Jesus the Saviour

Jesus the Saviour

YOU MAY HAVE HEARD it said more than once that the Bible teaches that we are all sinners. That there is none that is good and that all are equal in the sight of God. Equally sinners. That this is true there can be no doubt, but sometimes sinners can be encouraged by the knowledge that they are sinners amongst so many others. Looked at like this, being a sinner does not seem half so bad. But to be a lone sinner —a personal sinner—is a very different matter. In such a situation our sins take on a different hue and our position takes on a different perspective. It is true that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, but if you are to be saved he died for your sins in particular. If he is to save me personally, then his sacrifice could not have been avoided,

True Peace of Mind

True Peace of Mind

ETHEL’S EYE was caught by an advert in the paper. “I must buy that—it will solve all my problems!” “No, mother” exclaimed her longsuffering son, “it’s a funeral plan. It won’t stop you falling over or getting ill or worrying about the state of the world. Pass it here. Oh, you can’t buy it anyway, you’re too old.” It may be a comfort to know that your funeral expenses are paid in advance. However, this comfort is limited in its scope and only lasts for your lifetime. The ‘for ever’ is relatively short. In contrast the Bible talks of things, including life, which really can last for ever. God has always existed and always will exist. Jesus, now raised from the dead, cannot die and shares God’s divine nature (Romans 6:9). This all-powerful God offers us a peace beyond our natural experience: And the peace of God, which surpasses all

Will You Go to Heaven?

Will You Go to Heaven?

THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE who believe in life after death, even if they do not believe in God. Many people take great comfort after the loss of a loved one in the thought that they are still alive, somehow, somewhere. It’s a sensitive and emotive subject. But we need to ask the question—what does God actually tell us about the afterlife? For the answer, we need to look in the Bible. What the Bible Says Here are some Bible passages which you may find surprising: For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and for ever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun (Ecclesiastes 9:5–6). For Sheol does not thank you; death does not praise

Taking God’s Name in Vain

Taking God’s Name in Vain

WE LIVE IN a world which is increasingly atheistic. Fewer and fewer people identify with organized religion, or any faith at all. But strangely, the names of God and of Jesus Christ feature very commonly in everyday speech. They are used mostly as casual exclamations. People who use this language are generally oblivious to the fact that it is offensive and upsetting to those who believe in and worship God. Why would someone who believes in God use His name as a swear word? After all, people don’t swear and curse in the name of the Queen or the King or the President. Then again, why would someone who does not believe in God use His name as a swear word? What is the point? It is not just believers who find this language offensive. The Bible makes it clear that God hates it. The Israelites had to use the

How to Find God

How to Find God

I KNEW A MAN who was a Christian, and proud of it. But he swore and cursed more than almost anyone else I’ve ever known, and he was particularly imaginative in finding ways to abuse the name of God. I reminded him of the third of the Ten Commandments: ‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain’ (Exodus 20:7). He smiled and said, “It’s just the way I am. I live hard and talk hard. God won’t hold it against me.” The fact was, this man was entirely confident because he was a Christian, and a good man—as evidenced by the fact that he had been christened as a baby, attended a couple of church services a year, and had never committed a very serious crime. There was no reason therefore

Your E-mails: March 2022

Your E-mails: March 2022

“If God is all-knowing, He must know the outcome of everything—so why bother going through the process?” Ed: GOD HAS A PURPOSE, which is to fill the earth with His glory (Habakkuk 2:14). That purpose involves you and me (if we want it), glorified and immortal when Jesus Christ returns to establish God’s Kingdom: ‘When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ (Colossians 3:4). There are those who will respond faithfully and be part of that glorious future, and those who won’t (see for example Matthew 25:31–46). God knows everything: ‘O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up’ (Psalm 139:1–2). He knows the future: ‘I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done’ (Isaiah 46:9–10). So

All The World’s A Stage

All The World’s A Stage

All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players. ‘As You Like It’—William Shakespeare WHEN GOD CREATED the world (Genesis 1:1) He created the most fantastic stage set there ever was. But ahead of the coming of any actors upon the scene He had also written a great drama, with a cast of millions and an amazing climax. Just for a moment admire the set—in the distance, the heavens in their stellar glory. The immediate background shows the wonders of the creation as we view them every day. God then created the first pair of performers (Adam and Eve) and explained to them the role He wanted them to play in the unfolding drama (Genesis 2). But in the second scene (chapter 3) disaster struck. These two actors wanted to take a short cut to the final climax—they did not appreciate that for the drama to

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

IT’S A GOOD QUESTION, and one most people ask when they first come into contact with Bible believers. The idea that someone sacrificed themselves for others is a noble one, yet rather uncomfortable at the same time. After all, we might reason, a religion built on the idea of human sacrifice—that’s a bit macabre. One reason for Jesus’ death is actually quite straightforward. It was that his words and actions antagonised the religious leaders of the day. His total honesty, coupled with his ability to be morally perfect in his actions, made them mad with envy: ‘It was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up’ (Mark 15:10). This all happened because he had shown up the hypocrisy of their religious observances, simply by being the one who observed religion in the right way—that is, motivated by love: He said to them, “Which one of you who

Flesh and Spirit in Corinth

Flesh and Spirit in Corinth

THE NEWLY ESTABLISHED congregation of believers in the Greek city of Corinth faced many different spiritual challenges. The two letters which the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians expose these challenges vividly. The most pressing concerned the ungodly behaviour of certain of the church’s members. There were also wrong teachings. It had got so bad that some brothers and sisters did not believe that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead! Despite this ‘perfect storm’ of moral and doctrinal difficulties, the Corinthian church was addressed by the Apostle Paul as ‘the church of God’ (1 Corinthians 1:2, 2 Corinthians 1:1). He did not distance himself from them, he appealed to them and set about correcting them. The Works of the Flesh Firstly, just how bad were the problems at Corinth? As a preamble to the answer, in Paul’s letter to the believers in Galatia we read: Now the works of

1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians

THE CORINTHIAN congregation was established by the Apostle Paul during his second missionary journey. There had been a warmer response to the Gospel in Corinth than in intellectual Athens. Paul wrote this letter whilst at Ephesus, during his third journey. Believers With Problems In a decadent pagan city such as Corinth, it was not surprising that problems would arise: personality factions (1:12–16; 3:1–6), human pride (1:17–2:16), idolatry (chapters 6, 8, 10), wrong teaching (11:19), and serious moral problems (chapters 5–7). The authority of the apostles was being questioned (chapters 4, 9). Paul reminded the believers of the basis of their common salvation and of the need to put their house in order. Phrases such as “Now concerning…” tell us that the letter is responding to questions which some Corinthians had raised (7:1, 25; 8:1, 4; 12:1; 16:1). There were misunderstandings about the memorial service (‘Lord’s supper’ or ‘breaking of bread’)