this truth and then teach it to their kids.

“Son…daughter…you must obey me. No ifs, ands or buts.”

If they learn this, they can learn a whole host of other wonderful things from us, like

  • The fear of the Lord and
  • The truth of God’s word, and
  • Be nice to your sister, and
  • Oh yeah…the gospel!

But if they miss this first and most simple truth from Paul to the Ephesians, they may very well miss it all. So it all starts here with this one truth that the Apostle thought was pretty important and that parents must therefore be absolutely vigilant to pass on:

Obey me.


****For more on disciplining the young ones, our two favorite books on these issues were, Shepherding a Child’s Heart and Don’t Make Me Count to Three.

For Wednesday, July 1, it’s back to the gospels: Luke 1

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Posted by on June 30, 2015 in Uncategorized


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What God Told Husbands to Do…

In an email to our church this past Saturday, I explained that I would soon be writing about the recent Supreme Court decision to legalize Gay Marriage. And the truth is that I’ve written a lot (probably worked about 6 or 7 hours on my thoughts since the decision)…I just haven’t posted. So…extensive writing may not be forthcoming (I have a few comments below), and we will surely be addressing it from the pulpit at Edgewood. But now, three days after the Supreme Court decision has caused a lot of bits and bytes to fly, I wonder if anyone really wants to read a whole lot more pontificating on the subject. Much has already been written; much has already been said. However, as I mentioned, I do provide three links which I found helpful at the end of this article, along with some brief comments.

But for now…

Ironically, today’s passage in the Inspired series is one of the great marriage passages in Scripture. It contains a word that has encouraged me through the years, and I hope it will encourage you.

Paul writes…”In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,” Ephesians 5:28-29 (ESV)

I have a long way to go at this, but I love the descriptive way that Paul tells husbands to care for their wives: They are to nourish and cherish them.  What a challenge. My role is to nourish and cherish my sweet wife Diane, who is the greatest gift my Father has ever given me. And what is my motivation or drive to do this for her? Why, Christ of course! It is what He does for His bride. Should I, therefore, do any less for mine?

Finally, there are a lot of good articles out there on the recent Supreme Court decision. Here are just three that I found helpful.

The Bible and Same Sex Relationships: This is good. Written before the decision, this link will be helpful if you know Christians who are supporters of same-sex marriage, and who are arguing that gay marriage is another disputed issue like baptism or election and predestination. The reasoning goes that since Christians also have different views on homosexuality, we should just agree to disagree. But there is a significant difference: Godly men and women have been debating issues like baptism and election for 2,000 years, and I suppose we will debate them until Jesus returns. But the “debate” on homosexuality has no such history. All Christians have unanimously agreed on this subject until very recently (the last 20 years?). Indeed, the Bible has always been clear on the topic. Only the changing culture has caused people to “see” Scripture in a new way.

5 Ways to Respond to the Supreme Court’s Decision on Same-Sex Marriage This article gets to the idea of tone. It’s so important to have the right tone in our dialogue with people. It’s hard enough to be heard on this issue when you are speaking in kind and loving tones. But the wrong tone will definitely cause you to be ignored or vilified for no reason.

Here We Stand: An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage When all is said and done, we need to take a stand, and we need to help younger believers think through this issue, because the wave of culture is a tsunami. One hundred leaders came together and agreed on this wording that I think is strong and good.

For tomorrow, Tuesday, June 30: Ephesians 6

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Posted by on June 29, 2015 in Uncategorized


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VBS Reflections

11147251_495793450585362_77443092035838136_n[1]VBS ended tonight.  It was a great week.

In fact, as I write, it’s 11 p.m. on Thursday night, and I only just now remembered that I needed to write a blog for Friday morning. That’s not happened all year. So, it was a busy day.

I served all four nights of Camp Kilimanjaro, which is more nights than all the previous times that I had served at a VBS in my entire lifetime. In fact, keep this a secret, but I think I’ve only served at a VBS once before (head hung in shame). But I did again this week. I wonder if it had something to do with the fact that my sweet wife is in charge of children’s ministry now at Edgewood?

For my labors, I have been presented a carabineer, for future expeditions up the real African mountain, I’m sure. But I have a bit of vertigo, so I’m guessing the only time I actually will get to Mount K will be when it is the renewed Mount Kilimanjaro in the New Heavens and the New Earth. And who knows, maybe that will be sooner than we think.

Teaching the lessonBut I digress.

I was reading Ephesians 4 and thinking about Diane’s role as the VBS leader. Paul writes about her, and others like her in verses 11 – 13…

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, Ephesians 4:11-13 (ESV)

You didn’t see VBS leader or Children’s Ministry Director next to the esteemed list of biblical offices like apostles and prophets and shepherds. But it is there, at least in principle.

And the principle is this: Diane’s role is not to do the ministry; it is to train and equip others to do the ministry. Same thing for a pastor like me.

It wasn’t always this way. During the Middle Ages, the idea was that the priest did everything. Everything. You know, marry and bury, of course, but also evangelism and administration and anything else that needed to be done to make the Kingdom go forward. I guess all the people just cheered him on. Or not.

But God never meant it to be this way, and the pastor(shepherd)’s job is not actually to do the ministry, but to help others do the ministry. Get this backward and you have the grave situation of the Middle Ages. But make it biblical, turn it around, and you get(with the Holy Spirit!)…the most remarkable revival in the history of Christendom, a.k.a., the Reformation.

So VBS – Diane might have done the bulk of organizing this terrific week, but it was not her actual work to do. Her job was to recruit and train others. And the others? They do the work of building up the body of Christ…until we all look like Jesus.

A volunteer named Keith who had been at every night said to me after the curtain came down tonight: “I’ve had more fun this week than I’ve had in years.” Glory to God.

I’m just glad that Diane didn’t keep all the fun to herself.

For Monday, June 29th: Ephesians 5

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Posted by on June 26, 2015 in Uncategorized


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A Pastor and a Rabbi Preach a Sermon…

Imagine you were traveling across the country, and found yourself scanning radio stations. Now suppose you heard an engaging preacher and stopped to listen – here’s my question: how would you be able to tell if it was a Christian preacher or a Jewish Rabbi? (To make this more interesting, let’s just say that in this scenario, Jewish folks are a bigger presence in our country than they actually are, and that as many Rabbis are on the radio as Pastors. So you’ve got a 50-50 shot here.)

The message from this mystery expositor, of course, is from the Old Testament. The New Testament would be a dead giveaway. So…would you be able to tell?

And by the way, no fair listening till the end when the Christian closes in prayer, and says, “In Jesus’ name, Amen.” I’m talking about actual content here.

The truth is that in such a situation, whether listening to a sermon from Exodus or Ezekiel, a lot of times, most of us (myself included) wouldn’t be able to tell, and that’s a bad thing – not for us, mind you – but for the engaging Christian Pastor who’s preaching and who sounds just like the engaging Rabbi. So a message on murder or adultery from the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 would sound the same from either communicator: “It’s bad. Very bad. Be sure you don’t do it.” Only from a good communicator, much more clever.

As a pastor, I’ve made the “sounds just like a Rabbi” mistake too many times. It’s moralism, and it’s pretty easy to do.  But consider this – whenever the Apostle Paul preached, he always had the same message, and that message…was Christ:

To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. Ephesians 3:8 (ESV)

Here was a man with only the Old Testament to work with and yet, when he preached, he always proclaimed Christ. Always.

  • Did they hand him the scroll of Exodus in the Synagogue? Jesus was the Passover lamb.
  • The scroll of Isaiah? That’s an easy one – Christ was the Suffering Servant.
  • 1 Samuel and David and Goliath? The message from Paul would not have been “Try to trust God more like David did, and you’ll slay your giants too,” but, “Isn’t it great that we too have a Champion who slayed the giants of sin and death for us, so we can rush forward in victory?”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard those messages on David and Goliath, and I’ve tried that “Trust God and try harder plan” against the giants in my life, and yet I’ve still got one or two (or more) giants greeting me every day. So you see, the first message on “being a better trust-er” only puts me under the condemnation pile, but the second one…fills me with hope. The real giants have fallen because HE was perfect in HIS trust.

So, whether Paul’s text was from the Prophets or Proverbs – the Apostle talked about Jesus. Because ultimately, if the message is not about Christ, it is only a warmed up version of “try harder.” And to be sure, the “try harder” message is often preached very cleverly and sometimes with great insight and humor, but it’s still the law, and such messages usually produce about as much change as a New Year’s resolution.

Paul, however, had a better plan, the only plan for the Christian preacher:

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2 (ESV)


For tomorrow, Friday, June 26th: Ephesians 4


Posted by on June 25, 2015 in Uncategorized


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The Part I Played in My Salvation

I have this high school memory: it was likely junior year, maybe a late morning in the fall – band class, and I was walking outside to the football field with some other marching band members. I was pontificating about Jesus – foolishness about how maybe he did exist and maybe he didn’t. Like I knew what I was talking about. I don’t remember the reaction of my small audience. I hope they thought I was an idiot.

It’s this scene that comes to mind when I sing the song, All I have is Christ…

I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way.
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave.
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will.
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still.

But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost

You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross.
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace.

There I was a rebel…helpless…hell-bound…mouthing blasphemies about the Savior…from the grave.

But God.

In his book, The Elements of Eloquence, author Mark Forsyth – though as far as I know not a believer – speaks glowingly of the beauty of Bible words. And Ephesians 2 is prime example – an arresting yet piteous look at our lot before Christ raised us up…

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience–among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:1-5 (ESV)

He did it. I played no part. That’s the message of the passage. My salvation was not a revival but a resurrection. I didn’t one day realize that I was in the grave and start digging my way out. I was not Peter’s mother-in-law; I was Lazarus. And so were you.

But God made us alive.

And that’s why they call it grace.


For tomorrow, Thursday, June 25th: Ephesians 3

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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Can You See Chariots of Fire? If Not, Pray This Prayer…

Fire flames on black background background

Open my eyes…

You’ve heard the phrase “more than meets the eye”? It’s when there is more to something than you first see. So, when you buy a house, you don’t want to sign the papers and then find out that there was “more than meets the eye” under the floorboards. Or, on the positive side, sometimes people have hidden gifts and talents that you don’t see at first glance, so there is “more than meets the eye” about them.

The phrase is important because when you think of the world we live in, there is actually more to it than meets the eye.

I think of the incredible story of  Elisha and his servant being pursued by the King of Syria, and one day they woke up surrounded by the evil king’s armies. Well, the servant woke up anyway; apparently Elisha was sleeping like a baby…

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 2 Kings 6:15 (ESV)

But Elisha calmed his fears with a remarkable statement…

He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 2 Kings 6:16 (ESV)

And then Elisha prayed a prayer for his servant that we ought to pray for one another

Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:17 (ESV)

It was a glorious and happy surprise to Elisha’s servant when the Lord opened his eyes.  And that said…I like to imagine that Paul the Apostle was thinking about this story when he told the Ephesians that this is what he prayed for them…

…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe…  Ephesians 1:17-20 (ESV) 

It’s important to remember that Paul was writing to Christians. This is not a prayer that they would come to Christ, but that they as believers would see that the resources they have. I think this means that many of us don’t see what we could see…if we only prayed that God would open our eyes, and the eyes of those we love.

And in particular, the Apostle wanted the people of Ephesus to have their eyes opened to see three things:

  1. First, the great hope that they have. This is heaven.  And how many Christians live nearly every day without thinking about heaven and the joy that awaits them there.
  2. And second, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. Pay attention now – This is not our inheritance – this is God’s inheritance.  Yes we have a great inheritance ourselves – that’s the hope we have in the gospel, but he also wanted us to see what God’s inheritance of us means to Him.  Here’s how he puts it – we are His riches.  Glory to God.  You can think on that for the next three years.  Sum it up this way though – Christian, he loves you a lot.  You are part of God’s riches.
  3. And third, Paul prayed that these believers would know the immeasurable greatness of God’s power toward those who believe. Paul says that this great power is the power that raised Jesus from the dead…available to us…the immeasurable greatness of God’s power toward those who believe.

And so, moved by Paul’s example, it’s been probably about two decades that I’ve been praying this prayer out of Ephesians 1 for myself and for those I love, and I invite you to join me, because I don’t know about you…but I’d like to see a few chariots of fire.


For tomorrow, Wednesday, June 24th: Ephesians 2

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Posted by on June 23, 2015 in Uncategorized


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We Need the Cross Everyday

Here is one of my heroes, D. Martyn Lloyd Jones, writing wisely in his book, aptly titled The Cross, about one of the great verses in Scripture…

“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14 (ESV)

“(He does not) say that it is just something at the beginning of the Christian life. There are many Christians who have said that in one way or another. You start with the cross, they say, then you go on to what they call a deeper Christian life. The cross, they say, is only for conversion, the cross only deals with forgiveness of sins. It is something that marks the beginning, and then you go on and you do not come back anymore to the cross. You start there, but then you leave it, and you go onto the deeper depths of the spiritual life.

“That is not what the Apostle Paul says. Here is a man writing at the full height of his maturity as a Christian, the great Apostle to the Gentiles. At the very height of his experience he says, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.” He has not left it to go on to some higher reaches. The cross is still everything to him. Why? Because, he has found that everything proceeds from the cross. It is the source and the fount of everything that he has as a Christian, everything that he has become, everything that he can ever hope for.”

For tomorrow, Tuesday, June 23rd: Ephesians 1

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Posted by on June 22, 2015 in Uncategorized


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A Common Way People Miss Heaven

Most of us understand the investment idea of hedging your bets. It’s the old cliché about eggs and baskets. You don’t put all your money in one place. Financial gurus call this “diversification”. You diversify so that if one of your companies or stocks or mutual funds goes belly-up, you don’t lose it all. The importance of this has been sadly demonstrated in a negative way with people who have directed all their investments to the pension fund or stock of the company that employs them. When their company has fallen apart, not only did they lose their job, but because they were not diversified, they literally lost…everything.

But there is one place in life where diversification is actually the worst possible thing you can do, and yet people do it all the time. It’s in the area of the spiritual life. Here’s how it works: People come to understand the gospel, that eternal life comes through trusting in Christ’s work at the cross…but just in case, they make sure they do some other things. This is what the Galatians were doing with circumcision…

Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. Galatians 5:1-2 (ESV)

They were taught the gospel, that salvation comes by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, but the “circumcision party” or the “Judaizers” came in and taught them that they also needed to be circumcised. And this led to Paul’s stern warning above.

Today, this sort of thinking is one of the main ways people misunderstand the gospel and miss eternal life. For instance, someone says, “Well, I believe in Jesus – that’s the main thing, but I’m hedging my bets. I’m covering all the angles. So I’m going to be sure to get baptized, and I’m going to make sure to have my babies baptized, because some people say you do need that, and maybe they’re right, maybe you do need to be baptized to get into heaven.”

The refrain of these folks is this: “Just in case…”

Now of course, everyone who is a follower of Christ should be baptized and if you claim Christ and you haven’t been baptized, then you should make plans to do so out of loving obedience to the Lord Jesus (Matthew 28:19, 20), but not because you think that faith alone in Christ just might not be enough.

Many people today also trust in the act of taking communion. “I believe in Jesus,” these people would say, “but I’m also going to take communion because I believe this will ‘help’ me into heaven.” And a huge number of people believe in doing general good works as an aid to merit eternal life.

Now, does God want us to celebrate the saving cross of Christ through the Lord’s Table? Absolutely He does. And does he want us to love others and be “good”. Sure. But if you take communion in order to get into heaven, or if you go to church, or give financially, or help an old widow across the street in order to secure eternal life…then God says that Christ will be of no value to you. Refuting this kind of false thinking is so important to Paul that he says it again even more forcefully and clearly:

I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. Galatians 5:3, 4 (ESV)

Here Paul explains why hedging your bets in Christianity is so deadly, because in God’s eyes, you are either trusting in yourself, or trusting in Christ. You cannot do both. If the Galatians were to choose to be circumcised, then they were choosing to trust in themselves, in their own obedience to the law, and by doing so they were rejecting the way of justification and faith in Christ. And they were therefore obligated to keep the whole law.

Every. Last. Command.

So Paul says, put ALL your “stock” in Christ and reject trying to be justified by the law in any way whatsoever.

He is the one “investment” that will never go south.

For Monday, June 22nd: Galatians 6


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Posted by on June 19, 2015 in Uncategorized


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How to be Known by God

Many ask the question, “Do you know God?” It’s a good question, and a biblical one, but there is another way to consider our relationship with the Lord.  It is to ask the question, “Does God know you?” This question is just as important as the first.

Paul put it this way…

But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God…  Galatians 4:9 (ESV)

To know God puts the initiative in me. To be known by God, well, that puts the initiative with Him. And that’s really where the initiative should be.

More than that, we are in for danger if God does not know us. Famously, Jesus will say on judgment day, “Away from me, I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23).

And so you ask, how can I be certain that God knows me?

Well, consider this: Suppose you told me, “President Obama knows me,” and I said, “Sure he does.”  And you said, “Well, I sent him a letter.”  And I would reply, “He gets letters all the time. What does that prove?” But suppose you answered, “Yes…but I have a letter back from Him.” Ah, now we’re getting somewhere.  Now I have at least an indication that Mr. Obama really knows you.

What does this mean for being known by God?  Well, if God knows you, He will speak to you in His word. There will be some times in your life when you open your Bible to read and there will be fire in the pages. It will suddenly be a living book to you with a speaking God who knows you. Now, let me be quick to say that every word in the Bible is God’s word, and this cannot be overemphasized. Every word is His word and can therefore speak to you. But if you really know God, you will have moments, likely not every day, but occasionally, when you are spending time in the Word and the Holy Spirit will seemingly put a highlight pen through a verse or a phrase. And in that moment, you will know that God is actually speaking to you. Or it may happen that you are walking along and praying about something, and suddenly, a verse will come to your mind and it will be God dealing with you personally. Or it may be that you are listening to a sermon and suddenly, you will have a sense that the word coming from the pulpit is alive and is transforming you. This is knowing God.

In Genesis 16:13, Hagar prays to the Lord, “You are the God who sees me.”  And why does she put it that way?  Because, God told her he was going to take care of her. He told her He had His eye on her son and his eye on her. And she knew that she was known. And there is nothing better in the world than to be known by God.

How can you know God and be known by Him? We get a clue in the passage I referenced from Matthew 7, where Jesus says,

“On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:22-23 (ESV)

The reason this passage is scary is that these are clearly church people. Some have done more for the Lord than I have. Yet, take note – see what the multitudes are hoping in on the Day of Judgment – They are basing their eternal hopes on the idea that they DID THINGS for Him. So many will come before God with this in mind on the final day.

The way to be known by God, though, is not to do things for Him. It is, rather, to place your faith in Him. As Paul wrote the church at Ephesus: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)

When He, from His lofty throne,
Stooped to do and die,
Ev’rything was fully done;
Hearken to His cry!

Weary, working, burdened one,
Wherefore toil you so?
Cease your doing; all was done
Long, long ago.

Till to Jesus’ work you cling
By a simple faith,
“Doing” is a deadly thing—
“Doing” ends in death.

Cast your deadly “doing” down—
Down at Jesus’ feet;
Stand in Him, in Him alone,
Gloriously complete.

– James Proctor


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Posted by on June 18, 2015 in Uncategorized


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A God of the Law…or a God of Grace?

I have mostly happy memories of church life growing up. From age 7 – 17, I attended the Antioch United Methodist Church in our hometown of Antioch, Illinois. To be sure, church services were boring – that’s not a happy memory particularly, but the people were nice. There was friendly Bob Olson, and elderly Betty Lu Williams, the former librarian whom we often gave a ride to church. I had friends like Steve Skidmore and Chuck Duha and Anne Schmidt. And as a family we rarely missed church. It was just part of life. I remember the smell of the place and the huge live Christmas tree we would have during Advent season, and especially I remember the minister – we didn’t call him pastor – we said “minister”, and our minister was a man named Steve Williams, who was there for almost all of my formative years. I called him Reverend Williams.

I think of Reverend Williams because of a verse in Galatians 3, where Paul writes…

Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Galatians 3:21a (ESV)

In other words, how can you have law…and grace? How can God both require obedience from people and also be gracious?

Many religions, all of them, in fact, except Christianity, don’t teach that you can have both – God is either a law giving judge, or He is God of love, but He is not both. But we Christians put both characteristics together. But how? How can you have law and grace together? Perhaps you think that the way to do this is to be gracious up to a point; then you lay down the law. Or perhaps you start with the law, but you aren’t a stickler about it – you give in with grace.

But a truly holy God can’t give in to wicked sinners. So which do you go with? A God of love, or a God of the law? In answer to Paul’s question, the law surely seems contrary to the promises of God.

That brings me back to my old minister Steve Williams. Sad to say that Reverend Williams died in 2005, and his wife Jo quoted him in his obituary. “He always said there is always more than one way to get to the top of the mountain. In other words, there is more than one way to believe and do good works, to be a Christian or a good person.”

So Reverend Williams was a classic liberal theologian, and therefore, he would have loved to talk about the grace of God, but I doubt he gave much attention to the law. And you know why, right? In Steve William’s eyes, God could not be both wrathful against sin, and merciful toward sinners. He could not be a God of wrath and a God of mercy.

And yet, in the Bible, we see God depicted both ways. He is both a holy law-giver, and perfect in love. He is both a holy God with perfect standards, and a loving, gracious God who welcomes sinners. But how? Look at what Paul wrote in verse 13…

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us– for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”– Galatians 3:13 (ESV)

The solution is found at the cross. We were under the curse of the law, liable to the wrath of a holy, law-giving God against sinners such as us. But this same God sent His Son who took the curse on Himself, enabling God to be lawful…and the perfect God of love we also see depicted in Scripture. As Paul wrote to the Romans…He was just, and the justifier of those who have faith in Jesus.

And there is no contradiction between God’s law and grace after all.

For Thursday, June 18th: Galatians 4

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Posted by on June 17, 2015 in Uncategorized


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